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


Biglietto Per L'Inferno


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.10 | 258 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Another happy marriage of beauty and untamed rock, Biglietto Per L'Inferno soars through uplifting keyboard-driven passages, symphonic richness in full blossom and straight-forward edgy riffing. As a result this is an album that just as often feels naked and desolate as it feels warm and safe.

Ansia's keyboard-laden beginnings, with lovely guitar chord work to back it up, makes for a mysteriously clouded, watery beginning, perhaps fooling you into believing this is another sweet, melodious and romantic RPI ride. The idyllic 'first scene' is soon interrupted by sturdier sounds, as a dramatic flute-piano-guitar combo roars in like a menacing, still-to-be-discovered force.

The clear, ringing (as well as unnaturally piercing) piano dashes that interrupt the otherwise driving rocker Confessione (featured as a shortened instrumental as well), and the sense of despair and sacrifice they conceive becomes even more entrancing seen in the light of the soul-searching and exposed vocals that accompanies the music. Climactic as it may be, it only serves as an emotional launch pad for what follows. In a stunning display of what RPI is all about, the next minutes are simply spectacular. Some baroque sensibilities la PFM, merciless churning guitar and rhythm section attacks, tasteful soloing from both a Tull-ian, madly dancing flute and guitar as well as the very best rollicking piano passages, adding depth and fragility to the sometimes appealingly cacophonous soundscape.

Energy goes down and presence goes up in the transition to Una Strana Regina. In general a very relaxing and soulful piece, softly escorting you through a flowing and transient keyboard-dominated sound, quite tastefully lined by curious electronic effects and a tense and personal performance by Claudio Canali. It's hard to pinpoint its atmosphere correctly, as it spans a lot of emotions along the way - introvert reflection, vague hope, glimpses of happiness as well as sorrow. Another one of those sparkling passages with rumbling Hammond organ, guitar and flute tears the atmosphere to shreds in a dynamic flip-flop, but quickly passes to make way for more of what preceded it. Given the now established formula of compositional disposition, the song concludes with a dense, kind of freak-folk-jazz segment. Nervous playing from especially the guitar, with intense but delicate drumming and excellent keyboard wizardry work to fill in the gaps. Weirdly unsettling.

The jump to Il Nevare is still a subtle one, given the circumstances, picking up with a lonely guitar, but soon back on track with punching all-instrument clashes. Reminding me of Il Rovescio della Medaglia's La Bibbia, the spasmodic changes between full frontal assault and charming (as well as well executed) smoother part with that delicate guitar and oh-so-tasteful array of keys sadly becomes somewhat grating after a while.

L'Amico Suicida is the album's "epic". This one has a fine dramatic build-up, with great texture provided by acoustic guitar to a background of weird (or rather standard, when talking about RPI) synth sounds, melodies and fitting cymbal clashes. Believe it or not, but this part is actually brought to its natural conclusion before all hell breaks loose in a bit of concentrated brutality, where the guitar lays it on thick with slamming chords, the keys with dark, propulsive runs, the drums with booming bass - and a flute sounding like it desperately wants to escape the stranglehold of all this. Flick-of-the-switch dive back to a suffering vocal bit with accompanying instrumentation (strings and piano truly pierces the soul here), which grows into a local climax. Rollicking piano with Baroque overtones once again. Definitely got some drive in it, with a puritan, God-fearing frustration to enhance that. Efficient, borderline comic electronic strangeness accentuates and contrasts before another impulsive twist in the song. And it'll continue down that way, blending numerous styles, moods and presentations. There is a flute solo, some Gentle Giant and Battiato-esque unpredictability and definitely more than one climax and a handful of experimental free-wheeling ideas until the curtain fall, for the song as well as the album.

Seldom is an album this short so desperate to display the colourful secrets that wait inside. Passion, energy and ideas are overflowing, but not necessarily in a bad way. You still get the feeling that this is two, or even three, albums more than one, and that is one of my points of criticism. There are underdeveloped ideas, whimsical collages of sound that just as much fuels the music as they hamper it. Individually they may be great, but when a song like L'Amico Suicida deteriorates into fragmented creativity at the end, I sometimes just get tired. There is no doubt that the hard-hitting Italian hard rock sounds of '74 may sound dated when I'm in that mood. And sometimes that Moog is just laid on painfully thick.


There is absolutely no question that some of the best RPI you can find is found right here on this album, with mind-blowing, tight performances both on the rough side as well as on the beautiful side. What's more important is that it's an album full of fun. It just is. Alive, breathing and brimming with honesty and raw passion.

This fun factor easily earns this energy bundle 4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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