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Mad Fellaz - Mad Fellaz CD (album) cover


Mad Fellaz


Eclectic Prog

4.16 | 63 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Hailing from Bassano del Grappa and forming in 2010, the Mad Fellaz are a young five piece who perform improvised, yet carefully focused instrumental progressive rock that refuses to be restrained to one style. Combining everything from guitar fusion workouts, metal, ambient, electronica, avant-garde experimentation, jazz, ethnic flavours and plenty of Italian classical sophistication, their atmospheric self titled album constantly showcases a band that greatly enjoys experimenting with different genres, yet they never over-reach or attempt anything they're not comfortable with. Even more impressive is that they succeed in performing these different styles effortlessly in a truly proficient manner, making for an album that is daring, unpredictable and endlessly thrilling.

The almost 17 minute opener `Il Colpevole - parte 1' shows how professionally the Mad Fellaz bring a sense of control and build to their music. Delicate David Gilmour-influenced bluesy electric guitar licks, brushed drumming, blissful flute and the most placid of Hammond organ washes over the listener. They move through chiming eerie King Crimson-like unease, as snapping drums, slinking bass and boisterous noisy spiraling guitars weave around punchy Hammond bursts. Ambient electronic oceans envelope and hypnotic percussion rises behind a deeply soulful electric guitar solo through to the finale.

It's tracks like `Il Colpevole - parte 2' that really align the Mad Fellaz with numerous Italian progressive artists. They cite RPI legends such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorsso and Area as influences, and this band share the same unpredictable energy and spontaneity as those acts. Highly evocative and moving classical piano confronts the listener, dazzling yet also subtly brooding. The softest synths gently enter for a briefly playful P.F.M quality, before maddening flute and break-neck drumming fuels an unexpected schizophrenic violent attack! Meandering bassy jazz ruminations, groovy slow-burning funk strutting take endless twisting turns, and the infectious second half of the piece instantly reminds of fellow modern Italian band Progenesi's superb debut album `Ulisse: L'Altiere Nero'.

The three minute `Banda Scavejoni' is an uptempo race of skittering drumming, sneaky guitars, funky clarinet and sizzling Hammond full of positivity, and it almost resembles a very cool James Bond theme in parts! Despite being another shorter piece at six minutes, `White Widow' manages to incorporate everything from jazzy strolling bass, cascading flute that recalls all the best vintage Italian bands, devilish guitar and even some wavering electronic weirdness. Just listen to how expertly the band increases the tempo and tension in the finale! Album closer `La Guingla' is a final reminder of a group of different musicians working in perfect unity with each-other. The electric guitars are a particular standout here, moving through everything from middle-eastern themes, punchy hard-rock chugging, blissful chiming melodies and shifting Post-Rock atmospheres. Tricky jazzy piano, breezes of flute, propulsive drumbeats constantly drive the piece onward, and it displays greater restraint and a more delicate touch than in frequent other spots throughout the album. It also offers numerous exciting possibilities for directions the band may wish to pursue in the future on further releases.

Certainly one of the most sublime, varied and exquisite instrumental albums of recent years, the band displays great taste, sophistication and technical ability. Had it been released earlier than late October of 2013, meaning audiences would have been able to enjoy the album over several months, I feel it would have likely made many `Best of' 2013' progressive music polls. But it's not too late, so let's everyone make an effort to catch up with this wondrous work in 2014, and experience just the start of a hugely exciting and talented band with a very promising future, already playing with a grand skill well beyond their young years.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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