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Emilio Locurcio - L'Eliogabalo CD (album) cover


Emilio Locurcio


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.40 | 20 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The cover art speaks volumes

Here's a bizarre and obscure little nugget for those who have explored the deep bench of the Italian Prog first tier already. Locurcio is an artist I know nothing about personally other than he operated from Sicily and made this wild "rock opera" with a bunch of people, most notably members of the excellent band Pierrot Lunaire. "L'Eliogabalo" sound almost clinically nuts at times, throwing many types of music into the pot. Veering from what we call Italian Symphonic they charge into different territories almost constantly, from acid rock to folk music, jazz fusion, show music, avant-garde, even a touch of psych/space here and there. The Italian side reminds me most notably of the stranger acts like Pierrot of course, and Opus Avantra, perhaps Pholas Dactylus at times. The strong sense of humor present remind me often of Supersister and Gong especially in the jazzier sections. But perhaps to give the best reference I have to mention Ange. While not having the pretty symphonic side of Ange down, this album does mirror the wild and crazy theatrical side of Ange's most challenging moments. If you can't handle Christian DeCamps in-your-face vocal style, you will NOT want to purchase this. If you love the thought of Ange merged with Pierrot Lunaire's Gudrun, read on.

The album has a sound all its own and comes with a very low SAF (spouse acceptance factor.) After an opening of whispers and piano, the nearly constant vocals kick in and you are essentially witnessing a musical. The vocals on this album are male, female, and group, they are up-front and nearly constant throughout the album, and they are in-your-face. Often delivered with the wordy fervor of an auctioneer on speed this is one Italian album where the experience is somewhat lessened by not understanding the language. Generally I don't agree with that sentiment but there are some albums where the lyrical content is important enough to eclipse or partially eclipse the musical content. This may be one. The music itself is not bad either, adventurous but not technically brilliant. There are some decent acid rock sections featuring sweet solos. There are folk sections where the beautiful acoustic guitars and milder vocals lend softer moments for an occasional chance to relax. Ditto with some brief combinations of violin and piano that were quite lovely. There are spoken word verses over organ with bass and flute jumping in for a nice melody. And then there are the jazzier excursions with driving bass, pretty snappy drumming, and lots of horns going nuts to the maniacal rants. But the vocal side in my opinion clearly overshadows the musical element which takes this down a few pegs from masterpiece.

Did I like it? Absolutely! But then I have a soft spot for bizarre Italian weirdness. My rating is lower than Mandi and Aprusso because I have to balance my personal desire for a higher rating with some acknowledgment that this is almost certainly a "for fans" kind of release. It's an album I think people *should* hear but not necessarily one that too many people will consent to hearing all the way through! This is for the adventurous and for those who appreciate the Gong "Flying Teapot" kind of a prog journey. The BMG mini-LP is a sweet gatefold showing off the fantastic stoner artwork that was so much more interesting than the "professionally designed" packaging we often get today (at least to me.) It is a rare and entertaining obscurity that will please fans of counter-culture celebration. I would love to hijack the sound system at a trendy nightspot and crank this album just to see the reaction. 6/10

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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