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

BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO

Biglietto Per L'Inferno

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.14 | 303 ratings

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zeuhl1
5 stars One of my favorite bands in Italian 1970's prog rock is the Biglietto Per L'Inferno debut. It is a very Italian nuanced RPI release that any fans of the genre should look to immediately. Not many of their albums escaped Italy at the time, and America saw highly scattered single copies back in the day-essentially none, leaving them unknown until far later.

Opener Ansia is a frantic high speed ride with prominent moog. Dual keyboards include Baffo Banfi in his first band gig overseeing complex and frenetic bits of songs that they weave together in a dizzying fashion. Second song Confessionne could be Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. Hard rocking bits alternate with quieter sections-this shows some of their late 60's origins. Which brings me to the recording production on this. If someone told me this was recorded in 1971 not 1974 I would believe them, as it is closer in spirit to the hard prog bands of 1971 and early 1972, when Italian prog bands would often show streaks of their 1960's beat roots. Flute comes in as the song slides towards 1971 again--full charging Jethro Tull guitar kicks things into gear. Soon it calms a bit for Una Strana Regina to end side one. Moog from Banfi cuts through the busy midtempo arrangement until a torrent of Italian tongue twisting lyrics pour forth-singer Claudio Canali is another force in Italian vocals. We then shift to a uniquely high pitched Italian dance piece reminiscent of prog Zappa meets West African Les Tetes Brulees stylings for a minute or two. Fantastic variation.

Side two begins with another gem, the early PFMish Il Nevare. Keyboards create most of the textures, but guitarist Marco Mainetti drops in some soloing that Blackmore fans would love. Finale L'Amico Suicida is the centerpiece at over 14 minutes. Keyboards, bass, drums swirl with VDGG precision, then a carnival like workout while the atonal sounds swirl over the top. Pause...now gentle flute sounds (sounds like moog, Banfi is very good at sound design) over a frantic Canali yelping in 60's fashion. Huge prog finish: flutes, moogs, acoustic guitar, piano, Tull stop and start riffs, PFM accompaniment. All on top of each other. Atonal synths and hiccuping percussion lead to some jittery jamming that is atypical of most symphonic bands. Wildly creative stuff, Biglietto per L'inferno could go up against nearly anyone in prog. Essential to any RPI collection.

This band is overflowing with ideas. Their second album, while worthy of a listen, doesn't have the quirky individuality of their debut. They had a rare stable of top flight and imaginative talent: a powerful vocalist, confident flute, over the top electric guitar, versatile drummer, and two gifted keyboardists that think experimentation is the reason to show up. Where their contemporaries would think of some melodic complex interludes, Biglietto will invariably choose jarring mood shifts, atonal synth patterns, wooshes of noise instead. Though do not mistake, each of their choices is carefully thought through and placed sometimes so subtly that it has come and gone before you can say 'what the hell was that?'

Canali was known for spontaneously leaping into the air during some of the more frenzied sections in their arrangements, aptly depicted on the album cover.

Their vinyl release is often close to advanced demo level sound quality with instruments sometimes blurring into each other often. If this was better recorded, it would be an album on many lists of the top 3 albums of RPI. Even so, this should be in every Italian prog fan's top ten first albums to acquire. One of the highest recommendations.

5 stars. One of the best in the scene.

zeuhl1 | 5/5 |

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