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LA STREGA

Barrock

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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4 stars Wowwww!!!!! what a masterpiece, man. This is outstanding italian prog rock, the guitar the female vocals, only in 2 and 8, and specially the keyboards are extremly beautiful. The melodies are so beautiful. You MUST listen to this album, you don't regret it, for sure it is the best album by barrock, at least for me ;)

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Send comments to Pagasarri (BETA) | Report this review (#1282)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Marcelo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent album, plenty of beautiful melodies and sensitive soundscapes. BARROCK left behind the medieval influences found on "Oxian", keeping the classical and refined colours on this almost instrumental production.

My only complaint is the "plastic" sound of drums, but it isn't a big trouble because most of music is in the atmospherical vein, standing out keyboards and guitars. Artificial drumming is used just on some rythmical changes, but the whole instrumentation -as well as delicated tunes- makes easy to forget this negative point.

All tracks are very enjoyable. Sadly, "La Strega" is too short (only 37 minutes), but it guarantees the lack of uneven filler stuff. Another recommended Italian album.

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Send comments to Marcelo (BETA) | Report this review (#1283)
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars Barrock is another of those lesser known and underappreciated Italian prog bands from the 90's and recorded 3 fine albums before disappearing into the mist. As the moniker unsubtly implies , the general theme is a robust combination of baroque and rock with massive amounts of keyboards (organ, piano, synthesizers, string machines) as well as guitar , bass and rather mechanical drums , mostly played by the Poles family, with some occasional female vocals and some guest musicians. "Nell'antro della Strega" is an introductory instrumental that sets the basic symphonic parameters that will illuminate the rest of this album. In fact, the next piece, the 10 minute + "La Mutazione" is quite an atmospheric promenade with a grandiose mid-section loaded with waves of orchestrations courtesy of Mauro Martin , an extended and superb electric guitar run from Valter Poles. Paola Polese does a fine operatic aria, elevating the magnificent main melody, really giving the piece some coloring and pomp. As mentioned by another reviewer, the drums are a bit rudimentary (a somewhat rare occurrence in ISP as Italian drummers are generally very inventive). "Super Flumina" is a Valter Poles synthesizer adaptation of a classical motet by noted XVI century Italian composer Palestrina, a swirling electronic reverie that is both clever and creative, though sounding very much like a 90s production , which of course it is. The brief "Il Giullare" is an almost ELP-like trio workout with Valter on both keys and guitar, with brothers Giampaolo on bass and Maurizio on drums. The pace is fast, furious and somewhat in your face. "Solo Con le Ali" is another Poles keyboard piece with violin/cello synths flirting openly with a Rossano Palý guitar sortie. The choir mellotrons are particularly effective here but the drum machine really ruins it a bit. It's okay but nothing earthshaking. "La Preda" prefers leaving the spotlight on the grand piano, with some synth backscapes before morphing into a more atmospheric section and then suddenly reverting to a full organ-led blowout. "In Sogno" is a dream-like interlude with lots of orchestrations and various keyboard patterns, with some tubular bells for effect. "Romanza" revives the magical "La Mutazione" theme, with a fantastic flute intervention and the rippling Paola Polese operatics, the grandiose piano adding to the angst and building to an explosive climax, very nice indeed. The final "Orient Express" is a tune from guest keyboardist Giuseppe Vendramin and offers really nothing more than a brief technical romp. A good album but not indispensible and at 37 minutes, a bit too brief for my liking. 3.5 Poles

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#198502)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars ...and I like Baroque music quite a lot, ever since I've heard soundtrack (or music in) game Heroes of Might & Magic II. which really give me an impression that this is something I like.

In case of "La Strega" it means that we will get quite heavy sounding opera-like music with a lot of electronic synths (reminding Neo-Prog in this sound). It's quite enjoyable album, not hardcore Prog, but good anyway. But even though I have quite soft spot for such combination (of medieval and Prog sounds), I still have to differ better and worse albums.

4(-), but don't get fooled, this album has a lot to offer, if you're the right person. And maybe it's good thing that it's short. If you won't like it, consider it as that you wasted "just" 37 minutes. Anyway, I don't think that will be the case, at least I hope.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#287668)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Barrock were not meant to stay on SI label, the later went baknrupt in mid-90's and the Italian group moved on searching for a new label.Finally Mellow Records decided to release the band's third album ''La Strega'' in 1999.This latest album was almost exclusively a matter of the Poles family, as Giuseppe Vendramin played keyboards only on one track and Graziella Vendramin was abroad, trying to pursue a solo career as a jazz singer.

Stylistically nothing has changed for Barrock, they still played bombastic keyboard-driven Classical/Symphonic Rock along the lines of QUASAR LUX SYMPHONIAE, only this time the album has plenty of instrumental themes and limited female vocals in just a couple of tracks.The long ''La mutazione'', taking 1/3 of the album's length, simply defines Barrock's career.Bombastic E.L.P.-like keyboard workouts mixed with some grandiose, operatic female vocals and crying guitar solos, absolutely fantastic.The rest of the album consists of short tracks filled with massive organ acrobatics, piano interludes and orchestral themes, somewhere between Classical Rock and Electronic/Symphonic music.Guitars appear every now and then, producing usually some sort of Neo-Classical melodies.The only complaint comes from the digital string sections and the somewhat cheap synth-drenched soundscapes, sounding a bit flat next to the more grandiose moments of the album.

''La strega'' was Barrock's last ever offering in Progressive Rock and it is another example of how good this band was back in the 90's.Strongly recommended, especially for lovers of keyboard-based Progressive Rock and cinematic soundscapes...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#815252)
Posted Wednesday, September 05, 2012 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A worthy follow up after Oxian, their third release named La strega issued in 1999 at Mellow records. Previous album was released on Si Music and after the label went into the mist in mid '90, the band optained for the well known italian label Mellow records..La strega is to me little better then Oxian, here the band has more polished sound, more intresting ideas, and overall is much pleasent and anjoyble. The music is same symphonic prog with electronic keyboards, female vocals and all ingredients to be a good album in this field. The album is very shor , only 37 min, but has some fine pieces like La Mutazione, a 10 min beauty ful of great arrangements and perfect playing. As previous album Oxian , Barrock offers a bombastic symphonic prog with lots of instrumental parts and keybord driven moments. So, decent towards great in places. Is sad that this band gone unnoticed big time, I can count on one hand persons who know about Barrock. 3 stars rounded to 3.5.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#941592)
Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | Review Permalink

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