Like more than a few folks on here, I am of the opinion that Museo Rosenbach's Zarathustra is one of the top few best albums of Rock Progressivo Italiano, and I also believe that that album stands up well alongside many of the better known classics from England such as Close to the Edge, Meddle, Tarkus, and Larks Tongues in Aspic.
Thirty years after the release of this RPI classic, Museo Rosenbach has reformed and produced a new studio record. Singer Galifi, who performed on one of the best album of modern prog, the debut by Il Tempio Delle Clessidre, and some other original Museo members, including the drummer Golzi, are aboard this incarnation. The result is the album Barbarica, a piece that asserts itself right away and remains inspired for its duration.
Barbarica is more technical and modern than Zarathustra for sure, and far less obviously retro than the Flower King types (who I'm not really into), even though Museo is centered on older guys who were there the first time around. In fact, this album doesn't feel retro at all, but like people from another era doing what they do and in many ways embracing a more modern sound for their proggy compositions. This feels as modern as Deep Purple's Purpendicular did in the 90s---and evinces a similar amount of inspiration.
While I definitely prefer the warmer more spacious analog sound of Zarathustra, the clean, sharp and loud production of Barbarica definitely fits the more technical bits in songs like Il Re Del Circo, and the overdriven tone of the guitar occasionally sounds metallic, but never remains prominent in the mix that way for too long. The leads that leap from the speakers throughout the album recall some of Belew's finest moments in King Crimson, and the ambitious opener Il Respiro Del Planeta is a marvel of ever-evolving and continuously changing songwriting.
Other than the colder/louder sound, the only disappointment for me was that the album lacks the incredible drumming of Zarathustra, even though it is the same player (plus thirty years...). Golzi is very solid on this new one, and occasionally plays some tasty fills, but on Zarathustra it sounded like he was conquering a planet.
Although Barbarica doesn't have the pinnacle highs of Zarathustra, it also has none of the mistakes of that excellent debut, such as the unwanted fade out in the first epic song or the occasional wacky vocals that aren't quite "on." Thirty years later, Museo Rosenbach proffers RPI music that is more technical, more confident, a bit more logical, and more consistently well sung than they originally did: Their return is a grand success.