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Campo Di Marte - Campo Di Marte CD (album) cover

CAMPO DI MARTE

Campo Di Marte

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.88 | 191 ratings

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zeuhl1
4 stars A rather forgotten mini masterpiece from yet another one and done RPI band. If you like PFM, or perhaps a heavier version of Quella Vecchia Locanda, come right in.

Due to the record company meddling as noted by other reviewers, the album should really start with V Tempo, the first song on side two, a rustic UK prog influenced acoustic number that flows nicely into the first rock eruption of electric guitar in VI Tempo. The theme of the album is the general futility of war,(campo di Marte referring directly to that) and makes good use of alternating rock and pastoral sections to illustrate each theme. Classical guitar and flutes (with occasional French Horn) lay down a peaceful atmosphere, but soon a martial rhythm and electric guitar march us out again. Side two ends with VII Tempo, the intended end of side 1, where the PFM/Focus hybrid alternates successfully between moods. (guitarist Enrico Rosa sounds like a hybrid of early Robert Fripp and Jan Akkerman). Side one (intended to be side 2) is the more rockier side, starting with a Tull styled guitar riff before heading into an increasingly quicker tempo which alternates quiet narration with heavy organ and guitar crashes out of any 1969 era heavy band-remnants of I Califfi and before-when the heavier end of the spectrum (see Deep Purple) were a stronger influence on Italian rock. Some early Yes arrangements collide with atonal Jethro Tull guitar moments like some primitive version of Gates of Delirium, but then the pastoral flutes bring us to another acoustic guitar transition. The finale of IV Tempo is the most cohesive piece here as the heavy bits hang in there longer and riff for a while rather than quickly melting away.

Definitely will please PFM and Quella Vecchia Locanda fans. Some Museo Rosenbach in there too with their unabashed ability to flick on the rock n roll switch without warning. (Campo seems to use it more to signal a transition from one section to another) Leans to the heavier side of RPI but plenty of acoustic guitar and flute interludes to keep everyone happy. French horn is interspersed throughout-a double edged sword than can swing a band quickly into late sixties AM radio easy listening territory before you've noticed. (Maxophone and Alusa Fallax were two others who threw this distinctive but rarely heard instrument into the pot). My only complaint is that when they come up with a killer heavy guitar riff, more often than not it disappears before you are starting to get your ears around it, and it never returns. (Though that's a problem many other RPI bands wish they had.) This is an album that takes you on a cinematic journey that you don't need to speak Italian to understand: juxtaposition of martial and pastoral cultures in one seamless musical piece.

Reference points: Focus (more for guitar and arrangements than prominent flute), some early Genesis, some various 1970 UK proto heavy prog, some Tull. PFM influenced dozens of bands back then, and some of their stamp is evident here. In the long run, a clever synthesis of styles and influences, not terribly original but definitely essential for a developing RPI collection.

4.5 stars

zeuhl1 | 4/5 |

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