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Area Maledetti album cover
4.07 | 217 ratings | 26 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Evaporazione (1:45)
2. Diforisma Urbano (6:18)
3. Gerontocrazia (7:30)
4. Scum (6:30)
5. Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre In Sol Maggiore (2:20)
6. Giro, Giro, Tondo (5:55)
7. Caos (Parte Seconda) (9:00)

Total Time 39:18

Bonus tracks on 2000 Akarma LP & CD editions:
8. Intervista a Stratos, Tofani, Fariselli (2:07)
9. L'Internazionale (5:58)

Line-up / Musicians

- Demetrio Stratos / vocals, voice filter (4), Hammond organ (2-4,6), piano (6), bells
- Giampaolo Tofani / electric guitar, (Serge) Tcherepnin synth (3,4,7)
- Patrizio Fariselli / piano (4,6), electric piano (3,4,6), prepared piano (7), ARP Odyssey synth (3,4,6)
- Ares Tavolazzi / electric (3,4) & acoustic (2,3) basses
- Giulio Capiozzo / drums (3,4)

- Eugenio Colombo / kazumba ? (1)
- Steve Lacy / soprano saxophone (2,3,7)
- Paolo Salvi / cello (5)
- Giorgio Garulli / contrabass (5)
- Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli / violin (5)
- Armando Burattin / viola (5)
- Hugh Bullen / bass (2,6)
- Walter Calloni / drums (2,6)
- Anton Arze / txalaparta (3)
- Jose Arze / txalaparta (3)
- Paul Lytton / percussion (6,7)

Releases information

Artwork: E. Siber & Hepier with Gianni Sassi (art direction)

LP Cramps Records - CRSLP 5105 (1976, Italy)
LP Akarma - AK 1009 (2000, Italy) With 2 bonus tracks

CD Cramps Records - CRSCD 005 (1993, Italy)
CD EMI 7243 8 57428 2 8 (1998, Italy) Remastered by Claudio Corradini
CD Akarma - AK 1009 (2000, Italy) With 2 bonus tracks
CD Edel - 0136512CRA (2002, Germany) ?
CD Strange Days - POCE-1160 (2007, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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AREA Maledetti ratings distribution

(217 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

AREA Maledetti reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars The political rebellion by Demetrio Stratos is a strong sarcasm about the lack of respect for the majority of women,as well as his real disappointment for their unconsidered civil rights, talking about the promulagated laws in Europe, during the seventies...this is the main reason for what concerns the main concept of the album;nevertheless you can find other interesting music features within, such as the splendid transposition from Bach's "Brandenburgische Konzert", entitled " Il massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore", and other unforgettable moments of such "progressive jazz", enriched with a lot of improvisation (well perhaps the song "Giro, giro, tondo" is the most typical example of their versatility). Besides I like to remark other "stormy" moments of jazz, more and more getting confused behind a certain rationality, which is not clearly apparent in every break through, anyway consisting of the most crazy ideas by Demetrio (listen to "Caos parte seconda")...I don't know whether this album is a must-have or not, but for sure it's well worth checking out at least...after "Arbeit macht frei"- a real gem- you can also appreciate the present "Maledetti"; and moreover some bands like "Deus Ex Machina" could not exist today without an important music background of the seventies like that one represented by Area. Think of their important role and forget only a few "confusional" music passages which characterize the main "jam-session" of the album!!
Review by soundsweird
4 stars A great album. I am writing this review mainly to advise readers to avoid the cd release on Cramps, and get the newer release on the Akarma label. The Cramps cd is fine until you get to track five (beginning of side two on vinyl release). The sound at that point becomes very muddy (probably taken from an old cassette!!). The Akarma release sounds great. It has two bonus tracks that did nothing for me (one is an interview in Italian; huh?).
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Area's fourth studio effort is yet another masterpiece in their recording catalogue, standing out as the most solid showcase for their musical ideology so far. "Maledetti" is a bit stronger than their second gem "Caution Radiation Area" and, in some ways, much bolder. After a less aggressive and less demanding "Crac!", the band seemed now decided to lift off from where "Caution" stood and take their radical artistic attitude to its most mature expression - and so they did! The bizarre-beyond-words Stratos soliloquy that kicks off the album should prepare the listener for the deconstructive feast that's about to take place: the whispers, fractured stammering, dubious articulations and final shout that fill the speech of 'Evaporazione' are an urgent invitation to leave the boundaries of modern rational thought behind and les ourselves be transported to more fundamental roots of our lives. A lovely invitation that is immediately segued into the funky-oriented jazzy splendour of 'Diaforisma Urbano', whose optimistic flavours properly convey the need to face a new era of real freedom without fear or regrets: it is in our hands to transform our contemporary life into something we are to command instead of something out of our hands and above our heads. 'Gerontocrazia' is one of the most captivating Area pieces ever (in fact, it is perhaps my all-time favourite Area track). It sort of encapsulates the musical ideology that Area had been thoroughly outlining and establishing in their studio recordings and live concerts for years: Stratos' vocal lunacy (one of his best performances ever), the Eastern-like melodic lines, the bold use of dissonance, the energetic jazzy rhythm section. all these elements are stunningly epitomized in the sonic tour-de-force that is comprised in 'Gerontocrazia'. Compared to the band's previous three albums, it is a fact that Fariselli's interventions on synth and grand and electric pianos are more featured in the mix: the ultra free-jazzy 'Scum' and the prototypical 'Giro, Giro, Tondo' are clear showcases for that factor. Sandwiched between the two there is a string quartet rendition of the main motif of Bach's 'Branderbuger Concerto No. 3' - Fariselli wrote this wicked arrangements, which incorporates some originally added countermelodies and a final dissonant section. This massacre is a symbol of the band's urge to eliminate the ghosts of the past and instill an absolute faith in the future into the listener's heart. Meanwhile, all throughout the album, it has been noticeable that Tofani's guitar adventures have been sounding less prominently, although they still work as a very important asset in Area's sound. Anyway, eventually those adventures are shown in full frontal in the extremely deconstructed 'Caos (Parte Seconda)', a 9-minute musical event formed by a highly loose set of improvised, disturbing sonic fragments on guitar, synth, piano, percussion, soprano sax. and of course, Stratos' vocal deliriums. At times psychopathologically ethereal, at times simply nightmarish, this concrete tour-de- force is designed to disturb those who want to be disturbed and annoy those who are not in touch with the band's artistic spirit. The occasional presence of a guest on sax may remind us somewhat of the band's debut album, in which the sax was such an important instrument: also, the presence of guests on bass, drums and percussion allows the band to enrich their jazz leanings as a result of the intimate interaction with other performers alien to the band's official line-up. Since this is Area's last studio effort with guitarist Tofani as a member, I can only conclude that this is a brilliant testament of his inventive input for Italy's 70s avant-garde scene. "Maledetti' is a masterpiece!
Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a shock for the brain.

Don't be misguided by their genre: "jazz-rock fusion" might mislead you and make you think these guys sound like Pat Metheny and the like. Well, no. Not in a thousand years. There is no "touch of class" so typical for majority of jazz-related music: this is the rawest and most brutal force within the free-jazz experiments, occasionally touching rock and other genres, with insane growls by vocalist Demetrio Stratos. The rest of AREA's albums are pretty much in the same vein (that doesn't mean that they are unimaginative), but this one is my favourite.

This is a concept album. I guess. There is some guideline story about "what would happen if...", and (as illustrated through the songs on this album) every song is a example of the world and society dominated by the women, children, elderly and so on. Therefore, we can't judge very hard occasional non-musical tracks here, because they are all parts of the statement, and no matter where will the music turn in the next few seconds, the idea is evolving all the time. A very unique concept. I'm almost sure that for occasional lyrics they picked pieces of paper from the hat, and than formed the random sentences.

Anyway, the music is equally chaotic as the lyrical concept itself. But it's great nonetheless. We can hear traditional Greek lullaby, free-jazz, anarcho-jazz, conquered-jazz and all other forms of jazz. There are elements of funk music thrown in for a good measure, Balkan music, rock and pure avantgarde. I mustn't forgot the classical music too: "Il massacro di Branderburgo numero Tre in Sol Maggiore" (what a title!!) - is actually played by string quartet with the idea : "What would happen with the today's music if only one note from Bach's piece had been changed?" That is a really nice variation. It floats in apocalyptic "Giro, giro, tondo" with lyrics about a child who wish to control human, through nice allegory of child's game (at least that's my impression).

The music itself is mostly driven by bass and furious drums, with loads of piano and keyboard works, spiced up with incredible Demetrio's vocals and his daring experimentations: from yodeling, squeaking, howling, growling, snoring, sometimes all of that in the same time.

This is a brilliant piece. But be warned: it's not for everyone, it requires some time to digest.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars More Experimental than Crac!

Of the 2 Area albums that I am so far familiar with, 'Maledetti' is far more experimental than 'Crac!'. The foundation of heavy porgressive jazz/rock fusion is still there, but the album also contains 'Chaos' in 2 seperate parts which are primarily improv pieces. 'Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre in Sol Maggiore' is basically a note for note rendition of the main theme of Brandenburg Concerto. Vocals are still very much in the style of Christain Vander (sans high-pitched screams. oh, except for 'Chaos') singing in Italian.

I am only familiar with the Akarma release, so I am only aware of problems with the Cramps release through reviews. But I will say that the Akarma release comes in a very beautiful mini-LP sleeve with complete art and booklet.

Strong effort, not quite as enjoyable as 'Crac!', but essential. 4.0 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars After the accessible "Crac !" album, AREA head back into the Avant-garde territory of "Caution Radiation Area" with this release. This is not for the faint of heart, but more for those who are adventerous and are looking for a challenge. The subject matter is as usual political and social in nature, but since the lyrics are in Italian i'll just talk about the music.

"Evaporazione" is a short intro track where we can hear someone whistling and talking. No music. "Diforisma Urbano" is just a joy to listen to with all those intricate sounds coming and going. Very jazzy. It's hard to even highlight one instrument because they all sound amazing.Then vocals and piano arrive 3 1/2 minutes in. Back again the instrumental work that continues to be incredible. "Gerontocrazia" opens with vocals and percussion. The sax makes some noise, but there really isn't much going on. Then the tempo picks up 3 minutes in as we get some cello then a middle-Eastern flavour. This sounds much better. The bass before 4 1/2 minutes is chunky as the soundscape changes to a jazzy motif. Great sound. Vocals return before 6 1/2 minutes as it ends with that middle-Eastern vibe. "Scum" is my favourite, it opens with piano as drums join in. Nice bass lines follow. The piano work is fantastic, a little dissonant you might say.The drumming is outstanding. Love this track ! Organ 4 1/2 minutes in. A calm before 5 minutes as spoken words come in to the end.

"Il Mascacro..." features a string quartet. A short classical piece that is very impressive. "Giro, Giro,Tondo" opens with some strange vocal sounds from Demetrio for 1 1/2 minutes. Then a jazzy, uptempo section takes over. Vocals come in a minute later. The tempo picks up 3 1/2 minutes in. Just a terrific sound as piano, bass and drums astound. It ends in an almost spacey manner. "Caos (Parte Seconde)" is the 9 minute closer.It begins with very bizzare vocal sounds. This is actually very entertaining and funny. Sax is in the background. This is weird even for Demetrio. Avant-garde instrumental sounds follow. Yes, this is experimental folks. Vocal melodies 4 1/2 minutes in. Demetrio sounds likes he's lost it 6 minutes in. Haha. A dissonant horn melody ends it.

Very much recommended to Avant Jazz fans.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Fourth Studio album, Maledetti is an improvement over the absolutely obtuse CRA album and its improvised atonal music, yet it takes as much from that album and "Crac!" whose bright jazz rock was illuminating the peninsula. So using the median between the two conduct line Maledetti is a concept album about "what if" and was packed inan impressive medical gatefold.

Besides the whacky opening short Evarorazione, an eccentric Stratos vocal affair, the album starts well enough un the ultra-funky and mega-technical Diforisma Urbano , sounding a bit like Jeff Beck's Wired album, Stratos intervening as if his voice was just another synth (some of the most effective scat I've heard, since you might actually miss them) in this red-hot fusion of molten rocks. Gerontacrazia is one of the weirder track on this album at least in its first half, hovering between the dissonant and absolutely mad, then suddendly veering again fusion, (beck and hammer seems to be again the influence), but Stratos' vocals ensure that you couldn't mistake them for another band. Scum is very close tio free-jazz, often teetering wioth the dissonant demented line >> this track is probably the closest to their Radiation album, along with the closing and aptly named Caos (second part), which retuirns to Area's maddening free-improv side.Beside a useless but thankfully short Massacro Di Brandeburgo, Giro Rondo reaches another red hot fusion, but it took its time to get there via some excellent and cradual progressions and implacable chord succession. There is an unwelcomed bonus track in the form of a live interview which turns chaotic, as Stratos pushes his provications;

Please don't be fooled by my fellow reviewers twho claim that Area is misplaced in jazz-rock, but thios album is filled with it as there were previous ones and when not JR/F, then they veer free-jazz with a touch of RIO ( I can see Area signing the Rhe chart just as easily as Stormy Six did, both bands sharings fairly similar aesthetics.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Maledetti is decisively more funky and happy then the previous Area albums. It's the fourth album in a row filled with stellar musicianship, but it has sacrificed some of the dark power that made me love the preceding albums so much.

After a poetic start on Evaporazione, Diforisma Urbano finds Area in a surprisingly upbeat funk fusion mood. It's a pleasant track but certainly not the best I have heard in this style. Mahavishnu's Visions of the Emerald Beyond for instance has much better tracks in this style. Gerontocrazia takes a good 3 minutes till it gets going. The vocal and Arabian flavoured section that follows is great but doesn't measure up to similar snake charming excursions on the previous albums. The band's playing and the synth usage in particular is great, but as a whole it fails to surprise.

Scum features a rhythmic pulse that brings it close to zeuhl, RIO and other rock forms that take the wild rhythmic dynamics of Stravinsky as an example. It has some great fretless bass work and wild free jazz experimentation. It ends with another poem accompanied by space noises. Il Massacro is a classical chamber orchestra piece that gets a slightly punkish/noisy treat from Area but it is rather pointless really.

On Giro Giro Tondo, Area gets back on track with their typical blend of avant-garde, emotional vocals and intense jazz-rock. Caos is chaotic indeed, it's a rowdy slab of vocal and instrumental experimentation that must have been tremendous fun to do because, dense as it is, it still manages to convey their wilful enthusiasm.

For people that followed Area from the beginning, this album may not offer many new thrills, and it sure lists as the lesser of the first 4 albums for me. Still it is a strong album on its own and Frank Zappa fans that haven't tried Area yet might take this album as a starting point. 3.5 stars.

Review by Progfan97402
5 stars This was Area's fourth studio effort, and what an album this is! They got plenty of outside help, with the likes of Steve Lacy and Paul Lytton, plus a cello quartet. Patrizio Fariselli had acquired himself a Serge Modular synth, which don't appear to feature a keyboard, but great for electronic effects, as as it's plain to see, sounds quite different from the EMS Synthi A, which was what he was using on previous efforts.

This was their first effort since Arbeit Macht Frei to feature sax use, and it's put to great use on "Diforisma Urbano". Once again, some incredibly mindblowing fusion/prog, with those vocals from Demetrio Stratos. The opening cut "Evaporazione" consists mainly of strange synth droning that almost sounds like a didgeridoo. Out of nowhere, Stratos yells, "Ladies and gentlemen". I really love those percussion experiments on "Gentrocrazia". It's an experiment I never heard on previous Area albums. What is that percussion? Some Basque music instrumental called the Txalaparta, which boards of wood on a stand played as a musical instrument, although I thought it was just some slit drum. There are two guys named Anton Arze and his brother Jose playing the Txalaparta, as it requires two people to play it. Eventually the music starts and Demetrio Stratos voice kicks in, and it's Area as we come to know and love. It just occured to me that since Area sided up with oppressed people of the world, the Txalaparta intro, to me, is a representation of the suppression of Basque culture in Franco-era Spain (given Area were communist, they were obviously opposed to Franco). "SCUM" is a piece that wouldn't be out of place on Crac!, a fusion-oriented piece, dominated by piano, but then the electronic effects and Demetrio Stratos does some spoken dialog that sounds like it could belong on Caution: Radiation. Then you have the desecration of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto, played by a cello quartet. If you're familiar with the original, you'll notice many parts of the song taken out, and even ending in a different way. "Giro, Giro, Tondo" is back into familiar Area territory, with Stratos, and nice use of electric piano. Then comes the avant garde piece "Caos". If you notice somewhere the theme song to the Pink Panther playing, and you expect the sax to kick in, but that never happens.

This is no doubt all over the place: piece that wouldn't be out of place any of their previous albums, while trying new things. Yet, despite some of these new experiments they never tried before, it works surprisingly well. This album is full of great stuff making it highly recommended!

Review by andrea
4 stars After the live "Are(A)zione", in 1976 Area released their fourth studio work, "Maledetti (Maudits). The line up is the classic one featuring Giulio Capiozzo (drums), Patrizio Fariselli (keyboards, piano synthesizer), Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ, piano, bells), Ares Tavolazzi (bass) and Paolo Tofani (electric guitar, synthesizer, tcherepnin). Anyway in those days Area were an "open band" and during the recording sessions they were helped by some guest musicians like Eugenio Colombo (kazumba), Hugh Bullen (bass), Walter Calloni (drums), Steve Lacy (sax), Paul Lytton (percussion), Anton and Josè Arze (txalaparta) and a string quartet conducted by Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli. The result is a rich and heterogeneous mix of jazz-rock, classical music, Mediterranean folk, avant-garde and sonic experiments inspired by John Cage.

This album is an ambitious conceptual project of "fanta-sociopolitica" where Area tried to blend their music with science fiction and politics... The plot was explained in the liner notes. It's settled in the future in a time when society is vertically split and divided in corporations. World conscience is a liquid plasma kept in a computer inside a bank but, because of a failure, the liquid begins to spread out leading gradually to the loss of human conscience. The band draw three possible developments: A) Power to the ancient people as keepers of a past memory refusing the troubles of the present; B) Power to the women as energy suppliers and bringers of new ideals in antithesis with their historic repression; C) Power to the children as guarantors of freedom since they can reinvent history with the strength of their creative imagination. It's up to the listener to choose what's better...

The short opener "Evaporazione" set the atmosphere. It features recitative vocals and concrete music, here Paolo Tofani "plays" an electric shaver while Demetrio Stratos' theatrically warn us... "We've lost the memory of the XVth Century!". Next comes the excellent instrumental "Diforisma urbano" featuring a nervous rhythm and a jazz-rock pace. Demetrio Stratos here "plays" his voice like an instrument adding beautiful and intense touches of colour.

"Gerontocrazia" is about point A). It begins with a sweet traditional lullaby from Asia Minor featuring soaring vocals in Greek. In the liner notes you can read that in Asia Minor old people used to put a loaf of hashish under the pillow of little children to make them sleep for a long time easier. So this lullaby symbolize the proceedings of narcotization that old people exert through education on children's imagination. It leads to a complex and dynamic second part where Area depict the tricky ways of power... "With the power of things I can control your life / And this is called freedom / The daily experience of terror leaves you no one but me / Violence wearing down in love pushes you towards me / If you look in the past, you will find that everything has already been settled / And this is called truth / Without history nor memory let me write your steps / Enjoy your life in peace / Do not think and dream happiness...". That's one of my favourite Area's pieces.

"Scum" is about point B). In fact, Scum is an acronym for "Society for Cutting Up Men". Music takes off in a free jazz direction with the piano of Patrizio Fariselli in the forefront, then there's a sudden stop and Demetrio Stratos begins a speech featuring words taken from the "SCUM Manifesto" by Valerie Solanas, an American radical feminist writer, best known for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol in 1968... "Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic- minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex...". Well, here these words sound like a ferocious and sarcastic criticism against feminism.

"Il massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore" is a fragment taken from Bach's Brandenburg Concert number 3 in G major and passed through a treatment of progressive effacement of the most important parts of the counterpoints. According to the liner notes, this piece was conceived to symbolize the demolition of music corporatism and as a criticism to classical music in general but luckily it does not completely erase the charm of Bach's music.

"Giro, giro, tondo" is about point C). Demetrio Stratos' vocal experiments introduce a dangerous and frenzy ring-a-ring-a-roses where children play with the world as if it was a toy... "I play, I play with your world / I can dominate you / I turn, I turn always in circle / I can control you / I look, I look down at the bottom / I can subjugate you / I laugh, I laugh at your time / I have to crush you...". A famous scene of a Charlie Chaplin's film comes to mind...

"Caos (parte seconda)" in some way deals with point C) too. It's a long piece of concrete music inspired by the work of John Cage, a kind of play where the musicians pick up at random some pieces of paper with the names of some emotive states or "silence" written on them, then they freely interpret what's written on the paper disregarding what the others are doing... The result is a complete chaos! Area were so brave to repeat this experiment in a controversial concert at Milan university in 1976. On the Edel reissue on CD of the album at the end of this track you can listen to an interview with the band made immediately after this event... Interesting, but concrete music is not everyone's cup of tea.

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars The fast 'n furious beginning sets the tone for this twisted jazz rock classic from 1976. It sounds like an alternative soundtrack to Kojak during a drugs bust. 'Maledetti' is a bit different from their earlier releases in that it sounds deeper, more fleshed out and thoughtful. They even managed to recruit the help of Steve Lacy and Paul Lytton with his classical jazz contributions.

Demetrio Stratos never sounded better with his bizarre and energetic vocal yodeling and warbling. He certainly was an acquired taste - a voice you'll either love or hate.

Quite similar to 'Return to Forever' but more deranged. There are some seriously gifted musicians at work here who make really difficult music sound easy to play. Hair raising stuff indeed. A lot of 'Maledetti' sounds like controlled mayhem where you have no idea in which direction it will go next.

Side two kicks off with a string quartet playing a 'Bach' concerto which, funnily, doesn't sound out of place at all. The outro 'Caos' has a wonky assortment of all odd things going on, including a nod to 'The Pink Panther'.

A difficult album as all Area recordings were and not for the faint hearted. Just a pity the band were a bunch of left wing Commies.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Area return with another album which, much like Caution Radiation Area, slips in moments of pure sonic experimentation in with the band's usual volcanic jazz fusion. Unfortunately, the album does not feel to me to be quite on a par with the band's best works - tracks such as Evaporazione or the classical parody Il Massacro di Brandeburgo Numero Tre in Sol Maggiore feel like filler, their fusion chops don't really seem to have advanced much since their debut (bar Hugh Bullen's super-funky basswork), and the avant-garde portions of the album might be worthwhile experiments, but to my ears they don't really work. A solid enough pick for the fusion numbers, but the noise experiments have not aged at all well.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars Although many artists in the 70s were recording albums in English, most of the Italian groups including AREA continued to use their native language. One of the plights of this decision is for non-Italian speakers to be utterly clueless what the album is about. Not speaking much of the lingo I formed my opinion solely on the music. What a surprise to learn that this is actually a concept album about an imaginary bank in which history is stored and loses data from the 15th century causing people to forget how to govern the world. The outcome of which leads to society learning how to divide power amongst the different demographics. Hmmm. More socialist proganda? Maybe....

Did that change my perception of this album? Well, YES! and it made me appreciate that AREA was an even more complex band that I thought and made me realize how much we can miss when taking an album out of the context of its place and time. What once seemed like random and chaotic tracks now seem like they were placed there for a reason.

About this album! AREA continue their strange mish-mash of rock, jazz, Balkan and Mediterranean music that separated them from other prog acts of the day. MALEDETTI incorporated all of the elements that made up their sound and went the experimental route once again. After a spoken word opener (in Italian) that explains the evaporation of information we get a rather straight forward jazz-fusion track "Diforisma Urbano," followed by "Gerontocrazia" which incorporates a txalaparta (a Basque xylophone type instrument) to the mix. This is a track that Mr Stratos really steps up to the plate and delivers a stunning vocal performance. "Scum" is a track that is clearly inspired by the jazz classics but takes it into a frenetic and ecstatic state of virtuosity. "Il massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore" is the most unexpected track in all of AREA's disocraphy. It is an excerpt of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto. WTF?!! After that unexpected tidbit we continue with "Giro, Giro, Tondo." This is yet another ecstatic jazz-fusion fest which everyone shines especially keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli. The last track "Caos (parte seconda)" is probably the track that leaves most casual listeners alienated and running for the hills. This is one of the strangest tracks on the album. It is indeed a piece of musical insanity but there is a bass piano piece that is the underpinning of the whole thing (kinda reminds me of The Pink Panther theme). Very wild and has something to do about the whole structured system falling apart.

In conclusion, this album started out as a 4 star album but after many listens and then another few after the discovery that it is a concept album I have to say this has weaseled itself into my heart as the 4th masterpiece in a row. The details are dizzifying. Just read the amount of guest musicians and instruments involved in the whole thing. AREA continue to make me believe they were one of the best musical entities of the ages. I wish I knew Italian better so I could understand their lyrics. This album requires multiple listens and dedication to appreciate it. Sorry, no easy listening with this one.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 168

Area began their musical adventure at the end of 1972, bringing together musicians from different backgrounds, that ranges from pop, free jazz, electronic and contemporary experimentation, with the common will to overcome individual artistic experiences to arrive at a "total music", from jazz to progressive rock music through the vanguard. With all their works, Area proved to be among the bravest and original bands of the Italian progressive rock scene. But, to turn their mark complete was also, and above all, the incredible and unique voice of their singer, Demetrio Stratos.

"Maledetti" is the forth studio album of Area and was released in 1976. It can be considered a kind of a conceptual album. The story occurs during the XX century, where an imaginary bank loses data from the XV century, causing people forgetting how to govern the world ("Evaporazione"). Some new hypothesis are formulated such as power to old people ("Gerontocrazia"), power to women ("Scum") and power to children ("Giro, Giro, Tondo"). This is Area, indeed.

"Maledetti" has seven tracks. The first track "Evaporazione" is a very short track where we can hear someone running, whistling and talking and where there isn't any kind of music to listen to. It's a kind of an introduction to the album where Demetrio Stratos tells us that there is something important to communicate on this album and that it isn't properly a very nice thing. The second track "Diforisma Urbano" is a complete instrumental track and this is really a terrific piece of music. This is a perfect, fantastic and surprisingly upbeat funk jazz/fusion song. Once more we have another great example of a song where Demetrio Stratos "plays" his voice as an instrument that adds to the song a beautiful, strange, unique, intense and special touch of colour. "Diforisma Urbano" is, in my humble opinion, one of their best and finest tracks ever. The third track "Gerontocrazia" is a song totally spectacular. It starts with a cradle song in ancient Greek and during the song we can hear play txalaparta, a Basque musical percussion instrument, that I never heard on the three previous studio albums of Area, which demonstrate once more the interest of the group in the ethnical music. During the song, and besides several musical influences, I think we can clearly listen to, strongly, the influence of Gentle Giant's music, and I think this is the music from the band, until now, where that is more evident. "Gerontocrazia" is with "Diforisma Urbano" the two greatest masterpieces of this album. The fourth track "Scum" is another great song but this time the music takes a completely free jazz/fusion direction where the piano of Patrizio Fariselli takes the front and performe in a strange tonal style. The song has also some electronic effects and Demetrio Stratos does some speech about the women rights. This is probably the jazz most oriented piece of music on the entire album. The fifth track "Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre In Sol Maggiore" is a fragment of a classical piece of music for a string quartet taken from Bach's "Brandenburg Concert number 3 in G major". It's a deconstructed version of the original piece of music made by the group to symbolize the demolition of the music corporatism. However, the personal treatment of the music, made by them, doesn't sound anything out of the place, and fortunately, it also doesn't completely erase the charm of Bach's music. The sixth track "Giro, Giro, Tondo" is another song where the musical experimentalism is more evident and represents a return into a more familiar Area territory. It's a typical avant-garde jazz/fusion song with emotional vocals dominated by the piano performance and with has also a very peculiar ending. This is another song where the influence of Gentle Giant's music is there, although not as evident as on "Gerontocrazia". The seventh and last track "Caos (Parte Seconda)" is totally an avant-garde track. This is the lengthiest track on the album and is a very strange and completely chaotic track with electronic sounds, noises, and voices, and it's full of experimentations. Each musician do what they want and this track represents one of the most strangest and difficult pieces I've ever heard. It may be interesting but it isn't for everyone. It's too much experimental.

Conclusion: Area is a band catalogued on Progarchives in the sub-genre of Rock Progressivo Italiano. I accept and I understand why. But, they would fit also very well in the jazz rock/fusion or RIO/Avant-prog sub-genres. If my memory doesn't betray me, I think they were already classified as a jazz rock/fusion group on this site. "Maledetti" is much more experimental than their previous third studio album "Crac!". Its music is equally chaotic and we can hear on it several musical influences like traditional Greek music, Arabian music, avant-garde music, free jazz, jazz rock/fusion, funk, Mediterranean music and even classical music. Despite "Maledetti" isn't as good as "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Crac!", is better than "Caution Radiation Area". It's more balanced and is less dark, more modern, and especially, it has two of their greatest masterpieces "Diforisma Urbano" and "Gerontocrazia". This is one of their finest musical works and put Area, probably, as the most creative of all Italian progressive bands and in one of the best prog groups from the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars AREA's 1976 effort doesn't quite live up to the standards set in the previous three years, but this is still a very good album.

1. "Evaporazione" (1:45) a wonderful and powerful introduction to the crazed and unique mind and world of Demetrio Stratos. (4.5/5)

2. "Diforisma Urbano" (6:18) slightly discofied jazz-rock fusion of the funky kind being churned out in the second half of the 1970s by such bands as JAN AKKERMAN, SBB, STOMU YAMASH'TA's GO, JAN HAMMER, GEORGE DUKE, LENNY WHITE, and JEFF BECK. Excellent for that fare. (8.75/10)

3. "Gerontocrazia" (7:30) Demetrio, soprano sax, and an African marimba open this one with a very African folk feel until cello takes over at 2:40 as sole companion of Demetrio's singing. At 3:36 the full electrified contingent joins in though carrying a North African melody as its standard. Then at 4:20 we get another drastic shift into a more JAN HAMMER/MAHAVISHNU-like passage in which jazz-rock drums support multi-instrumental presentation of high- speed melody-noodling. A minute later the whole-group presentation breaks down to allow for singular soloists to present their interpretations. At 6:25 the passage ends and we are bridged back to the North African melody section for the song's finish. Interesting! (13.5/15))

4. "Scum" (6:30) piano-based WEATHER REPORT, JOE SAMPLE or even DONALD FAGEN-like jazz fusion with fretless bass in the initial lead and synths and electronic keys adding their voices after a minute. Nice, virtuosic DON PULLEN-like piano solo in the third minute continuing on until the ELP/YES-like 4:23 mark. Experimental synth noises take over, setting the stage for a Demetrio Stratos political vocal recitation (oddly, electronically treated). (9/10)

5. "Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre In Sol Maggiore" (2:20) a BACH string quartet with a little organ support from Demetrio. (4.5/5)

6. "Giro, Giro, Tondo" (5:55) Single note synth drops support a multi-track, multi-voice Demetrio onslaught before drums and keys smash their way into the song at the one minute mark. By 1:45 there is a full-band jazz-rock tapestry playing out over which Demetrio sings a fairly straightforward (for him) impassioned vocal. (8.75/10)

7. "Caos (Parte Seconda)" (9:00) a sonic free-for-all in which every band member is set loose in the studio with the intention, it would seem, to pluck and strike, clink and clank, wah and wang, fizzle and fazzle, strafe and staccato anything and everything they can A) come in contact with or B) imagine and invent. Methinks Demetrio, saxophonist Steve Lacy, and all percussionists had the most fun during this one. I'm guessing that only the most patient, most curious, or else detached and unexpectant listeners will find enjoyment in this one. (14/20)

Total Time: 39:18

Four stars; another wonderful, well-produced display of the kind of politically-charged experimental music being done within the progressive rock movement in the mid-1970s.

Review by jamesbaldwin
5 stars "Maledetti" is a very brainy concept album where the notes to the text count more than the lyrics of the songs (by Gianni Sassi), which as usual are too hermetic to really represent politically militant texts or a very surreal or complicated concept. The musical creativity of Area has reached its maximum in the three previous records, one different from the other, and now seeks a synthesis, difficult, relying on the great creativity of the group, in particular of Fariselli and Tofani, authors of the music.

1. Evaporation (1:45). Intro with electronic noises (Tofani) simulating the explosion of the computer that ruled the world and Stratos singing: "We have lost the memory of the fifteenth century." 2. Urban diphorism (6:18). Diforisma is a word that does not exist in Italian, however it implies a split, and the piece of music wants to indicate this break. The concept began, the computer broke and we need to understand who can take the power. The song is characterized by Fariselli's synths which then gives way to a beautiful Tofani electric guitar solo. Below is the rhythmic session, with Walter Calloni on the drums and both Tavolazzi and Hugh Bullen on the bass: the first, however, plays the double bass. The sound of the two basses is fantastic. About three and a half minutes Stratos' voice arrives, it seems to say something but they are still onomatopoeic sounds. The lyrics of the songs, that is, their lack or excessive brevity, is in my opinion a limit of Area: a group with an exceptional singer like Stratos should not do without singing, however good the instrumentalists are. After the vocalizations of Stratos the music starts again, very sustained, always with Fariselli to rage the synths and then again the guitar of Tofani arrives. Remarkable instrumental piece. It is no different as a structure from many "Crac" pieces but it is much more elaborate and inspired. Rating 8.5.

3. Gerontocracy (7:30). That is power to the old men. This piece, originally sung in Greek, is one of the absolute masterpieces of Area and Italian prog-rock. Beautiful start with voice and percussion and saxophone. Around three minutes the singing starts in Italian. Then comes the instrumental part, which follows a Mediterranean and oriental melody, until it becomes jazz-rock thanks to the double bass of Tavolazzi. The synths of Tofani and Fariselli set a Gentle-Giant math-rock in the central part of the track. Finally towards the end the voice of Stratos returns: often after the first album Area forgot to give a complete shape to the songs but this time it does not happen, the music is well developed and ends properly, remaining exceptional at the beginning and very good for the rest of the piece. A piece like this, long, properly sung, and with an excellent instrumental part, accomplished, has even been missing since the debut of "Arbeit Macht Frei", and "Caution Radiation Area" would have remained an absolute masterpiece, if had put a track like this in the end. Rating 8.5 / 9.

4. Scum (6:30). That is power to the women. Beginning with the piano, fast, with the immense, fantastic bass by Tavolazzi, what a prodigy of musician! Syncopated blues rhythm, which then becomes a free-jazz, very high musical level, the music always revolves around the initial phrase of syncopated piano, which could resemble the music of certain songs of the early Steely Dan. Here we see what Steely Dan could have done if they had the courage and creativity of artists without genre frontiers (instead they only made good jazz-blues, classy but conventional, always respecting the song-form - Area run the opposite danger: they risk being transport too much from creativity, neglecting to give a complete and homogeneous form to their art). However, the jazzy pianism of Fariselli and Stratos is very incisive here, and Capiozzo gives his best. It's all improvisation on the same theme, much more free- jazz than both Caution and Crac. But around 5 minutes the track becomes experimental, the voice of Stratos arrives, reciting, theatrically that in our society there is boredom, and women are neglected, so women fearlessly just have to overthrow the government, and destroy the male sex. And on these words: destroy the male, the A side closes, after a short piano sentence. Rating 8+.

A-Side Rating: 8.5 / 9. Great. Yet, with Area, apart from the first album, I always have the impression that their poorly disciplined creativity makes them do less than they could - their technical potential for vocals and instruments and their creativity are among the highest of contemporary music. Occasionally they lack the composition, the formal refinement of the pieces and the overall balance between instrumental and sung parts, leaving little space for Stratos voice.

B-Side 5. The Brandenburg Massacre Number Three In G Major (2:20). Instrumental piece played by a string quartet, and based on the music of J. S. Bach. The piece would like to deconstruct Baroque classical music (the 1700s), classical music, but in reality it is very respectful of original music, and more than anything else it has a slower and less cheerful rhythm, and a more serious tone. The piece remains beautiful but the credit is from J. S. Bach. If Area wanted to change the music, the intent failed, and they ended up putting a short instrumental record on the disc that summarizes Bach's concert. Rating 7.5 (for Bach rating 10).

6. Giro, Giro, Tondo (5:55). That is power to the children. Vocal, polyphonic beginning, where Stratos gives his best, demonstrates what it means to "sing the voice" (title of his best solo work). Then comes Fariselli's synth and the rhythm section, with Walter Calloni (drums) and Hugh Bullen, who try not to regret Capiozzo and Tavolazzi, and therefore they do a lot of work. Stratos sings the few verses of the song, which will remain the only sung part of the whole second side. It is incredible that a group like Area continues to use so little one of the greatest rock singers of all time, preferring to focus almost everything on instrumental pieces. Of course, after the singing by Stratos, the third part of the piece starts at about three minutes, it is a free-jazz instrumental moment, a long frenzied piece conducted by Fariselli's synth, with the rhythmic section that continues to make its virtuosity. The ending is not entirely successful: the first three minutes are fantastic, the rest are a nice free-jazz exercise, but without a real direction. Rating 8.

7. Chaos (Part Two) (9:00). Avant-garde song of 9 minutes where every minute and a half there is an instrument in the foreground to improvise. Stratos starts with vocalizations alternating with guttural and also vulgar and unpleasant sounds, then Steve Lacy's soprano sax alternated with a demented piano by Fariselli. The percussions of Paul Lytton arrive. Some piano phrases evoke the musical motif of the cartoon "The Pink Panther". With the passage of time the piece becomes more musical thanks to the sax alternating with the voice of Stratos who this time performs in sound experiments of a certain musical content, but .... I spoke too early: the unpleasant vocal sounds return, accompanied by the percussion and by Tofani, who participates with the synth. This new atmosphere is unknown if it is more dramatic or demented or grotesque. John Cage is behind the scenes. When the sax returns, the music returns (music: what Area occasionally forget): it is free-jazz. Piece difficult to evaluate, in my opinion reckless improvisation, aimed at surprising is more an academy exercise than a musical creation. I appreciate it intellectually, but above all for free-jazz pieces (in particular the work of Lacy's sax), in my opinion the avant-garde and experimentalism must be at the service of music and not an end in themselves. Rating 8?

Second side almost entirely instrumental, where Stratos is either absent or accompanies music with phonetic experiments. Extemporaneous side, which includes a transcription of baroque music with string quartet and a completely avant-garde and improvised song, perhaps the pinnacle of experimentalism reached by Area. But it is an academic experimentalism. B-side rating: 8?

In its inhomogeneity, Maledetti is a more balanced album than Caution Radiation Area and Crac. It is halfway between these two predecessors. It is very experimental and theatrical, but compared to Caution it has more accessible songs and Stratos can give its best in at least in two songs. Compared to Crac, in general it has more elaborate, more courageous songs, it only lacks a hit such as L'Elefante bianco.

Anyway, I can consider this album a real masterpiece. His quality doesn't reach that of Arbeit Macht Frei but we fly on a wonderful sky, at a big heigh.

Rating 9+. Five Stars.

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4 stars Still going strong on this album whereas most other bands were on a decline already. After a hardly impressive first short track, a slight change in the sound can be heard: funky rhythms and more danceable beats have come! The bass is strong, drums have been adjusted, too. Clavinet is present an ... (read more)

Report this review (#2247687) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, September 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An interesting jazzy album by one of my all-time favorite Italian groups. Unfortunately, After the amazing album "Crac" the band wasn't able to follow up at the same level. This album could potentially be really great if I could just cut out about 40% of the boring noisy junk. let's explore: ... (read more)

Report this review (#947296) | Posted by pfloyd | Sunday, April 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is another avant-prog album by these Italian band; it sounds a bit like Caution Radiation Area. Maledetti (maudits) is a concept album about an ipothetical loss of historical memory, and the political changes that may occur. These are three: 1 - Γεροντο& ... (read more)

Report this review (#521644) | Posted by Turillazzo | Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Maledetti" by Area is perhaps the album that was most ahead of its time in the Italian scene in the 70's. The work is enriched by Demetrio Stratos' unique way of singing, hard to explain in words, similar to asian chants and swiss jodel, very teathrical and similar to grounds that in those year ... (read more)

Report this review (#262402) | Posted by Malve87 | Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Posse that Lynched the Hangman - A Spaghetti Western We should never lose sight of the context within which a work of art is created. In the noughties, those in the west are undoubtedly guilty of taking for granted most of the freedoms not enjoyed by artists who existed under less liberal ... (read more)

Report this review (#210980) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Saturday, April 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The fifth work released in 1977 "Maledetti". In addition, it goes forward on a musical experiment. The content is challenging jazz-rock. The acoustic piano of Patrizio Fariselli is also strong. An avant-garde approach like the collage, Edith, and the noise, etc. also shows it. "Caos(parte seco ... (read more)

Report this review (#63375) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Perhaps it was the contributions of this eclectic group of guests that gives Maledetti its bi- directional feel. On one hand, the opening tracks show Area softening their jazz-rock style to a more comfortable fusion orientation, but then "Scum" features the Fariselli playing an angular piano st ... (read more)

Report this review (#42515) | Posted by | Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars AREA is simply the best italian band I've heard so far. And this album really provs my theory: this is modern, mediterranean popular music.A great mixture between genres, toghether with some good ideas about exploring the meaning of music itself and its realtonship with society. It's not cere ... (read more)

Report this review (#913) | Posted by | Saturday, May 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The improvisations, diversity, talent, foreign contributions and musicianship is truly outstanding. Maybe along with Crac, the best Area's album. Diforisma Urbano is probably one of the best musics from the seventies. Amazing! ... (read more)

Report this review (#910) | Posted by Melos | Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another TOUR de FORCE. The first cut gives an appropiate italian answer to all the fusion masters of the seventies, I mean McLaughlin, Corea and their bands. Area is an OUTSTANDING group, with plenty of technique & ideas. ... (read more)

Report this review (#908) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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