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Rocky's Filj - Storie Di Uomini E Non CD (album) cover


Rocky's Filj


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.17 | 69 ratings

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4 stars Attention fans of Area & Kayo Dot:

Side 1 of this album is simply amazing. The opening track's 13 minutes feel as jumpy as a field mouse on crack. More on the connections to the above band later.

Rocky's Filj (or Roky's Fily according to some) formed in the early '70s and were from the Lombardia and Emilia areas. They played at the legendary Villa Pamphili pop festival and toured with Banco around that time. They got their chance to record and work with Banco's producer Sandro Colombini on their album for the Ricordi label. As shocking as it may be to read...brace yourself...this Italian band broke up soon after their album was released. Apparently one of the band members was incarcerated though I couldn't find out for what. The band would reunite briefly for a single release but never recorded a second album. Leader Rossi was killed in an auto accident in the 80s. "Storie Di Uomini E Non" was released in the monster year of 1973 and was clearly overshadowed by the many classics which emerged at that time. That is a shame because this album should be of much interest to any prog fan who would appreciate a truly eclectic take on fusion and RPI. Gnosis' Mike McLatchey describes the music as "elaborate and lengthy with plenty of fusion influences. Instrumentally, the primary leads are sax and guitar, and there are a lot of moments where the themes are doubled by both in a manner similar to that of Osanna's early period. The music even has room to jam, where the bassist will set up a riff and give the chance for some solos over the top, including both sax and flute."

This album is what I would describe as extremely red-blooded and dynamic, for the wild and thrill-seeking Italian fan. In its most frenzied moments it approaches an Area level of craziness but it also has a flip side that I won't call mellow, but slower, murkier, and strange. The album is paced well too with the three wilder tracks being 1/3/5 while the two breather tracks split them in the 2/4 position, giving the listener a true roller-coaster experience. Let's look at some of the positive attributes here: 1) These guys had chops! All of the musicians are very good and adventurous as well. 2) The sound is uncommonly good. You would expect a rarity from '73 to be pretty mediocre in sound but that is not the case here. Crisp highs and strong, upfront bass will give you the ability to crank this up loud without wincing. There are a few sound problems on side 2 but they are fleeting: I was literally rattling the pictures on the wall tonight with very good results. 3) Primarily instrumental and pretty wild tracks. I enjoy the bold and dramatic vocals of Rossi but for those who don't this album is far more instrumental than vocal. The music of Rocky's Filj is a unique blend of heated fusion jamming with rather strange divergent avenues. The album plays out as do some of the more adventurous Italians albums in that you're never sure what to expect, think about bands like Pholas Dactylus, Osanna, wed with jazzier fare like Area and Duello Madre. Bits and pieces of these groups will give you an idea what you're in for here: heavy-hitting (mostly) jamming with persistent fiery guitar and lots of horns, the album is most likely to please fusion fans who like a little something different on the presentation.

I really have to describe side one for you. "L'Ultima Spiasggia" is 13 minutes of pure madness that starts from the gate at light speed. Driving, booming bass and frenetic guitar lines spar incessantly with aggressive horns very similar to the Officina Meccanica sound I wrote about last week, but frankly Rockys sound is tighter and crisper. There is a break for some eerie flute before the powerful and intense vocals begin. Some don't like the vocals here-I think they are fantastic. Then another strange section with strings leads back to the manic-paced finish. The second track "Il Soldato" finishes the side and this track could have inspired Kayo or Maudlin. This cool sounding double bass just floats along building tension over these strange, serene guitar chords and lost sounding horns. The two tracks combined may not be the finest or most representative side of Italian prog but they sure do floor me. Side 2 is good but not quite as magical. I want to close by quoting a great sentiment about this album (and listening in general) by reviewer Rushomancy at RYM: "It's generally true that most obscure music is obscure for a reason. Once you delve deep into a genre, you find yourself listening to a lot of stuff that comes off as second-rate imitations of the better-known bands. So why does anybody bother?...Sometimes you find something that's way better than it has any right to be. Sometimes you find out you value different things in music than most people, and you like something most people would hate. Whatever the reason, Rocky's Filj, while not sounding overwhelmingly typical for an Italian prog record nevertheless contains everything I love about the genre."

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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