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Una Stagione All' Inferno - Il Mostro Di Firenze CD (album) cover


Una Stagione All' Inferno

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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3 stars "First review of this album"

"Black Widow Records strikes again!"

During the years the Italian progrock label Black Widow Records has supported a lot of interesting darker sounding progrock bands and artists, the latest example is Una Stagione All'Inferno ("a season in the hell"). This band is formed in 1997 by the collaboration between Fabio Nicolazzo, coming from Genoa's gothic rock scene, and Laura Menighetti, of classical training. Later Diego Banchero (Il Segno Del Comando), Carlo Opisso and Francesco Scariti joined the band, with this line-up the band released the song La Ballata Di Carini which was included in the compilation E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore, published in 1998 by the Italian label Black Widow Records. The track is the theme song of the famous 70s script L'Amaro Caso Della Baronessa Di Carini, interpreted by the band in a dark progressive way. Subsequently the band was preparing to make a concept album about that script, but this didn't happen because of disagreements within the band. In 2011 Fabio Nicolazzo and Laura Menighetti decided to take up the band, and this led to the ambitious idea of creating a concept on Il Mostro Di Firenze (The Monster of Florence), and the record eventually came out in the spring of 2018 after a long process due to the topic's complexity. In the following years a partnership was created with the drummer and sound engineer Marco Biggi (ex Rondo Veneziano, ex Radio Gaga), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth, Wonderworld, etc.) Pier Gonella (ex Labyrinth, Mastercastle, Necrodeath) and Paolo Firpo (classical saxophonist ). And also thanks to the collaboration with a string trio composed by Kim Schiffo (cello), Laura Sillitti (violin) and Daniele Guerci (viola).

The band about their music. "Il Mostro Di Firenze is an obscure sound experience, a gloomy three-dimensional journey that will take you into the delirious world of one of the most brutal crimes of Italian news. A dark and symphonic work. A dialogue with the most occult and secret parts of our soul. A still unsolved mystery..." The music.

The story is about a the gruesome 8 murders on couples, making love in a car in the Italian provence Florence, between 1968 and 1985, for the horrible details I refer to the Internet. The band has succeeded to translate this horror into the nine compositions: lots of ominous atmospheres and hypnotizing, slow rhythms, blended with sound effects and a wide range of instruments to colour the dark music, from acoustic guitar, piano, violin and saxophone to Hammond organ, synthesizers and heavy guitars. And the strong Italian vocals are male and female.

In the opener Novilunio a razorsharp Fripperish guitar represents the horror, you can imagine how the Monster Of Venice was pleasing his sick mind!

In Nella Notte the music changes from a dark and slow rhythm to bombastic, in between sounds of violence, emphasized by again that razor sharp guitar sound, this is horror prog.

In the short Interludio Macabro we hear a distorted, insane sounding female voice, feed your imagination!

The compelling and heavy Serial Killer Rock delivers a slow and hypnotizing rhythm with sound effects, a propulsive beat and fiery guitar play, evoking Seventies Hawkwind.

The varied track Il Dottore starts with creepy sounds, then exciting interplay between organ and strong drum beats and lots of shifting moods, embellished with powerful saxophone, howling guitar and bombastic keyboards.

And in the final, instrumental track Plenilunio (an extended reprise of Novilunio) the band reaches it's artistic and musical pinnacle, what a variety in atmospheres (from mellow to bombastic) and what an awesome interplay between classical piano, fiery electric guitar and melancholical saxophone, avant-garde King Crimson in Italy!

If you like dark and varied prog, embellished with a wide range of instruments, this is an interesting album to discover.

My rating: 3,5 star.

The first edition of this review was recently published on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

Report this review (#2055206)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars I suggested this new band on the trusted Black Widow label into the Archives some months ago, knowing it would only be a matter of time when the RPI team finally rolls on the red carpet. Someone instantly rated this with five stars, and also more positive reviews will follow, I believe. With the very informative first review (by TenYearsAfter) still fresh on the front page, I'll make it shorter this time and concentrate on my reception on the music. I didn't know about the true story of a serial killer behind the album, but the horror-filled conceptual nature is pretty clear during the album. Too much so, really. Many tracks contain some sound effects (angstic human voices from talking to terrified screams, rain, birds, car's motor & door slamming, steps, clanging and hitting sounds, phone ringing, etc), underlining the sinister atmosphere. In fact, each time I listen to this album, I've become quite tired of them before 55 minutes have passed. It all makes me miss the music of GOBLIN, in which the horror concept doesn't steal the main attention from the excellent music itself.

As a kindred spirit to many dark-toned RPI bands from Goblin to L'Albero del Veleno, Una Stagione all'Inferno definitely has lots of musical potential. The music is written by vocalist-guitarist Fabio Nicolazzo and keyboardist Laura Menighetti. Piano, Hammond and keyboards are central in the sound that incorporates also acoustic & electric guitars, soprano sax and a string trio. The vocals are often delivered with layered (if a little flat) harmonies. If all additional effects were erased away, we'd have a fine, eclectic, semi-symphonic RPI album balancing between instrumental approach and more vocal-oriented songwriting. 'Serial Killer Rock' -- sung in Italian except for the repeated title -- is the worst track as a doomy heavy rock song. On the whole there are many fine things in the music. It's such a pity that the sound effects are playing a terribly overblown role, in my opinion. I hope the band's future releases will place the music first, not the concept.

Report this review (#2055229)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars Taking their name from the Arthur Rimbaud book of poetry 1971 film Una Stagione all'Inferno (which would subsequently be turned into a 1971 French-Italian film of the same name directed by Nelo Risi which tells the life and death of Rimbaud and his troubled relationship with the poet Paul Verlaine), Una Stagione all'Inferno were formed in 1997 by Fabio Nicolazzo, a guitarist from Genoa's gothic rock scene and the classically trained pianist Laura Menighetti. Augmented by bassist Diego Banchero from Genovese prog band Il Segno del Comando, original Il Segno del Comando drummer Carlo Opisso and Francesco Scariti, they released their interpretation of the theme tune to 70s Italian TV mini-series L'amaro caso della Baronessa di Carini, renaming it La ballata di Carini, which was included on the soundtrack compilation E tu vivrai nel terrore released on the Black Widow Records label in 1998. The band had originally intended to write a concept album based on the show but internal disagreements led to a rejection of the idea and the group was put on hold.

Nicolazzo and Menighetti reformed the band with new members in 2011 and, undeterred by the difficulties posed by complex concepts, decided to write a piece of music based on Il Mostro di Firenze (The Monster of Florence) which was eventually released in spring 2018 on Black Widow Records (BWRDIST 676). Il Mostro di Firenze is the name commonly applied by the Italian media for a series of eight double murders that took place between 1968 and 1985 in the province of Florence. Law enforcement departments conducted a number of investigations into the cases over the course of several years; the victims were young couples who parked or camped in countryside areas in the vicinity of Florence during the new moon, killed using a variety of weapons including a .22 calibre gun and a knife. There even appeared to be a gruesome sexual element to the murders because the sex organs were cut out from the bodies of some of the female victims. After an innocent man was convicted, the killer struck again and eventually the authorities concluded that the murders were not committed by a single person but by a group of at least four perpetrators the so-called 'Picnic Comrades' who were later caught and convicted.

This release falls very neatly into the category of dark prog, something I didn't know existed until I got chatting to the proprietors of Genova's Black Widow Records shop. The shop itself is named after the original purveyors of dark prog, the UK's Black Widow, a favourite of Massimo Gasperini, and Il Mostro di Firenze is a worthy addition to this sub-genre. With a line-up comprising Nicolazzo on guitars and vocals, Menighetti on keyboards and vocals, Roberto Tiranti and Pier Gonella from Italian prog metal band Lab˙rinth playing bass and guitar respectively, Marco Biggi on drums, Paolo Firpo on sax, Kim Schiffo on cello, Laura Sillitti on violin and Daniele Guerci on viola, the band have created a dark symphonic soundtrack to the story, telling the tale from the new moon when the murders took place, to the full moon, linked by clever pieces of musique concrete such as checking the action of a handgun and placing it in a zipped bag.

The use of the chamber ensemble adds to the cinematic sweep of the songs but one of the standout features is the band switching mood from broad symphonic strokes to oppression and terror with a simple device originally employed by Goblin, the nursery-rhyme like melody picked out on percussive instruments and taken up in wordless song by the 'murderer'. One track that I'm not convinced about is Serial Killer Rock which, though brief, is stylistically at odds with the other material. Otherwise the album abounds with great instrumentation and playing; the 10 minute instrumental Plenilunio with its false ending is the highlight - it quotes from Chopin, it's nicely structured and it features emotive piano and plaintive guitar.

According to the Unwritten Laws of Dark Prog communicated to me by Massimo Gasperini, Il Mostro di Firenze ticks almost all the boxes ? it would be very interesting to see them play live to see if Una Stagione all'Inferno can deliver the full works.

Good, but not quite essential - 3.75 stars

Report this review (#2405930)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2020 | Review Permalink

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