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Semiramis - Dedicato A Frazz CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.06 | 318 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars SEMIRAMIS took their name from the legendary Queen of Babylon and wife of King Ninus who together are credited for training the first hunting dogs and taming horses as well as ruling regions in Asia Minor and Mesopotamia. This band formed way back in 1970 by keyboardist Maurizio Zarrillo with two cousins: bassist Marcello Raddavide and drummer Memmo Pulvano. All three were exactly the ripe old age of 15 at the time. Fast forward three years and we still have Maurizio Zarrillo on keyboards and Marcello Raddavide on bass, but out was Pulvano replaced by Paolo Faenza on drumming duties and new to the team was Michele Zarrillo (brother of Maurizio) on guitars and Giampiero Artegiani on acoustic guitars and synth. The band got their big break and caught the attention of the short-lived label Trident Records and released their one and only album DEDICATO A FRAZZ. The album was a complete bust at the time but in the 40 plus years since, it has become a progressive rock classic and for very good reason.

This little beauty has become one of MY all time favorite albums! Words can hardly describe the musical genius that is stitched into every little nook and cranny of these beautiful compositions. What we basically have with this album is the purest punk rock energy of youth married with some of the most sophisticated and mature erudite compositions that would seemingly come from a band after many years of seasoning. The mix of these two overall attributes is what makes this album utterly unique in all of music history to my knowledge. The addition of the vibraphone and tympani also sets this apart from their more accomplished contemporaries on the RPI scene.

DEDICATO A FRAZZ on the surface is well within the camp of Italian prog which takes the romantic mellotron pastoral motifs from early Genesis complete with passionate vocals, swirling eddies of pumped-up melodies and classically induced compositional approach and then takes it all and adds healthy doses of caffeine, cocaine and sugar in the form of fiery bombastic keyboard runs, hyperactive bass lines, lightning fast guitar runs and powerful drum sweeps that can assault the senses and then suddenly like someone turned off the switch completely change into the most serene, pleasant and subdued music that would even please your elderly grandparents!

I simply find this to be one of the most pleasing albums to experience time and time again. It has the most seductive melodic developments with the most extreme progressive time signatures, energetic outbursts and seamlessly fuses classical music with bombastic hard rock which never sounds forced. To my ears it sounds like they recorded different versions of the album in different genres and then simply edited them together in some interesting way! However they did it, it is one of the most brilliant pieces of progressive rock to be found and it amazes me that this album hasn't caught on to the levels of PFM, Banco or Le Orme, for it has elements of all of the above and then some.

It remains unclear to me just exactly who the clown FRAZZ was to inspire this behemoth of a progressive rock masterpiece, but he must've been one crafty chap to deserve something so perfectly executed in his honor. What a shame this band did not go on to produce at least a second album but Michele Zarrillo did find success as a melodic pop artist in the 80s. Of all the teeny bopper groups i can think of who have come and gone over the decades (Arctic Monkeys, Runaways, Strypes, New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys etc) absolutely none even come close to the creativity and compositional prowess of the boys of SEMIRAMIS. Listen to this now! You will not regret it ;)






siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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