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CAUTION RADIATION AREA

Area

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.95 | 145 ratings

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Pnoom!
4 stars Rating: B

After their mind-blowing debut, Arbeit Macht Frei, one had to wonder how Area would follow up such a masterpiece (and my favorite jazz-rock CD). Thankfully, they did not disappoint, not in the slightest. At first, it seems as if they're going to stay within the same format as Arbeit Macht Frei, as "Cometa Rossa" opens the CD in a similarly anthemic fashion to "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" from Arbeit Macht Frei. Instead of continuing in that fashion, however, "Cometa Rossa" soon diverges into the mad vocal stylings of Demetrio Stratos before finally returning to the initial theme.

While Demetrio Stratos' vocal experimentations are far from accessible, they're only the tip of the iceberg, as the second track (of five), "ZYG (Crescita Zero)" clearly shows. Starting with bizarre noises and even stranger vocals, it soon develops into a furious jazz-rock jam, but it's still far more avant-garde than anything from Arbeit Macht Frei, especially one the dissonant keyboards enter. It's full of energy and passion, but it's also sure to turn off those not expecting such a dissonant song. The levels of dissonance this song reaches manages to startle me even after countless listens, and I can't foresee an end. Don't expect it to get any easier, either, as the rest of Caution Radiation Area is just as dense and impenetrable, highlighted by the ten minute exercise in insanity, "Mirage." Then, of course, you've also got the eight-minute "Brujo," which again mixes lightning fast jazz-rock jams with blaring dissonance. As for the closing "Lobotomia," it is largely noise, though arranged well. It's a fittingly difficult end to a tremendously difficult CD.

Because of its extreme dissonance, I really cannot recommend this to Area newcomers, who would be better off starting with the far more accessible (though still "out there") Arbeit Macht Frei, which also happens to be the better CD, if only by a slim margin. Even fans of Arbeit Macht Frei (or Crac!, which is fairly accessible but also the weakest of Area's first three) should approach Caution Radiation Area with extreme caution. The music is warped beyond belief, and, while ultimately quite satisfying for fans of free jazz, it will leave those who prefer songs that follow any sort of recognizable structure shaking their heads and walking away. Highly recommended to those who enjoy having their minds assaulted endlessly. You know who you are.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |

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