NOT A GOOD SIGN from Italy released this album earlier this year. However, ‘NOT OF THIS WORLD’ would be a more appropriate title!
The album starts with tracks that are overly dissonant, such as ‘Almost 1’ and the title track. On the latter, there is remarkable work on the vocals, which rise to a desperate climax, eventually to be drowned by the darkness and depression created by the Crimsonian landscapes. The disharmonic melodies are ever-present, only releasing the listener from their clutches in a few moments. What comes to mind here is KING CRIMSON’s ‘The Power to Believe’ album.
The middle piece, ‘Witchcraft by a Picture’, which separates the album into two halves, is a completely different story. It starts with some heavy guitar, as if it has escaped from the album of some 90s Yorkshire Doom band. Then singer Sharron Cortnam contributes some female vocals singing a poem written by English poet John Donne over some acoustic instruments, and early THEATRE OF TRAGEDY comes in mind. The song then goes into post rock territory for its conclusion. Similar trippy segments can be found on the song ‘Flow on’, as well as on album closer ‘Afraid to Ask’.
All in all, the rest of the album is more relaxed and melodic. However, this is no cheesy neo-prog! The tight musicianship never permits things to become too boring for the prog listener. The beautiful ‘Come back Home’ impresses with its melodic vocals and ends up with some vintage keyboard soloing. Meanwhile, ‘The Deafening Sound of Music’ manages to include all that NOT A GOOD SIGN is about in only 4 and a half minutes.
Although all musicians shine here, special mention must be given to keyboardist Ske, both for his talented execution and especially due to his impressive palette of sounds, ranging from 70s organs to modern landscapes. If you are into good keyboards, you are in for a delight!
There are no weak songs here on this album. All pieces have something to offer, yet there is a lot of variety here. In the almost 52 minutes of this album, the music goes from slow ambient passages to intense instrumental interaction, never getting into extreme territory, but expressing strong emotion throughout. In that sense, ‘Not a Good Sign’ should be considered the closest thing you could get to a KING CRIMSON album today, but without the plagiarism. In other words, an excellent eclectic album that will appeal to all prog fans!
Link: The lyrics from the song "Witchcraft by a Picture" by John Donne: