Italy's Tritop have triumphantly announced their arrival upon the progressive rock scene with their debut album Rise Of Kassandra. In the finest tradition of 1970's progressive rock, the album is complex, musically varied and features, not one, but TWO epic pieces. Tritop is a project was brought to life by Ivo Di Traglia, a young Italian drummer and composer, in 2016. Fast forward a couple of years and Di Traglia is joined by Pierfrancesco Di Pofi (keyboards), Francesco Caponera (guitars), Jacopo Tuzi (bass), Mattia Fagiolo (vocals) and Iacopo Di Traglia (lyrics), as well as six “guest” guitarists for this brilliant release.
The album literally bursts from the speakers with the opening title track which has enough power to rival the best prog-metal bands but tempers that power and keeps it from becoming cliché. Three minutes in and keyboardist Di Pofi breaks it down with an absolutely beautiful classical piano interlude that introduces us to the wonderful vocals of Mattia Fagiolo which ten move back into power progressions. The entire band's talents are on display over the course of this track. The track weaves through so many different styles and yet never becomes dis-jointed or capricious.
The next two tracks, Delighted Insanity and Island Of Servitude, while being relatively shorter, each just over five minutes, continue to build upon the band's influences and are excellent, concise trips. They remind me of how effectively bands like Spock's Beard can weave shorter pieces between longer sagas. There is even a dash of Styx-like vocal harmonies thrown in.
The album concludes with the twenty-three minute The Sacred Law Of Retribution, which opens sounding very much like the aforementioned Spock's Beard or Gentle Giant. This is one of those pieces that you must listen to multiple times to catch all of the things that going on. It gets better every time you hear it. This may well go down as one of the best “epic” tracks of 2023. Truly an amazing track!
If I had to mention one thing that detracts from this album is the fact that vocalist Fagiolo is very “breathy” on quieter sections, but as this is their first album perhaps some further familiarity with the studio may resolve this on future releases.
Mark my words, Tritop has the potential to be one of those bands we will be talking about for many years to come. Here's hoping, as this debut album is basically an instant classic!
****+ David Carswell
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