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Cervello - Melos CD (album) cover

MELOS

Cervello

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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bonzo1969@lib
5 stars A stunning masterpiece, really. They seem like a meteor: came out of nowhere, left an incredible gem, and the disappeared. Dark and misterious, rich of mediterranean rhytms, lyrics about the ancient greek mythes. A no miss

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#19321)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 | Review Permalink
maani
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3 stars It seems to me that the word "masterpiece" is being thrown around far too broadly on this site. While albums can be "great," even "exceptional," that does not necessarily make them "masterpieces." And, no, not all masterpieces of prog are by the "seminal" groups; there are - occasionally - masterpieces by neo-prog groups. This is not one of them. That said, this is an extremely good album (it deserves another half star), one that is probably also "important" in as much as it is a relatively "early" entry: it is contemporaneous with such masterpieces as Dark Side, Selling England, Close to the Edge, and Larks Tongues, among others. The influences are hard to discern, though the cheerful dissonance of King Crimson (esp. the "quieter" version on Wake, Islands and Lizard) and the playful insanity of Gentle Giant (Glass House and Octopus came out the same year) make appearances. It is also worth noting that this album is simultaneous with Henry Cow's debut album, and given some noticeable similarities, it may be that each influenced the other. In any event, some of this is pretty "heady" for its time, compositionally. The main quibble I have is the same one I had with Carpe Diem's "En Regardent Passer le Temps" - that the creativity does not always show clear direction or inner logic; some sections sound as though they were strung together because they "could" be, rather than because they made any particular sense. That aside, there is no question that this is a very creative album, with fine musicianship, and deserves a place in any serious collection of prog-rock.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#19322)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Nothing short of an incredible, but little known gem of Italian prog. If you like the sound of OSANNA's "Palepoli", then you need this album. In fact, CERVELLO featured guitarist Corrado Rustici, still in his teens at that time, who was the brother of OSANNA guitarist Danilo Rustici, so the OSANNA comparisons can't be avoided. And like OSANNA, CERVELLO consisted of saxes, flutes, bass, drums, and of course, vocals. The saxes and flutes are tamer (none of the flutes here are TULL-like, unlike OSANNA). Corrado Rustici's guitar work is in the vein of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA's John McLaughlin (which should come as no surprise as McLaughlin was one of Corrado's guitar heroes).

The original LP comes with a gimmick cover on the Ricordi label, in which Si-Wan Records in Korea nicely replecated to CD size when they reissued it on CD (I believe the current CD reissue on BMG/Ricordi is packaged the same way as Si-Wan).

Regardless, this is an absolute must for those who enjoy Italian prog.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#19324)
Posted Saturday, May 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first time I listened to Melos, I was amazed by the distorted sonority and complicated lyrics. I also studied greek mythes to find out waht the lyrics was about.

Every time I listen to Melos, I found it more interesting. This album brings you in another dimension, where an excellent music is combined with the incredibly accurated lyrics (I wonder if all the texts are created by cervello or taken by greek poems). A real trip inside history and mitology.

I don't want to compare this album with other GREAT materpieces like Foxtrot or Close to the edge, but I'm sure this is a high level performance that every prog-fun MUST have.

Difficult to listen to, once you enter the cervello dimension, this album has the ability to capture.....

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Send comments to ProgRex (BETA) | Report this review (#19325)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite italian prog album and certainly one of the best from the seventies. It is a little rough sometimes, it's true, but the quality of the music and of the musicians are really stunning. Beautiful lyrics, great compositions. A real masterwork.

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Send comments to Melos (BETA) | Report this review (#19326)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have no problem what so ever at granting Melos by Cervello a 5 star rating. This is the PINNACLE of Italian Prog IMHO. From the opening "Canto del Capro" with its spacey moogs and VCS3's the album nevers lets up in quality. The first track strikes one as a kind of Italian Magma at first with its daunting flutes and Ancient Greek chanting - "Magica Danza!" into a creepy arrpegio guitar and Stella Vander like etheral wailing - a kind of hybrid of Magma and Goblin. Cervello fuse the best of the best of Prog (VDGG, Crimson, PFM, Celeste) and create a range of moods - sometimes veering into a kind of cheery Genesis like pastorality, and then back into darker realms. Melos is at once varied in mood and kept together so it doesn't become to incongruous. The dexterity of the players is up there with the best: creepy mellotron passages merge into dynamic woodwind riffs, at once chirpy and sinister! "Trittico" continues the first side - a mini-epic in 3 parts - beginning with a soothing ballad, like Celeste, before "Euterpe" finsihes the Side in style. Side Two and there's just no let up in quality - the strange lilting rhythms of "Scinsione" bring a bleak atmopshere - the woodwind playing must be singled out as particularly excellent - 3 of the band play flute as well as mellotron at times (all though its not listed) - on this track they prove their versatility by merging into a great stomping VDGG-like march, incredibly powerful with stunning guitar playing by Corrado Rustichi. Really, Melos by Cervello has it all. For me its stands atop Italian Prog like a behemoth (and this in a movement not exactly lacking classics) But Melos is more than that! It is simply PERFECTION - a sublime piece of work where everything just comes together - straddling the whole emotional gamut with ease. Just when you think it cant' get any better the last fifteen minutes really kick in - taking it to another level altogether. BUY IT NOW!!!!!!

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Send comments to mandrake2 (BETA) | Report this review (#19327)
Posted Sunday, January 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a true MASTERPIECE, although the production is poor (big problem for most of Italian prog bands). Imagine a dreamy, psychedelic atmosphere in the vain of King Crimson's Lizard or a tripier Remember the future (Nektar).Amazing flutes and saxes, amazing compositions!!! A fantastic Dali/Psychedelic progressive rock trip awaits you to discover it...

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Send comments to deceiver (BETA) | Report this review (#19329)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
mhiraldo@hotm
2 stars Cervellos is an album with some merit but far (and i mean FAR) away from being a 'masterpiece'. Not enough originality and quite pedestrian compositions. The musicianship also leaves a lot to desire. For completist of the 70's italian prog scene but not a great listen at all!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#35872)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

Based on a Greek mythology concept , Cervello's only album came with a gimmick artwork sleeve with a cut out in the front gatefold showing a surprising content of what appears to be canned tomatoes. I fail to grasp the concept but clearly this album has its roots in VDGG's first period with complete sections being about as chaotic as the Generator could make it. This is so very evident in the three-part Trittico although they still manage to make it sound personal. Although the link to the other KC and VDGG influenced band, Osanna was not yet realized (the guitarist/vocalist Rustici will join Osanna later and will also end up in Uno) , it is clear that every proghead will put this album right next to Osanna's Palepoli (easily their best) album in their collection. There are many good moments on this album , but the music tends to stay a bit too wisely conventional (even with their impressive influences) to really arouse you to excitement, but always keeping your attention on the luscious ambiances from crazy saxes and calmer flutes.

A worthy album (even above average as far as I am concerned), but by no means essential (because it is a little too derivative at times) unless Italian prog is your forte. The Korean label Si-Wan re-issued this album in a mini-Lp sleeve with the original artwork faithfully reproduced, but too bad for the ugly back cover!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#51690)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The only album released in 1973 "Melos". The sound is progressive sublime rock. It is a concept album of rare that redoubtable imagination invents. The meaning of the title is a melody. The performance is energetic. It is a brutal performance. A dangerous charm has been shot. The image of dancing the pantheon of Greece wildly is vividly drawn. It is similar music to initial OSANNA. The height of the tension equals MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and KING CRIMSON.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#68393)
Posted Sunday, February 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh how I was looking forward to this album being a huge Osanna fan. Cervello was a band from Naples like Osanna, and each band had a brother in it. Corrado Rustici played with Cervello (later with Osanna as well) and his older brother, Danilo played for Osanna. I had read of the comparisions between the two and first listened to this with eager anticipation.

This album unlike Palepoli consists of more traditonal, in a prog sense, song structure. Songs are a nice length. Not too long or too short. The vocals are standard for me. Nothing that really stood out outside of the first song, yet nothing that left you cringing either. This album is also not as 'heavy' for lack lack of a better word as Palepoli. The album begins with Canto Del Capro with it's flighty flutes and chanted vocals during an extended intro. The song really hits a peak with the loud distorted vocals jarring you out of the stupor you may have been in. Very effective arrangement, came out of nowhere and just grabs your attention. The next song, Trittico is a mini epic of sorts in 3 distinct parts. The first part features some nice vibraphone work and some lovely flute, whic is a hallmark of the album. The first section ends with a high energy drums and sax section right out of Osanna. The second section is memorable for a nice flute and accoustic guitar melody with some high pitched vocal harmonies. The third section brings back the sax and the e-guitar before fading out in a chorus of la-la's. Very nice piece of music. Euterpe features a nice flute/accoustic melody over a a simple quarter note bass pattern, then the tempo picks up with a sax solo then a fiery yet tasteful guitar solo.

Scinsicne features a nice descending guitar pattern joined by the flute before the drums kick in and your toes have a life of their own and are tapping away hahah. I thought to end of this song was rather crafty, with almost metallic guitar figures that hint of yet in the end only tease you of all out guitar shredding. The title track Melos comes next. A nice cymbal and vibraphone intro is followed by warm inviting vocals. A nice flute break with a harmonized flute section that was unexpected and very catchy. The hamronized trick is pulled out later with the saxophone which again is unexpected and welcome. Galassia an interesting intro with cymbals and guitars panning across the channels. The vocals are a nice change, sounding a bit distant as if recorded in another room. Nice high energy bass and drums part during a final guitar break. The last song is Affresco is a nice close to the album led by some flighty sounding flute.

This album, I must admit disappointed me at first. I expected and was looking for another visceral masterpiece like Palepoli. I would have given this album 3 stars based on that, however this album has really grown on me plus the realization that Cervello were on their own path.. not meerly being an Osanna clone. This album while not as complex as Palepoli is in a way... a more thoughtfully considered album. For that I decided to give it another star.

4 stars, an excellent album to add to your Italian collection... but only after you have the essential Italian masterworks.

Michael (aka micky)

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Send comments to micky (BETA) | Report this review (#82984)
Posted Thursday, July 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Challenging music from that most sublime of genres.

One of the most elegantly complex and fully realized of the "difficult" Italian classics, Melos is for fans of the Osanna, Balletto di Bronzi, RRR, and Semiramis styles. I have a hunch that fans of Crimson, VDGG, and Gentle Giant will also approve. It will probably be less appreciated by fans of the gentler and more accessible bands like Celeste and Locanda delle Fate. The musical approach and the sound are very sophisticated and unique. A combination of primarily guitars, flutes and saxes are tightly woven into a very dense, often dark, unsettling, and just plain eerie feel. Some sources say there are no (or very little) keyboards used to create this sound palette which is certainly unusual. Sometimes I think I hear some but I can't be sure the way the other instruments are employed. It took me many plays to really get past the rather exhausting outer shell and discover the melodies hiding inside and now I just cannot get enough of this excellent material. This band from Naples was related to the Osanna band via the Rustici brothers, the younger one in Cervello was another example of how the very young were leaders in the Italian scene back then. Corrado Rustici was but a teenager when the band recorded Melos in Milan back in 1973. While Osanna's big album "Palepoli" generally gets the most attention my personal view is that "Melos" is a better album. While not as trippy as the wildly freaky "Palepoli" I feel that Melos is more overtly musical and more genuinely satisfying in the long run.

Juan at ItalianProg describes the Cervello sound like this: "There is great deal of excellent acoustic guitar work and mellotron-like sounds created by the saxophones. The vocals coupled with the acoustic guitar and flutes hypnotize the listener into a technical yet fluid atmosphere so the music then breaks into a frenzy full of sax and adventurous guitar playing. The tempo and mood change from calm and melodic to violent and bizarre (interweaving between scales). No keyboards present, but they are not needed due to the "cerebral" arrangements these musicians have created for us on this album."[Juan Carlos Lopez] In another great review Warren Nelson sums up the sound perfectly: ".with soaring and complex melodies, compelling and angular instrumental passages culminating in some aggressive individual performances, all weaved together in a tapestry of beautiful and emotional musical syncopation. One of the few Italian prog releases without a prominent keyboard arsenal, the rich sound of this band is achieved with powerful drumming, multiple woodwinds, and intelligent scaler runs on guitar. But not least of all are the typically emotionally powerful vocals. Dynamic change-ups and exquisite group interaction complete another example of one of the finest Italian progressive albums you will ever hear."[Warren Nelson]

My own take on the specific tracks: "Canto Del Capro" begins with layers of flutes over what sounds like a foghorn and cymbal splashes moving left to right in the stereo spectrum. Soon an acoustic guitar precedes delightfully freaky operatic style vocals like only the Italians can do. A thrilling opening. Suddenly the drums kick in and you think it might be "normal" for a bit but soon these ungodly compressed vocals rattle your eardrums. Strange acoustic and electric guitar flares round out the rest of this unsettling start. "Trittico" is an enchanting initially with sentimental flute melody, acoustic and vocal. Eventually a crazy sax and percussion crash the party for a bit before the soft opening style returns with additional guitar noodlings. After a brief fade the end section is a bizarre cacophony of choral voices. My one complaint is wishing the bass were a bit more clear and upfront, sometimes it is distant and muddy but it's a minor nitpick. "Euterpe" begins with acoustic and flutes again in a warm and inviting mood. This eventually leads into the full band jamming with a real e-guitar and saxophone workout. "Scinsicne" begins with guitar that sounds like it came from an outtake of "Astronomy Domine!" In comes great flute and bass interplay and then vocals which are another strong point on this album. As the band comes on full the saxes jump into the fray and the sound gets brutal. At 3:48 is one of my favorite parts of the album, these mutant bizarre sounds and drums that mimic some sinister funeral dirge. This is followed by a maniacal e-guitar solo. "Melos" features great flute and sax workouts again with another Rustici axe thrashing at the end. "Galassia" is a feast of inventive vocal interludes over beautifully played acoustic guitars. Dabbles of flute precede a full blown e-guitar freakout challenged by pursuing sax and percussion attacks. You'll need a shower after this track. "Affresco" is a rather traditional sounding closer piece, very short and there just to bring you gently back to Earth after your cerebral pummeling.

I guess the reason I light up the magic star 5 would be this: Even when listening to most good albums it is evident that I am doing just that. I'm listening to a collection of songs that are just too structured and I know what is coming. They might light up my pleasure center and my brain says "oh that's a good song, let me listen to more of the same!" Melos does not allow me to stagnate. It's more like eavesdropping on someone's thoughts (presented musically) than listening to the next "killer song, dude." Their thoughts or perhaps their nightmares in this case with everything being so strange, the album starts and it's like this bizarre trip occurs. Even some of my favorite albums are relatively predictable but not Melos. With each play I still wonder what the hell is going on. It still pushes my buttons and challenges me, my definition of a genuinely progressive album. That's not the only way an album can get 5 stars from me but it is one way.

This is one of the Italian albums you hear people describe as "harsh" and you might hate it the first several times you listen. Don't get discouraged. Put it away and spin it every other month..like many of the best prog albums you may end up loving it a year from now. That's how it was for me-a real grower. But while many of us are thrilled by this album it is not universally loved in the way that PFM is. It's rather confrontational sonic style does have its detractors so read plenty of reviews before you take the plunge. In my book this is essential for Italian fans and recommended for fans of stuff like "Red" era Crimson. Try to find the Japanese mini-lp sleeve edition which features decent sound and a high quality reproduction of the cool artwork. I love the cover of this album..fantastic stuff!

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#152982)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych Team
5 stars Please let me say Melos is exactly CALCULATED MAD EXPERIMENT!

I guess it's absolutely rare that an artist (Cervello) might push the madness with their only one product, and the madness looks to have affected most of fans. Weird, eccentric, and theoretically-broken or sensibly-broken (but heavily Italian-flavourful) sound should make us broken thoroughly.

First track Canto Del Capro gives solemn whisper and then noisy voice and instrumentals. Trittico hits us exploded and crazy sound and shout. Euterpe throws both softness and strongness like Goddess. The album's highlight is of course Scinsicne (T.R.M) surely! For the first time of this album, there's no-broken and steady tune on Melos. This point is very interesting for me(^_^). Again weird and fearful wave attacks on the next song Galassia. Last Affresco goes calmly and leaves listeners uncomfortable feeling. :P

What an EXCELLENT MUSIC CONCRETE!

5 stars, beyond any doubts.

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Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#194897)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The culture of Naples might have the part that other other people do not easily understand with the unique culture exactly. The very arbitrary lyrics might difficultly give us the charm simultaneously.

Osanna after 1974 derived the form with the member and announced a lot of bands the masterpiece. The music character of this Cervello and the idea might have originality and the composition not to be able to mimic in nobody in some the deriving sects.

It is said that they positively take the element of the image and the play excluding music and aimed at the overall art. They exactly challenged various cultures with an original element. It might surely have walked in a form independent of the flow of Osanna.

The creation of Corrado Rustici is splendidly expressed by this album. An expression of a pastoral wind instrument and a violent part have splendidly expressed man's feelings. It might developed an enchantment a few elements from Osanna. If the fact to which Danilo Rustici did this album in produce is considered, it might be able to be said the band to which this band also draws the flow of Osanna to some degree. It is guessed that this Cervello is a chemical reaction in the culture of Naples by music if legitimate is considered at the same time as one of Prog Rock of valuable Italy though Nova and Luna worked from another angle to music.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#226585)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars CERVELLO are a band people tend to associate with OSANNA, and for good reason since the guitarists for both bands are brothers. "Melos" is especially compared with "Palepoli" although I find the latter more difficult to digest yet it is probably the better album. Interesting that three of the members are listed as playing flute (they play other instruments too).

"Canto Del Capro" opens with fuzz as flute joins in. Lots of atmosphere here. Vocals are spoken 1 1/2 minutes in then vocal melodies come in. The song kicks in after 3 minutes. I like the guitar. Vocals follow. The bass is relentless as flute returns. Vocals come in fairly quickly in this laid back intro for "Trittico". Flute before a minute. The man can sing i'll tell you that. It kicks in after 3 minutes,sax too. It settles back 4 1/2 minutes in with flute and acoustic guitar again. Vocals too. "Euterpe" is led by flute, acoustic guitar and vocals early. It's fuller sounding after 1 1/2 minutes as the drums become more prominant. Sax joins in.The guitar is lighting it up before 3 minutes.

"Scinsione (T.R.M.)" opens with some interesting sounding guitar. Vocals after a minute as flute and bass help out. It kicks in before 2 minutes with fuzz. An all out assault here. Vocals are back. It settles 3 1/2 minutes in as fuzz comes and goes. Cool.The guitar starts to solo late. Reserved vocals come in fairly quickly on the next track "Melos". Drums and flute follow. A gorgeous sound. Vocal melodies after 2 minutes. Guitar as vocals return then the guitar starts to light it up before 3 1/2 minutes. "Galassia" opens with lots of atmosphere. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Lots of flute here. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. More guitar and some heaviness 4 minutes in. Drums end it. "Affresco" is just over a minute of light vocals and flute. A must for RPI fans.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#246328)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band is another one of these Italian one-hit wonders.

I am not particular knowledgable about the Italian scene. That is why this review is the only review here in PA where you will not find Osanna as a reference to this album. The reason is that I have yet to hear anything from Osanna. So my approach is slightly different.

I find the opening track Canto Del Capro very pastorial in the vein of Foxtrot (Genesis). The flutes are strong before some more Jethro Tull and Soft Machine like harder music kicks in. The next tracks follows the same ideas. This album is a mix of Genesis, Tull, some avant- garde, Pink Floyd and PFM. But my general impression is that this album is more pastorial Italian than anything else. Both keyboards, flutes, saxophones, drums, guitars and bass. The vocals are excellent and a major plus for this album.

Some of the tracks here, most notable Canto Del Capro, Trittico and Melos, are excellent. Other tracks are not that good. But this album never gets dull or substandard. The album, although a bit one dimentional, also have a lot of small details which I find interesting. I normally do not like saxophones. But the use of them here is tolerable. The flutes are excellent which gives this album a slight eerie folk music feeling. The vocals have I allready mentioned and they fits the music like a hand in a glove.

This album is to me an arch-Italian release. And that is both a compliment and an observation. I am either too fond of Italian progressive rock and my judgement is therefore impaired or this is a genuine excellent album. Either explains my four stars. Please check out this album for yourself.

4 stars (barely)

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#250120)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
3 stars I have to admit that this album confounds me. It has the reputation of being one of the essentials of the RPI canon, but try as I might I just can't get into it. I can appreciate that Melos is a bold and challenging work; it's certainly brimming with complex musical strands, but it's just a bit too ''difficult'' for my taste. I'm not saying that I only like simple song structures, but the music here is constantly changing which makes it quite confusing; or should that be confused? It's like musical sleepwalking; there is certainly variety, but themes appear then disappear with little thematic development and variation. The band appears to have used a cut and paste approach, with no apparent link to different parts within songs.

The other side to this argument is that Melos is a genuinely singular work. Paragraphs of sound are built from short phrases and it all seems very spontaneous, as if the band were in stream-of-consciousness mode. As I alluded to above, song structures are very loose and the music is characterized by a marked volatility of mood. Broadly speaking, most of the tracks move from mellow and acoustic to harsh and aggressive. For example, the opening section of Euterpe has recorders and acoustic guitar, while the closing part features the electric commotion of squeaking sax and piercing guitar. Instruments are used imaginatively to create a unique sound world, with winds and vibes employed to compensate for the absence of keyboards. Galassia features what sounds like a Mellotron but is in fact an electric saxophone, whereas Scinsione (T.R.M.) features some odd guitar that sound like sci-fi effects. Variety of timbre and texture are important components of the album's sound-scape as vibes and pure toned flutes and recorders alternate with the electric instruments. Vocals range from ritual incantation and treated voice on the otherworldly sounding Canto Del Capro to light and lyrical on Trittico, which in my opinion has the most aesthetically pleasing melody on the album.

For anyone building a comprehensive RPI collection, this is an essential addition to that collection. However I would personally only rate this album as, at best, good i.e. 3 stars. Benchmark albums are Osanna's Palepoli and Il Balletto Di Bronzo's Ys; I would place Melos between these two in terms of both quality and accessibility, with my recommendation going to Palepoli. Another album that I would recommend is Biglietto Per l'inferno, which has a stronger sense of melody than Melos. One final thought on the album sleeve of Melos. The album is seemingly a concept album based on Greek mythology, although the front cover features a picture of a tin of tomatoes being opened. Stranger yet are the peas on the back cover photo. Can anyone explain that please?

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#265072)
Posted Tuesday, February 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Cervello were formed in Naples in 1970 on the initiative of guitarist Corrado Rustici, brother of Osanna's guitarist Danilo. In 1973, after a good live activity and thanks to the help of Danilo Rustici, they could release a debut album for the label Ricordi, "Melos". The line up featured Corrado Rustici (guitar, flute, vibraphone, vocals), Gianluigi Di Franco (lead vocals, flute, percussion), Giulio D'Ambrosio (sax, flute, vocals), Antonio Spagnolo (bass, acoustic guitar, flute, vocals) and Remigio Esposito (drums, vibraphone). Cervello's overall sound is absolutely original: no keyboards but bass pedals set through the Binson Echorec and many flutes, guitars and harmony vocals to weave a fabric where Mediterranean roots are perfectly intertwined with other influences ranging from British progressive rock bands like Genesis and Gentle Giant to the West Coast sound and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The main source of inspiration for the lyrics was ancient Greek Tragedy and Mythology. Well, all in all Naples was founded by the ancient Greeks with the name of Neapolis...

The opener "Canto del capro" (Goat song) describes a rite in honour of Dionysus where Satyrs and Maenads dance and drink a magical substance while blood spills out from a ritually slaughtered goat. The music starts softly, the atmosphere is mysterious and dark then solemn music, dance and wine transform the anxiety of the faithful into a "mystical eruption". In some way a rituality that today is missing... "Scream, perhaps the faith will come back!".

The long and complex "Trittico" (Triptych) is melancholic and nostalgic. Here the souvenirs of ancient rites celebrating joy and pain disappear in a foggy past... "Everyone will try to tell his story in vain / The temple will crumble / My voice will never come back to life again / Anger crushes me / I would like to find a peace / That perhaps I never enjoyed...". The anxiety of freedom rides away in the wind. A new deal is coming, a new society where falsity and cruelty rule... "I feel hope in life fall down... I'm powerless / That's why I sing into the silence...".

The atmosphere of "Euterpe" is lighter. This track begins with cheerful flutes and beautiful melodic lines. In Greek mythology Euterpe was the muse of music and was called the "giver of delight", here she's a young girl who's growing up giving birth to a charming music that can bring to life again on the notes of a fiery electric guitar solo... "Clear illusion of healthy moments / Where sincerity reflects herself...". On "Scinsione (T.R.M.)" beautiful harmony vocals contrast with sudden jazzy bursts and changes of rhythm and mood. It's an experimental track where music and words are meant to underline efforts of mimic representations (Tentativi di Rappresentazione Mimica), depicting in a sequence looks, sobs, hallucinated looks, irresolution, disdain, ambiguity, joy, ecstasy... "Fantasy, candid visions / Sea, endless coast / Coral shapes are wondering... Drops of songs / Sacredness...".

The title track is melodic and dreamy. Melos is a Greek word that defines the melodic side of a song. Here soaring vocals take you up and your mind starts wondering in the sky... "Masks of bone are kissing each other / A silent moon turns back and begins to paint the air again...".

"Galassia" (Galaxy) is an introspective track inviting you to an inner quest. Look for your ego as a way to explore infinite worlds... Shadows and lights, flights of comets and new suns. "Joy soars and glides clear / Into a white and endless foam...".

The short and calm "Affresco" (Fresco) concludes this beautiful album in a "celestial way". Karma becomes wind and a divine light begins to shine... "Total splitting of the body from the mind / The infinite nothingness, the peace...".

On the whole "Melos" is an excellent album that would have deserved a better chance at the time. The work went almost completely unnoticed and the band split up in 1974. Anyway, as years passed by, it reached an authentic "cult status" among Italianprog lovers...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#292723)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Cervello is one of those RPI bands that shone as short and bright as a supernova. Seemingly coming from out of nowhere and hitting hard with a unique masterpiece before fading into oblivion again. For many RPI tifosi this album ranks as a masterpiece, and going by the quality, originality and artistic honesty this is largely deserved.

This sort of album is entirely unique and not easily compared to any UK bands. Within the RPI scene there's the obvious relation with the wild sound of Osanna, Il Balletto Di Bronzo and Semiramis, but that doesn't mean anything to anyone but the few people familiar with the scene. And those in the know obviously have the Cervello album already.

So let's name one UK band, one that was possibly more popular in Italy then in their homeland, Van Der Graaf Generator. Cervello inherited the bewildering song development of Pawn Hearts, and even within a 5 minute format their songs are an adventure, complete with delirious sidesteps and controlled chaos. The use of flutes and sax help to extend the comparison, but Cervello has the guitars prominent in the sound and doesn't use organs.

Also the vocals are very different, they may be equally passionate, imaginative and creative but the voice of the lead vocalist is very different from Hammill's, more nasal, or 'trumpet-y' as I call it, and possibly an aspect of the sound that might be a bit difficult to get into, unless you are already a convinced fan of the style from the other RPI bands mentioned above.

A masterpiece of RPI but a very difficult one where I have to force myself to listen to, even though each listen is an enjoyable discovery. 4.5 stars for sure, maybe more within a few years.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#348768)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Cervello is another one-off band from Italy in the '70s, and the music on "Melos", their only album, is noisier than most RPI albums I've heard. Noisy and at times some avant-garde elements are present, but definitely not as much as Area. The music here ranges from soft and beautiful to quite harsh. As "Canto del Capro" starts the album off with some odd avant sounding flute and bizarre psuedo-choir, I wasn't sure what to expect. Initially my expectations were another purely beautiful RPI album. This album is quite a bit racier in pace, and is usually very rocky with strange touches. There even some passages that makes me think of various Zeuhl bands. I think tracks like "Trittico", "Euterpe", "Melos", and "Affresco" stand out because of the healthy combination of avant or heavy passages and beautiful passages, with more emphasis on the beautiful passages.

This is a very entertaining album, and it feels much different from most RPI that I've heard. "Melos" would definitely not be an album to serve as an introduction for RPI, but if you're already a fan and are looking for something on the wild side then you should track this one down.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#435058)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first time I heard Melos, I hated it. Superficially, it is a discordant mess, seemingly random, and obnoxious. It sounds like nothing, and nothing sounds like it. And now some ten years later, that's exactly why I love it so much. It would be impossible to sum up in a few paragraphs what Cervello were able to accomplish here, it must simply be heard. But it will take most listeners some time to really warm up to Melos, as it is chock full of avant garde musical ideas, other-worldly sounds, and a general sense of mystery; just the right amount of creepy and transcendent in equal doses. I seriously would give it ten stars if I could.

Cervello were a short-lived group of five musicians from the Napoli area, all multi-instrumentalists and all extremely talented. Guitarist Corrado Rustici is the younger brother of Osanna's Danillo Rustici, and would later join that group in a limited capacity. But Cervello have more in common with Semiramis than Osanna, blending a traditional rock sound with atypical instrumentation like vibraphone and 12-string guitar. Add a charismatic and super-talented singer and you've got all the ingredients for a prog classic. "Canto del Capro" begins the album with a sense of dread and a foreboding tone, a theme that will be sprinkled throughout. What sounds like a low-tuned Mellotron* plays the same note repeatedly while flute and muted electric guitar interject; cymbal splashes and vocal scatting augment an already spurious arrangement. Then Rustici, as if out of nowhere, begins a melodic arpeggio and the entire band fire on all cylinders. At this point, your head is already spinning and the first song isn't even over yet.

"Trittico" will please Genesis fans with its symphonic introduction; but it won't last long as three minutes in, singer Guianluigi Di Franco hits an inhuman crescendo, and the song explodes into a barrage of saxes and Frippian guitar runs. The original theme returns and the song draws to a close, and "Euterpe," with its similar instrumentation, begins. This song has one of the coolest guitar solos I've ever heard, and Corrado Rustici even surpasses the reputation of his talented brother. "Scinsione (T.R.M.) recapitulates the horrific sound of the album's opener - I would not recommend listening with headphones on in the dark. The middle section with the brooding Mellotron* sound and oscillating effect still freaks me out to this day. Luckily the title track will bring some much needed melodic relief, before "Galassia" shatters any illusion of the status quo...the end of the song features some of the most complex, high-level technical skill in all of Italian Prog. What sounds like 12/4 time is broken up into poly-meter, a bar of three then four then five, then back to standard 4/4 time for two measures! It's enough to make your head spin if you can keep it above water. "Affresco" is a brief and somber end to this masterpiece of progressive rock music. Highly recommended.

*There is some debate as to whether keyboards are used on Melos. Though none of the musicians are listed as playing keyboards or synthesizers specifically, bassist Antonio Spagnolo is credited with "Pedals." I believe the Mellotron sound heard may actually be an organ pedal processed with various effects; a Mellotron can only hold a singular note for so long before the "tape runs out" - so it is unlikely a Mellotron or similar mechanical synthesizer was used for the droning sound on "Canto del Capro" and "Scinsione (T.R.M.). It makes more sense that a pedal organ was used, as this would also allow Spagnolo to reproduce the song live while playing bass, a la Geddy Lee.

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Send comments to coasterzombie (BETA) | Report this review (#491515)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Another Italian group with a short life,Cervello came from Napoli and performed in early- to mid-70's with Giulio D'Ambrosio on sax/flutes, Remigio Esposito on drums,but the driving forces of the band were singer/flutist Gianluigi Di Franco, guitarist Corrado Rustici and multi- instrumentalist Antonio Spagnolo.Corrado was the younger brother of Osanna's guitarist Danilo Rustici.The sole album of the band ''Melos'' was released in 1973 on the Ricordi label,with several re-issues following in the future.

Often compared to OSANNA,the sound of Cervello is less hard but somewhat more diverse,throwing influences from Heavy Rock,Psych,Jazz,Classical and Mediterrenean Music into the mix.Unlike many other Italian bands of the time,the style of the band is nor symphonic neither jazzy,it is actually a very Fusion-like style of Progressive Rock with Lizard-era KING CRIMSON, GNIDROLOG or even Swiss band CIRCUS being the most suitable refrence points.The arrangements are quite complex with a great number of breaks, featuring plenty of saxes and flutes and swinging from energetic electric prog to mellow folkish rock with acoustic passages and a very psychedelic atmosphere.Vocals are great from romantic lines to more Avant-Garde choirs.Much-based also on atmosphere,the mood of the album leaves its dreamy pastoral face to jump on really dark and complicated themes.The musicianship overall has a strong theatrical vibe (OFFICINA MECCANICA spring to mind),but it is not always consistent on the whole,particularly due to the many different styles presented.

The band split up a year after the release of the album,with Corrado Rustici participating in Osanna's album ''Landscape of life'' and later being a member of Jazz-Rock act Nova together with his brother Danilo.Singer Gianluigi Di Franco remained also within the music industry as well,until his death in 2005.

''Melos'' is a nice and quite different release from the usual Italian Prog vibes of the 70's with a much personal sound and a great discovery for those into dramatic,complex and intricate Progressive Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#575632)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Short lived one-album wonders Cervello had family connections to Osanna via Corrado Rustici, so comparisions between their sole album and the Osanna's Palepoli period may be inevitable, though there's something earthier and folkier about Melos, with its gentle pastoral passages balanced with more rowdy and rough about the edges moments, helped in particular by boisterous vocalist Gianluigi Di Franco. It's not the most consistent of albums, and at points the band seem to be meandering a little in search of their sound; in truth, they don't really seem to have hit on a coherent sound for the band yet, and I wonder whether their inability to carve out a distinct identity for themselves might have contributed a little to their disbanding in the following year. Still, it's decent enough stuff and whilst I wouldn't make it my first recommendation for a prog tour of Italy, it's worth a listen if you've already covered the basics of the Italian prog scene.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#924276)
Posted Tuesday, March 05, 2013 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
5 stars Melos translates into flour-smog in Danish(Mel-os) I think that says something about something quite vague which has never been successfully transcribed nor understood before this very moment.

I vividly remember reading Jim's(Finnforest) extraordinary review of Melos from back before I joined this site. Now whereas the surreal art work depicting a psychedelic can of tomatoes in the process of being opened already inevitably had drawn my attention, it was the review of the music standing next to it that made me purchase the album in a heartbeat. So first and foremost a great big thank you goes to Jim for introducing me to this music. Wow, looking back now, I can hardly imagine having lived the last 5 years without Cervello's Melos in my life. It means so much to me..........like an invisible brother.

To start out on the wrong foot musically though, I'd like to point out the obscure and completely unrelated fact, that this record sounds remarkably close to an Italian version of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe. Yup, I know..... Who the feck is Burnin' Red Ivanhoe? Still, comparing obscure bands to equally obscure bands is something I genuinely adore. BRI are a Danish band with one particular Karsten Vogel behind the saxophone. Their brand of psychedelic jazz rock is one that I haven't heard reproduced anywhere other than on Melos. Cervello are however from Italy, and you certainly get a whiff of the ol Mediterranean seaboard in the cheeky vocals, the constant flirtations with acoustic folk elements and perhaps even more so in the general warm vibe that permeates this gem.

That vibe comes from the lack of synths, or at least I certainly think so. Instead of focusing on the more luscious and creamy character of the symphonic school of melodies, Melos feeds off the natural and slightly breezy sway of jazz rock. Though most notably associated with the musical equivalent of all chops and no sauce, the fusion offered up on this baby is beyond melodic. It's like a harmonious bird convention with added tumultuous rock. Through simple quirky reed sections with a mere 3 chords, this album soars into unknown heights of sonic bliss. Similarly to the aforementioned Danes, these guys have a way with melody that is second to none, and then with a charming crooked smile on their lips, like had the cheese just slit off their crackers, and a youthful nonchalance about em, Cervello then wraps up the remaining room of the album in a wild and adventurous strain of rock, that I have come to love so dearly.

There are moments on here where I get short out of the blue chills and feel the urge to spread my arms out and leap into the air. The ending pirouette rock of Euterpe with the sax and guitar lapping up against each other in the most ingenious manner conceivable, - the teenager inflicted anxiousness of the vocals that mixed with a nasal quality to them appear bittersweet and poetic throughout the record, - the inspiring windswept flute melody of Trittico, - the colourful spacey twang of the guitar in Scinsicne - all of these are highlights on a release that seems to be immune to any low points or meandering musical riff raff. I hoover them up tenaciously with my ears and feel invigorated and ready to explode, like had I just licked the surface of a small star.

If you decide to dive into this album on account of its rather peculiar take on RPI or just find yourself intrigued by the enigmatic cover, the one thing that truly matters is that you're diving into it - plowing yourself through one of the most original sounding records from the Italian scene. And if anything, Melos continues to show itself as a timeless piece of art each and every time you return to it. Cervello hit a nerve back when they recorded this thing, that's for damn sure, and as a consequence of that we're now able to tap into the mainline whenever we feel the urge for an electric jolt of genius.

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#999072)
Posted Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Neapolitan society is very particular, full of paradoxes. Wonderful places, a lot of art, a cultured population that lives within many crimes. In particular the music scene is full of creativity. I'm Italian, but only recently I have discovered that there is even a Neapolitan Scale!!! In short, we can say literally "a world apart". It would probably be possible create a sub-genre in Prog Rock, characterized by the Neapolitan bands with Progressive and jazzy tones.

Among many bands, especially in RPI, surely emerge those bands that have created only one album, leaving for the rest of life in the imagination of the listener, unforgettable melodies and a hint of dissatisfaction for the only one prog gem.

The talent of these one-shot band's musicians is often forgotten, probably for little know names. But here the band formations is very impressive. The charming and powerful voice of Gianluigi Di Franco goes well with incredible guitar of Corrado Rustici, brother of Danilo who plays guitar whit most popular Osanna. Unfortunately Gianluigi Di Franco died in 2005.

It's hard not to be impressed by the attention to details. Starting with the cover in which there is a pack of canned brain. On original LP cover is possible to open this box under which appear the members of the band locked by spider's web. The band's name CERVELLO already offers an idea of their creativity. They want to recreate atmospheres of the past, of an old Greece lost, with magical and mysterious moments. But the surprise is when the album plays! In the opening track "Il Canto Del Capro" (the sing of the goat) you can feel clearly a kind of black magic, as if a pagan ritual was in front of your eyes. While the 4/5 of the band are playing the wind instruments (flutes for most) a bleak chorus sometimes as bewitched, falls into the scene: "Magica Danza Ci Porterŕ Il Seme, Vivido Intruglio Disseta La Mente, Magica Danza Ci Porterŕ Il Seme". (magic dance will bring to us the seed, vivid concoction quenches the mind, magic dance will bring to us the seed) WOW! A shiver down to the spine.

Other songs are spectacular. Di Franco's voice reaches the culmination in "Trittico" (triptyque / maybe mean an Opera in three parts) after a soft dreamy intro. Sophisticated time changes introduce an increasing singing with haunting guitars until come back again gentle chorus. And when the track appears to be over a galloping rhythm with an unforgettable "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" concludes the song. As two lighthouses the voice and the guitar light up the mind in "Scinsione (T.R.M)", which at 4th minute is characterized by a wonderful crazy guitar. To embellish the album there's "Melos", (melodic aspect of a song in Greek time) 5 minutes of musical essence with a superb guitar solo.

"Galassia" (galaxy) is my favorite song. I'm a dreamer and when listening is at the end of the album it's as if I started to wander in dense universe, accompanied by that hypnotic voice, and then be awoken by the redundant final rhythm. It's always the old unmistakable emotion, truly unique! This track, their structure and the fact that it is toward the end of the album reminds me "The Fountain Of Salmacis" by GENESIS. It's an innate analogy that my mind always do.The album ends with the strange "Affresco" (fresco / a painting technique) that as in a painting sets this ancient journey into the Greece of Gods, of the sacred and profane, lulled by ritual symphonies.

One of the most significant album of RPI. A tribute to human intelligence and art. A unique album in the history of Prog Rock destined to remain a solitary gem.

5 Stars

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Send comments to Utnapishtim (BETA) | Report this review (#1104795)
Posted Wednesday, January 01, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a marvelous album!

In my quest through Italian progressive music lately this perhaps might be my most rewarding find. It's that good. But not immediately. Melos (the song) I found mind-blowing the first time I heard it, but all the rest really had to grow on me. But that's only good, because:

I'm afraid I regard music from another angle as most people do, I am not particularly interested in its technical aspects nor who's who and who did it with whom, For me the most important part about music is in which way it can play MY strings, i.e. my internal strings. It must "act" on me, it must impress me, it must touch my emotions, it must make me misunderstand. Perhaps the latter being the most important; since in that way it's adventurous in the most ultimate way.

Melos does it all. It did take some time (the misunderstanding), but then it hit very hard. Apparently from first listen until now I played this album some 12 times. Today particularly I really had to fight my tears (touching my emotions). So, this album really took me by surprise (impressed me), but not at the first listen! It indeed is a grower, and a very rewarding one at that.

I read the other reviews on it, I need to say that "technically" I can underscribe David's(Guldbamsen) remark on the way it sounds; "It's like a harmonious bird convention with added tumultuous rock". It is. Despite the sometimes harsh "looking" sounds in fact it's rather pastoral. It at times being harsh only accentuates that, but in it's core it's just very very beautiful. Real maybe, earthen, true. Another friend for life made in front of the loudspeakers here.

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Send comments to jeromach (BETA) | Report this review (#1151873)
Posted Friday, March 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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