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LAYERS OF STRATOSPHERE

Raven Sad

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Raven Sad Layers Of Stratosphere album cover
3.80 | 43 ratings | 3 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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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

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

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

guest musicians:
- Claudio Caroboni / soprano & tenor sax (7)
- Camilla Gai / backing vocals (2,5)

Releases information

CD Lizard Records LIZARD CD 0077 (2011 Italy)

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
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RAVEN SAD Layers Of Stratosphere ratings distribution


3.80
(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
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.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#634820) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
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, fueled by a long dreamy synthesizer coloring 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.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#822849) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012

Latest members reviews

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

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