Gran Turismo Veloce is one of the exciting new breed of RPI artists coming online who prove the modern scene is vibrant and not simply a regurgitation of the retro sound. They formed in Grosseto in 2008 and are named after the exotic Italian sportscar. The band began playing live, writing original music, and winning national competitions. They were noticed by Samuele Santanna of Raven Sad and assisted by Loris Furlan of Lizard Records. Their 2011 debut is a fantastic success as well as a superb example of the great RPI still flowing.
GTV certainly have heard classic Italian prog and they sound influenced by it. The first thought that popped into my head as I listened was that this was like a young Banco-influenced band with lots of modern edge. All of the drama of the classic sound is there, with the beautiful piano runs and passionate Italian vocals. But also present are hard-hitting and powerful blasts of alternative rock and heavy, spacey progressive rock, sometimes bordering on metal. It is absolutely refreshing and quite original, infectious and very well executed. The songs are vital, energetic and accessible, containing plenty of quirky diversions and change-ups. You will not be bored and you will not be skipping tracks. Large and generous keyboards and piano, distorted rock guitars, a bitchin’ rhythm section, and good vocals. I’m most excited by the songwriting however. I sense with GTV a band who will have a long future of diverse and creative albums which will experiment while always retaining the interest of the 70s RPI fans.
They walk that tightrope with great agility, creating music that will interest fans of current and modern music without sounding clich’d or predicable. There are elements of fusion, metal, and electronica, there is great mood and emotion. There’s even a bit of shred, witness the killer wailing on ‘L’estremo viaggiatore.’ The wonderful ‘Misera Venere reprised’ features fantastic flute melody over gorgeous welling mellotron (or string synth, whatever it is). They include the fine melodic tradition that many of us oldsters swoon over, but they have that crisp and biting, meticulously hammered heaviness that has become especially important in the last decade. What I love most about listening to this disc is that it never falls into a rut where things all sound the same….each song sounds unique and filled with ideas as musicians are actively chasing their curiosities. This is what good modern prog can be like! We can have melody, reasonable complexity, and heaviness in an accessible band. I can see this appealing to many prog fans whose preferred taste may lie outside of RPI, and I think RPI fans will eat it up. So much to love’but especially the extended (and interesting!) jamming of ‘Quantocamia’, the voices, strings, piano of ‘L’artista, and the hidden sax outtro on the last track! Love the heavy, up-front bass lines, the thoughtful drumming, and the great contrast of the traditional piano with the monster guitar crunch and bold synths.
GTV’s debut is truly excellent and I consider this band one of the new trailblazers who will help define the modern RPI scene. It’s not just about the 1970s anymore and yet GTV are smart enough to not dismiss the good things that old period gave us. I really believe they love the 70s Italian scene as much as we do, which bodes well for wherever they choose to go, for they will have a true appreciation. The artwork is a clever play on some fishy images that also deserves a nod. Fantastic job across the board, gentlemen. A new era classic.
Finnforrest – Prog Archives