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Mercutio: Back To Nowhere

Italian quartet’s impressive prog-rock debut.

Southern Europe has long produced its fair share of dramatically charged, progressively inclined hard rock, even if it doesn’t make it as far as these shores. Thankfully this Italian four-piece are now London-based, so more Brits might notice this debut album, on which they offer a distinctly 21st-century take on an old musical template.

Shed Your Skin and Back To Nowhere skilfully marry the portentous melodramatics and sci-fi electronic sheen of Muse with brooding grunge muscle.

Anytime’s wrong-footing guitar riff, Wagnerian sonic swell and big chorus betray the influence of prog and symphonic metal, as do Mirko Petrini’s booming basso profondo vocal and the lyrical themes of alienation and dark obsession.

No Compromise shows they can turn their hands to power ballads too, but their strongest suit remains punchy, staccato hard rock with an unpredictable edge, and this album is a fine showcase for it.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock