Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Raven Sad

Psychedelic/Space Rock

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Raven Sad Layers of Stratosphere album cover
3.85 | 67 ratings | 6 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Door Almost Closed (6:38)
2. Lies in the Sand (16:42)
3. First Layer (4:39)
4. Mind Flies (6:56)
5. The Highest Cliff (6:17)
6. Second Layer (4:29)
7. Lullaby for a Son (8:36)

Total Time 54:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Giulio Bizzarri / bass
- Simone Borsi / drums, percussion, gong
- Samuele Santanna / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, gong, synth
- Fabrizio Trinci / piano, organ, Hammond, synth, backing vocals

- Claudio Caroboni / soprano & tenor saxophones (7)
- Camilla Gai / backing vocals (2,5)

Releases information

CD Lizard Records LIZARD CD 0077 (2011 Italy)

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy RAVEN SAD Layers of Stratosphere Music

RAVEN SAD Layers of Stratosphere ratings distribution

(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

RAVEN SAD Layers of Stratosphere reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Are soaring melodic leads your thing?

Raven Sad is an accessible modern prog band from Prato Italy, and this is their third album for Lizards Records, one of Italy's premier labels. The band began in 2005 under the direction of multi-instrumentalist Samuel Santanna and was generally a one-man (with friends) project for a while, this time out he sought a full working band which could be taken live. So along with keyboardist Fabrizio Trinci who had played on the first two albums, they added bassist Giulio Bizzarri and drummer Simone Borsi. The result is a bit less of an ambient experience and a bit more of a muscular band feel, but of course the hazy pleasures of Raven Sad remain. At times they can remind me of Moongarden but that would be only a glancing reference.

It's been some time since I've heard the previous 'We Are Not Alone' but as mentioned the band seems to have morphed from an ambient, droning, trippy space vibe to something more crossover oriented. The songs have a more traditional song structure and less weirdness factor, certainly not what I would classify as 'psychedelic' anymore. And yet it is just as enjoyable with the new Raven Sad sound. We are treated to some robust jamming with plenty of Gilmour/Rothery flavored guitar over delicious keyboard textures, and in addition some piano giving the recording a tinge of RPI appeal as well. The weak spot would be the vocals which are simply average and delivered in accented English instead of Italian, never a good decision. With both male and female vocalists the effect is a bit like the Mindflower albums vocals.

The album starts with astronaut dialogue setting off the cool cover art (love it!), then a heavy throbbing bass and drum beat usher in succinct distortion laden guitar, a wonderful opening segment. Soon the lead guitar leaps into action and never stops, this is a passionate lead guitar lovers kind of album. When a quiet interlude interrupts it is often given to thoughtful piano or other soft keyboard atmospheres, the guitar never being far off. All of the playing is stellar and passionate, the solos have a relaxing and longing effect, sometimes made nicer by wordless female backing vocal accompaniment. There is the inevitable baby crying in one track: have you ever noticed how many Italian albums feature a crying infant? I should start a list, there's a few! It's another intimate little detail in an album filled with sincerity. 'Lies in the Sand' is a 17 minute highlight with some fantastic keyboard sections, more astronaut dialogue, and dreamy soloing, along with some occasional acoustic sections as well. Things even drift into non-prog territory with 'The Highest Cliff' which is essentially a ballad with a heartfelt chord progression. Overall the album is a very tasteful expression and a mature one devoid of some of today's cheesier clich's, the band focusing on mood and lighter ambiance as opposed to boastful theatrics or aggressive look-at-me shred.

Another album for my list of favorite 2011 titles, Raven Sad has officially 'arrived' and I suspect there are more good things to come. As usual three stars seems low and four a bit high, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt today.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While writing reviews can be such fun, the truth remains that it all had to start somewhere a.k.a. finding those little hidden treasures in the first place and having finnforest as your reconnaissance team is such an added plus. So reading reviews has been my main source of inspiration for future purchases, trying to establish the merits of some unheard creation and wondering if it fits into one's pleasure dome (to quote Frankie Goes to LA!). In particular, my lovely Italian friends are extremely adept at moistening my nodes, not just with their legendary RPI school of prog but equally in the psychedelic/space category where recent albums like Mappe Nootiche's Terra! and the legendary self-titled Sunscape have made me so very happy (to quote Blood, Sweat and Tears). So upon reading finnforest's and toroddflugelsteg's reviews, I felt emboldened to take the leap and hunt down this sucker all the way from Austria, of all places. .

The opening piece is a "Door Almost Closed" and through the crack, the light shines brightly, a glimmering slice of atmospheric music, deeply anchored in the prog/space genre with iridescent synths and luminous guitars vying for your attention. You almost have to don sunglasses and place them on your ears. Guitarist and main man Samuele Santanna (with 2 "n"s!) rules the space wave supremely, rifling off suave sparks from his fretboard and the modern beat shuffles things nicely forward. The bold bass lays down a solid groove and keeps things boiling hot. There is little doubt that Pink Floyd is a major influence, which is nothing revolutionary, having influenced thousands of bands world-wide. The line-up card only confirms their dedication to their influences.

The epic 16 minute + "Lies in the Sand" has the misfortune of supplying a drowsy and accented voice to the mix, a style I am personally not fond of, regardless how "natural" it may be perceived as. The breezy, piano-led air gives the track the illusion of being lightweight pop but by the fifth minute mark, the arrangement takes a more melodic direction, veering towards the deep psychedelic groove we all know and love, fuelled by a long dreamy synthesizer colouring the skies, while Santanna blooms shiningly on lead guitar. The tune finishes off serenely with a delicate flutter of chagrined vocals and seductive choir.

"First Layer" is a stunning guitar flight that will astound fans of Gilmour, Latimer, Bastiaan Peeters (Odyssice) or Giancarlo Erra (NoSound), a breathtaking piece only slightly marred by some heavily accented English language poetry. Italian is such a gorgeous language, why sing in Saxon? Never could understand that!

"Mind Flies" relies on a classic synth melody line that would make Peter Bardens smile up there in heaven (RIP) and a gentle lilt over which Samuele carves a scintillating solo, full of blessed virtue and delicate desire, a series of notes immediately appealing but with that added Italian romantic flair. Fabrizio Trinci's pianos have a lot of say in the exaltation of the atmosphere.

"The Highest Cliff" possesses a less orchestrated feel, leaning heavily on those blurry, exhausted vocals described earlier, the accent heavy but charming. This popular facet of Raven Sad is not as interesting as their more symphonic side, a more powerful and talented singer would have made it so much more palatable. Oh well, Floyd was guilty of this too?. But the colossal solo saves it again, coming to the goose-bumped rescue.

"Second Layer" simply expands on the first successful exercise, reworking the original melody and taking it into a different realm, harsher, bluesier and certainly way more dramatic, with a severe dose of melancholia. This is such brilliant music, you can't imagine! Totally enthralling!

"Lullaby for A Son" comes close to an Italian version of a good Roger Waters's song, it veers very near stylistic infringement, but it's obvious this is a tribute to Santanna's influences and mentor. The fleeting synth is straight out of Wright's fluid airy catalogue but the classic sax solo a la Dick Parry is hard to not salivate to. When the 6 string monster kicks in, it's a gargantuan power loop that overcomes the last obstacles to enjoyment and overtakes the soul completely.

This is a stunner that has a few flaws but clearly anoints this unknown band to a clearly higher level and future efforts that will only confirm their talent.

4 Crow blues.

Review by Progulator
3 stars I'll start off my review by saying that this is an Italian album which could have fooled me into thinking it was a German album. Whether or not that's where the influences actually are, it seemed to have a bit of that good ol' krautrock/space rock feel characterized by lots of ambience, synthesizer arpeggiation and super-grooving bass lines. There's lots of great texturing going on here, melodic guitar playing, and nicely composed synth parts that are always melodic and purposeful and never feeling like you have to keep up with them; even the leads are more there for ambience and feel than anything else. "Mind Flies" is a great example of this. The two downsides for me were that the vocals never really grabbed me. They weren't frequent, but when they were present, for example, in tracks like "The Highest Cliff," I always felt like the singer's voice was a bit too mundane for my tastes. The other downside is that while all the tracks were good and fun to listen to, there wasn't really a track that blew me away. Everything was good, this is definitely a good album, but nothing was amazing. However, in the end, this could be just my preference. I would definitely recommend this to people who are big fans of space rock; I think they would most likely be quite pleased. Layers of Stratosphere is most certainly an enjoyable album from start to finish.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Now and then I find myself scanning at my collection of CDs and see if I rediscover some album that I had left on the shelf for such long time that I canīt even remember that well what it sounded like. Layers of Stratosphere is one of such gems that I really donīt remember why I havenīt paid that much attention and forgot to write a review. I suspect I got it together with a bunch of other CDs and never heard it properly. Thatīs the only explanation Iīve got to justify why I left behind such marvellous collection of great prog songs.

Raven Sad was a project of italian guitarist Samuel Santanna. I heard his first two CDs bearing that name was a kind of electronic/ambient music stuff, but for this one they got a "real" band in the form of Fabrizio Trinci (keyboards), Giulio Bizzarri (bass) and Simone Borsi (drums, percussion). I canīt tell how was their sound on the first two albums, but on Layers of Stratosphere the result is simply stunning: a magnificent laid back progressive suite that reminds a lot the genre best moments, especially Santannas beautiful guitar work, in the best vein of Gilmour/Hackett/Rothery. His solos and licks are simply beautiful, emotive and thrilling. And Trincis keys are equally inspired, with each intervention finally tuned with the guitar parts. The rhythm section is also discreet, but very effective, everybody working for the music and not for empty virtuosity.

Their music still retains a kind of atmospheric ambience, specially the keyboards, but the impeccable songwriting, the tasteful arrangements and the superb performances of all involved makes this CD one of the best of 2011, if not the very best. Itīs ok that the vocals are only average, and Santannas english with a thick accent does not help either, but they are not bad nor intrusive. And the superb instrumental passages more than compensates any fault in that field. The production is adequate for their style and itīs better appreciated when heard with headphones, a real emotional ride.

Itīs hard to describe their music, because although Pink Floyd is obviously the biggest influence, they are quite original and have a style of their own already. The sole exception may be The Highest Cliff, where Santanna tries too hard to sing like Gilmour and ends up sounding like Waters, if you know what I mean. Itīs the most derivative track of the whole album and still it is a good one. The vocal part of the last track, Lullaby For a Son, falls into this trap too. Fortunately the instrumental part is excellent and occupies most of the songs length. All the remaining tunes are absolutely fantastic, with the 16+ gorgeous minutes of Lies In The Sand being the CDs highlight.

Conclusion: Iīm really happy to rediscover this masterpiece. Layers of Stratosphere has become of my favourites albums and although nowadays I had little time to write reviews, I felt an obligation to give testimony to this fantastic CD that deserves to be heard by anyone who loves stunning melodies, emotional guitar solos and superb performances where less is more.

Rating: 4,5 stars. Only the average vocals stop me from giving it 5 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A suprisingly good album. I love to dig up treasures like these. Normally Italian prog is much more bombastic, kitchy and I haven't heard an Italian band produce spacerock like Raven Sad does. If someone told me they were British, Polish or German I would believe it. The album is comprised of l ... (read more)

Report this review (#879170) | Posted by Kingsnake | Thursday, December 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The third album by these Italians. Somewhat unfairly listed as a Psychedelic/Space Rock band, Raven Sad stretch both their wings and legs on this album. The sound is excellent. The music is what we in the good old days called soft rock. That is ultra melodic soft rock as in long and lingering g ... (read more)

Report this review (#610869) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, January 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of RAVEN SAD "Layers of Stratosphere"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.