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The Oneira - Injection Award winner

The Oneira
by Mark Machlay at 17 February 2020, 11:15 PM

The Italian progressive rock band THE ONEIRA is the creative vehicle of Greek composer and multi-instrumentalist Filippos Gougoumis. Fascinated by music from a young age, Gougoumis, instead pursued a more lucrative and safe degree in medicine. Once he had finished his medicinal studies, he decided to finally give music a chance, forming the initial trio of Gianpaolo “Banjo” Begnoni on keyboards and Erik Spedicato on drums. Well received by the international progressive scene, the initial trio released the debut “Natural Prestige” mixed by Oliver Philipps who has produced all of Dutch symphonic metal band Delain’s albums. On their next release, a more permanent drummer in Italian Danilo “Sakko” Saccotelli was suggested by Phillips, who was a friend of his. Along with adding, at the time, guest singer Manuel Ruscigno, “Hyperconscious” was a step-up towards a more unified and unique sound, classifying it as more “crossover” prog, therefore indicating a mainstream audience is more receptive to it.

On this latest release, “Injection”, the band continues to progress their sound while still wearing the RUSH influences on their sleeves via blistering guitar riffs/lead and epic atmosphere and Journey with the random piano lines and clean vocals. Almost every track begins with some esoteric pad or keyboard line to set the atmosphere before diving right into riff-laden prog rock.

The opener “Still Free to Choose” starts off with a repeating chiming keyboard melody over big, crunchy guitar chords, setting the mood before going into open, clean guitars and one of the clearest vocal mixes this year. Unfortunately, by the second track, “Know the Feeling”, it becomes obvious that the guitar’s distorted signals gain is up too high and unfortunately colors the rest of the tracks with a sloppy, splatty tone. Thankfully, this effect is not present in the guitar’s lead lines.

Keyboardist Gianpaolo “Banjo” Begnoni, interjections are really enjoyable on this record. Instrumental “Behind the Sun” features a piano breakdown halfway through that is downright elegant, reminiscent of Jorden Rudess of DREAM THEATER without the overly noodley bits, of which he can sometimes be guilty. The interplay between him and the guitars in “Over the Mountain” is equally epic in scope and seemingly intricate.

My biggest critique is the vocals. Throughout the entire album, Manuel Ruscigno seems restrained, never taking a ballsy or adventurous take of a line and still sounding as if he is still a hired gun. It’s clear that he has pipes and even seems to having a rare bit of fun in choruses of “Trust No One”, getting into his higher register and even adding a bit of grit to his part. The band would do well to let him loose a bit once in a while and do a couple takes where he tries different melodies out, get adventurous.

Overall, the mix of this record can seem a bit muddy when all of the elements are present. The guitars would do well not to drench the signal in effects and allow the tracks some much needed room. The band did well with the addition of seasoned progressive rock drummer Danilo “Sakko” Saccotelli as he has continued to elevate them rhythmically ever since their second record. But this album has enough hooks and radical solos that it is certainly one of more memorable albums so far this year.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Still Free To Choose
2. Know That Feeling
3. Edipsos
4. Behind The Sun
5. Make My Day
6. Paint Your Soul
7. Trust No One
8. Over The Mountain
9. Injection
Filippos Gougoumis – Composer, Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals
Gianpaolo “Banjo” Begnoni – Keyboards and Programming
Danilo “Sakko” Saccotelli – Drums, Recycled Percussions, Backing Vocals
Manuel Ruscigno – Lead Vocals
Record Label: Rockshots Records


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Edited 07 August 2022

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