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Barabba - Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.51 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Another obscure and original RPI gem

While early RPI bands loved their British heroes, particularly the dark, difficult, and heavy textures of VDGG and Deep Purple in my opinion, they took the influences of those bands and created highly diverse and original material throughout the following years. As the site genre definition notes there's a unique sound stamp, musical depth, and independence to the RPI bench which becomes apparent after you listen to the hundreds of lesser known albums...get past believing that PFM alone represent RPI. The genre is very far from wannabe British clone. Here is another of so many cases in point. Barabba is an obscure Turin-based project spearheaded by Circus 2000 guitarist Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone and features musicians from Arti & Mestieri, Living Life, and Venegoni & Co. Quartarone's music was married to lyrics written by students in an attempt to create a conceptual album based on Gospel themes. Little other information is out there concerning the project, though be sure to review Todd's bio for what he dug up.

This is one of my favorite kinds of Italian rock album: relatively minor obscurities which flew below the radar of the larger symphonic bands but are just as fascinating to me. Things like Paciana Story and Nascita Della Sfera are wonderful while getting almost no attention. They are truly fun to delve into despite being generally lower in production quality, often sounding like hobbyist projects to some degree. Here the musicians have some decent chops but it sounds like the vocalists may be primarily amateurs, especially the female choir vocals. They are not bad however and are very enjoyable to me. The music is sort of a dark and strange fusiony thing with some spaciness and occasional folk elements, with a most wonderful and obvious Italian flavor. There is also a good shake of the avant-garde seasoning so prevalent in many of these Italian oddities. It's weird and unconventional, but given we're talking 1977 here I'll take this over Locanda Delle Fate in a heartbeat personally. Primary instruments are guitar/bass/drums but there are nice string parts and the ambitious layered vocal arrangements for a bold presentation. Aside from some trippy synth noises the album is very light on keyboards, yet its strangeness somehow tempers how much you miss it. Bits of jazzy brass and frequent acoustic guitar presence round out the unusual concoction. The religious themes of the lyrics are obvious even to those of us who don't understand Italian. As strange as something like Jacula but without the darkness pervasive in that music.

If you are a hard core fan of the RPI musical genre you will want to hear this. I love it even though it is something of a niche recording. The wonderful album cover art is pure 70s RPI which is worthy of its own book of album art.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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