Studio Album, released in 2004
1. The West (HAIKARA) (20:02)
2. Jill (RANDONE (21:48)
3. Cheyenne (Tilion) (21:48)
1. Harmonica (LA VOCE DEL VENTO) (21:56)
2. Morton (TAPROBAN) (23:22)
3. Frank (TRION) (24:59)
Total Time 134:55
La Voce Del Vento (UK - Andy Tillison, Guy Manning)
Another winner for Colossus with this project, The Spaghetti Western. Six bands, each doing a suite of 20 or more minutes duration in 70's prog style using "authentic" 70's instruments "where possible". Well, all in all this works rather well I must say (as it has on the other Colossus projects). Each band takes a character from the movie Once Upon A Time In The West, with Haikara taking the West itself as it's song topic since there are only 5 major characters in the moive, and uses them as the basis of their suite.
Haikara's tracks is probably the least interesting of them all, but still not bad. It is fairly dark and had some repetitive instrumental sections (in fact, most of the song is instrumental, except the first couple minutes and the last couple). Not a bad song, but not a very strong way to open the album, that's for sure.
The next track by Randone is probably the best one on the whole album, done in a somewhat more modern Italian prog style, yet still maintaining a 70's feel to the overall composition. Some great guitar work and vocals in this one.
Tilion's track is along the same lines as the previous track, great Italian symphonic prog with lots of variation and variety. Another great track.
Starting CD2, we have a project band created just for this album (and the next Spaghetti Epic released recently) consisting of Andy Tillison and Guy Manning (though they give themselves rather silly Italian names in the booklet). This one is great for anyone who likes The Tangent or Manning's more progressive work. A great song with Manning singing the more upbeat sections at the beginning and ending and Tillison doing the more gritty and dark middle parts. Great playing by both musicians and a great epic.
Taproban does another wonderful piece, this time more in the Le Orme/ ELP mold with lots and lots of keyboard solos and classic keyboards filling out the piece. The bass playing also deserves special mention for the power Rickenbacker sound that is on par with Squire's best work. Great track.
Finally, Trion finish things off with the longest track, an instrumental. The playing is good, but this is pretty derivative stuff. To be fair, most of the songs on these projects are derivative to varying degrees, due to the requirements made by Colossus on the bands . But this one really just seems to borrow too liberally for me from bands like Genesis, Yes, and ELP. Plus, at almost 25 minutes, it just doesn't hold attention like the other songs, probably because of its instrumental nature. However, having said all that, it's not bad and if you like retro prog with a bit of a neo vibe it's not a bad track. Kind of ends the album on a less than great note for me though.
Considering that the first and last songs are my least favorite, I should probably give this 3 stars at best. But the middle songs are good enough to make up for those two, and really those two are not that bad, just not particularly noteworthy or outstanding like all the other tracks. So I'll go with a solid 3.5, rounded up to 4. If you like the other Colossus projects, this one is a must. If you haven't heard any of them, I'd actually suggest you start with The Odyssey, though that one is a bit more to digest all at once