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Area Caution Radiation Area album cover
3.96 | 256 ratings | 29 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cometa Rossa (4:00)
2. ZYG (Crescita Zero) (5:27)
3. Brujo (8:02)
4. Mirage (10:27)
5. Lobotomia (4:23)

Total Time 32:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Demetrio Stratos / vocals, organ, harpsichord, steel drums, percussion
- Paolo Tofani / guitar, flute, EMS synthesizer
- Patrizio Fariselli / piano, electric piano, ARP synthesizer, bass clarinet
- Ares Tavolazzi / bass, double bass, trombone
- Giulio Capiozzo / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Gianni Sassi with Edoardo Sivelli (design)

LP Cramps Records - CRSLP 5102 (1974, Italy)

CD Cramps Records ‎- CRSCD 002 (1989, Italy) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AREA Caution Radiation Area ratings distribution

(256 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AREA Caution Radiation Area reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Warning!!!! This album is real hazard to anybody's mental health and not just because of the radiations. Area's chronological second album (third in the Archives list) is actually a secret document that the left-wing activists they were destined for the Soviet Block!

Forget the titles of the tracks above, as they should read:

1) U235 + Ar + Honey = Pu 240

2) Zyrconium Yaltanium Germanium (Precipita Zero)

3) H + He = Kaboum

4) U238 = Co60 + Cs137 + Fu 2 + n' + n'

5) Lobotomia

If you think I am kidding you, get the album and you will actually hear what nuclear fission and nuclear fusion sound like, neutrons colliding with Vaginium69 . On the second track , torturing of a Co59 isotope whose nucleus is being ripped apart in order to evolve into Absurdium 89! On track 3 , you can hear a Zircon molecule copulating a Germanium electron on the G-string of the double-bass. How about that Strontium 90 isotope leaving an indelibile mark on contact with the snare drum for the fourth track! Then you shall listen to the last track , head out to CCCP and they will pull out this vital stuff!

Only recommended to terrorist , nuclear physicists and babies under two years of age!

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars With their new quintet format (including the entry of bassist Ares Tavolazzi) Area managed to consolidate their radical avant-garde approach to jazz-rock and achieve a more powerful ensemble sound: the result was properly incarnated in their genius second album "Caution Radiation Area", a manifesto of bold inventiveness and sheer energy. Their explosive mixture of Weather Report/Mahavishnu Orchestra-inspired fusion, psychedelia, free jazz, North Africa/Middle East folk and concrete chamber comes to a more cohesive and challenging fruition than in their already excellent debut album. The opener 'Cometa Rossa' serves as the beginner's perfect introduction to both the band's artistic ideology and legendary Demetrio Stratos' unique vocal style: basically, it is a rocky-edged jazz fusion number that includes a deliciously extravagant sung interlude, during which, the instrumentation comes down to a more subtle ground. It is not only the effective melodic lines and the amazing interplay between all five musicians that will leave the aware listener stunned; just pay attention to Capiozzo and Tavolazzi's masterful functioning as a rhythm section alone, as a clear example of the band's combined technical talent and energetic fire - their input should leave the listener speechless while listening to the entire album (or almost). The next two tracks explore the jazz-psychedelia-folk stuff even further: since the vocal parts are decreased, the room for instrumental pyrotechnics gets properly expanded. Tofani is an authentic guitar visionary: to some degree influenced by Fripp, he manages to go to bizarre places of his own with his peculiarly atonal guitar soloing, which in many passages is processed through synthesizer-based effects. Meanwhile, Fariselli provides a solid foundation on both electric and grand pianos in order to build a bridge between Tofani and the rhythm duo; his melodic input is mostly provided on his synth solos. Stratos is not only the Tarzan-meets-mental hospital patient singer; he also provides some effective organ harmonies and countermelodies, as well as some percussive extras. The 10+ minute 'MIRage? Mirage' is the longest track in the album, leaving enough room for the succession of diverse motifs and extended jams, taking the band's peculiar penchant for surprise. Tavolazzi's performance on double bass - delivered with exquisite panache - provides the track a sense of focus among all the sonic insanity that his partners indulge into with unhidden gall and total enthusiasm. Somewhere in the drastically minimalistic interlude, a few chords on harpsichord (courtesy of Stratos) appear floating by, adding some bizarrely delicate colours to the moment's tapestry: even delicacy can be disturbing. 'Lobotomia' is the closing number, an exercise on electronic experimentalism designed to ultimately lobotomize the captive listener (or even displease the unsatisfied one a bit more for a bit longer) so that they can focus on their own organic reaction: it is not a piece to be enjoyed or hated, it is a piece that seeks to provoke some fireworks in the listener's flesh, now that their reason has succumbed to the powers of post-modernist ideology. This closure is actually the finish line of a musical race that Area had started with an idea in mind: let's drop off everything we knew about beauty and search for something else, something essentially inscrutable in music. Inscrutable as it is for sure, it is also clear to me, according to my particular experience, that this album is a genuine prog masterpiece - from their own avant-garde island, Area forged a supreme work in 70s Italian prog.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is something very strange. Area is an excellent italian band , which released in 1974 this album called Caution! Radiation Area, the name is also strange, but it invited me to buy it. I have listened so many times, and each time i discover somethin new, i mean, one new sound , an strange thing i dont know, and thats great i like that kind of albums which every time we listen to it we find something new.

I have to say that this albums is really strange, the songs, or the "songs" are weird, with some jazzy passages, because it is a fusion band, but the most of the album sounds like an improvisation, with nuclear and radiation sounds, or at least i imagine that, it is extravagant, and careful becauseit is not everybody´s cup of tea, its dificult to understand and maybe you can find it ridicolous in some ways, i think in 1974 this was completely a different album, and maybe it is one of that strange albums whici could be great and beautiful, or strange and horrible.

It has some energic moments, it is very experimental, the music as i said above is strange, but very well done, the musicians are great, the voice here is not the great point of the album, i like Stratos´voice, but in this case his voice is not the best of the album. I like listen to it, for me its good, i enjoy it, but is not an everyday album, sometimes is good to listen to it. Strange, weird, great, well... after all 3.5 stars.... 3 stars

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars AREA were a band who's lyrics were often political. Certainly the title of this album, and the back cover (which has a picture of two soldiers with guns scaling a wall) are objects of their protests. I was surprised at how dissonant, experimental, Avant-garde, intense and dark this album is. It's like they're trying to convey through musical experimentation how abhorant radiation and war is.

"Cometa Rossa" opens with synths as drums and then a full sound arrives.This is outstanding. A calm descends when the vocals arrive before 1 1/2 minutes. Demetrio gets a little theatrical here before it kicks back in after 3 minutes. Nice. Powerful organ to end it. "ZYG (Crescita Zero)" opens with strange experimental sounds. Spoken words come in before we start to get a beat and melody. Lots of dissonance with the piano and guitar. Check out the guitar playing 2 1/2 minutes in. Quite unique and far fom pleasant. Haha .It's jazzy at this point as bass and piano with light drums provide the backdrop to these raw guitar sounds. Piano takes over for the guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. Some dissonant horns follow. You can hear Demetrio in the background making strange vocal sounds. Synths 5 minutes in.

"Brujo" opens with a multitude of sounds that are coming at us from all angles. It stops before a minute as we get some sparse piano and a haunting background. Outbursts of drums and other sounds come and go. It turns jazzy 3 minutes in with uptempo drums and keys leading the way. This goes on and on. Amazing section ! A calm arrives before 6 minutes with some heavy breathing sounds followed by delerious vocals in a haunting soundscape. Brilliant !

"Mirage !" is the longest track at 10 1/2 minutes. This has a dark, spooky, atmospheric beginning. Outbursts of deranged vocals as bass clarinet comes in and other weird sounds. This reminds me of "Heresie" by UNIVERS ZERO. Drums and percussion join in. We get some sort of a melody 4 minutes in although the eerie sounds continue. It all stops 6 minutes in as whispered vocals can be heard and then strange vocal sounds. It's scary again. Dark as hell. Incredible ! Dissonant sounds before 8 minutes create confusion. It kicks back in after 9 minutes. Vocal melodies 9 1/2 minutes in. It's creepy to end it. What a trip ! "Lobotomia" opens with ear piercing sounds. It's like a warning or alarm. It lets up but it's still like being showered in acid rain. Disturbing is an understatement.

This is an outlandish musical statement by a band that i'm sure caught people's attention back in the day. Again I think the music is perfect for the subject matter.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wondrously tense and explosive right from the start, Caution Radiation Area is no exception to the rule that Area were one of the most interesting bands of the 70s RPI scene. Pulsating rhythms, Middle-East overtones and a musical assault comparable to being forced to a blender. You know - in a good way. Caution Radiation Area is really not the most polished, neither is it the most accessible of Area's albums. It is crammed with energy, aggression, suspense and a distinctive raw, gutsy power that is even more tangible here than on Arbeit Macht Frei or Crac!. On top of this, it might just as well be the most experimental of the three, using eerie, naked, avant soundscapes for build-ups, interludes, endings and even whole songs. These overt electronics are removed light years from the mellower uses in the majority of Italian bands of the time period, serving as a great complementing counterweight (the intensity and mood is never lost) to the otherwise busy arrangements. In comparison to the more earth-bound (ha!) debut, which presented the jazz style in beefed-up, rocky setting along with ethnic and avant influences, this is avant-jazz taken to a new and exciting conclusion. Less riffs, more speed, less room, more room (!). Fewer boundaries.

Cometa Rossa starts out with a pursuit through the desert, with the theme presented by a lonely keyboard run, heavy with Middle-East influences. Before long, the whole band is involved in the characteristically busy sound. Powerful melody, with both the guitar and keyboards playing together on top of a frantic and fantastic rhythm section. Lots of cymbal, lots of speed. Jazzy, but far from the norm. It's so much more alive, open to influences of all sorts and never happy being assorted into a specific sub-genre. A nervous guitar interlude and Demetrio Stratos wonderful voice acrobatics (exposed vibratos, howls and lamentations - classic RPI emotion) forms a gap in the intensity before the previous theme build up in an organ and synthesiser elevation that takes the song to its natural conclusion.

Distorted noise and electronic humming features as the scene for the sort of computer-generated voice that leads up to ZYG (Crescita Zero). An infectious drum beat and great, fast, mentally insane mini-solos from the guitar leads to a delicate atonal breakdown of keys and guitar. Bizarre, exciting and wonderful. Back to the aforementioned guitar tapestries, back to the atonal break. Exquisite structural disintegration. The rest of the track sets the guitar up front, with near endless soloing; twitchy, intense and furious and taking the guitar beyond tonal and safe territories. Notice Fariselli's chord work - going by a rhythm of his own, beyond the rest of the band, only occasionally falling in with the 'melody' together with his band-mates. A rollicking and booming piano theme enters and sends the song off in a near horror show direction, preceded by a section of a pretty funky rhythm style with horns. Enter the laser-beam electronics and an ever climbing finale of full band assault - and it's all over.

Brujo is more directly recognisable fusion at times. Naturally, with an Area twist. Uncompromising oddity in terms of effects and interludes - sparsely instrumented, with spindly bass guitar fret beating, chilling piano randomness and just slightly more focused organ noodlings. Really unpredictable and eerie. A relatively nimble and melodious Fariselli solo stands out - being fairly normal. More moodiness and effects - think a 50s sci-fi movie gone psycho - with Stratos delivering more theatrics. Very fragmented composition.

Next up is the album's longest track - the ten and a half minute long Mirage. The soundtrack of a horribly mutated fairytale of sorts, it features the scariest moments the band has ever produced. Stratos effect-laden ill-willing breathing and hissing sounds in a minimal environment of distant, towering clarinet and some other wood-wind. A perfect musical description of the solitude of insanity if there ever was one. With the spasmodic percussion part that comes in after a couple of minutes, it isn't too far from a Franco Battiato track on a bad acid trip. The percussion grows into a steady drum beat which at least serves to anchor all the freakiness to something concrete, with dense and uncontrolled jamming as the extension of the previous instrumentation. Whispers and chants of a haunted house take over a sudden silence and grow into a scream. Chaotic, rich and atonal jamming takes it place, with fragments of melody passing by up until the only instrumentally focused part of the track escorts singer Stratos and Fariselli in a short duet back to the ethereal voices and silence that so characterise the track.

Most disturbing of all is still the closing statement from the band - the four excruciating moments of screeching, piercing electronic wasteland called Lobotomia. You can find traces of melody initially, but they don't last for long. And yes - drilling sounds are a part of the soundscape. Quite fitting.

I always get a rush out of this album and all of its facets. And if you're a fan of fantastic avant-fusion freakadelica, you should get it as well. Ahem.

4 stars.


Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Caution Radiation Area is the second album from the Italian jazz-rock and avant-garde masters Area. The album maintains the drive and inspiration of the debut and expands it with some daring experimentation that brings them close to free jazz and avant-garde.

Just like its predecessor, Caution Radiation Area starts with a Middle Eastern tinged outburst of infectious dance rhythms and melodies. Given my huge love for Arabian scales and rhythms, Area scores easy points here. It quiets down during the middle section to make room for Demetrio Stratos' plaintive wail; the musical background during this part consists of dreamy guitar picking that gives it something of a kraut rock vibe.

After a short poem and sonic experimentation, ZYG presents a more rocking and psychedelic side of Area. Of course, this music is too imaginative to be pigeonholed into just one category. Before you know it, they've headed off into another space jazz jam. The second half shows traces of early VDGG piano and sax weirdness.

Like everything on this album, also Brujo radiates with creative energy. A hesitantly quiet jazzy intro soon gives way to noisy atonality and a groovy jazz rock improvisation with spectacular fretless bass and raging percussion and organs. Rest assured. This music is busy!

Mirage! takes a more arrhythmic and experimental start. Melody is entirely given up in favour for an insane and spooky texture, built around seemingly random percussion, cacophonously weeping violins and wind instruments. This will not be up everyone's alley but it's sure highly compelling. Before long, they allow the listener to relax with a more upbeat jazz rock part. The tonality is still rather weird but the energetic pace makes this piece easier to digest and cleverly avoids becoming too indulgent. Halfway in, it goes back to the earlier experimentation but slowly resolves into a next swinging conclusion.

The only track that doesn't make much sense to me is the 4 minutes album closer Lobotomia. It sounds like an electronic simulation of a tweeting tea-pot making spooky noises.

An amazing album, on the short side, but given the amount of ideas that this music is packed with, that shouldn't be much of an issue really.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Early 70-s were golden age of RPI - very professional music with deep classic roots, excellent arrangements, mellow and sweet. I like some RPI works of that period ( where rock element is presented more than just symbolically), but some RPI albums are excellent symphonic/ classical music in fashionable ( for that time) rock arrangements. Italian sweets.

Area is Italian band, founded in early 70-s. And it is a really "strange fruit". Their excellent debut was melodic jazz-rock with Orient touch, excellent vocals and only slightly connected with what we expect under RPI tag. Second album is excellent jazz fusion influenced by best experimental, free-jazz and avant-garde music, where the only relation with RPI is time (70-s) and place (Italy). So, I believe that any listener ,expecting one more RPI album from "golden era" could be deeply shocked if listening to this music.

From another hand, this album is real masterpiece from the field of experimental jazz fusion. Even if you still can find few touches of Oriental music there, bigger part of this music is electronic keyboards, noises, free-jazz elements and atmosphere you can easily find in Hancock Trilogy or Miles Davis electric fusion period. Level of musicianship is as perfect as usual in Italian progressive albums, so this "strange fruit" in fact is a very delicious one , but just for prepared listener. And it is very rare Italian experimental jazz fusion album, by the way!

Absolutely must have work for every fan of innovative jazz rock fusion from early 70-s. Classic RPI lovers possibly should avoid it - you will find nothing there from usual RPI music.

Not less than 4,5!

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars After hearing Area's debut album I decided I wanted more, so I checked out their sophomore album, Caution Radiation Area. Obviously, one would expect a natural evolution in the band's sound, but the music on this album is incredibly bizarre throughout. This album is overall a tad more schizophrenic than the debut, and I found it to be quite enjoyable.

"Cometa Rossa" starts off calm enough but quickly turns frantic and sounds quite Mediterranean. Statos' vocals are exceptionally weird during the beautiful passage through the middle of the track, and after hearing this track I started to understand the Tarzan connection that people have made.

The sounds of abrasive static mark the beginning of "Zyg crescita zero" before it turns into avant jazz blasts with the occasional coherent backing bass. The wild guitar noodling on this track is very interesting to listen to, though hard to follow. Near the end, Stratos makes some vocal noises that sound like Mario in Super Mario 64 and I find it quite hilarious and goofy. This whole track is basically free-jazz-fusion.

"Brujo" is another wild track, starting off as a more subdued free jazz that sounds like it could've been taken from the beginning of an outtake from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. This track is full of fantastic improvised noodling by all members on instruments, and Stratos belts out some ghostly and incoherent, probably wordless, phrases that really creep me out. Feelin' kinda Mike Patton in here.

The first four minutes of "Mirage" sound like a Stockhausen composition, but it eventually turns into pseudo-Davis jazz-fusion. More avant influences are present near the end and Stratos continues with the ghostly vocals that seem more of just another instrument than actual singing.

"Lobotomia" probably is a Stockhausen composition. Noisy electronic that don't really make up a song are what this track is all about. It sounds like a lullaby for evil robots, which is cool, and I like it.

After hearing this album and their debut, I've decided that Area is a jazz-fusion band with RPI influences. This music is highly eccentric, and this whole album is basically a jazzier and more electrified evolution of their previous album. In fact, I can't decide which one I like better. They both are incredible and highly recommended.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Caution Radiation Area sees the band taking on a more experimental approach, incorporating avant-garde experiments into the album. However, these experimentations aren't especially well-integrated into the band's music at this stage. The first three tracks are fusion pieces of a style familiar to anyone who's listened to their first album; the second side is where things really get odd. Mirage consists of arrhythmic moanings and clankings reminiscent of the sort of pieces Art Zoyd would later produce, interspersed with outbreaks of straight-ahead fusion along the lines of the first side. Lobotomia, meanwhile, is simply irritating, a series of squawks and wails produced by a synthesiser which is about as discordant and ugly as Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. Worth it for the first side if you're already an Area fan, but be ready to skip the last track.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The title of this album is a tragic joke of the destiny as Demetrio Stratos died of aplastic anemia, that's a severe ill that can be caused by the exposure to radiations. In this second album, specially on the B side the band expands its horizons and is more experimental. Tavolazzi replaces Djivas who joins the PFM and the effect is more contrabass than bass guitar. Also the sax is gone but the free-jazz/avant is retained by giving the keyboard and the guitar some of the duties which on the first album were of the sax.

The first track "Cometa Rossa" (Red Comet) starts with a middle-eastern melody, then it stops and a guitar harping supports Demetrio Stratos. His incredible voice shows his Egyptian origins. This part of the song is quite similar to what Demis Roussos sings on the original soundtrack of Blade Runner. The language is Greek (Demetrio was born in Egypt by Greek parents). After this impressive and atmospheric vocal performance the initial jazz reprises until the end of the song. The lyrics say more or less "Red Comet shut the mouths of poets and prophets and let me find my freedom on my own".

"ZYG Crescita Zero" is opened by "industrial noises over which Demetrio says "The esthetic of work is the show of human merchandise". Crescita Zero means "Zero Growth" and those are likely the letters Z and G of the song's title. I don't know what the Y stays for. The song proceeds with drums and keyboard noises until the bass makes it jazzy again. this part is similar to "L.A. Nights" on ELP's Works 2, but can remind also 21st Century Schizoid Man. Only 2 minutes are passed and they don't remind to anything else than Area. A great guitar leads the track while bass and drums make a lot of jazz. A stop and the piano opens a new, very progressive, section. There's still a lot of jazz. I don't know if ELP have listened to this album in 1974 before releasing Works in 1976, but this is a case of a band sounding like ELP before ELP did.

"Brujo" opens chaotic with the whole ensemble playing a lot of notes, then it stops and we fall in a hypnagogic state with electric piano. percussions, double bass and guitar. The enchantment is broken by unexpected drum accents. Read the definition of "Avant" on PA and you'll have an idea of how it sounds. The following part, around minute 3:00 is free-jazz with the electric piano leading the ensemble. At minute 6 the music stops and Stratos is alone with keyboard noises in making vocal experiments. Some (Italian) words that can be catched are "Hoxygene, Hexorcism") then some sentences reminding to the Human Merchandise of the previous track.

"Mirage!" is a piece of contemporary classic. I think it has the mood of Luigi Nono's compositions, plus the vocal experiments of Stratos. The drum solo that overrides the music after 3 minutes takes the distance from the classic environment and lets the bass making jazz again. So we have keyboard and piano making "noises" while drums and bass play jazz. The two things mixed are amazing. At minute 5:45 the music stops again and Demetrio whispers and says "Undercover" with a weird voice. Vocalisms like monkeys in a jungle, an explosion and we are back again into avant-jazz that becomes a bit easier in the last minute.

"Lobotomia" (Lobotomy) is the most experimental track. It closes the album with noises and distorted reminds to some very popular tunes. Christmas carols, Advertising, TV news...the nature of this track can be catched only by Italians of my age, unfortunately. It's a sort of joke, a distortion of familiar sounds, like advising the listener that what you think is familiar is not what it seems. It may more likely represent a detachment from reality, the condition of a person lobotomized by the TV for whom the sounds slightly loose their meanings and become unrecognizable.

Very close to be a masterpiece. 4 stars rounded down.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The title of this album should explain it all as it could easily scare an unprepared poor sucker off with ease and contains some of the weirdest sounds made by this (awesome) band; the freejazz influence is far more prominent and the mood very experimental in general. Apart from the fantastic rhythmsection of Giulio Capiozzo and newcomer Ares Tavolazzi, a brilliant bassist that couldn't be any better for this band, the almost alien keyboard experiments within all the chaos present a whole new dimension to Area's music unlike anything else from that time, check out "ZYG" and "Mirage" for evidence. Opening the record in their typical fast'n'furious arabic influenced way (similarly to 'Arbeit' and 'Crac!') with the brilliant "Cometa Rossa" the albums grows progressively more insane every minute until a final ear lobotomy in "Lobotomia", a track I won't spoil but recommend playing at highest volume possible. I think this is Area at their explosive best, and while not necessarly pleasant I won't have it that way either. Being first released in 1974 this stuff is definitely ahead of it's time in terms of experimentation like this and fans of wild experimental avant fusion should pick it up, and if it grows enough on me then "Mirage" should be played at my funeral, if possible of course.. 4.25/5
Review by Matti
3 stars If you have read reviews of this Italian band or this particular album, you know you're going to have a strange ride. Some of the reviews would easily make me think I definitely wouldn't enjoy this (I usually can't get into very experimental Avant/RIO kind of music). Moreover I didn't remember that on my previous visit to the library where I borrowed it, I had quickly listened to AREA's Crac! album and had put it in the "won't borrow" pile. Luckily I borrowed this one against all odds. When I finally listened to it with minimal expectations, I was surprised to find it much more interesting - and accessible to me, no matter how funny to use that word in this case.

Maybe I somehow was in the right mood? Well, had the last two tracks been the first ones, I may have said to myself "why did I bother", and wouldn't have had the same patience for the whole album. The first three tracks were the best, the last one 'Lobotomia' is the most extreme but not without charm. Ten minutes of 'Mirage' were too much for me.

It's not that noisy and experimental after all. From the world of Prog, influences outside Italy might include King Crimson (Lark's Tongues etc), some Canterbury and some Krautrock. At one point I thought of Canterbury band National Health gone wilder and crazier than ever. There's certainly a Jazz thing going on, not only experimental rock. Music is often some sort of Fusion or Free Jazz. Electric piano could come out of a Miles Davis or Return To Forever album.

The instrumentation is more varied, featuring e.g. organ, harpsichord, trombone, flute and bass clarinet. Rhythm section is very intense, and only occasionally this album wanders aimlessly in atonal / experimental landscapes. The very little amount of human voices are quite strange though; 'Cometa Rossa' has a brief text in Greek if I'm not mistaken. Of course also musically there are lots of things to wonder, I'm not trying to say this isn't RIO / Avant-Garde. But surely not the hardest one to digest, I dare say (being quite green to RIO), at least if you're into fiery Fusion.

I haven't yet listened to this repeated times; probably there are things to discover for many rounds on this album, even in its shortness (32 minutes). But if this really is a standout masterpiece and something extremely special, I doubt it. What wouldn't have been already done by the year 1974? Some of the music is probably worth at least four stars, but three's enough by me for this over-hyped album.

P.S. The text in the leaflet - or the part of it that had translations - was actually more baffling than the music (a pity I don't have it on my hands now to cite it). Perhaps it was partly because of a bad translation? Or was it deliberately mumbo-jumbo?

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars During 73' Area traveled for a tour in Chile and represented Italy in the eighth Biennale de Paris Festival.Soon after though the band was struck by the departure of Patrick Djivas, who joined Premiata Forneria Marconi, and sax player Victor Busnello.A new member entered the picture, this was bassist Ares Tavolazzi, completing the most classic Area line-up.In 1974 Area held a unique concert at the Psychiatric Hospital of Trieste, which apparently influenced the band's second album ''Caution Radiation Area'', released the same year on Cramps.

''Cometa Rossa'', which opens the album, sees Area at their best.Fiery and powerful Prog Fusion with a fantastic technique by the rhythm section and superb keyboard work in a dense and complete track.All lyrics are sung by Stratos in Greek.''ZYG'' is another monster track, somewhat split between Prog Fusion and Free Jazz, including another bombastic ad virtuosic delivery by the rhythm section, excellent synth parts and fiery electric piano by Fariselli and a suprising trombone performance by bassist Tavolazzi.''Brujo'' closes the awesome first side of the original LP and follows more or less the same vein of the previous track.Mostly instrumental Jazz/Fusion with incredible piano exercises and a powerful sound, blended with some Avant-like synth parts and a sinister ending section with Stratos' unique, dramatic vocals.The second side sees Area entering more experimental grounds.The long ''MIRage? Mirage!'' flows for over 4 minutes in an Avant-Garde/Experimental atmosphere with percussion, strings and trombone creating a cosmic soundscape and from this point on the band starts alternating between incredible Fusion themes with organs, guitars and synths in the forefront and psychedelic soundscapes with wordless vocals and screams.The closing ''Lobotomia'' is based on disturbing synths and sound effects with a clear tendency by the group to surprise the listener, as listed in the liner notes of the album.

Musically speaking ''Caution Radiation Area'' is outstanding.The vocals of Stratos do not play a basic role and the focus leans towards the incredible instrumental workouts.The more experimental moments during the second half of the album might bother some listeners though and possibly prevent someone from fully enjoying the album.Nevertheless the structured ideas in this album are many and great, so this comes at least strongly recommended, especially for lovers of trully intricate music...3.5 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars I guess I have an appetite for the wilder side of music. I absolutely love it when a band has the audacity to go places where no one was expecting. AREA did just that with an even more outlandish second album after an already experimental first.

I think this album is albsolutely brilliant! If you listen from beginning to end you will notice that the music is the perfect representation of either radiation poisoning or a nuclear meltdown (not sure which). The album starts off with kind of a warning siren sound and proceeds to a familiar song structure similar to their first album ARBEIT MACHT FREI with the same Macedonian inspired scale that leads you to believe you're in for a continuation of the debut. However things quickly change gear after the first track and the free-jazz-fusion and avant-prog experiments begin.

The tracks gradually become freer and more experimental as they procede until the very last track simulates complete breakdown of anything remotely melodic and structured representing a total musical meltdown similar to the death of a human cell or a nuclear reactor (still not sure which). It leaves you with a feel of lifelessness where only radioactive isotopes now rule for the rest of eternity.

An interesting concept album that allows the listener to slowly devolve from order to chaos representing the destructive nature of radioactivity. Unbelievable that Demetrio Stratos would go on to die from complications due to aplastic anemia which can be caused by exposure to radiation. I just wish he would've used his vocal skills more on this one.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 158

'Caution Radiation Area' is the second studio album of Area and was released in 1974. The line up on the album is Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ, clavicembalo, steel drums and percussion), Giampaolo Tofani (guitar, synthesizer and flute), Patrizio Fariselli (electric piano, piano, clarinet and synthesizer), Areas Tavolazzi (bass and trombone) and Giulio Capiozzo (drums and percussion).

This is the first album that contains the more stable and better known line up of the group. On their debut and previous studio album 'Arbeit Macht Frei', the bassist of the band was Patrick Djivas, who left the band after the release of the album to be a member of Premiata Forneria Marconi. On the other hand, that musical work was the only album with the participation of the saxophonist Eddie Busnello, which wouldn't be replaced by any other musician on their new works.

'Caution Radiation Area' has five tracks. The first track 'Cometa Rossa' is a typical track of Area and it seems to be built around the ethnic and traditional music. In this case, we are presented to some influences of Arabic music, and are very close to some of the songs presented on Area's previous debut studio album 'Arbeit Macht Frei', especially its first song 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)'. It represents a perfect introduction to the band that shows their unmistakable type of music and the unique vocal style of Demetrio. The second track 'ZYG (Crescita Zero)' is a track that begins with more experimental music, which is the main characteristic of the rest of the album. It's a song that after begins with some distorted industrial noises and some electronic experimentation, shows a more rocking and psychedelic side of Area. However, we can say that this is basically a free jazz/fusion track with magnificent musical moments and fantastic individual performances all over the track, which gives to the album another wonderful musical moment. The third track 'Brujo' is, musically, a real wild track that opens in a chaotic way and where they play a lot of notes with a total improvisation. This is another free jazz/fusion track with great electric piano, bass, percussions and guitar works. It finishes with some vocal experimentation by Demetrio, accompanied by keyboard noises on the back. This is another great musical moment on the album with fantastic improvisations by all band's members. The fourth track 'MIRage? Mirage!' is, in a certain way, a surprising track. It's a song with a mix of a contemporary classical music and again the free and avant-garde jazz/fusion music. This is the lengthiest track on the album and is a song with a dark and a dissonant atmosphere, with very interesting and improvised musical moments. But, it's only recommended to the hard fans of the band, because it represents one of the scariest musical moments ever created by the band. The fifth and last track 'Lobotomia' is the most experimental track on the album. The track is an amalgam of distorted electronic sounds and noises, and this is, in reality, what this track is all about. I think this is a piece that intents to provoke the usual listener, something like lobotomize the listener itself. This isn't a piece to enjoy or hate. This is more something like if we can drop everything we knew on music and leave for something new and inscrutable. It reminds me the new contemporary classical music. It closes perfectly well this strange, savage and almost completely experimental album.

Conclusion: Area is a very special and unique band, even in the universe of Rock Progressivo Italiano. No other band can be compared with them. Their style is basically avant-garde jazz rock/fusion with clear influences of other type of music that ranges from Greek, Italian, Arab and Mediterranean music with a very special and inimitable touch of the unique voice of Demetrio Stratos. However, 'Caution Radiation Area' is a completely different work from 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. 'Arbeit Macht Frei' represents the highlighted Area's early musical sound, less experimental, which featured folk melodies, Canterbury Scene sound, acid psychedelic stile and avant-garde experimental jazz music, all together filtered and mixed through a very special and very particular Italian musical sensibility and taste. 'Caution Radiation Area' is much more experimental with plenty of electronic effects. So, this is the album where the truly experimental music was really introduced. As its name indicates, it's much darker than their previous debut album, which obviously intended to provoke and disturb the ears of the listener. We get more disturbed when we remember some nuclear accidents that have occurred since 1974, the year that we were all provoked by the terrible warning on the front cover of this album. I remember the Seveso disaster in 1976, the Bhopal disaster in 1984, and especially the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 and the most recent of all, the Fukushima Daiichi, the disaster in 2011. Backing to this album, this is really a great working. It's especially recommended for people who like free avant-garde jazz fusion music. Still, if you aren't yet familiarized with the band's music, it's preferable to start with 'Arbeit Macht Frei' or 'Crac!' which are more accessible. 'Caution Radiation Area' is more 'radioactive' and needs an extreme caution approach, especially by the newbies.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars An album that upset and disturbed a lot of people who had been blown away by the band's debut the year before, Arbeit Macht Frei Caution Radiation Area put on display too much edge, too many aggressive and experimental sounds and constructions--often fully going over to the realms of jazz-rock fusion and even avant garde music.

1. "Cometa Rossa" (4:00) employing some Arabian folk instruments and melodies, the song does a great job of setting up Demetrio's astounding a cappella vocal in the middle. (9/10)

2. "ZYG (Crescita zero)" (5:27) pure instrumental jazz tending toward the crazed world of avant garde. BUT the musicianship is incredible and performed so tightly. Astonishing! (10/10)

3. "Brujo" (8:02) an extended foray into unstructured musical chaos--like a long ELP, GENESIS or TODD RUNDGREN intro--the jazz musicianship of the song in the fourth and fifth minutes is quite CHICK COREA/RETURN TO FOREVER-like (though it also sounds like the crazed section of YES' "Gates of Delirium" between the 8:00 and 13:00 minute marks). The final two minutes of eerie synth-supported cave-like vocals does little to make the song more endearing. (12.5/15)

4. "Mirage" (10:27) opening with four minutes of free-form sound experimentation, the rhythm section finally kicks in with a hard-driving structure over (and beneath) which the synth and horn experimentations continue. At 5:45 everything cuts out and we're exposed to multiple tracks of Demtrio's whispering voices, gutteral word recitations, and haunted ghost screams. Breaking glass at 7:10 stops the vocal mayhem, unleashing, instead, a cacophony of instrumental mayhem. ("Ahem! A little humanity, please!") Droning synths, fast-running double bass, underscore the out-of-control guitar shredding before Fender Rohdes enters to bring in some calm and order--within which sax and Demetrio vocalise scat. Ends with some Tibetan-like monastic chants. Weird song that retains little significance this many years later. (16/20)

5. "Lobotomia" (4:23) an instrumental synth solo of electronically-distorted sound waves. Interesting but four and a half minutes of this? But, heck! Many other mainstream artists were doing it! (E.g. Todd Rundgren, Keith Emerson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Larry Fast, Jan Hammer, and George Duke). (8/10)

Total Time: 32:19

Four stars; a wonderful example of the kind of experimentation going on within music and particularly progressive rock music in 1973-4.

Review by jamesbaldwin
5 stars Area lose two virtuous musicians in one fell swoop: Patrick Dijvas with his vigorous bass (which betrayed them for Premiata Forneria Marconi) and Victor Busnello who, with the vicissitudes made with sax, had indelibly marked their debut album. They suffer a serious blow that could kill them but in a short time they decide to do without the sax and manage to find another fabulous bass player, Ares Tavolazzi (who plays even double bass and trombone), already famous for his work with the father of the Italian songwriters Francesco Guccini.

The result is a new group, with a different sound, which decides to experiment totally, not only in the context of jazz rock and avant-garde. The first song, "Cometa rossa", has an electronic intro with an electronic rhythm and then becomes a Mediterranean acoustic folk sung in Greek by Stratos (but with arabic accents), to return to electronic. Remarkable song, sophisticated although perhaps too close to the exercise of style. Rating 8.

ZYG (Crescita zero) is an instrumental piece with an industrial beginning- The only words, spoken with an electronic voice,, are: "L'estetica del lavoro, dello spettacolo, della merce umana." (The aesthetics of work, entertainment, human goods) Great work by Tavolazzi on the bass, Fariselli on synth and by Tofani on the guitar. We are in the free-jazz field, mixed with electronic and avant-guarde. Rating 8+.

Brujo starts with a piece of cacophony, then the music becomes almost ambient, and Tavolazzi shows his cleverness to the double bass. We are listening to an almost completely instrumental album, where Demetrio Stratos participates with the voice rather than with the vocals: the voice used as an instrument. The sound remains more cacophonous than free-jazz, the lack of the sax that traces the line of a melody leaves space for the other instruments, which are free to totally improvise, here in particular we have Fariselli's piano and Capiozzo's drums that are enhanced in long solos; the sound acquires a free-jazz form that has nothing to do with Italian Progressive Rock. Around 6 minutes the music stops, the double bass remains and Stratos' voice finally appears to sing "Ossigeno" and then vocalises, onomatopoeic sounds, the music becomes dissonant, pure avant-garde, Stratos finally sings and closes the first side with a crescendo fantastic. Rating 8,5/9.

End of a difficult but eceptional A-side.

"Mirage" is a mini-suite (ten and a half minutes) that begins slowly, but there is a good progression and with an almost space-rock sound, here we are near a radioactive area, then around 5 minutes and 45 seconds the music stops and we hear polyphonic voices that say nonsense sentences, then voices of worthy spirits of a horror film, all with a very theatrical taste, we reached the maximum of experimentalism, it could be the soundtrack of an absurd theater show, which then becomes dissonant, only the double bass seems to follow a line, all the musicians they are intent on improvising. Experimentalism and avant-garde, perhaps less pure musical content. We always fly on very high quality levels. Rating 8.5.

"Lobotomia" is the last piece. The beginning is hysterical, overpowering, irritating, pure sound experiment, the sound of the second side has become very arduous. The title, which alludes to the operation of a part of the brain, serves to indicate the setting for the music, which wants to be repellent, annoying, unbearable, traumatizing. The problem is that the listener is rejected, it is the ear that hurts. This song in my opinion lowers the quality (rating 6+) of the album which is still excellent, a masterpiece. It could have been a great masterpiece, but so it is only a small masterpiece.

Rating 9. Five stars.

Review by Kempokid
4 stars The direction Area took with their sophomore album demonstrates the sort of creative process that I often find myself most fond of. As a followup to Arbeit Macht Frei, Caution Radiation Area is not an album I find universally better or worse, but just rather different, focusing on some aspects far more while deemphasising others. This approach is quite appealing due to the way it really can demonstrate a band not being content with just sitting still and sticking to one sound, presenting a willingness to experiment and come up with something new and exciting. In the case of this album, it was clear that the band wouldn't be happy until they further explored the avant prog sound they brought to the table, taking the atonality and aggressive complexity to a whole other level. In the process there is certainly less of a focus on both groove and melody here, to the point where even any vocal inclusions sound incredibly frantic and strange. This ultimately leads to an album that seems deadset on challenging the listener, and sounding even more off the traditional beaten path of Italian prog than their already remarkably distinctive debut.

Despite probably being the most accessible track here, Cometa Rossa sets the album up perfectly, both with those jazzier elements being in the mix, and with the frantic, complex instrumentation rearing its head. While this track definitely has some form of melody to it, it all feels obscured by the band's desire to get weird with it. None of the instrumental sections or sense of rhythm stands still long enough to allow the listener to fully settle into anything, as they are instead thrown around a lot by the ensuing onslaught of ideas all condensed within a short timeframe. Tracks 3 and 5, Brujo and Lobotomia respectively, embody this approach the most prominently and cleanly. Brujo is a nonstop bombardment of jazzy proggy greatness that often times feels closer to a jumbled mess of notes as opposed to much that feels carefully composed or structured at all. It clearly has no intentions of attempting to do anything relating to finding a melody or really anything to grasp onto at all, as it flails wildly and refuses to be following the same train of thought for more than a few seconds at a time. This song also showcases a lot of the reason why the vocals manage to sound so particularly strange besides Demetrio Stratos' breathy, crazed delivery. The way the music practically cuts out, or at least tones it down majorly gives these vocals a rather eerie vibe thanks to how isolated they often sound, making for yet another layer of strangeness on top of everything else.

The album's atmosphere really reaches its peak with its final two songs. Mirage! is a long, explorative track that keeps switching between some sections of echoey, progressively intensifying vocals and somewhat more structured instrumental parts to end up with the most interesting, dynamic song on the album, with the almost space rockish atmosphere that gets established here. Lobotomia closes everything off rather nicely, being the most experimental, challenging piece here, with a somewhat sparse start quickly devolving into a wall of high pitched beeps and buzzes, bringing forth a strangely mechanical sound and ending things on an extremely memorable note. Overall I am quite a big fan of what Area did here, taking their established sound and then just going in a different direction while retaining a lot of their core sound palette and identity. The jazziness certainly still comes through, especially in the drumming, and yet, this is just considerably more insane across the board. This might have led to a compromise in terms of how memorable and "fun" the album was, but this direction is just so cool and interesting that it's a small price to pay, even if it ends up not having a songs as tremendously great as their debut's title track. If you liked the more full on elements of Arbeit Macht Frei, give this album a listen, there really is a lot to love here.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Are is one of the Italian prog's most famous bands and their highest ranked record on ProgArchives is the seventh highest ranked in the subgenre. Therefor i was very excited to investigate their music when I so deeply respect the Italian prog. When I am acknowledging records from 1974 I now have ... (read more)

Report this review (#1302200) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, November 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Area released this record after Arbeit Macht Frei, that was a very jazzy but still RPI album. With this one, they totally go RIO. The record is short (around 32 minutes) but it shows all of the band's musicianship. After a slightly dissonant, Greek-sung song with an awesome riff, we have Zyg (Cre ... (read more)

Report this review (#521642) | Posted by Turillazzo | Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Caution Radiation Area is the band favourites choice, becouse of its avantagarde soul and the wide detachment from Arbeit Macht frei. Of course it's also my favourite one! Maybe the voice of Demetrio it's not present as other work like the precedent or Crac, but the same Demetrio said that for him ... (read more)

Report this review (#282666) | Posted by Il Tastiere | Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: B After their mind-blowing debut, Arbeit Macht Frei, one had to wonder how Area would follow up such a masterpiece (and my favorite jazz-rock CD). Thankfully, they did not disappoint, not in the slightest. At first, it seems as if they're going to stay within the same format as Arbeit ... (read more)

Report this review (#161735) | Posted by Pnoom! | Thursday, February 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I was most How can anyone release something like that after such a great work as Arbeit Macht Frei? The only good tracks are Cometa Rossa and ZYG, which are not the boring pointless free-jazz jams, of which most of the album is about. I can't explain what happened here, especially when the band ... (read more)

Report this review (#142457) | Posted by Oneiromancer | Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The second work released in 1974 "Caution Radiation Area". An eerie electronic sound is sprinkled, and the strange world appears. Still, terrible of the improvisation performance increases further. It is a work that approached the contemporary music. Experimental jazz-rock work that aimed at d ... (read more)

Report this review (#63365) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok now lets relax, relax? No, our brains will have few moments to relax here, one thing I realized in their songs, they are mysterious, frenetic and mysterious, "cometa rossa" means pink comet, has vocals in Greek and it's sung like those Arab influenced vocals, "ZYG" another frenetic well pla ... (read more)

Report this review (#898) | Posted by | Sunday, May 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This work is caracterized by jazz fusion improvisation. Is a good work, but not for all. Only the first song, "Cometa Rossa", is made with the concept ot the ethnic music that caracterized Area's previous album "Arbeit Macht Frei", the rest is improvisation. Jazz fusion and free rules in the r ... (read more)

Report this review (#895) | Posted by dodaro | Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I lived in Milan from 1972 to 1974, the undergraound student movement was embraced by this band, who personified the ideals of the time. I saw them twice as a student, and fell in love with their story, feelings and music. Area is the best italian band bar none, and getting very close to being ... (read more)

Report this review (#894) | Posted by | Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'Caution Radiation Area' stands in my desert island selection since I've been listening to progressive music. But my friends, believe me: this is not fusion! This is Miles Davis ('Bitches Brew', 'Agartha', 'Pangea', 'On The Corner'), Herbie Hancock ('Sextant'), John Cage, Edgar Varese, the Mot ... (read more)

Report this review (#891) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've got no words to write about AREA. For me, ex aequo with MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, this band is the best in the fusion field. Demetrio Stratos was an outstanding singer, always trying to go beyond the establishment. All the elements are 5 stars rated. Very powerfull album. Settembro Nero is one of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#890) | Posted by kag1 | Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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