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5 stars A really old fashioned and astonishing sound from tracks that seem to come from a distant age... you can joy a delightful music experience deep down in the seventies lead by the rough voice of the lead singer Mario Sacco and the dinamic touch of a hysteria flute... recommended, it makes me think about Biglietto per l'inferno and the obscure masterpiece Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa (Dik Dik)
Report this review (#18508)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amanita is an Italian group that released this one and only album in the nineties. I see that this group is defined prog folk in the archives and I can also see why. The music has a folksy feel mostly due to the heavy use of flute and saxophone. However, I would say that this album should appeal to people who like Italian progressive in the seventies tradition even if they don't generally like folk prog that much. The group has a distinct Italian sound but comparisons to Jethro Tull are inevitable due to the heavy use of flute. Indeed, this is very flute driven prog and the flautist Andrea Monetti Roccasanta is a master with this instrument. When he doesn't play the flute in this album it is almost certain that his sax playing is present. I'm not sure but he could be the Andea Monetti that is now the flautist in La Maschera di Cera. If he is the same person his playing is not as fiery but much more refined in Amanita. Though, they occasionally sound very similar so I have come to the conclusion that they are the same person. The guitar work of Andrea Bolognesi, who is also the composer of all tracks, is also very good whereas the keyboards are almost totally in a statistic role. This naturally results in a hard rocking feel ala Jethro Tull. The vocalist Mario Sacco is very good but not overly impressive.

The quality of the compositions is very good all the way. There is a highlight track and that one is "Quando Verra il Tempo". It's a totally flute driven track with a divine flute melody and some additional female wordless vocals. When I first heard this track it took me a week to get that melody out of my head. The track "Astrazione Cosmica" has great flute/guitar interplay and an accordion solo in the end by the keyboardist Goffredo Fioravanti. The track "Quinta Stagione" deserves a mention too. The last track "Arjuna" is more experimental and chaotic than the rest.

Conclusion: A very good album!

Report this review (#38445)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some Prog purists might find this one quite dated and old-fashioned, hence my medium rating but (so far) one and only album by this Italian band is really a jewel for anyone loving flute-dominated heavier prog. The mood is mostly rather dark, at times aggressive with a few more mellow moments and the music is most of the times in up-tempo pace. Of course Tull comes to one's mind if listening to this record but due to the similar rough vocals as well country fellows Jumbo though certainly less complex than their music. But none of the six quite lengthy tracks gets boring at any moment and there arn't any fillers. Probably not really essential in a general sense and Progfans looking for something unique and innovative should check it carefully if it's of any interest for them before purchasing. Nevertheless I just can highly recommend it to anyone who's into 70's style prog folk! 3 1/2 stars REALLY!!
Report this review (#110837)
Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I'm a bit surprised to realize and admit I've been sitting on this disc for a few years now and have never really listened to it. I picked it up along with some stuff from a couple other Italian contemporary prog artists like Sad Minstrel (well recommended!) and Crystal Phoenix (not so much). This one was only a fraction cost of the Sad Minstrel CD; I can't recall but I may have only thrown it in my order to round up the shopping cart total and qualify for free shipping or something.

So for whatever reason I never bothered to really listen to these songs before now, and am quite surprised to realize that this is a pretty decent album all things considered. This is contemporary Italian music (contemporary being relative with progressive music but in this case meaning it doesn't predate the introduction of CDs or digital recordings). While it was released in the latter nineties the music here sounds much older, but there are enough neo-prog nuances here and there to place it in the past couple of decades.

The band offers up a pretty decent opening with some sultry saxophone, grooving guitar solo passages and plenty of piano and flute that hint just slightly at jazz-like structure and end up morphing with the guitar at the end for a strong and rock-tinged ending. "Quando verrą il tempo" had the potential to be the strongest track on the album with a gorgeous guitar/flute/hand drum opening, but honestly Mario Sacco's singing isn't all that strong and I personally think this would have come across much more powerfully had it remained an instrumental.

The basic lineup of the band is pretty standard fare with electric guitar, keyboards, drums, bass and a lead singer. I suppose what pushes them into progressive folk territory are the acoustic guitars, accordion and flute that are present throughout but especially on the first half of the disc. Toward the end and particularly with "Il diavolo dentro" the band retains the flute/acoustic motif during short passages but also veers off into heavier territory with strong electric guitar riffs and borderline metal percussion. That song finishes with a beautiful piano passage although the first several minutes are quite heavy.

The closing "Arjuna" has a little of everything. The opening seems influenced by the neo- progressive bands of the early eighties (check out "Quinta stagione" as well for some faintly Marillion-sounding riffs and vocals passages). At the same time persistent percussion and variations on repetitive instrumental themes are almost post-rock, while the flute flourishes are undeniably folksy and the closing is a blend of ambient and ethnic percussion. A very interesting composition.

This is a much better album than I thought when I first bought it, which just goes to show one really needs to take the time to get to know the music in their collection and not jump to quick judgments. A strong three of five star album and well recommended if you're looking for something that blends a rock and folk foundation with Latin inflection.


Report this review (#297409)
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars ''L'oblio'' is a late-nineties album by Italian band Amanita and although this was their first and only release it's a fairly mature work consisting of six lengthy tracks, all around the 10- to 14-minute mark. They're categorised as Prog Folk but there's quite an aggregation of musical styles here, with several of the songs having a space-rock vibe and even a bit of Krautrock. Dynamic vocal sections followed by extended jams are pretty much the order of the day. The songs are pushed along by passionate vocals while instrumental sections feature great interplay between flute and guitar; fellow Italian group Jumbo is probably a reasonable benchmark.

''Mistica'' opens with a riot of crunching guitar and fluttering flute. Flautist Andrea Monetti Roccasanta totally bosses this album and he uses a lot of the same techniques employed by Ian Anderson, such as overblowing and yelping into the flute at the same time as playing. Remember this guy's name the next time there's a poll on favourite flute players in the forum. The track then heads off on a laid-back, spacey jam with a shifting dialogue between flute, saxophone and guitar.

''Quando Verra Il Tempo'' is more restrained but still contains some blistering guitar-work in the background. This has a killer melody, full of pathos, with the flute omnipresent but never getting in the way of Mario Sacco's heartfelt vocal. ''Astrazione Cosmica'' is altogether heavier, being an out and out rocker with delirious guitar and organ. The middle section of this track consists of psychedelic jamming as flute and guitar trade licks, and there's some folksy accordion to finish.

''Quinta Stagione'' is probably the most straightforward song, although it's still nooked and crannied with some great moments, while the last couple of songs are more experimental. ''Il Diavolo Dentro'' incorporates a repetitive groove with flute extemporising over guitar, treated with effects, while ''Arjuna'' incorporates a hypnotic Eastern vibe of wailing vocals, saxophone and sitar-guitar

Amanita disappeared after this album and I guess we'll never know what ''place'' these guys were in when they produced it. Musically it moves from melancholic openings to an experimental conclusion, as if from doubt to darkness. And I can't make up my mind if the ''There's No Place Like Home'' musical box ending is ironic or optimistic. Whatever, this is a fine album invigorated with diverse influences. It's a must for the RPI freaks among us, and Tull fans might well want to check it out too. What a pity these guys only released this one album.

Report this review (#347232)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The one and only album from this Italian folk rock band.

Although listed as folk rock, the music is also borderline Rock Progressivo Italiano too. Fans of Rock Progressivo Italiano, check out this album.

The vocals are in Italian, the music is good RPI throughout and there is plenty of Jethro Tull like flutes here. There are also a lot of spaced out melodies here as in Krautrock. And yes, the basis is folk rock. Hence the correct classification.

The vocals are both male and female. The instrumentation is flute, guitars, bass, drums, accordion, keyboards and woodwinds. This creates a lush sound with some throughout lush songs. This is not a minimalistic accoustic folk rock album by any stretch of the imagination.

Both the vocalists and the musicians does a very good job. The bass is too much in the front of the mix and that is my only problem here.

The songs are good throughout. The album suffers from the not-any-great-songs syndrome though. A very nasty illness in my world. This is another good debut album and I hope they will one day return with a follow up.

3 stars

Report this review (#516115)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2011 | Review Permalink

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