‘Three Wise Monkeys’ (2012) is the third solo recording by Alberto Rigoni, Italian progressive rock composer & bass player. He is also well known for his other band efforts in TwinSpirits and Lady & THE BASS. He has gained recognition in the international progressive rock fusion scene for his genre-crossing compositions.
This album boasts contributions from a whole range of guest musicians: Göran Edman (ex Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Brazen Abbot), Jonas Erixon (Alicate), Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater, OSI, Chroma Key), Mark Cross (Outloud, ex Helloween, Firewind), Federico Solazzo (Alexia), Alessandro Bertoni (Aphelion), Mistheria (Bruce Dickinson, Rob Rock), Tommy Ermolli (TwinSpirits), Simone Mularoni (DGM, Empyrios), Paolo Valli (session drummer), Paco Barillà (Daniele Liverani), Sebastian Persini (Solo artist, session drummer). Refreshingly, it is half instrumental and half with vocals, so that it feels akin to Joe Satriani meeting Rush. This means that the ten tracks have a variety of interpretations based around the Japanese folk legend of the Three Wise Monkeys.
The Toshogu Shrine is in the Sacred Stable, in Nikko, Japan. Within it is a famous carving of the three wise monkeys: Mizaru (“see no evil”), Kikazaru (“hear no evil”), and Iwazaru (“speak no evil”). The opener sets the mood of a sacred place by the use of chiming bells that are allowed to resonate to their full effect. After a melodic section, there is a muscular prog rock work-out on the ‘Mizaru’ instrumental, which moves smoothly into ‘Three Wise Monkeys’ with Göran Edman on vocals. “Three wise monkey’s golden rule / Looking the other way / Pretending that you are a fool / Cause you don’t wanna play / Wilfully turning a blind eye / To all immorality “.
‘Kikazaru’ is a gentle instrumental that is full of hope and has an uplifting mood before the brooding storm of ‘Blackened Tornado’ with Jonas Erixon’s vocals. “We must fight the winds of darkness / it’s just the absence of light / destroy that blackened tornado”. Then ‘Iwazaru’ keeps up that slight feeling of unease with jazz styling as the arrangement flows and also clashes in parts.
‘Free Falling’ takes on board some of the environmental warnings and also has excellent guitar solos. “We are going through a natural circle of change / Free falling / There’s no one else to play this game of life / No time for tears / Free falling until the end / We’re living tragic events / Free falling until our end / No way to fight or defend”. This flows into one of my favourite instrumentals ‘Between Space And Time’ with its calming keyboards and gently plucked guitar.
There is a lightness of touch in ‘Coming Home’ whilst it tackles the overwrought emotion of journeying home in the hope of finding that you are still loved by the one you decided to leave in order to follow your own dreams. Finally, there is the more straight-forward balladic rock of ‘Believe’. “We can’t give up / Hope is the only thing / that can bring us forward / I believe in you / I believe what we can do / A chance to all of us / to live and love in this world”.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
‘Three Wise Monkeys’
‘Between Space And Time’
Alberto Rigoni: bass
Göran Edman (vocals on track 3)
Jonas Erixon (vocals on tracks 5, 7, 9 & 10)
Kevin Moore (keyboards on track 2)
Federico Solazzo (keyboards on tracks 5, 6 & 9)
Mistheria (keyboards on tracks 8 & 10)
Alessandro Bertoni (keyboards on track 3)
Tommy Ermolli (guitars on tracks 2, 3, 5, 9 & 10)
Simone Mularoni (guitars on tracks 7)
Mark Cross (drums on track 7)
Paolo Valli (drums on tracks 2 & 9)
Paco Barillà (drums on track 3 & 10)
Sebastian Persini (drums on tracks 5 & 6)
2008 – Alberto Rigoni – Something Different (Lion Music)
2011 – Alberto Rigoni – Rebirth – 23 maggio 2011 (Nightmare Records/Sony/RED)
2012 – Alberto Rigoni – Three Wise Monkeys (Any and All Records)
Record Label: Any and All Records, 2012
Video below for: ‘Kikazaru’