This is yet another Italian band in the Classic Rock mould, and I have to say at the outset, these four tracks are an absolute revelation! Nagual were formed in Piacenza in 2006, currently with six members, all of whom have been around the Piacenza and Pavia rock scene for more years than they care to remember!. They write their own material but have been known to rip out some blistering covers of 70’s and 80’s bands like Zep, Sabbath, Deep Purple, early/mid Whitesnake (78/93 era), but also 90’s grunge material like Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Alice in Chains…. so they’re an eclectic bunch!
Nagual’s debut album at Tet Tvam Asi came out in 2017, followed by 2018’s Naked Roots live EP and then their most authoritative piece of work to date, 2020’s full album A Glass Full of Karma. Which brings us nicely up to date with the release of this four-track EP Too Far Gone, the title song being new and the other three being live versions of old favourites. The EP heralds material from a new album in the pipeline, the band has been working this on since the beginning of the pandemic. The new song is slightly different from Nagual’s previous work, due to intense collective input and the introduction in the line-up of the band of a new guitarist (Marco Cusenza) and a female singer (Sara Battisteri, which was a special guest in the previous album) – but it’s still very recognisably Nagual!.
There is also a quirky new video for the song (see below), which is the latest in an unusual storyline developed thorough their previous productions, telling the story of how two famous Italian “kidnappers” (Davide “Topino” Costantini and Enrico “Kurma” Curotti) happened to meet each other and got hold of the “famous” Mercedes-Benz 220D. The video was filmed in Castel San Giovanni and surroundings, thanks to the cooperation and participation of a large number of friends – all good fun!
The chronological order of the videos on YouTube is as follows:
Chapter 0: “Too Far Gone” February 2022 – https://youtu.be/Laf9D9BCU0A
Chapter 1: “Above the Clouds” December 2019 – https://youtu.be/ucAeOh7e-RA
Chapter 2: “Let It Go” February 2017 – https://youtu.be/Hd4LUYniagI
Chapter 3: “Sea of Darkness” October 2020 – https://youtu.be/Xn7bwybNX1k
And so to the music: first up is the self-titled newbie. The length of the song is unusually brief by Nagual’s standards (3:33) perhaps designed to be nicely radio-friendly, very polished and smooth, honeyed vocals reminding me of Peter Gabriel, lovely boing-y bassline, definitely a “break-through” track if ever I heard one! The other three tracks are all live versions of songs from A Glass Full Of Karma, and I tell you what, on the evidence of this I’m off to buy that album!
Above the Clouds is the first of the trio, it’s got a great Classic vibe of punchy drums, throbbing bass, choppy guitar riffs, swirling organ, full-on swooping vocals, star-shooting lead licks, in fact it’s got everything I like!
Upside Down is pure Purple, soaked in Hammond organ, a great simple but hypnotic riff, vocals in the best traditions of live rock. Singer Luca clearly has Ian Gillan and Robert Plant as his all-time heroes, there’s even a couple of snatches of Zep lyrics in here. I particularly love the slower bridge section around four minutes into the song, it’s lovely arrangement with clean, loping bass line, some shimmering guitars. Actually, I’d forgotten this is a live track, the production and mix of these three is pretty well perfect, they could be in the room with you. This is indeed live Classic Rock at its very finest!
Ozymandias is last, the live track remaining true to the studio version in its opening stanzas, with some haunting keys, gentle guitar, percussion and bass all gradually and wonderfully easing in. Luca’s vocals are hugely strong on this, he’s got the knack of being simultaneously impassioned yet controlled and tuneful. Superb! Another wonderfully live but crisp production, excellent percussion, excellent all-round band performance.
These guys are a revelation, I can’t believe how good they are, and I can’t wait to rush out and buy their previous full album. I just hope they ain’t too long in releasing the planned full-length album of new material or, even better, a tour across Europe that includes northern UK cities – UK audiences will love this band, so bring it on!