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Semiramis - Dedicato A Frazz CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.06 | 306 ratings

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4 stars Hi Ho Silver Italy and away we go!

After having left the borders of France I am now absolutely thrilled to be located in one of the most diverse and colourful prog scenes: Italy's. Going back and forth through my lps and cds - I find my myself verging on delightfully vexed hysteria and then again somewhat confused - simply not knowing where to start in all of this.... I run through so many listening habits a year, that I'm always listening to some Italian music one way or another. What many people fail to realise - something that the RPI collaborators as well as the more well versed members continuously attempt to highlight, is that the Italian take on progressive music in the 70s was infinitely more than what the 3 biggies Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso were all about. They certainly did not make the blueprint for the Italian way. That's not the case at all - not even remotely true.

Semiramis' sole album Dedicato a Frazz is THE album I always put on, when my body screams for that good old Italian vibe. It's as foreseeable as the first rays of the summer. The weather gets more orange and humid, flowers start emerging on trees, and I immediately start searching maniacally around for this little gem.

With a cast of mere teenagers, this album is chuck full of youthful exuberance - lost masturbation seances channelled through music. The force of this band approaches the carefree proto punk of The Stooges, but then again it's much too shapeshifting and complex to be considered part of that possy. Oh and can you imagine playing prog when you were 17? Back then my friends were either playing hardcore punk or grunge - none of them capable of dreaming up something as huge and tightly woven as this little baby.

First and foremost, Dedicato a Frazz slaps you upside your face with a nonchalant hard hitting prog rock that simply storms out of the pit. Like a great big buffalo it rumbles through the prairie with flashes of Italian colour bursting out the seams by way of joyously played acoustic guitar segments, pacing classical piano runs or a zany twist of exotic vibraphone. Still the overriding principles of this album are about fury and youth - simple unassuming energy.

Vocalist Michele Zarrillo too sports a wild possessed fury. His singing brings to mind fellow countrymen Cervello, Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno and Il Balletto di Bronzo - it has that nasal fiery quality to it, coming off like an Italian version of Arthur Brown. I'm not sure many remember how melodic Brown actually was, instead they seem to recollect his crazy ways more than anything, but there was a sense of melody there quite unique, which oddly enough brings me to Michele's guitar..... Yup there's a sip of the ol wine in the fabulous electric guitar codas, licks and solos. You better believe it honey!

There's not a dud on here, every track seems to burn brightly with furious rock n commotion - mad vibraphone fuga like sections, soaring melodic vocals and some of the most carefully applied synthesizers I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Around the time this record was made, the synths had jumped on board the prog vessel like a huge tentacled monster lashing out on all fronts of the rock sphere. I mainly blame Emerson, but that's another tale altogether. On here the crunchy loud earth shattering rock blast is only embellished in small parts with these spacey robotic laser beams, and each time they feel like jumping on an elevator heading for the top of Kilimanjaro ZOOOOOOOOM!

With some serious Jon Lord organ flirtations, although infinitely more swirly and Italian at those, you additionally get a powerful thick melody enhancer in the second Zarrillo brother, Maurizio. This cat can really swing, I'll tell you - he jumps on that organ like a real schizophrenic rocker. With Maurizio, as well as the entire band, you can easily picture some headbanging involved during the groovy saucy gulps.

Semiramis should please the heavy prog aficionados - the Atomic Rooster believers, even if these cats pulled off a release that I personally think is completely original. Any progger worth his salt, should have this in his collection. I genuinely mean that. Just look into that beautiful green mug, and tell me you don't want at least a little snuggle?

So come on now and join the Italian troops, where we all are looking forward to show you the pleasures of music, that will have you doing somersaults and power yoga with pure unadulterated joy. 4.5 stars

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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