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Biglietto Per L'Inferno - Biglietto Per L'Inferno CD (album) cover


Biglietto Per L'Inferno


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.14 | 288 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Like a scream in a silent monastery"

Having tackled some of the trends of RPI, from the more orchestral and theatrical to the more mellow and melodic, I though it was time to have a go at the harder side of this incredible school of music. My choice fell upon Biglietto per l'Inferno and their self-titled debut album, a sublime combination of melancholic and angry music And even though my Italian remains pretty underdeveloped, it is still easy to identify all the fear, angst and revolt present in the lyrics and so successfully conveyed into the music.

A delicate organ opening complemented by acoustic guitar and a bucolic flute introduce Ansia, the album opener - but this apparent calm is only temporary: the track soon speeds up and we are greeted by one of the rawest guitar sounds I have ever heard. After another calmer section, a wild guitar and keyboards one follows, with some very martial drumming, introducing the rough, yet gentle vocals before the track fades away. Confessione follows (my CD has both tracks cut, but it clearly appears they were originally connected), opened by an organ and cymbals intro, followed by the soothing vocals - but then we get straight into rock. The vocals turn wild, as do all the instruments in a great wall of sound. This formula reprises one more time, but at the end of the second coming of the chorus, we are gifted with some great piano and organ playing, and amazing vocal choirs, that finally go a cappella. But the song does not end there: after a small build up, we are lead into a great hard folk-rock section, featuring some great flute and electric guitar, played in a way that would have Ian Anderson and Martin Barre give up their instruments out of shame. The piano and guitar continue to solo out without restrain, and towards the end we also get a great synth solo. Very climatic ending! The next song, Una Strana Regina commences with an eerie organ opening to which the piano and drums soon add some consistency. The double keyboards employed by the band really work wonders here, one providing an eerie spacey background while the other produces a pleasant rhythm. The mood seems more romantic, courtesy of the church organ a la Procol Harum. Vocals are also more delicate than on the previous track. The music then gets slightly heavier, but still slow - then, out of nowhere, it goes completely wild, with a great flute and organ interplay. The guitar enters the scene, accompanying the now harsher vocals. The quieter initial section then returns, this time a bit more emotional. It ends with an amazing instrumental section, where you can really feel the warmth and richness of the sound. A fast-paced jazzy section appears again out of nowhere, only to fade away very quickly into the next track, Il Nevare. This track has no issues with beginning right away with the heavy stuff, again featuring excellent keyboard soloing and the haunting church organ in the background. The guitar doesn't just sit quietly in the corner, providing some harsh riffs and solos, but the highlight in this track really is the keyboards and the vocals, which shift from the gentle and melancholic to the angry and desperate. The ending is once more very climatic and rewarding, with great guitar and organ backing the desperate screaming vocals. We then proceed to the epic closer, L'Amico Suicida (my CD edition - 2005's BTF/Trident Records CD1005 - features a final, shorter, and instrumental reprise of Confessione, but I believe this wasn't part of the original album, rather a single-version added as a bonus). Once again opened by the eerie keyboard atmosphere, accompanied by acoustic guitar, it is enriched by the funereal drumming and heavy keyboard (sounding almost like Iommi's guitar effects on Black Sabbath songs). An organ solo makes the transition from this slow section into its exact opposite - a wild fast-paced section, with great drumming and spectacular flute and electric guitar bursts, that sadly ends as soon as it appeared. A quieter section follows, with some very sad synth and piano backing the melancholic vocals (very beautiful section). The piano speeds up, and the bass, drums and guitar enter the scene, while the vocals now sound angrier. An instrumental section follows, with excellent interplay between all instruments. Symphonic keyboards compete with heavy guitar for top spot in a great baroque atmosphere. We even have space for a flute solo, in a section also featuring some pretty experimental electronic takes. And it just goes on and on, but not a dull moment in it, as the band explore an incredible variety of themes spanning half a millennium of music. The final third of the song sees the return of the church organ and the vocals, in a quieter and melancholic mood that soon turns into what almost seems a baroque fugue with some great power chords and a swift but pleasant finale.

Biglietto per l'Inferno was one of the results of my one-time trip to Italy, and, just like all the others, it is a great one. The vocals are very good, with incredible range and mood variations. There is so much richness in the sound, such power but at the same time such care with having all the right instruments in the right place at the right time, that I don't really see how they could repeat this live (but apparently, they did!). I have no issues with the sound quality, it is great to my ears (my only complaint is the apparent separation of tracks that originally belonged together). Musical influences go from the hard rock of Sabbath, Tull's folk-rock, Palestrina's hymns, Bach's fugues and an array of other musicians from the last 5 or more centuries. One would begin to think that every progressive rock album made in Italy between 1970 and 1977 is a masterpiece. I'm sure with time I will come to realize it isn't so, but until now I haven't found anything to really contradict that line of thought. Biglietto per l'Inferno is just another proof of that.

Kotro | 5/5 |


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