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Area - Arbeit Macht Frei CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.28 | 671 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I don?t really tend to listen to a lot of Italian prog, but Area seems to prove to be an exception. Maybe it?s the quirkiness, maybe it?s the bombast, or maybe it?s because it still sounds so incredibly fresh 30+ years after the album was put to print. Area combines the technicality and complexity of Gentle Giant and then proceeds to make it crazier, more jazz-infused, and more avant-garde than anything the Shulman brothers would have ever dared to do. Stratos might be one of my favorite vocalists, and he seems to have only three ranges: off, low, and high. I mean that only in a good sense though. I feel his vocals often set the tone for where the music is going to go and help keep together the madness that the instrumental work creates. He makes me wish I knew Italian sometimes so I could understand what?s coming out of his mouth.

The first song fits very well in Avant-garde territory. Really, all of them do. But the majority are more jazz-fusion with touches of avant throughout. The vocals are all in Italian. The music is also extremely complex and may give the listener an initial phase of it being random for the sake of being random. This is far from the case though. This is extremely tightly-structured music.

I do enjoy jazz rock but this was a type of fusion that was completely new and original to me. At first I didn?t know what to think but I?m glad that I was persistent. The music really clicks only after repeated listening. But if I had to pick only two things that really make this outstanding for me, I would choose Stratos? vocals and the interplay so important to jazz that rarely seems to be as good as it is here. The production quality is very good and has definitely stood the test of time. This album, like all other Area albums I?ve heard so far, sounds invigorating and crisp.

While many people often cite this as being Area?s masterpiece, I would disagree. I much prefer their next two releases, but this one is damn good in its own right. And as painful as it is to not award this album a 5-star rating, it must be done. This is a fantastic debut that blows most other bands? debuts out of the water. Highly recommended to fans of avant-garde, weirder jazz-fusion, or anyone who just appreciates highly technical and virtuosic music that remains very tasteful. 4 stars.

horsewithteeth11 | 4/5 |


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