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Cittą Frontale - El Tor  CD (album) cover

EL TOR

Cittą Frontale

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.13 | 33 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

coasterzombie
4 stars El Tor is the best album Osanna never made.

When that group split in 1974, singer Lino Viaretti and drummer Massimo Guarino reactivated Citta Frontale, adding Saint Just guitarist Gianni Guarracino and multi-instrumentalist Enzo Avitabile among others. The result was an immediately accessible and genial LP, albeit panned by critics and fans alike. Critics found Citta Frontale too derivative of the Osanna sound (no doubt due to Viaretti's presence), while fans chided the lightweight sound. I believe the latter is an asset and not a liability, as the pleasant and primarily major-key song structures propose what Osanna were never able to - an experience, rather than just a set of haphazardly thrown together ideas with a sense of pomposity. El Tor succeeds on its own terms, owing nothing to Osanna followers or critics...instead catering to neophytes and casual fans. Because of this appeal, Citta Frontale earns four stars and a wholehearted recommendation.

"Alba Di Una Citta" hints at the pastoral side of the band briefly, before bursting into the fiery "Solo Uniti." Here Citta Frontale establishes their identity as a competent sextet, briskly reveling in a joyous arrangement. Don't let the cheery music fool you - the lyrical subject matter is quite the contrary, but to anglophiles this isn't a factor anyway. Citta Frontale has drawn criticism for incongruity between the dark subject matter and breezy musicality, but I can think of plenty similar examples in the Prog world. Lino Viaretti gracefully leads "El Tor," singing with a controlled emotion rarely displayed in Osanna and does so beautifully. "Duro Lavoro" allows Guarracino to show some acoustic guitar chops and break up the preceding merriment. The long song does share some Osanna qualities, but not to the point of imitation.

Citta Frontale relaxes on the jazzy "Mutazione," a slow jam that will please fusion freaks. "La Casa Del Mercante 'Sun'" returns to a carefree nature, adding enough random keyboard noises and horn blasts to keep things interesting. "Milioni Di Persone" slows down the proceedings, and this reflective ballad demonstrates the band's gentle side. Finally "Equilibrio Divino" ends El Tor on a bad note, and what ultimately is the weakest track concludes the album. Despite this, El Tor triumphs overall and is easily recommended for those just getting into Italian Prog and veterans alike.

coasterzombie | 4/5 |

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