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Osanna Palepoli album cover
4.24 | 456 ratings | 40 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Oro Caldo (18:30)
2. Stanza Città (1:45)
3. Animale Senza Respiro (21:36)

Total Time 41:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Lino Vairetti / lead vocals, 12-string guitar, ARP 2600 synth, Mellotron
- Danilo Rustici / acoustic, steel, 12-string & electric guitars, Vox organ, backing vocals
- Elio D'Anna / baritone & soprano saxophones, tenor & contralto electric saxophones, flute, piccolo, backing vocals
- Lello Brandi / bass, bass pedals, guitar
- Massimo Guarino / drums, vibraphone, bells, percussion, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Carlo De Simone with Laura Mancini and an insert from Pieter Bruegel's (1525-1569) painting "The Tower of Babel"

LP Fonit - LPX 19 (1972, Italy)

CD Fonit Cetra - CDLP 425 (1991, Italy)
CD Vinyl Magic ‎- VMCD127 (2007, Italy) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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OSANNA Palepoli ratings distribution

(456 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

OSANNA Palepoli reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Steve Hegede
5 stars The structure of "Palepoli" is very similar to albums like "A Passion Play" and "Thick As A Brick" from JETHRO TULL. Each side of the album contains 20-minutes of an album-length epic. However, the music, rather than being JETHRO TULL-like, is influenced by early KING CRIMSON (jazzy sax-driven parts), and the Italian prog-rock of the time. So, the music alternates between heavy guitar/sax-led sections, and softer flute/mellotron interludes. Ideas come and go rather quickly, and most sections last no more than 2-minutes or so. It also appears that OSANNA basically connected shorter songs to build a larger epic. I really like the vocalist (who sings in Italian). His voice is almost like a warmer version of Klaus Meine from The SCORPIONS. "Palepoli" is a very unique album that has never been duplicated.
Review by loserboy
3 stars 3rd album released by one of the classic Italian bands of the 70's mixing a much more "World music" influence than their classic debut "L'Uomo". "Palepoli" is an highly musically diverse album with many influences and sudden atmosphere, mood and tempo changes. At times I guess comparisons could be made to the early work of JETHRO TULL or even SEMIRAMIS but overall "Palepoli" reaches far too many different peaks to remain in one place for comparisons. Guitar sounds are meaty, hard and are slightly fuzz-like (a personal fav) and when combined with the heavy flute passages, percussion and keyboard atmospheres (some grand mellotron) makes this a tremendously addictive offering. I have always loved OSANNA ability to deliver a progressive rock album without worrying about remaining within a defined boundary. "Palepoli" is essentially 2 long album side epic tracks (18 and 22 mins) which are given lots of room to explore some grand musical caverns and hills. A great piece of Italian progressive history and an album full of unpredictable musical moments with that classic Ital-prog shape.
Review by lor68
3 stars Sorry for the low score, but the production is very weak and the mixing is terrible... by forgetting these elements, my evaluation can change, as I appreciate this blend between the Mediterranean Ethnic percussion and the heavy instrumental excursion at the flute and guitar as well. I recognize a certain creativity and also the choice of bizarre breaks through, sometimes in the vein of JETHRO TULL, in other circumstances much closer to bands such as BALLETTO DI BRONZO and SEMIRAMIS, for which I don't get crazy.

Make your choice!!

Review by Proghead
5 stars Back in 1993, I was a bit lost trying to figure out what kind of music I should try. I was discovering several lesser known prog acts (GENTLE GIANT, SOFT MACHINE, HENRY COW, even PFM) though ROLLING STONE books on record collecting. Then I met this guy from Eugene, Oregon who was a big time prog rock fan, and I was asking questions about these bands since he knew a lot more than me. And he gave me a blank tape. One side was MUSEO ROSENBACH's "Zarathustra". The other was OSANNA's "Palepoli". And here I was 20 years old at the time, not realizing there were way more Italian prog than just PFM, and I was totally blown away by this tape.

On the subject of "Palepoli", well tracking down a CD reissue seems to be a bit more difficult (it's time this album received a more permanent CD reissue print, and make it more readily available through places like Amazon). I still listen to it through that cassette to this day, ten years later. Finding an orginal LP isn't exactly easy to come by either. In 1993, "Palepoli" was by far the most challenging and exciting prog rock I've heard up to that point. The JETHRO TULL, KING CRIMSON, and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR influences are quite obvious. Lots of twisted passages, very aggressive, and tons of Mellotron. This album also benefits as being OSANNA's only album to be sung entirely in Italian (the thing that often bugged me about their other albums was their English wasn't that great). The music never stays one thing for long, one minute they might get in to a minblowingly intense jam, then next they quiet down with some sinister sounding passages, then they get all quirky and silly the next. Easy to get in to this is not. LOCANDA DELLE FATE, PFM, or CELESTE this is not. But if you like the more aggressive end of prog, you're certain to enjoy this.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This is considered by most proghead as their peak and I , for a change , will agree with them (incredible uh?) as this is also their more ambitious project (I don't know what they tried to do with the Milan Calibro stuff , but to judge one would have to see the rest of the Oeuvre) as their two songs are long suite . Much influenced by KC and sometimes VDGG , I don't see why people compare it to JT (well a little maybe) , this manages to have a mind of its own , and ranks around the better italian prog albums. I would agree with Hegede when he says that these are shorter tunes linked together much like Genesis had done with Supper's ready , but the real art here as there as the short pieces got hidden away with great successions of chords as to make it so naturally linked. Ok , I just convinced myself to give another half star .
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Palepoli' is Osanna's crowning achievement, and a definite cornerstone in the hard wave of Italian prog - the band members themselves describe it as the first Italian opera rock ever (in their offcial website). The album consists basically of two sidelong suites, plus a brief reprise of 'Oro Caldo' intro that serves as an individual interlude. From the very beginning of the first suite 'Oro Caldo', you can anticipate that this is going to be a very special experience: the North African Muslim intro, with those hand drums, and those evocative, exuberant flute lines, with street sounds laid in the background... until an incendiary heavy bluesy rock section surfaces and contaminates the ambience with its infectuous red heat. The constant riffing of two guitars, the burning solos on guitar, flute and sax, the solid rhythm section, all of these elements are handled with finesse and attitude, while the softer side of Osanna's music is managed in the shape of acoustic- driven interludes between the heavier sections. The presence of layers of keyboards (mostly mellotron, but you can also hear some occasional organ chords, as well as weird synth effects) gives the overall sound an epic dimension. But the album's leit-motiv is not the power or rock per se, but the adventurous management of the diverse consecutive musical ideas: what you find here is a well crafted, lunatic collage of heavy rock, Mediterranean folk, psychodelia, electric blues, exotic Arabic colours, Wagnerian pomp and circumstance. The influences of JT, VdGG, Led Zep, and 69-70 KC are obvious, but not overwhelming. The musicians handle their inheritances with an inspired sense of originality, as well as skillful musicianship and devoted enthusiasm - particularly, D'Anna on saxes and flutes, and Guarino on drums and percussion, but the ensemble as a whole is simply terrific. Once you're finished with 'Oro Caldo', you're prepared to receive the other tout-de- force 'Animale senza Respiro': personally, I find this one less achieved in comparison, since it gets lost in meandering at times. But it is not without its brilliant moments: a few examples, the opening martial tune, the fiery drum solo near the end, and then, the symphonic closure, where the combination of organ and mellotron shines like a tower of gold. Maybe the sound production is a little "primitive", but it shouldn't distract us from teh fact that the music contained in this recording is amazing beyond words - who knows, maybe a more polished production work would have spoiled some of the essential fire of 'Palepoli'... A masterpiece!

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Palepoli" by Osanna is of these "deranged", outrageous little masterworks which prevail the 70's typical prog rock genre. Osanna belongs to the first generation of Italian prog bands and highly represents what the symph prog scene has the best to offer. This album is made of furious musical pieces that combine heavy guitar sections, brilliant breaks mixed with intense sax solos (in the vein of Van Der Graaf Generator and King Crimson), folk flute lines, neo classical acoustic guitar touches and well tried sound experimentations. Each track develops a very special atmosphere, alternating "hilarious", "dynamic", "mysterious", "introspective" and "pastoral" moods. The only thing we can regret is the lack of originality and the fact that influences are really obvious. However it is formidably executed.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ".sacred altars for the gods.false myths you'll invoke"

What's the meaning for the title "PALEPOLI"? It's not so difficult to say.the band's origins are in Neaples which was named by the ancient greek settlers: "Nea Polis" means "New City". Palepoli is an opposite meaning "Ancient City" from the greek words "Palea Polis". That's their challenge: to represent the purest spirit and the most ancient face of the "Parthenopean" city of Neaples. This is the sense of that strong Mediterranean influence which makes the album a unique example of all tha Italian prog scene of the seventies.

I was wondering what does represent the album opened window seems to me part of the famous renaissance Babel's Tower painted by Pieter Brugel the Older in 1563. The Bible's Chapters on the Humanity's Origin from which derives this scene, represent the origin of the foundation of the ancient cities and empires.also represents men's greatest arrogance against God. For that reason He punished them confounding their languages!

Does then the album represent a critical description of the wrong and deep-rooted aspects of the famous vesuvian city? Osanna's imaginery is somehow oscure and it's not easy to understand the lyrics' meaning! I can found many social, political (even ecologist) themes.don't understand the fulcrum of the concept completely!

By the way this is the first Italian opera-rock of the seventies, very similar in its structure to albums like Thick as a Brick or A Passion Play. People usually compare it with those Jethro Tull's works. I have a different opinion yet, not only the music parts but even the atmospheres being quite different. Similaritie can be found only in some flute and guitars interludes. Sometimes the band appears to show some Van der Graaf Generator's influence, expecially for the great sax playing provided by Elio D'Anna and for some darker and sinister compositions. Others could see affinities with Balletto di Bronzo and even King Crimson. I'm sure that's not the point, yet! Palepoli is an original piece of art!

All the concept is played with remarkable equilibrium, a great mix between the stronger and harder electric parts and other more acoustic and intimate folk movements.

What could I say more? Let's take another listen to this "MIRABILIS" 1973 opus!

Review by andrea
5 stars "Palepoli" is an album difficult to define. It is a concept album about Naples. It is a kind of musical conceived to be played in theatres with actors and dancers. Most of all, it is a melting-pot where different sounds and influences are blended together along with engaged lyrics (lyrics here are in Italian with some parts in the dialect from Naples) . In this album is evident the aim to experience new ways to "cross the styles".

The opener "Oro caldo" (Hot Gold) begins in a quiet Mediterranean mood (just flute and percussions), then come in an "electric tarantella" that leads to a guitar and keyboards passage in "Genesis style". "Hot gold drops from a trumpet / From where the shadow of a cold and silent note comes out. And the wind runs towards me / Carrying the reality into its whirls / I feel cold in my thoughts / Thousands voices are trampling on me.". Then the "show" goes on with continuous changes of rhythm and mood, great harmony vocals (with lyrics swaying from "Pulcinella's hilarity" to social subjects) and amazing instrumental breaks.

"Stanza città" is just a short instrumental bridge.

"Animale senza respiro" (Animal Without Breath) starts in a more jazzy and experimental way that after six minutes leads to an explosion. Then a delicate acoustic passage. ".You have no more time / You have no more hours / You have no more strength to believe in you / In this metre of life that you have / You are looking for the air of a breath / You have no more time / You have no more hours / You are nothing now.". There is no rest nor boredom, the music goes on and on and all you have to do is listen to: in this album many influences mixed up together give life to an original, complex and theatrical kind of "rock-opera" very difficult to describe.

"Palepoli" is without doubt the highest peek in the career of Osanna: it is an unique album and a masterpiece of the "Italian prog".

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oh what a joy it was to discover this album.. right at the very top of my favorite prog album of alltime.. not just from the Italian branch. Italian prog can be broken into several branches and this album along with Il Balletto di Bronzo's Ys have to be considered the masterpieces of the harder end of the Italian prog spectrum. Having acquired most of the albums and groups from that end. Osanna is the artist all others in the hard prog branch are compared to, and this is their masterpiece.

Palelpoli is best characterized by sudden shifts in mood and tempo... going from hard, loud, aggresssive e-guitar driven sections to soft pastoral mellotron moments. All done in a masterfull way that doesn't leave you thinking this is one big jumbled up mess. Oro Caldo takes up the first side of the album... it is available here as a streaming sample. Listen to it ... look for the great flute solo after that hair raising mellotron section which then goes into a cool bluesy part... yes.. it may sound like a mess but it really works and I bet you'll get hooked. After a reprise of Oro Caldo in the form of Stanza Citta we go to what I think is the best one of the two epics. Animale Senza Resprio is anchored by a smashing guitar and saxophone riff, that is revisited at times. The vocals are strong and powerful, and I believe this track is distinguished by the drumming which is powerful and drives the aggressive hard sections of the song and the saxophone was has a great solo and well as flavoring the main theme. The accoustic guitar section is a great respite from all the aggression with great singing as well by Varietti. Great stuff. don't want to give too much away and I want to keep it short and not fawn too much over it. As good as Oro Caldo is... Animale Senza Respiro will knock your socks off.

5 stars for me and for the forum... should be included in your first batch or two of Italian albums as you explore the genre. A masterpiece of prog.... and I can't recommend this album strongly enough.

Michael (aka micky)

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars This is definitely a bizarre and complex ride.There are plenty of surprises throughout in this difficult to digest album.There are two long tracks with a short (less then 2 minutes) track dividing them.

"Oro Caldo" opens with what sounds like native drums beating slowly while we can hear children playing in the background. Some chanting and flute join in as well. A change after 2 minutes as an uptempo section takes over with vocals. Sounds like a celebration.The guitar is great 3 minutes in. It settles before 4 minutes. I like this passage. Reserved vocals come in. It kicks back in and settles again as the tempo continues to shift. Check out the mellotron after 8 1/2 minutes ! Some amazing guitar follows with lots of flute. It settles right down 11 1/2 minutes in then kicks back in with some emotion as sax and mellotron take over. Raw guitar melodies follow.Things get a little crazy 14 minutes in and late as the tempo continues to change. What a song !

"Stanza Citta" has this slow beat with flute and psychedelic vocals. Some samples too. "Animale Senza Respiro" hits the ground running. It settles after a minute and vocals arrive 2 1/2 minutes in. It kicks back in a minute later with some ripping guitar in tow. A heavy sound 4 1/2 minutes in. It calms down again 6 1/2 minutes in with reserved vocals and eventually acoustic guitar. An eerie calm follows. Reserved vocals and sax 10 1/2 minutes in. Flute then mellotron follows. Guitar 14 minutes in followed by sax. The tempo continues to shift. More sax 16 minutes in before it kicks back in. Mellotron 20 1/2 minutes in as it settles down to end it.

Certainly not an easy album to get into, but this is brilliant !

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One eventually gets it, this album, and why the 70s Italian scene was much more than pristine symphonics and precious cherubs. A few spins may be required though, and Osanna were not Banco. But they were terribly progressive and they rocked. The quintet also happened to be incredible musicians, it's just that they were a rebel-rock band first and made no apologies for that. 18 minutes of sheer heavy progdom is 'Oro Caldo', a raw jambalaya of moody atmosphere, experimental samplings, greasy garage dirt, and some flat out classic symphonic prog with a great-sounding mellotron - and other unique and wonderful synth sounds - from Lino Vairetti. Plus the hot flute riffs of Elio D'Anna, absolutely smokin' rhythm section Massimo Guarino (drums) and Lello Brandi (bass), and lo-fi blooz chunks of guitarist Danilo Rustici. But there is so much more going on here it could require months, maybe years, to sort it all out and fully absorb this recording. More than prog rock, with a pull toward the avant garde but never slipping too far away. The session has an inviting, casual tone wherein everyone is welcome to listen and even participate, deep dreams and strange parties abound, plenty of texture, sensuality and odd people... like watching an orgy but not sure if you should join in. The set reminds at times of modern theater as well (i.e. 'Hair'), but shouts out with heavy mercury and constant invention. 'Animale Senza Respiro' takes over for the second half as things really begin to come on. The drugs have kicked-in, man, and it keeps getting better with some ripping guitar and hot band interplay, D'Anna's disjointed saxophones, wild changes, and bathtubs filled with lysergic trips. It all climaxes with the melodic and powerful voice of Vairetti and a bit of insanity, and leaves the listener wondering what they just heard in a very good way. Fabulous, and recommended.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is such a difficult album to write about, like trying to write about the most bizarre psych freak-outs or trying to discuss a 40 minute live version of the Dead's "Dark Star." Some things need to be heard to be understood. Having just reviewed Marsupilama's "Arena" I could say that this album shares that one's spirit of theatrics and boldness, but taking it to a much further extreme. They really are sound collages as much as anything and will require many listens over a long period of time to appreciate. If you believe the spirit of progressive rock is more about pushing boundaries over other considerations then this is an album you need to hear. As I look at how our distinguished pros have tackled writing about such chaos I found one PR who hit a home run. Atavachron (David) hits the nail on the head perfectly with this fabulous description from his review here: "The session has an inviting, casual tone wherein everyone is welcome to listen and even participate, deep dreams and strange parties abound, plenty of texture, sensuality and odd people... like watching an orgy but not sure if you should join in. The set reminds at times of modern theater as well (i.e. 'Hair'), but shouts out with heavy mercury and constant invention." Indeed!

Osanna formed in 1971 in Naples with member of Citta Frontale. Having success with two earlier albums and playing on the festival scene they released their most provocative work "Palepoli" in 1973. Guitarist Rustici is a legend of the Italian progressive scene and ever produced his younger brother's masterful "Melos" by Cervello. Their live shows were equally strange with the members painting their faces and employing other theatrics. There is much here to absorb for fans of wild music, different ideas and sections come and go as fast as nervous birds at a backyard feeder. Psyched up electric guitars, mellotron, sax, lots of flute, chanting, singing, loud, quiet, street noises, percussion, all drifting along like a strange lucid dream. And yet I can't agree that this album is a total masterpiece. I respect the boldness and variety enough to call it a very good album, but beyond that, I don't much enjoy playing Palepoli as I do other Italian prog. I need more than boldness and being provocative, I need music to connect on an emotional level to proclaim it a masterpiece. Whereas I'm always eager to grab Alusa Fallax or Cervello, listening to Palepoli is more like a duty I must perform to appease the prog Gods. Parts of it are definitely very enjoyable but as a whole it leaves me a bit cold. I readily accept the fact that maybe I just don't "get it" completely and I will continue to listen in the future to see if it someday clicks-perhaps it's a grower that I haven't spent enough time with yet. For me, younger brother Corrado made the better album with Cervello's "Melos." There you will find elements of the Osanna sound, but rather than relying on the wildness of Palepoli there is a bit more care on crafting the songs that leads to a more musically satisfying album. Try them both and see what you think. They are both giants of the hard side of Italian prog. Palepoli's Japanese mini is a gatefold of the very highest quality, highly recommended if you can find it. I'm somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on this, rounding down for now until I truly "get it."

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The third album of the band has a completely different structure.

Two long epics for some forty minutes of Italian adventure. This album covers the whole spectrum of their music. Delicate vocals and fluting combined with some great mellotron passages, fantastic sax, and fine melodies.

You can find all of this in "Ora Caldo". But unfortunately, it is combined with some noisy experimentation (mainly in the start of this epic). The flute is of course providing some Tull flavour which is always pleasant to listen to.

The music is mainly solid and powerful, at times bluesy. As you can read, lots of different influences are investigated. Way too much, IMO. Each minute or so, the theme is totally changing with almost no relation with the previous one. Only the wonderful mellotron lines that are coming several times in the song can provide some sort of sense of continuity.

The scarce vocals maybe add to this impression. Still, the music is globally enjoyable. But one can easily get lost. During some more Crimsonian or VDGG oriented and less coherent parts for instance.

After an ethnic and short parenthesis ("Stanza Citta") one can embark for the second epic: "Animale Senza Respiro".

Very much in the same style of "Oro Caldo", If you are ever looking for delicacy, just pass your way. The sounds remain hectic, heavy, wild. Same sort of unstructured track.

This album is interesting and weird. Some times, a short and sweet vocal section still reminds you that you are listening to an Italian album. But they are directly compensated by the most bizarre atmospheres you can imagine. Again, themes are changing quite often and even some psychedelic/space-rock moments are available during "Animale".

But the core of this long track will plunge you in the dark and gloom moods. Only some fresh fluting and again this delicate mellotron are preventing the listener to fall into the most severe depression. This second epic has lots in common with VDGG. More than the first one. But even during Plague would the model have dared to have gone that far...

This is one of the most unconventional album I have been listening too. Maybe a bit too unconventional for my ears. Still, a good album to discover but not for an every day listening.

Three stars.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Bringing chaos and mystery along the way, Palepoli is one of the most unstoppable records I've encountered in all genres I've dabbled in. It's an excessive display of energy, skill and bold ideas and as such it has quickly established itself as one of my favourite albums.

Generally considered Osanna's crowning achievement, it's an album that will rock many boats filled with preconceived opinions about prog rock from Italy. With dramatic switches in tempo and style, a love for heavy guitars (even dissonant at times) and a gritty, raw quality that makes the music feel honest and alive, the pastoral and delicate landscapes often visited by other RPI bands is replaced with a more urban sound. Those might be the characteristics that strike you the most, but the music often reveals the more traditional sounds many have come to love as well. Mellow symphonic arrangements with exquisite flute and guitar parts, flowing Mellotron and emotional crescendos are done just as good on Palepoli as on most readily accepted symphonic masterpieces, but it is the excellent Museo Rosenbach's Zarathustra that comes to mind when describing Palepoli's mellower parts.

Having a fair amount of structure and sound experimentalism, a word of warning should be sent out to all of you who find this scary, pointless or just plain stupid. This is confronting music, both as perceived by the listener, but also much of the point behind Palepoli. Hugely different parts crash into each other without fear, build-ups result in nothing, or nothing results in everything; noisy, aggressive distorted guitar and frantic drumming, wild saxophone! All expanding the sonic possibilities of RPI a hundredfold. Different influences fight for a place in the spotlight, and when only hearing Palepoli in the background, it may appear as chaotic as a barbaric battlefield, and only glimpses of any sort of "proper" structure can be found in the thick fog of war.

Having only two long songs with a short instrumental break separating the two, much can be said and done throughout the about forty minutes the songs have to their disposal.

Oro Caldo begins with the sounds of a city, with an ethnic melody and subdued drums taking the lead. A triumphant, fast-paced part launches this track properly with a hard-rocking edge worthy of many outspokenly heavier bands. Moving on to deceptively safer symphonic territory for a couple of minutes, one of those chaotically powerful guitar-driven parts wait around the corner. Stunning and fast flute performance here.and yet the whole thing resolves with an alien yet tasteful bluesy guitar solo, only to be kicked back to frenzy again. Right when the song reaches a natural ending point, it's time to get the thing rolling again with what is probably my favourite part of Oro Caldo. A foreboding, swirling and dark theme (again fronted by guitar) and one of those inspirational, raised-fist vocal parts the Italians do so well. Chaos back, chaos gone, mellow, delicate and reflective acoustic part and finally this tour-de-force ends on a dissonant note.

Animale Senza Respiro is much in the same vein, but perhaps even more chaotic and experimental. Lots of Area vibes coming out of this one, with stripped and noodling parts and a bigger jazz influence. Breaks with a rumbling saxophone and a lot of punch.

Awe-inspiring, commanding and altogether excellent.

This is such an exciting album, such a godly blend of styles and moods, and above all; very unique in all of what we call prog rock. Some call it bizarre madness. Fortunately, madness and geniality often go hand in hand, and this is certainly the case with Palepoli.

One of the masterpieces of masterpieces. 5 stars.


Review by poslednijat_colobar
4 stars When it comes to italian progressive rock music, we speak about symphonic prog mostly. Palepoli by Osanna is album of the contrasts. There are moments absolutely and completely different each other. I would like to review the album song by song, instead of the fact they are only three (two compositions and one very short moment like intro) :

1. Oro Caldo - the first one is long composition close to twenty minutes. It begins with some sounds, that reminds me to the Far East culture. It shades off fast section with happy feelings all around. It reminds me to carnival-influenced parts, because of the higher tunes here. It doesn't coincide very much with progressive music. After that it comes the turn of the gentle section which is really progressive and good enough. It features accompaniment on flute, that adds additional comfort for the listeners. Probably the best part of the song and one of the best on entire album. It features vocals (like the previous carnival part), instead of the next hard rocking part. It was followed by hard rock piece with average sound in terms of quality and intensity. I believe it is not the most suitable moment for such a hard piece. Then it comes again the turn of the gentle motif, but this time with accompaniment on sax, but not flute - interesting idea!!! Again followed by the hard rocking instrumental theme with guitar sounding. Then the vocals come back after the long instrumental. The song finish with some psychedelic/carnival moments.

2. Stanza cittа - the second one here is a short middle section intro for me! It features some echoes and flute works with strong folk influence. It continues not more than two minutes.

3.Animale senza respiro - the third song is the second giant composition on the album, over twenty minutes. It begins with chaotic psychedelic tunes; after that there are some brief tunes looking like echoes. This is something like overture. Then, it comes to the gentle theme, that repeats all over the album; with guitar and gentle keyboards; then the band adds bass for the end of the section and passes through the exciting guitar solo moments. I don't like the carnival approach in serious music like that, which continues from here for a few minutes. Then, again psychedelic tunes with very dark atmosphere, followed by progressive guitar solo with accompaniment on electronic keyboards and quiet voice. Then, we receive what we need most - first: flute solo and second: harmonized vocals made by a couple of men. This section ends dramatically with all instruments included. It is followed by chaotic piece with all instruments included and theatrical atmosphere all around. Later we can hear drum solo, too. There are some choir works, afterwards! The end is remarkable - with glorious march!!!

After my analysis song by song and moment by moment, I would like to tell my opinion about the whole album Palepoli by Osanna. I find it very ambitious work and I admire of it! I don't like the mercurial and convivial moments in such a serious music. These feelings make the music too carnival like I say earlier!!! Moreover, I don't think the sound is really clear. It's not crystal, but blunt. Otherwise, the structure and the composition fully meet my requirements and tastes for irregular manner of making music. The combination of ideas got worked! As for the mark, firstly I should give lesser mark: perhaps 3.5, but it really deserves 4 full honest stars! I think there already are only one obstacle for 5 stars giving and it is my hostility about that kind of circus and carnival themes on the album. IV ****

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars Very shocked...and silence. I think this album should be the symbol of Italian progressive rock, at least in my mind. :P

Exactly, Palepoli Suite is a well-calculated insanity. Heavy and Oriental percussion, and pipe and flute like a stream... the suite gets started calmly and solemnly. Immediately, crazy flute sound fades in and pops up and rough drumming and loud guitar sound follows. The impression of this part, especially lump of violent vocal and instrumentals, is very strong for us. After the part rapidly passing by, clear guitar and soft vocal absorbs us. Sooner sax hits and knocks us out... Each part has kindly part and wild one, thus we listeners get impressed by the upside-down wave and sound. At last stage the reverse of Canzona (Milano Calibro 9) is dragged down and lets us drop to the bottom.

Including the next Animale Senza Respiro, the album is one of the most strongly rough and violent works of all Italian progressive rock world. Truly I've thought I want to write the review of this product...perfect one, 5 stars!!!

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Palepoli (The Old Town, currently the gorgeous seafront area called Santa Lucia) is the original nucleus of the city that would later become Naples, the pearl of the Mediterranean, one of the most loved and loathed places in the world - the Italian music capital, and a notorious abode of crime and squalor (cue the recently released movie Gomorrah, and the deplorable rubbish débacle of last summer). Naples is breathtaking in its splendour, and infuriating in its unbridled anarchy - perhaps not the best place to live for someone who likes quiet and order, but an experience to be had at least once in a lifetime (for the glorious food as well as for the scenery, the art and the music). Yes, it's true... See Naples and then die. A walk in the so-called Spanish quarters is the closest you can get to a Middle Eastern souk in the heart of western Europe - and probably no one has managed to capture that heady, intoxicating atmosphere better than Naples' own sons Osanna in their third album, released in 1972.

Still active after a long hiatus, Osanna were hot stuff back in the Seventies. With their painted faces (harking back to the city's traditional mask of Pulcinella) and wild, energetic sound, they blended British-style heavy rock with unashamedly Neapolitan influences, coming from one of the oldest, most time-honoured musical traditions in the world. It has even been intimated that Peter Gabriel took his cue from Osanna when the two bands toured Italy together. As most of their fellow Neapolitans, the four members of the band had music in their blood - not the tasteful, restrained kind practiced by northern Italians PFM, but rather a full-throttle blend of passion, energy and technical skill.

Much in the same way as bands like ELP, Palepoli is not for those in search of subtlety, though I would not call it self-indulgent either. The chaos on display on the album is of the controlled variety, in spite of the somewhat fragmented nature of the compositions. However, those fragments, like the pieces of a puzzle, eventually fall together to form a complete picture. The two main tracks, sprawling epics that approach or even exceed 20 minutes in length, are linked together by a short piece reprising the opening of the album itself, and give an entirely new meaning to the expression 'a wild ride'. It is no wonder Palepoli commands such adoration on the part of prog fans - it shows progressive rock at its authentic best, soothing and lyrical at times, and at others raw, aggressive and passionate. It also shows what a wonderful contribution local musical traditions can bring to the melting pot that is prog music.

The first track, Oro caldo, can be best described as a colourful, richly-textured patchwork of musical moods. Its opening suggests the atmosphere of Naples' narrow alleys and street markets, dirty, noisy, and thoroughly fascinating, a babel of sounds, voices and sights. The influence of Neapolitan folk music, such as the frantic rhythms of the tarantella, is evident throughout the piece, especially when, at the beginning, the band members sing in the Neapolitan dialect - probably one of the best vehicles for song and music ever known to man. The sax and the flute are the trademarks of Osanna's sound, bringing a mixture of lyricism and aggression to the already exciting texture of their music. Oro caldo rocks hard (I wouldn't mind adding Osanna to Heavy Prog, though I'd rather avoid domestic strife...), but also offers quieter, more meditative moments - just like escaping the chaotic atmosphere of the Naples alleys into a darkened, half-deserted church.

The second epic, Animale senza respiro, is somewhat more structured, though it does adopt the same eclectic approach to composition as Oro caldo. It is also a distinctly darker offering, with some angular, jazzy stylings bordering on the avant-garde, dominated by flutes and saxes, interspersed with almost unexpected acoustic breaks. Not subtle, and definitely not easy listening, but totally captivating. The vocals on both tracks are stellar - lead singer Lino Vairetti would deserve to be mentioned much more frequently among the great prog vocalists, though the rest of the band are no slouches either. Being heirs to one of the greatest singing traditions ever, Osanna's vocals are much less of an acquired taste than most other RPI bands.

If you want soothing, pastoral beauty, or music that does not demand too much engagement from the listener, give this one a miss. Like the city of Naples itself, it is not for the squeamish. However, if you like your prog with some bite (and here there is plenty - think lashings of red hot pepper), and don't mind hearing people sing in a language other than English, this will grab you like few other discs produced in the Seventies will. A concept album that is rooted in gritty reality and not in the airy-fairy, first-class musicianship and singing, the heady scent of one of the oldest musical traditions in the West... What else are you looking for?

P.S. This review is dedicated to the city itself, which in October 2008 finally saw the end of our long wait to be together...

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars ...

When I finished listening to this record, I didn't know should I laugh or smash my head against a wall or...what? This is, my friends, humanity. This is one of those moments when pathetic little creatures that evolved from the monkeys actually show to the all living creatures, or ,other nature, or God or some alien observers, you name it, how brave, how daring human attempts in expressing themselves may be. No matter the type of the art - some subset of music which is a set of sounds for or ears anyway, or oainting or whatever - but sometimes you just feel the power and sincerity behind and you don't need a degree in art to write a comparative review, because who cares?

"Palepoli" starts with calm yet moody, authentic Italian folk theme depicting the all things ancient and terranean (Mediterranean if you want) ,when a cross-fade introduces us to the lust of the pure musical debauchery and palette beyond the scope one can perceptualize within one listening. Sudden changes from brutal, I mean brutal riffs and hooks will instantly collapse - like 20 ton truck hitting the rock - into a pace of grounded calmness, disillusioning our brain impression in it's shallowness, but instantly slapping the depths of the very same brain with dark impression behind the even darker curtains. All that underlined with mellow Italian vocals and lovely acoustic guitar parts - parallely bouncing the melody with flute that couldn't care less it's duties to a more conservative musical approach. Yes, it could be only Italian music. If you ever, ever felt your soul is full to the very edge of your tear-filling eyes by listening to Banco or PFM, not because of their skill or cunning ideas, but simply because of the beauty itself, then stick to me when I tell you this one is not the opposite - although it will tear your guts out the very next moment. Or perhaps make you die in a horrifying lust of gold melted and poured into your mouth, as it was used to be done centuries ago.

If you take, for example, a guitar solo - oh how I hate the analysis at this moment - you can't resist of agonizing and playful at the same time, I should say, spastic feeling of one who's performing the music, of the instrument itself, and of the listener. On the very next beat, a new layer of equally spastic guitar is added, this time in thirds, it's a good old rockin' trick, but would they stop there? No. They have no shame, in the third beat, the new layer will appear, and the new one, and the new one, Brian May wouldn't dare to do it, a new one, you start asking yourself how dare they and will they ever stop? but of course, you're enjoying it...along with the drum stampedo - I mean stampedo of buffaloes compares to this like an ant circus.

Like that's not enough, you will get a mind-blowing dosage of schizophrenic steaming flute that can not be compared to the entire volume of condensed air that went mutilated through that instrument in all output of Tull and Focus. Seriously. And when you think you can't stand any more, there's a nice, calm, majestic, psychedelic tapestry with a saxophone solo on the top. Van Der Graaf Generator? Or one of the most daring "Shine On" moments?

You're already absorbed, assimilated: this album is big as life. And I didn't even mentioned the best part, which sound nothing like you ever heard before, because it came from the worst nightmare defined in raping, tearing of Hammond organ, guitars...and THE ENTIRE BAND ...through the Ring Modulator effect, the one that's skewing the frequencies.

This is tedious. Because it's not an autopsy of a record, it's an autopsy of a listener. So I wouldn't even dare to start building a new layer about overall coherence, artistic expression, unique ideas. If anyone manages to do it, it will be a masterpiece...mirroring this one. But I'll throw down my virtual pen and recommend this thing to live with it or to die with it. Deep breath. Good night my dear reader, thanks for staying with me.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The existence of Osanna and the construction of the music character might be bands as the existence of one of progressive bands of active Italy that should be exactly represented from the beginning of the especially 70's. And, the music character that they offered the listener with this album and the developing flow would be the reformations and be the legends that an indeed progressive band had done.

Wind instrument player's Elio d 'Anna is recollected , saying that "It was the greatest time" for the situation of the band that was becoming a main current in Italy at that time. Existence of active Danilo Rustici in band that is called Citta Frontale. And, it is said that active two person Elio d 'Anna in the group that is called Showmen formed this band. And, it is said that this flow was connected with Osanna as a target of the band that pursues complete originality for the situation of the music of Italy at that time.

Part of Beat Rock that exists as flow of music at that time and part of psychedelic. And, the existence of progressive band activity in Britain and a variety of might be gradually derivative to Italy with some respects. Progressive part that Osanna had taken in flow of the situation. The activity that an avant-garde element and the item etc. of the composite art also had taken along with it will have been exactly a creation for them. Appearance as the pursuit of a cultural, of Naples in addition to the pursuit of an exactly progressive music character artistry, and high music was gradually reflected in the activity.

As for the debut album announced in 1971, the element and the power of expression to get on one main current might have been established to some degree. It goes as at that time live of them of a lot of parties concerned. Or, it is said that there were beginning in the stage and originality of clothes. Or, the band that performs to Festival that was called "Le Nudo" for avant-garde Rock and Jazz of Italy establishes existence further in "Milano Calibro 9".

It was likely to have been able to face it as a situation of Prog Rock of Italy exactly at time when this "Palepoli" was announced. And, there is a theory said that it spent the period of production for about one year as a flow that gives the formation of originality and a complete main current in the situation. All grand plans kneaded with their diversified elements might have been consolidated in this album. Appearance of "Palepoli" said that it was constructed by ancient Greece. Construction on which it worked with an exactly new vitality and romance will have been one top for them.

As for "Oro Caldo", a mysterious rhythm twines round an enchantment melody with the song. The melody with the flute and the percussion instrument explodes completely attended with the rhythm of the shuffle. The flow that constructs complete ensemble while reminiscent of a ceremonial part and a religious part might be splendid. And, the band constructs the anacatesthesia. And, opening feelings rules the whole. Construction of sound with Sax and Mellotron. Anacatesthesia of guitar. Part of complete flood of six notes with flute and guitar. It might be a tune with a complete composition.

The band does the melody with expression of feelings to "Stanza Citta" in complete shape. The sound of an intense guitar appears from the progress of Chord that runs about the space. The melody of the guitar is complete. The expression of feelings that the band constructs in union is exactly music for them in complete. Melody of song and Sax launched attended with heavy Riff. Contribution of keyboard and flute that creates one space. Acoustic part. Or, the height of the perfection of the melody that multiuses seven rhythms. A flow of the tune with a complete composition and an enchantment element might be perfect.

"Animale Senza Respiro" starts attended with the melody that there are complete originality and a tension in the rhythm of 3-4-3-7. Continuousness of tension that appears intermittently. The tune progresses attended with expression of feelings. The perfection of a grand melody and the song is complete. Progressive element that develops one after another and avant-garde flow. Construction of sound of guitar and Sax. Steady rhythm. Sound of band from which it gets on rhythm of shuffle. Continuation of transparent feeling and anacatesthesia. Development advanced as feelings are opened might be splendid. A heavy rhythm and the melody will be able to be called one established music that exactly contains originality.

Album surely counted as the top in their works. And, it is an album that always shows a sense of existence as an album that should catch as a masterpiece in the history of the band in Italy.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "From Italy comes this VDGG and Crimson inspired avant rock album that refuses - or worse, doesn't have the talent - to build up to any decent melodic progression. There's not one harmony worth noting, nor is there any conceptual coherence explaining why the music goes in all directions with no apparent purpose. There's not much here that any of our readers will find worth seeking out. If you though Pawn Hearts was over the top then this one is worse." (Taken from "The Symphonic Observer", November 20, 1972)

"A mess of artsy pretence. Progressive rock at the pinnacle of its overbearing indulgence. This band has thrown a number of couple of half-ideas together, stirred them thoughtlessly while having too much mind-expanding drugs and discarded the resulting mish-mash with utter disdain at the feet of the easily fooled prog audiences. There's not one catchy song on this whole excuse for an album." ("Classic Rock Magazine", March 29, 1973)

"This is the most disappointing folk album I had yet to review. While taking a promising start with a medieval procession and gorgeous vocals recalling the deep sentiment of Corsican Polyphonies, the album takes twists and turns away from its pastoral promise and indulges in pointless psychedelicca and noisy hard-rock. An occasional nod to Jethro Tull won't convince me of the credibility of the band's promotional staff who sent this album to our safe-heaven of true folk tastes." (From "Folksy Ditties and Other Jolly Tunes", April 1973)

"So poor meteul album. No riff, no song you can sing. Boring. No meteul at all here." (from "Les Bruits Métalliques", May 1973)

"Cool stuff dude, We went to see them with a couple of friends and we smoked holes through the wall man, it was so awesome, Jesus, that guy with that trumpet, he blew man, it was evil dude, you know, my girlfriend, she's a groupie and we got to meet the band you know, it was huge, blew the s**t out of me man!" (Fan reaction after the show, June 1973)

"I don't even have to hear this one to know how bad it will be. It's incredibly old, it's from Italy and it never sold more then 5 copies. Give us a break." (Pop Stories, March 2010)

"Now what the hell was that!?" (Carlo Bonnacione, April 30, 2010)

Review by friso
5 stars Osanna - Palepoli (1972)

Another step into the world of Italian prog...

In my search for RPI vinyl reissues I found this record in my local vinyl store (Nijmegen has got two second-hand/new vinyl/cd shops!). I didn't listen to the record, I just knew I had to had this one. I did read about it on progarchives.

At first spin I was in doubt... the recording isn't very pleasant I and I though the music was quite disturbing. Reading more about the record on PA I began to understand this record was almost as hard to get into as our precious Pawn Hearts by VdGG. After eight spins my opinion about the album has changed a lot: this is an essential masterpiece, although the recording remains not very good.

Osanna adopted influences of King Crimson (the symphonic side and the jazz-rock side and a bit of the prog-metal side), Pink Floyd (they gave the 'Be Careful with that Axe-sound' an artistic taste on side two), VdGG (the confronting and psychedelic aspect of the music) and adopted some artistic and cultural influences of the more conventional Italian symphonic prog. They created an album that is one sum of interesting ideas without to much direction but with an insane power not often seen in progressive music. Harmonic beliefs are overthrown, subtlety and raw power meet and replace each other on unsuspected moments and between this all symphonic moments of intense beauty arise. The vocals are great, and all instruments are played as if lives depend on it. The wind- sections are as aggressive as VdGG's, sometimes playing disturbing lines over great symphonic landscapes. Some avant-garde moments with mad-scientist-laboratory intermissions were installed to make the music even less likable (and artistic!) . Finally there are some Jethro Tull-like flute-rock parts to be found and some world music influences. Also some studio tape manipulations were used here and there. Well.. one has to say: perfect recipe for a progressive rock masterpiece!

Conclusion. And a masterpiece it is. When in the right mood this can be enjoyed as full-time entertainment because of the busyness of Osanna. Not one part is played as long as most other bands would do if they had composed such beautiful themes, melodies and atmospheres. This gives the record of 42 minutes the muchness of almost two albums. The recording remains a bit flat, but even an audiophile like me can accept this as an element of the music. It's that good. Some moments of beauty are to good to describe in a review. Recommend to fans of extreme progressive rock like King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator and of course fans of the Italian prog genre. People interested in the soft symphonic progressive music might experience this as their worst nightmare. Five stars.

... And so continues my journey in RPI-land...

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Third album and only one I have heard from this Italian band. Palepoli is highly regarded by many but I don't share the enthusiasm. This is a good and enjoyable album, but I've heard better Italian prog than this. The sound and mixing is pretty awful, even for something from 1973. Some of the music itself sounds dated for a 1973 release. The sounds of the Mellotron and synthesizer are tiny and thin. The actual music and performance is actually quite good. You can hear some Crimson and VDGG influences on this album.

You can listen to the first song "Oro Caldo" here on PA. A pounding of a drum and busy street noises lead to a very Mediterrenean sounding folky part. After 2 minutes a rocking part gets faded in, this part sounds more like 1970 than 1973. Backwards effects for awhile. Gets more Crimson sounding and some harmony vocals. Later gets more Crimson sounding when the saxophone and Mellotron enter. After 9 minutes things start to rock out with some Tull-like flute playing. More KC style sax and Mellotron later, this is followed by another late '60s sounding rocking part. Goes into a section with seemingly everything but drums. That situation is remedied when the drums come in and it switches to a jazzy hard rock section with some of the better synth sounds on the album. Then a more folky and ballady part before the music stops. Goes into a very VDGG sounding section at the end.

"Stanza Citta" is the same as the folky beginning of "Oro Caldo" but with backwards sounds coming and going. "Animale Senza Respiro" is the longest and best track on the three song album. After a more energenic beginning, settles into a more relaxed vibe. Music picks up again and eventually gets more rocking. What sounds like wah-wahed sax at one point. Shortly after switches to a very Crimson sounding part, more late '60s style rocking along with it. Hawkwind style synth noises before acoustic guitars bring everything back to ballad mode. Gets spacier later.

Eventually gets more of a hybrid VDGG/KC sound. More folky and symphonic for awhile. After 12 minutes some wonderful Bee-Gees style vocals appear; that was a nice surprise the first time I heard this album. Music changes to more late '60s style rocking. A freeform improv section before some great hard rockin' guitar leads to some VDGG style rocking freak-outs. Some earlier parts get reprised and then a squealing sax and a drum solo. Reprises the opening part but now with vocals. Music fades out, then a very symphonic ending. Not extremely original and not good sounding, but still good music. 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1973 sees Italian progressive music at its highest peak.Osanna made no exception.After two good albums,where the band explored the sounds of hard rock,Napolitean folk and orchestrated rock,the band decided to add some more tastes in their music.Their ambitious work ''Palepoli'' was released in 1973 on Fonit Label.

The LP consists of two challenging 20-min. suites,each in one side,''Oro caldo/Stanza città'' and ''Animale senza respiro''.''Oro caldo'' is deeply rooted in Folk Rock music,at least at the beginning,the flutes are dominant and the vocals are sensational,but as the track unfolds it becomes way more complicated:Mellotrons add a dramatic symphonic touch,guitar playing becomes harder and very complex,trumpets add a VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR feeling in the atmosphere,flutes are in a more improvisational than melodic style and multi-vocals are really attractive.A mix of MUSEO ROSENBACH,DELIRIUM and ALPHATAURUS would be a fine description.The following short ''Stanza città'' is a totally bizzare combination of Napolitean Folk,distorted vocals and classical strings.

Side two is dedicated to the ultra-complex ''Animale senza respiro''.A slow psychedelic start with Mellotron,deep bass and vocals will give space to the frenetic guitars of Danilo Rustici and Elio D'Anna's saxes in a too complicated mood,while ALPHATAURUS links are again more than evident.Things will fall back into a folk atmosphere with acoustic passages and later flutes and superb Mellotron parts by Vairetti creating a lovely soundscape.The fascinating multi-vocalization will appear again along with D'Anna's jazzy sax.The ending is full of sax'es aggresiveness and powerful guitar breaks.The track will close with a style close to dramatic Symphonic Music with mellotron and percussions.

The final taste is a matter of discussion.''Palepoli'' contains all the good stuff presented in a whole decade by the Italian Prog scene.Whether you prefer Jazz,Classical music,Hard Prog or Italian Folk,this album has it all.The real problem is that there are too many styles here,which make the album a bit of fail regarding its coherence and all these themes are not so tightly linked.But again,to overcome this album means you overcome Italian Prog.You should give this one a try,even if the final taste will not be the same as this of a total masterpiece.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Out of all the many, many Italian prog bands out there who would have absolutely loved the job, Genesis picked Osanna to support them on their 1972 tour. This is striking, because Palepoli is one of the few works of Italian prog from the era which does not show a particularly strong influence from Trespass-era Genesis. The fingerprints of Jethro Tull, King Crimson, and a healthy dose of Van der Graaf Generator are in evidence, but even these traces are overwhelmed by the breathtakingly original approach the band take on this album, an aggressive and psychedelic assault on everything you think you know about symphonic prog. With driving organ attacks and furious saxophone, the band deliver up a volcanic assault on the senses that's worth a listen for anyone who's tired of RPI bands sticking to the pastoral Genesis playbook.
Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Osanna's album, effectively a double-feature, is one of the most eclectic albums I have ever heard. The band incorporates a myriad of styles and ideas in forty-two minutes, doing so in two extended pieces. The titles are modest: "Hot Gold," "City Room," and "Animals Without Breath" (roughly translated), but their simplicity is deceiving, as the music is incredibly complex and far out there.

"Oro Caldo" Palepoli begins with what may well be the sound of a Mediterranean marketplace. Distant voices shout underneath a calm flute, which performs one of the most striking melodies in progressive music. It adopts a joyous rock and roll vibe temporarily before returning to the quiet, melodic style, which features gorgeous guitar, flute and soft voices. The Mellotron chord progression is most memorable and endearing and precedes a hectic guitar and flute-led passage. The piece is diverse and all over the place, incorporating symphonic, heavy, folk, and avant styles in an occasionally incoherent manner.

"Stanza Città" This interlude revisits the opening of the initial piece.

"Animale Senza Respiro" Bizarre noises and rhythms begin the third and final piece. The grating beginning gives way to a minimalistic psychedelic atmosphere. Overall, the music possesses zany jazz rock in the vein of early King Crimson contrasted with avant-folk. The piece does possess another hauntingly beautiful Mellotron performance. The penultimate few minutes consist of outlandish avant-prog, at the center of which lies a flanged drum solo, eventually tapering off for a brooding conclusion.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Osanna's "Palepoli" is an exploratory masterpiece that lives up to the hype.

This as close to the edge as RPI gets and certainly threw me for a loop with its wild manic insanity and ultra-diverse innovative structure. It begins with the outrageous soundbites of children playing and cars honking and soon leads into a gorgeous flute passage. Italian vocals come in very Magma like, chanting and exuberant, and then it locks into an amazing ambient section with flute chimes and effective hi hat work. VDGG and King Crimson are the bands that spring to mind while listening to this epic that devours side one.

'Oro Caldo' works its way into the system spiralling with weird time sigs and chaotic sax squeals. It fades in and out with new compositional inventions, dramatic percussion. Then there is Mellotron bliss, and a heavy guitar immediately enters as flute goes wildly out of control. The musicianship is stunning; Danilo Rustici on guitars, vox organ, electric piano, and those pleasant vocal harmonies; Lino Vairetti is on lead vocals, rhythm guitars, ARP 2600, and Mellotron; Elio D'Anna is outstanding on tenor and soprano sax, and flute; Massimo Guarino is the drummer and also great on vibraphones; and finally Lello Brandi is on bass. Together they form a sound of immeasurable quality and innovation. The original approach is found on this album in the peak of the rise of prog in the early 70s. It stands the test of time over thre decades as being one RPI treasure to dig up and savour. The way this epic ends is quite remarkable with VDGG sax blasts and explosive percussion. Then there are backwards vocal over sweet flute and chimes and then a demented circus rhythm with RIO nuances. It is rather a dissonant avant garde sound that is blindingly refreshing in its origination. The second track is a short little shock called 'Stanza Città' that may as well have been part of the opening epic. How weird to end the vinyl side with this, but it contrasts well with all the intricacies and labyrinthine structures previously.

There is another side too and it is swallowed up on vinyl by the impressive epic 'Animale Senza Respiro'. This begins with some wild rhtyhms and then a chilling mellotron soaked verse, with lots of vocals carrying it along on waves of atmospherics. The lead guitar breaks through mercilessly with speed licks and a steady beat beneath. The heavier riff to follow is like Robert Fripp and the time sigs shift constantly, with jaw dropping precision. The sax returns like an old friend and crunches out something like Jackson would play. This is a great section that certainly grabbed me by the cerebral cortex and shook my eardrums. It even breaks into a rather ethereal echoing space effect, and after all the hyper strangeness an acoustic vibration sweeps over and gentler vocals giving our ears a breather.

Soon there are sounds of psychedelic experimentation with rather disconcerting reverberated guitar sweeps, and cymbal splashes. A fuzz guitar and sax blend in with an odd rhythm. The sound is dynamic as more flute flows beautifully on the crest of a wave of vocal harmonies. The music feels like it is thinking of where to go next and one is never sure with Osanna. Crimsonesque mellotron soaks up the atmosphere building to a high register like spaced violin. It sounds like Nektar when the multiple harmonies come in, though all in Italian. There are shades of PFM and Banco at this point, but it is broken by the gorgeous saz tones of D'Anna. The vocals become intense, the cadence quickens, then another time sig with wah-wah guitar is heard. Saxes compete for a while improvising and then a fabulous guitar riff interjects. The time sig is crazy and the music moves into an atonal jazz-freeform style, and it somehow returns to another time sig and another verse. Some jazz improvisation over a rather fast drum solo ends the epic. This is a dazzling triumph by any standards.

At the end of this I am convinced the album is indeed a masterpiece as I had heard over the years. Osanna dares to be different and has the musical virtuoso to back up the insane ideas. The interchanging sigs, and the strong compositional structure of the 2 epics are sheer genius and they explore music itself in order to reinvent the listening experience. I love how the band refuse to hold back and the result is a progressive dream. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest albums of the 70s when prog was king.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Another masterpiece I never grow tired of hearing. This was a huge ambitious leap from their first two albums that were much less progressive than this one. PALEPOLIS was the name of the pre-Greek settlment of Naples, OSANNA's home turf.

While most Italian bands were going down the symphonic prog road laid down by Genesis, OSANNA dared to really push the envelope and create something really unique. In fact, Genesis chose them to tour with them in 72 out of the gazillion bands who would've loved to be in that position. Probably due to the fact that OSANNA themselves were influencial by being one of the first bands to incorporate facepaint and theatrics to their live sets.

The music is eclectic. There seems to be some King Crimson influence in the more jazzy rockin' parts but there is a healthy dose of Neapolitan Mediterranean traditional influence (I call it grape stomping music) and lots of other influences as well. The usual pattern is for an idea to develop into a beautiful melodic movement and then abruptly change into another with some chaotic sprinklings. Great guitar and sax solos as well. The lyrics (in Italian) are about mythology and social themes. This album is crying out for a remastering, otherwise it's perfect.

Review by zeuhl1
5 stars I originally ran across this in the late 80's on its Japanese first CD issue. I only had a handful of Italian prog beyond PFM at that point, and had never heard of Osanna. At the time, I thought it was sort of a chaotic version of Jethro Tull, but delved into some unexplained madness from time to time. Thirty years later, I found this on vinyl, and dug out my CD to drive around to while playing the LP at home on the real sound system. What I found was that I had missed out on one of the most original Italian bands to come out of the RPI scene.

Like contemporaries Hawkwind in the UK and Plastic People of the Universe in Czechoslovakia, Osanna were into face painting, costumes and a theatrical bent to their rock and roll. Oh, and like those bands, sounding 'pretty' never is in the equation. Opener Oro Caldo has field recording sounds with acoustic percussion and flute on top. Are we in North Africa? A dark alley in Naples? It is but a short atmospheric introduction to the instant jolt of being thrust into the middle of a full on tarantella party already in progress that fades in rock and roll style. Pulsing and throbbing bass underpins a twin guitar attack backed by furious drumming. Some nice backwards guitar effects (rarely seen in RPI) transition us to a quieter room outside the lively party we visited in the opening sections. Acoustic guitars and flute create a gentle early Genesis pastoral mood. This is one of the few moments of pastoral RPI on the album, but already Osanna show they are capable of operating on a pretty high level-different styles can confidently come out of nowhere, where other bands in 1972 trying this can sound awkward shifting gears from one section to another. King Crimson and VDGG moods are brought in by a bit of chanting and heavy mellotron which kicks off another rock journey courtesy of guitarist Danilo Rustici. He duels in a breakneck section with flautist Elio d'Anna reminiscent of Jethro Tull after a quick shot of stimulants. David Jackson would be a strong influence on d'Anna, especially on side two. A lengthy heavy guitar solo transitions us unnoticeably to the second song (going by the LP lyric innersleeve), Stanza Citta. Distorted vocals a la Peter Hammill give this song a heavy VDGG feel. Their ability create that wailing that makes a song teeter on the edge of being out of control is captured nicely here. A transition to acoustic guitar with harpsichord and synth is only a brief interlude before another dose of even heavier VDGG madness-at this point they are almost closer to the Plastic People than Van der Graaf. If this riff was on a VDGG album, it would be hailed to this day as one of their crowning achievements-clattering nearly out of tune with synthesizers gurgling atonally but quietly...suddenly things go quiet. A backwards version of the beginning of the album fades in and out Beatles style while the acoustic accompaniment from the first minute of the album give us a symmetrical outro. Acid madness you rarely see in an Italian band. Overall, side one has thrown a mind boggling array of styles at the listener. A bit too harsh for pastoral fans, but my god this is some impressive stuff. How had I missed this 30 years ago? (answer: didn't listen all that closely)

Side two is where the fun really begins. Starting with a dark riff straight from the Plastic People's sax driven bag of tricks, the side long Animale Senza Respiro is the centerpiece of the album-it is easy to compare this to Plague of Lighthouse Keepers in a way, but this song goes far beyond the powerful madness of that classic. Atmospherics kick in quickly with gentle singing and arpeggiating guitar that with the addition of mellotron comes as close to PFM as they get on the album. More sax freak outs (nice through wah pedal-a Jackson and Nik Turner trick back in the day). A quick shift to a riff lifted from Wake of Poseidon keeps things moving. I need to stop here and point out that although many other bands are listed as reference, Osanna are greater than their parts. A little electronic breakdown from Space Ritual leads to an unrelated beautiful little pastoral acoustic guitar and vocal that bears little resemblance to the organized madness we have experienced so far. But we are once again dropped into the Hawkwind space cavern. (I had a friend who swore this was the Italian version of Hawkwind circa 1971, and Palepoli was his go to lava lamp watch the walls melt album much like Space Ritual was for the UK in the 70's). More delicate pastoral guitars, vocals and gentle flute and mellotron create another quick oasis of peace, but with these guys, it is usually the calm before the storm. Some beautiful choral harmonies show these guys could really sing well, though we don't get much more of a glimpse of the group vocal talents past this section. We aren't much more than halfway through this 22 minute song and a ridiculous amount of moods, tempo shifts, instruments and ideas have been thrust out-more than most RPI bands would use in a whole career. Heavy guitar comes back and the furious hybrid of VDGG/Plastic People takes over-with a raucous hint of what Area would bring to the table only a year later. A roller coaster multi vocalist tongue twister brings a strong Plastic People vibe over the opening theme of side two. It seems we are done, but a somber solo church organ leads to the final section grand finale like you would get in a movie. You have been on a full sensory overload trip. Stunning in conception.

During side two I thought 'I wish there was just a little more guitar" followed by the quite reasonable observations "where would they put it, it's already so crowded in there". The only knock on this would be the recording quality-some instruments tend to unintentionally fade into the background and get lost in this very busy mix.

Dense, rich, widely varying and sanity challenging stuff... this is definitely not for the timid. One of the more challenging and certainly perhaps the most rewarding album in all Italian rock.

5 stars almost is not enough for how good this record is. One of the top 5 albums in RPI without a doubt, and any fans of VDGG or the Plastic People should run out and get this immediately.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Osanna's "Palepoli" is one of the most accomplished albums of all time. Its urban essence provides the listener with a symphonic and experimental space that is very contagious and catchy. Assuming that this is the band's crowning achievement, this work enters the memorable history of Italian progres ... (read more)

Report this review (#2787808) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Friday, September 2, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How to describe this gem? Personally, this a key album for me. On the time I hear most of heavy metal (I was a child!!!) the only Prog thing I heard was Jethro Tull. Then, an interesting band came along, with flute but something else: it was "L'uomo" (review comming soon). Listening to the next w ... (read more)

Report this review (#962775) | Posted by GKR | Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In the development towards metal, some bands should be mentioned: the Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Metallica, etc. King Crimson did a first try of introducing progressive metal with the Larks Tongues in Aspic - and I thought that this record was really inspired by that re ... (read more)

Report this review (#589152) | Posted by the philosopher | Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can never die without talking about this Osanna's masterpiece which is also the masterpiece of European Progressive Rock. Some say that the music sounds like King Crimson, but I don't think so. Their music is quite unique. If you hear the music for the first time, it is rarely possible for yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#285608) | Posted by Katsuhisa | Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OSANNA's Palepoli album is not determined album which I am in confused mind as which rate is to. For I sometimes have a mind to prefer their first album L'uomo to this Palepoli. And I still don't decide. But I have listened the two albums as time goes, I have the feeling that Palepoli is their ef ... (read more)

Report this review (#219925) | Posted by bspark | Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is by far the best album I have heard from the band, and it is a true Italian classic. I find it difficult to compare this album to anything else; I think it's the flute that invokes JETHRO TULL for some people. That being said, I don't think this music really sounds anything like JT. I als ... (read more)

Report this review (#171647) | Posted by kabright | Monday, May 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think that "Palepoli" can be universally considered Osanna's masterpiece. If the first album "L'Uomo" offers to us very good examples of Prog Folk, like Ian Anderson's Jethro Tull, this is sure The Example of Italian Prog, an artistic evolution of the band that it will carry to the mix of alre ... (read more)

Report this review (#68367) | Posted by darius | Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It makes to the third work released in 1973 and the highest masterpiece "Palepoli". It locks by the groan and the fall and doing the exoticism heavily. It is an unlimited, dark nightmare. Masterpiece that pushes in violence and expands possibility of rock. It is an ambition work. Terrible prob ... (read more)

Report this review (#67246) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, January 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Osanna have been one of my last discoverings in prog scene. I must confess, I've always been a little skeptical forward italian prog (even though I'm from Italy) because I've always searched prog directly from origines...UK! So I bought this album without expecting too much from it, or at least, ... (read more)

Report this review (#63127) | Posted by magog | Wednesday, January 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With all sincerity, there is no way to contain my enthusiasm when I refer to this disc. It's a disc without equal, with complex arrangements and of extreme good taste, a guitar played sublimely, impressive flutes. Just one word of advice: buy it! ... (read more)

Report this review (#5352) | Posted by | Sunday, November 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What will happen if you blend jazz, blues, rock, king crimson, van der graaf, creativity, talent and madness? Yeah, it will be "Palepoli". Starting with a kind of sound of a distant village and then going to a medieval rock, the first track has lot of variations among acoustic parts, mellot ... (read more)

Report this review (#5351) | Posted by | Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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