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Area - Arbeit Macht Frei CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.26 | 619 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Arbeit Macht Frei is about as interesting of a listen as I expected. Wildly eccentric avant jazz is the best way that I can describe this music. I've been a fan of Deus Ex Machina for some time, and I've read elsewhere that this band was an obvious influence on their sound, so I felt compelled to check out Area's debut album.

I was initially put off by the spoken intro, but then the wildly jazzy music and bizarre Stratos vocals of the opener track, "Luglio Agosto Settembre", fill my head. I love music that is jazzy at its base, so after hearing this track I knew that deciding to listen to Area was a great choice.

The title track starts off with a bombardment of percussion and a strangely funky bassline; right away I recognized that this was probably going to be a free jazz influenced track. It turned out not to be quite free jazz, but more jazz fusion as it developed a solid structure with a nice groove and wild sax noodling. Stratos eventually starts singing soulfully near the end of the song. His voice is very unique but it fits this music very well.

The first minute or so of "Consapevolezza" reminds me of a more exuberant Goblin track with it's driving funkiness, but Stratos' unique vocals change that almost instantly. This track contains a very soothing passage of sax solo and steady drumming, but gradually picks up and turns frantic until the end.

A few measure of disjointed post-bop mark the start of "Le Labbra Del Tempo", but soon becomes subdued while Stratos croons powerfully over light sax playing and driving basslines. The bassline that stands out in the middle section of this tracks particularly reminds me of Percy Jones' work in the band Tunnels, which is definitely a compliment. After reading the reviews by other members of this site, I didn't expect so many beautiful passages on this album, but when the synths pick up near the end of this song it definitely gets beautiful.

"240 Chilometri da Smirne" is purely a fantastic jazz-fusion affair with an exceptional groove. This track is incredibly groovy and can really get your body moving. There isn't much more to say about this track other than it is pure enjoyment for this prog fan.

The finale, "L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin", is one of the more avant tracks on the album, but there are short bursts between groovy jazz and avant madness that make this track seem like a noisy adventure. The track ends the album with rather avant taste, but there isn't really any other way that I can think of to end the album.

I'm convinced that any jazz-fusion fan would find much to love about this album, and is definitely the jazziest RPI album I've heard so far. Area is truly one of a kind band, save for maybe Deus Ex Machina (but they came many, many years later and are much less avant). This album is thoroughly fantastic and I highly suggest giving it a listen.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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