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I Califfi - Fiore di Metallo CD (album) cover


I Califfi

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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3 stars Lots of poppy rythms and just a few progressive (altough magnificent) tracks, but the Italian taste makes it a good album.

"Nel Mio Passato", "Varius" and "Campane" are, precisely, the progressive songs that shows a -potentially- very interesting band. The other tracks are just naive compositions: nice, but a sort of "radio songs". This isn't a dispensable album; however, if you want to know the Italian '70s prog scene, don't start with it.

Report this review (#18816)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars A good early seventies italian prog album, despite the naive lyrics. Good vocals. good variety of songs ( it goes from heavy to soft tunes, always in the classic sound of italian prog bands)and a good sound quality.What a pitty they didn't give us some other albums!
Report this review (#18815)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Severely forgotten Italprog blending excellent analog keyboard shapes & sounds with excellent vocals (sung in Italian) and scrumptious guitar work. "Fiore Di Metallo" contains some highly memorable songs which are played with warmth (mainly due to their lovely keyboard work) and create some wonderful atmospheres. I CALIFFI were way ahead of their time and in a very foreboding sense bring forward many of the sound elements found later in rock. This is a highly complete album in many ways... soft vs loud, symphonic vs harder rock, acoustic vs electric... If you enjoy the classic Italian prog sounds then without a question "Fiore Di Metallo" is essential in your collection.
Report this review (#18817)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the only Califfi album in the progressive area. Coming from Florence, they were an underrated beat band in the sixties, but with a new line-up realized "Fiore di metallo". Califfi play a melodic prog, with pleasant lyrics and sporadic hard-rock touch here and there. The album is good enough, and imo the best tracks are the opener "Nel mio passato", and the instrumental "Varius" and "Campane", featuring strong organ themes in a baroque style. Anyway, an interesting album for Italian Prog fans.
Report this review (#101862)
Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Fiore di Metallo" is a respectable rock album from the classic Italian scene. It is somewhat uneven and the band is not among the first tier bands of the genre. That said, there are some nice proggy moments mixed throughout that make it worth investigation for Italian fans. You will find decent vocals, hard rocking guitar, vintage keyboards, competent rhythm section, and some nice touches of acoustic guitar here and there. You will also find several songs that are just dated hard rock and not all that interesting.

The first two tracks would fall into that category of being rather plain bluesy riff-rock. Same with "A Piedi Scalzi" and "Col Vento Nei Capelli" with its annoying sound effect loop. "Felicita" is better, a folksy romantic little number that is nice but certainly not challenging prog. "Madre Domani" is OK too and reminds me of Yes's "A Venture."

Highlights include "Alleluia Gente" with its acoustic guitar and trippy keyboards. "Various" is an instrumental with organs, synths, and piano running rampant with tight percussion, quite good. "Campane" is a wonderful closer and if the whole album were like this song we'd have a real winner on our hands. Another instrumental track, we are treated to nicely layered synths in a somewhat dark sounding environment created by the brooding bass and very structured drumming. Only the lilting piano in the background breaks the tension.

Califfi is recommended to Italian fans who already have a deep collection, it is NOT the place to start for newbies to the genre. There are many many great Italian albums to check out before Califfi. It may also be of interest to fans of vintage keyboards and fans of 70s hard rock in the vein of Free, T Rex, or Deep Purple. There is a Japanese gatefold mini-LP sleeve reissue that features lyrics, three good band photos, and respectable sound quality.

Report this review (#133091)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars This Italian formation made two LP's in the Seventies, this is their second effort, quite a varied one! First dynamic rock songs with pleasant keyboard colouring like Nel Mio Passato (subtle harpsichord and fluent synthesizer flights), Varius (bombastic churh organ sound, organ, synthesizer and a jazzy piano solo) and the compelling Campane (Keith Emerson-like Moog solo). Then more dreamy songs like Alleluia Gente (wonderful Italian vocals and Moog solo), FelicitÓ, Sorriso E Pianto (again wonderful Italian vocals) and Madre, Domani ... (twanging guitar, organ and fluent synthesizer runs). And finally pure rock tracks like Fiore Finto, Fiore Di Metallo (propulsive climate), A Piedi Scalzi (up-tempo with raw guitar sound) and Col Vento Nei Capelli (fiery guitar runs). This is not a classic, there are so many better albums but I love the variety, the typical Seventies atmosphere and .. the Italian vocals! My rating 3,5 stars.
Report this review (#144593)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
RPI / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Great potential!!

This is almost like three different groups coming together to make a good RPI album. There's the awesome progressive style with keyboards galore and shifting rhythms; the pop style with nice, memorable vocal passages and prog flavoring; and the straightforward blues-rock style with its repetetive riffs and unimaginative solos.

Let me start with the three great tracks, the most progressive entries on the album. The opener "Nel Mio Passato" is the most successful song which blends the various styles that the band brings to bear. Nice vocals, nice keyboards, melodic tune, good guitar work. Strong opening! The fourth track, "Varius," is a keyboard driven masterwork that is captivating and exciting. The closing track, "Campane," is a great blend of the above two works, with strong keyboards and good variety. If the entire album were along the lines of these three songs, this album would be considered a classic.

The three pop style songs, with a typical singer/songwriter style, are also excellent. They are "Alleluia Gente," "Felicita, Sorriso e Pianto," and "Madre Domani." As is typical of the italian pop style, they are centered around vocals, usually accompanied by nice acoustic guitar, mellow organ, and fairly straightforward rhythm section. "Alleluia" and "Madre" have really nice prog-inflected sections as well, featuring some excellent melodic keyboard work.

The three straightforward blues-rock songs, "Fiore Finto, Fiore di Metallo," "A Piedi Scalzi," and "Col Vento nei Cappelli," are completely forgettable. I now skip them every time I listen to the album.

Overall, the album isn't very successful at blending their various styles. (That kind of success is frequently seen in the RPI classic works.) The album seems fragmented to me, almost a hodgepodge of different composers with contrasting styles trying to force their will onto the rest of the band (late Beatles, anyone?). The album is good enough for three stars, but it could have been so much more . . .

Report this review (#229936)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sung entirely in Italian, is a progressive and very dense precipitate rhythm. To listen to the album shows that the guitars and keyboards are very present. The training starts in 60 years as a group of beat music, the guitarist will play first in Electric Frankenstein, hard rock group very heavy. Some titles are gentle, calm and relaxed, in line with the Italian Progressive Rock. Varius is a title the church organ, and the progressive moves directly influence with Emerson Lake and Palmer. Other tracks are very varied, as very smooth and progressive hard rock like 'a piedi scalzi', the album is thus a progressive hard rock, progressive rock the other soft. Sandro Cinotti has a know-how and great skill in its musicality.
Report this review (#229938)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another case of an Italian beat group switching to prog over the years, I Califfi were formed in 1965 in Florence, including among the members later Area's guitarist Paolo Tofani and Campo Di Marte's drummer Carlo Marcovecchio.An album entitled ''Cosi ti amo'' (1969) and more than 10 singles was the production of the first formation.By early 70's the only remaining original member was bassist Franco Boldrini.With Vincenzo Amadei on guitar/vocals, Sandro Cinotti on keyboards and Maurizio Boldrini on drums the new I Califfi released the album ''Fiore Di Metallo'' on Fonit in 1973, strongly influenced by the Italian Prog movement.

Unlike other beat groups which tried to blend their pop aesthetics with prog, I Califfi had fully transformed into a Progressive Rock band by the time the album was released with only hints of their past on a couple of tracks.Their sound was somewhat divided between powerful complex guitar-driven compositions and more elaborate keyboard-led arrangements with organ, harpsichord and moog synths on the front.The influence by classic acts like PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, GLI ALLUMINOGENI or MUSEO ROSENBACH are more than obvious.The more folsky and softer arrangements have a strong PFM influence with good work on synths, organ and acoustic guitars, not to mention the expressive multi-vocal parts.Other pieces are dominated by complicated guitar breaks in a Hard Prog mood, not unlike the lines of CAPITOLO 6 or IBIS.Additionally individual numbers or parts of a composition show some strong influence by E.L.P. in a typical romantic baroque-styled Italian Prog with a sound close to HUNKA MUNKA.Overall the transformation of the band was more than sufficient, blending a variety of styles showing up in 70's Italian Prog, and only a pair of straightforward rockers seems to weaken the whole effort.

I Califfi are still active today, always led by Franco Boldrini, as Franco Dei Califfi, recording and performing around Italy.

A decent album, typical example of 70's Italian Prog, based on the balanced compositions,which will please any fan of specific prog styles, though the lack of originality is evident throughout.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#701650)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars I Califfi were a beat group in the late Sixties that dissolved leaving only bassist Franco Boldrini. After recruiting a new band, Boldrini and I Califfi were signed to Fonit/Cetra and unleashed this one-album-wonder before disbanding again. Fiore Di Metallo can be categorized under RPI, but is mainly Heavy Prog with a few symphonic tangents and a definite pop bent. These diverse qualities contribute to a mismatched assortment of tunes that are somehow satisfying, but not particularly challenging. I hear a Deep Purple influence on some tracks, but ELP and Yes on others; Fiore di Metallo would probably appeal to fans of both camps, but will be of primary interest to RPI collectors as all the lyrics are in Italian of course. Having said that, there are way too many RPI essentials to get through before this - it might be in my top 100, but is no where near the top 50.

The first ten minutes of Fiore di Metallo don't do much to grab your attention: "Nel Mio Passato" does have some tempo and stylistic changes, but nothing too extreme; "Fiore Finto, Fiore di Metallo" is a passable hard rock song with a few synth flourishes to whet your appetite; the beginning of "Alleluia Gente" exhibits the band's more accessible side. But by the last minute of the third track, an extended instrumental outtro permits I Califfi to embellish a simple melody with some unexpectedly elegant musicianship. This newly revealed skill is fully announced on "Varius."

If Rick Wakeman and Carl Palmer had a baby that fell from space and made music, it would sound like "Varius." This song is so completely out of left field and amazing I almost want to rate the album four stars on sheer principle. Alas, five minutes of perfection does not an album make. "Varius" is undoubtedly the highlight of Fiore di Metallo and Califfi seems like a different band entirely. Sadly, they return to a more commercial sound on "Felicita, Sorriso e Pianto" which is not terrible, but pales in comparison after "Varius." "A Piedi Scalzi" smokes through heavy riffs and offers the obligatory guitar solo. "Madre, Domani..." begins with a laid-back Prog Folk feel, but turns into what is the most symphonic cut on the album. "Col Vento Nei Capelli" rocks and shows off some sweet dual-guitar action, but feels routine by this point. A final symphonic workout, "Campane" gracefully completes the album. "Campane" like "Varius" is an instrumental, and really advertises what a good band I Califfi could have been. Instead, Fiore di Metallo offers about ten minutes of mind-blowing music, and thirty minutes of other stuff.

Report this review (#914589)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
RPI Team
3 stars Just found the early 90's Italian vinyl reissue of this album that is nearly impossible to find in its original form (for under $1k). This is a minor release in the RPI 1970's catalog from a band with roots that go deep into the 60's. (bassist Franco Boldrini, the sole surviving 60's member started professionally in Italy in 1963, and the band has its origins in1966). Like many beat bands of the 60's era, some adapted to the current times by turning prog.

Many of the beat bands who transitioned to the 70's still bear traces of the optimism and upbeat approach of their 60's origins. Opener Nel Mio Passato alternates gentle acoustic passages with a building prog riff reminiscent of early Yes-things get going and the keyboard skills of Sandro Cinotti get the full window display here-powerful hammond organ, buzzing moogs, traces of harpsichord or spinet all blend into a very peppy (and slightly poppy) introduction. Second song Fiore Finto, Fiore Di Metallo tears off with guitar and rhythm section straight from Deep Purple's Highway Star before the pop sensibilities take a bit of control. Good straight ahead rock n roll with prog touches but propelled by a furious beat from drummer Maurizio Bordini. One of the more frantic songs on the album, it has nice touches of synth over the fade out of the riff. Alleluia Gente starts with acoustic guitar and a subdued vocal with hand drum accompaniment gives us a quick contrast from the last song. Poppy? Sort of, but wouldn't be out of place on a Le Orme album, or perhaps Wind and Wuthering. Great synth work saves this one. Catchy, but might turn off some prog fans. Side one closes with the masterpiece Varius- a Triumvirat styled instrumental workout that comes out of left field in its brilliance. Thunderous Wakeman (or Virgil Fox) church organ swirls with dexterity that shows the classical skills well as an intro, before heading into a song that could have been an outtake from Spartacus. Gentle solo piano gives a tempo interlude before heading off again in a burst of energy and a piano workout that rivals Emerson's best work. The crescendo at the end is straight from several ELP songs (Triumvirat was always thought of as the German ELP anyway...) This is the best song on the album, and like other reviewers have pointed out, if more of the album sounded like this, well.......they would be viewed as one of the top Italian prog bands.

Side two kicks off with FelicitÓ, Sorriso E Pianto, more in line with typical AOR Italian radio music of the 70's-thank the gods that they didn't put this first on side one, as it would have needles pulling off and albums getting bagged up to sell without going further. Not terrible, but not terribly progressive-maybe think Dolcimissa Maria from PFM. A Piedi Scalzi picks up the pace-more a straight ahead rocker in the 1969-1970 proto prog vein. Heavy phasing on drum fills is nice, and guitarist Vincenzo Amadei gets a workout here. Again this might have too much catchiness for prog fans, but is an excellent hybrid. Madre, Domani ... is another pop tune that straddles the prog end with some quirky Gentle Giant styled mini interludes between verses. Col Vento Nei Capelli is a straight ahead rocker with some gurgling synths in counterpoint to some ripping guitar that should have been a radio hit, but in 1973 this early 1970-1 sounding song was probably too late to the rodeo. Catchy. Album closer Campane starts with church bells and tinkling piano that lead to the second best song on the album, an instrumental that shows off some nice synth and again is reminiscent of Triumvirat, very complex and beautiful. For this song and Varius alone, this album is worth investigating.

Overall, this is a very well recorded album-dynamic and clearly defined high end with deep bass. While I wouldn't say you should start here in your Italian Prog journey, this is an album that might appeal to prog fans who like the pop pastoral edges of Genesis' Wind and Wuthering. Definitely one that RPI fans should get once they got some of the bigger titles out of the way. These guys should have been huge, but it seems that they were not taken seriously as a prog band-some Italian fans often dismissed beat bands that tried to make the jump into the prog field.

3.25 stars

Report this review (#2408503)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is good to find, among all the eclecticism that is Italian progressive rock, more austere productions, without many pretensions, but no less interesting for that. Fiore di Metallo is an album with basic instrumentation, without extravagant arrangements or avant-garde interests; on the contrary, the songs vary from a certain pop romanticism, to the classic hard rock of the 70's, passing through the instrumentals "Varius" and "campane", (the latter closer to the traditions of progressive rock, perhaps more complex , but very accessible). If we add to this the fact that the songs are of a short duration, then we have a highly recommended work for those who want to start in the world of Italian progressive rock.
Report this review (#2770970)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2022 | Review Permalink

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