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Reale Accademia Di Musica - Angeli Mutanti CD (album) cover


Reale Accademia Di Musica

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Reale Accademia Di Musica were formed in 1972, releasing two albums before breaking up. Apparently a version of the band then released more albums, but according to the press release they were unauthorised and it is this version of the band which is the official one. If that isn't confusing enough, only singer/guitarist Pericle Sponzilli is from the original line-up, and he lasted just for the debut album where he only provided guitar. So, if I have it right, this is a group using the same name as a band which released a couple of albums some 35 years ago, but with just one musician from back then. All of that is quite a distraction from what is actually a really interesting album, no matter what the name is on the cover.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a band claiming to have its roots from that era, what we have here is classic Seventies Italian style progressive rock, with some wonderfully dated keyboards in particular. Pericle has a solid voice, as opposed to spectacular, but it works very well with the often laid back style and timbre of the music. However, by also utilising the vocal talents of Erika Savastan they have allowed the mild and lower male timbre to contrast against the more alto female. Where they allow themselves to really slow it down and act as a full duet against some delightful mellotron of Fabio Liberatori, as on "Johnny e Adele" then it really is a delight. There are some incredibly enjoyable songs on here, and while not earth shattering, is an album that any of fan of Seventies progressive rock will surely get a great deal from. All the lyrics are in Italian, yet for me that just added to the overall feel of the music.

Report this review (#2039164)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars What a confusing new work from Reale Accademia di Musica, a vintage Italian group that released a self-titled work back in 1972 that many RPI fans now rate as something of a minor classic. However, a soap opera drama revolves around two groups currently utilising the band name (the `other guys' as R.A.M releasing two albums a decade ago), but this one is considered the `official' version, even if it boasts even fewer original members, guitarist Pericle Sponzilli being the sole returnee here. But while it doesn't resemble the Seventies album at all, he and his assembled performers have delivered a highly respectable `comeback' in 2018's `Angeli Mutanti', one that can be considered a decent continuation or perhaps a very fine first effort from a `new' group!

On the surface, `Angeli Mutanti' seems like just a fairly safe and melodic collection of soft rock tunes and warm ballads sung in Italian, with Pericle taking up the lead vocals and constantly sharing the songs with stunning female singer Erika Savastani, and their voices blend together and compliment each-other beautifully. But if you're going to pass judgement on the disc and dismiss it after only listening to the first couple of tracks, you're going to miss out on several more adventurous and bigger proggier treats that are buried further into the disc that lift the album to greater heights. It even boasts guitar contributions from Gianfranco Coletta of an early incarnation of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Fernando Fera of Albero Motore and Nicola Di Staso of Libra.

The opening title track may be an undemanding pop/rock tune, but it's carried by Pericle's charismatic raspy croon and Erika's sweet soulful purr and taken higher with the lightest of Hammond organ touches and some tasty slow-burn guitar soloing to keep things interesting. `Alba' reminds of the male/female dynamic of fellow RPI comebackers Murple on their 2014 `Il Viaggio' album and fuses a bluesy danger to some icy Neo-Prog sounding synths, and ballad `Johnny e Adele' is a classy and embracing romantic duet. `Cosa Nascondono le Nuvole' is an sleek indie pop/rocker (and listen to that teasing P.F.M-sounding Mellotron-laced outro!) , and `The Beat Goes On (Come la Canzone)' is an elegant ballad with soft chiming guitars.

However, `Tempo' brings one of the more instantly exciting moments for prog fans, delivering classical piano races and dizzying synth spirals (a real showcase for keyboardist Fabio Liberatori here), Andy Bartolucci's snappy drumming, Fabio Fraschini's murmuring bass, twisting electric guitar reaches and soft reflective acoustic touches, and a doomed vocal from Erika laced with a gothic longing. There's a touch of Pink Floyd dramatic heaviness overall to this compact epic as well, and it might be one of the standout moments of Italian prog in 2018!

`A Dritta San Salvador' is a lightly melancholic comedown with plenty of trilling synths, `Una Sola Immagine' has a sprightly playfulness but the highlight is a gorgeously dreamy and unhurried electronic drift in the middle with hints of unease. `Io Sono Qui's contrasting acoustic verses with electric guitar drama reminds of British folk-proggers Mostly Autumn, and the group wisely close on eclectic instrumental `La Pista e il Miraggio', all shimmering guitars and swirling electronic washes full of mystery and ultimately bringing defiant hope and uplifting warmth.

Make sure to dig deeper into `Angeli Mutanti', as closer inspection reveals that even the more seemingly straight-forward tracks all feature colourful `proggy' touches and exquisite little details, even if it's just short but tasty keyboard and guitar solos. Fortunately this means that at just the right times the disc proves more surprising than it first appears, and there is no shortage of sophisticated tunes, tasteful playing, and superb singing throughout the entire set. It's a `quiet achiever' of an album deserving of more attention, and it's more than a worthy addition to any Italian prog fans collection.

Four stars.

Report this review (#2116738)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars In 2014, after a concert at Progressivamente Festival in Rome where he played with some old friends of the Roman prog scene of the early seventies, Pericle Sponzilli, original member and part of the creative core of Reale Accademia di Musica, decided to come back to music with a new band. Since he felt that over the years the name of Reale Accademia di Musica had been improperly used on projects with a different style, he took over the old brand for what, in his opinion, should be considered the authentic second album of the historic band. After a long, hard work the new album, entitled "Angeli mutanti", was released on the independent M.P. & Records label with a line up featuring Pericle Sponzilli (vocals, guitars), Fabio Liberatori (piano, keyboards), Erika Savastani (vocals), Andy Bartolucci (drums) and Fabio Fraschini (bass) plus the guests Gianfranco Coletta (guitar), Nicola Di Staso (guitar) and Fernando Fera (guitar). According to the official website, "the group works like an atelier, a school, an academy" and the art work by Daniele Massimi underlines the link with the past bringing back to light the band's logo that you can find on the 1972 eponymous album but also suggests a touch of modernity and the evolution of the overall sound...

The excellent opener "Angeli mutanti" (Mutant angels) conjures up in music and words some strange creatures, nameless shapes that can fly under the radars without wings and feathers, emotionally charged but innocuous, invisible demons without a plan... The vocal style of Pericle Sponzilli and Erika Savastani is very different from that of the original vocalist Henryk Topel Cabanes but the result is good anyway.

The following "Alba" (Dawn) tells of a metaphorical quest for the rising sun and a better day, beyond time and space. The music and lyrics show the way out from a dark landscape filled with lies... Then it's the turn of the melancholic ballad "Johnny e Adele", featuring the guest Gianfranco Coletta on guitar. The music and lyrics here evoke a beautiful girl dancing on the beach on the notes of a guitar and the dreams of a guitarist in love...

The dreamy, melodic "Cosa nascondono le nuvole" (What the clouds hide) features the guest Nicola Di Staso on guitar and tells of far horizons hidden by the clouds, white mountains hanging over the sea, far rocks that seem too steep for climbing. Then the clouds are blown away and a pure sky reappears, the obstacles melt, there are no more steep rocks to climb up and you can have a new start... Next comes "The Beat Goes On (Come la canzone)" (The beat goes on - As the song), a piece veined of nostalgia featuring Fernando Fera (from another historic Roman band, Alberomotore) on guitar who also wrote the lyrics. It's an acoustic ballad in a singer-songwriter style about the magic of music and its power to take you back in time and stir emotions...

"Tempo" (Time), according to the liner notes, was inspired by "When Marnie Was There", a 2014 Japanese anime psychological drama film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It's a beautiful track evoking lakes, islands and exotic landscapes blurred by time and vivid memories of someone you can't forget... Here the music every now and again could recall Genesis and Pink Floyd.

"A dritta San Salvador" (To starboard San Salvador) is another dreamy track where the music and lyrics evoke a romantic adventure on the Caribbean Sea and conjure up black sirens and wild dances on a beach, emotional shipwrecks and dark magic... Next comes the ironic, carefree "Una sola immagine" (A single image) featuring lyrics written by Italian pop singer Nada Malanima, an old friend of the band, dealing in a light way with loneliness and time passing by.

Introduced by an almost solemn marching beat, the following "Io sono qui" (I am here) is a piece full of positive energy that depicts an experience of daily rebirth made with the help of a sensei, a spiritual master whose words are like a chant to follow in the morning light... Then beautiful instrumental "La pista e il miraggio" (The track and the mirage) closes the album mixing vintage sounds and exotic atmospheres.

On the whole, an excellent good album, even if very different from the sound of Reale Accademia di Musica eponymous debut work.

Report this review (#2631929)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2021 | Review Permalink

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