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Procession - Frontiera CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.98 | 73 ratings

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4 stars Frontiera has it all - heavy guitars, shimmering folk passages, confident singing, powerful drumming and even some Mellotron - wrapped up in a convenient package you can carry with you (literally...the LP had a handle). Though it did take a while for me to warm to Procession, the group is unique in the realm of RPI since they don't really fit the traditional mold; classically-inspired motifs are nary to be found, instead favored by molten riffs a la Black Sabbath mixed with regional sensibilities. The band from northern Italy created a lyrically thematic tale of immigration and desegregation, which were apparently hot-button issues in Torino at the time. The lyrics are lost on me but the push and pull between heavy prog aggression and whimsical flair speaks for itself; Frontiera succeeds on a musical level so much so that I would recommend it to all RPI listeners.

For a 1972 album, Frontiera sounds well recorded and produced. The small Help! label folded shortly after this release, leaving the band on hiatus for nearly two years until they signed with Fonit. I would describe Procession as a cross between Flea and early Il Balletto di Bronzo with Robert Plant singing. The guitars are also reminiscent of Led Zeppelin at times, particularly in the extensive use of 12-string. The instrument opens "Ancora Una Notte," drums and fuzz guitar join in, and massively booming bass feeds back before the whole thing roars to a stop. Acoustic guitar supports vocalist Gianfranco Gaza, whose distinctive voice gives the group exactly the gravitas it needs. "Uomini e Illusioni" features some dual-guitar riffage...again the bass is enormously omnipresent and sounds great. Drums jam and bounce while Gaza floats along the top of the whole thing. This is good, good stuff. We transition right into "Citta' Grande," my favorite song so far, and an epic middle section reminds us this is definitely RPI. A multitude of harmonized guitars and bass give way to a classical guitar interlude which somberly closes the song.

"Incontro" displays classic Torinese spirit, using mandolin and tamborine to achieve a singalong effect. This fades right into "Anche Io Sono Un Uomo" which is a dark, brooding piece amply colored with Mellotron strings. "Un Mondo Di Liberta" is the song that elevates Frontiera from three to four stars in my opinion; the song contains quite possibly the most thunderous riff in all of Italian Prog and drums that sound like fireworks going off. But this is just half the story - the eight-minute piece changes abruptly at the halfway mark, leaving Gaza to sing with only acoustic guitar support. Eventually drums and bass enter and contribute accordingly. The "Solo/Un'Ombra Che Vaga" medley starts off with straight rock swagger and then fades to another 12-string section with some clean tones added for good measure. This brief respite is plundered by a reappearance of The Riff, of which I can never get enough anyway. Finally "Solo 2" reprises its predecessor with some harmonica and lead guitar thrown in. I can't say enough good things about Frontiera and will leave it at that.

coasterzombie | 4/5 |


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