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Area - Arbeit Macht Frei CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.26 | 586 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Rating: A-

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and Premiata Forneria Marconi may be the biggest names around in Italian Progressive Rock, but the best has to be the jazz-rock band Area. With politically charged anti-fascist lyrics and music that hits just as hard, they are among the most powerful bands I've ever heard. One need only look to the opener, "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)," to see just how powerful this band truly is. With it's catchy jazz riff interspersed with an invigorating vocal line that finally builds up to a free jazz freakout, before finally returning to the riff, "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" is absolutely on fire, blazing its way through four and a half minutes in what seems to be half the time, if that.

Of course, it's impossible not to compare them to The Mahavishnu Orchestra, who, after all, define what jazz-rock/fusion is all about. Truth be told, the two are very similar, though Area is more reliant on synthesizer than The Mahavishnu Orchestra, who were of course dominated by McLaughlin's guitar. Also, Area make use of some excellent saxophone, which doesn't appear in any Mahavisnu Orchestra songs I know. While I prefer Area's music (I think it is played with a lot more fire, passion, and above all, emotion than that of Mahavishnu Orchestra), they are both excellent and its hard to rank one above the other. That is, it's hard, but only until you consider the vocals of Area (vocals are entirely absent in Mahavishnu Orchestra's music). Suffice it to say, Area's vocals are beyond phenomenal. Demetrio Stratos has an absolutely stunning range and uses it to push the envelope (one could see him as a precursor to Mike Patton), but his greatest strength is the pure power imbued in his majestic voice. Imagine Francisco del Giacomo (of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso) with a greater range and even more powerful a voice.

If all of that hasn't convinced you to buy this amazing CD, I don't know what will. With excellent musicianship but also a strong grasp of emotion, this is by far my favorite jazz-rock CD. Ignore it at your own risk. You're missing out on a masterpiece.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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