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I Giganti - Terra In Bocca CD (album) cover


I Giganti


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.25 | 111 ratings

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4 stars Early, important Italian prog classic

For the Italian prog buff Giganti's "Terra in Bocca" is an important early title as it was one of the very first of the Italian classic period canon. Released in 1971 it was the work of a band previously known as one of the successful Italian beat bands of the 1960s, forming in 1964 and based in Milan. The album itself is really a special one.a concept album about the Italian mafia in 1920s Sicily apparently based on some true incidents and the accounts of an old prisoner. Sensitivities in Italy about issues relating to the mafia caused the music to be banned by Italian radio of the time. Featuring two connected side long suites the album feels very ambitious like the Pholas Dactylus classic but is more naturally engaging. I am also reminded of the band Raminghi whose beat roots came through in their '70s work but Giganti succeed on a greater level, combining a wonderful Sicilian folk sound with progressive rock. I was occasionally reminded of Jethro Tull, Buon Vecchio Charlie, and even Brian Wilson's "Smile" with its creative, grandiose spirit. The band were joined by guests Ares Tavolazzi (Area), Marcello Dellacasa (Latte Miele), and Vince Tempera (Il Volo) making the album even more historically important. You get to hear these noted Italian prog musicians well before they achieved success in their respective bands.

The music of Terra is an absolute treat. As many mention, it is true that this album is not as outwardly "weird and wild" as some of the 73-74 period albums would become, and there are not long extended instrumentals. But it is no less rewarding. The music rests on a bed of emotional, spicy piano playing and soft mellotron. The acoustic guitars are crisp and vibrant, played with a bold passion while electric leads have a gritty yet reserved bite, a compressed distortion. While not a consistently hard rock album they certainly dig in their heels in a few places. Occasionally flutes add a nice touch to the edges. But the real magic of Terra rests in the songwriting, the arrangements, and especially in the vocals. These guys can sing and harmonize very well, it is pure joy to listen to their dramatic emotional delivery throughout. Sometimes they belt it out like the Italians are known for, other times it is soft and sensitive, still other times they can harmonize like Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Layered so beautifully and always moving from one charming moment to the next Terra is like watching a very good film. Movement from an acoustic folk section into a hot rock section and then into a bit of weirdness. Beyond the mere description of the sounds and instruments is the way this album "feels." It seems quite traditional on the surface with folksy storytelling and melodic appeal but soon you begin to notice that Giganti moves beyond folk and beat influence into the origins of the Italian progressive sound. There are unusual shifts, twists, and turns in this musical adventure as they inject an avant feel without ever abandoning the warmth and passion of this very accessible music. Bottom line.Terra feels like an afternoon out on the patio of a charming Sicilian country home, sharing bread, wine, and old family stories set to the most delightful music. The band has an obvious affinity for the story and the music which completely transcends the language issue to me. If you want to know more about the lyrical side of the album please read Andrea Parentin's superb review where he translates the story for English readers.

The Akarma gatefold mini is wonderful with excellent sound quality for 1971, a bonus track that's not bad, and a bonus poster. All fans of Italian prog should consider this a must to hear. Again, it will not satisfy those seeking extreme instrumental adventurism but it doesn't need to. There are other ways that progressive rock can thrill and enrapture you. This is yet another example that may crack my Italian top 20. Superb. 9/10

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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