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Fiaba - I Racconti Del Giullare Cantore CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.55 | 10 ratings

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4 stars Delightful prog-metal, rock-opera fairytale

Now here's one of the strangest titles I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Fiaba (means "fairytale") is an unconventional band in about every way imaginable. While listed as "prog-folk" on this site this is primarily a prog-metal album with perhaps a bit of folk influence. Take one phenomenal drummer. Add an excellent vocalist. In Fiaba these are your "lead" instruments, drums and voice. Thankfully both are just wildly good. Just below them in the mix you have a melodic heavy metal guitar and bass assault peppering you with riffs. You have a dvd-video included with an 8 minute mini-story of a Gnome and a princess alternated with shots of the band in a medieval courtyard. You have heavy rocking music bursting with campy pride and plenty of humor and talent. If this all sound incredibly bizarre and preposterous, well, yeah..frankly it's a sh*tload of fun.

Fiaba is the brainchild of Bruno Rubino who writes the material and is the group's superb drummer. Their website describes the groups unique sound as "cutting and expressive, using Celtic-medieval sounds, getting close to folk-Mediterranean melodies. It supports well the intense and meaningful lyrics. Through metaphors and allegories, the fairytale becomes the background to display reflections about never out of fashion topics, while the music itself creates a fairytale-like feeling." Bruno plays as a lead musician with percussion parts that are inventive and his playing is out front in this band. The vocals are totally amazing, Giuseppe Brancato is every bit as powerful and charismatic a presence as Tarja is in Nightwish or Christian is in Ange. In fact he sounds a bit like Decamps at times, powerful and assured, with incredible flair and dramatic delivery. Behind the powerful vocals and drums you have a dual guitar presence of Carlo Bonfiglio and Massimo Catena, and the steady bass of Giuseppe Capodieci. The guitars are a bit thin in the mix sometimes but they serve the larger picture-this is not tech metal with shred guitar, it is a rather traditional metal sound where the guitars provide presence, taking the role of keyboards sometimes. They certainly can and do rock out sometimes but don't expect instrumental solos here. This is a storytelling "rock opera" with wall to wall singing. For those who don't understand Italian this might be a deal-breaker. If you love Italian vocals you're in for a treat. While I do I confess in this case I wish I could understand the story because it sounds like such fun! How about English translation in the CD booklet next time guys!

From the moment "Angelica il folletto del salice" begins you know this will be fun. The guitars harmonize a nice crunchy sound, bopping along as the drums begin their almost Bruford-ish level of expression. Soon Brancato begins his operatic pronouncements about this beautiful lady and her little Elf friend which you can watch on the accompanying DVD video, which is really quite a hoot. Remember the old band Slade and their hit "Run, Run Away?" Well Fiaba doesn't sound like Slade, but the *spirit* of the music might be similar.good fun and rock at all costs, and damn the cynics. The song ends with the devilish laugh of the little Elf guy. "Nipote di Strega" begins with tight PoS style rhythm guitar riffing and equally tight drums, soon acoustic guitars join during the breather moments adding a nice touch. The song breaks wide open into the first all-out rock section with nice electric leads. Great stuff and perhaps a bit Iron Maiden-ish guitar sounds at times. I really love how towards the end the guitar chug gets stuck in this constant pattern, while something in the timing is changing just enough so that you get this bizarre shifting effect that throws your brain off a little-nearly impossible to describe in words but some of you will know what I mean. In any case it's really a nice touch. The track ends with some brief vocal narration. "La fuga dell elfo" starts with highly melodic electric guitar harmonies shadowed with acoustic guitar before the melancholic vocals begin. The drumming here reminds me of Oceansize's latest, very busy and jerky timings with much elaborate cymbal playing. Lovely acoustic guitar interludes make you forget that this band really should have some piano or violin for icing on the cake! "La caccia" has a regal-like marching feel with lots of cool changing guitar parts coming and going. You really to pay attention to notice how there are some nice subtle things happening behind the bombast. Nice guitar solo at the end. "Arriva lo spazzacamino" begins with cawing crows and a rather sinister guitar riff accented by some kind of percussive. Brancato appears to be in-character on the vocal. Again, there are tons of subtle complexities in the guitar/drum parts but without ever putting pretension above the music. "Le pere dell orco" is a massive heavy riff end to end but not one of the more interesting tracks. "Grogni nel racchetto" starts with a nice acoustic laid over the nimble drumming with bass and lead guitar providing rich counterpoint. Brancato really holds some long notes in this one, but honestly, he must get tired of that weird hat. "Il crocchiaossa" shows off some erratic, lurching rhythms and unusual progressions with a very satisfying feel. "La gemma nel pozzo" is metal bombast at its finest with a big production but with vocals that echo the singer in Deus Ex Machina. Some great bass runs here though I wish I could hear the bass better in the mix. Guitar chugs alternate with fret burning fireworks. "Il luccio della Fontana" begins with narration and then soft acoustic guitar,

This is an original and enjoyable take on metal and I enjoyed it very much. A couple people have given this one star which is hard to understand; the talent of these musicians alone is obvious even if you dislike the style. Those who give Fiaba a bit of time to enchant will be RICHLY rewarded. This is music that is pleasantly different, very well composed, and immaculately performed. I suggest you get this album first. While Fiaba may be offputting to some people I find it so refreshing. If you find some metal you've purchased lately to be a bit stagnant or predictable, try this. It *is* different. Recommended to anyone who can handle theatrical Italian vocals. The booklet comes with complete lyrics in Italian. A bit under 4 stars but rounding up for the uniqueness factor.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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