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Il Babau & i maledetti cretini

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Il Babau & i maledetti cretini La Maschera Della Morte Rossa album cover
3.90 | 13 ratings | 2 reviews | 23% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Danza Macabra (5:10)
2. La Pestilenza (3:35)
3. Il Ballo Mascherato (3:38)
4. Dodici I Rintocchi (5:43)
5. La Morte Rossa (1:58)
6. Dissoluzione Finale (4:37)

Total Time 24:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Damiano Casanova / guitars
- Franz Casanova / voice, keyboards
- Andrea DicÚ / drums, background vocals

Releases information


Thanks to Todd for the addition
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IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI La Maschera Della Morte Rossa ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI La Maschera Della Morte Rossa reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Todd
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano!
4 stars Intense phonodrama!

Centered around Damiano and Franz Casanova, Il Babau e i Maledetti Cretini have returned after a ten year hiatus and have released their album, "La Maschera della Morte Rossa: Dall'omomino racconto di Edgar Allan Poe." The album is short, at only 24 minutes, which is brief even by 1970s RPI standards. But the content and packaging make up for the brevity!

As it was conceived as a "phonodrama," essentially program music for Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Mask of Red Death," the music is best appreciated in conjunction with the packaging. The album comes with a beautiful booklet containing several beautiful images along with a slightly altered version of the story, both in English and Italian, the images following the narration. The musical ideas are somewhat sparing; of the six tracks, three are instrumental and three contain a dramatic reading of the story (in Italian) with dramatic mood music as a backdrop, waxing and waning according to the drama of the story. The instrumental tracks are wonderful, though the musical ideas are limited. The melody of the first track, "Danza Macabra," is based on the Gregorian chant "Dies Irae." The track builds from a mellow guitar superimposed on pastoral sounds (the setting of the story), gradually building as bass, keyboards, and drums enter the mix. My favorite track, "La Balla Mascherata," is similar in structure to the first track but is less gloomy, mirroring the attempts of those in attendance at the masked ball to forget the horror surrounding them. The final track, "Dissoluzione Finale," depicts the bleak darkness after all the revelers have fallen victim to the plague, so understandably the music is darker, denser, less structured. The music on the three narrated tracks is similar in style but evocative and brooding, accentuating the narrative and only occasionally eclipsing it.

This album is billed as "Fonodramma 1" in a "Trilogia di Misterio e del Terrore." So I admit I'm looking forward to the next two installments! The album is more disciplined than their debut ten years earlier--sometimes that's good, sometimes I miss the youthful exuberance of "Dio Dio Mio." But this is a wonderful album, especially when experienced in company with the libretto. I encourage you to seek it out--it's available at the time of writing from BTF and in the US from Synphonic. Four stars! (Gnosis 11/15)

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars 2013 has already been a superb year for Italian albums, but modern RPI releases don't come any more lush and evocative than the new Il Babau e l Maledetti Cretini release `La Maschera della Morte Rossa', an interpretation of an Edgar Allan Poe story `The Mask of Red Death'. What makes the band so distinctive is that they approach their music as a `phonodrama', a sort of `audio-tale' if you will, that incorporates typical Italian progressive elements, narration and sound effects to create an ambient moody soundtrack. Housed in a luxurious mini LP sleeve and lengthy booklet comprised of the story, lyrics and surreal paintings/illustrations, it resembles a book and gives the album a very special important grandness. Fans of darker Italian progressive music such as Goblin and the works by Antonio Bartoccetti may be especially interested to look into this release, the first of a planned trilogy.

The album open with sinister howling winds and countryside ambience before marching percussion and murky electric guitar soloing moves in. This brief mysterious introduction gently fades away before we're suddenly blasted with punching bass, crashing drums and a powerful grand repetitive electric guitar melody that pushes down on the listener, sounding like one of those classic 70's Italian horror movie themes. As the music moves into early 70's Pink Floyd-like eerie floating dreamy tension, the first section of narration soon enters, Franz Casanova's voice taking on a vile, guttural scratching tone that sounds a lot of the early Jacula/Antonius Rex albums. The third movement thankfully dances like a soundtrack to the spring season, a blissful and melodic passage with slight medieval influences, a jig-like percussion rhythm, low-key humming synths and the loveliest of foot-tapping melodic electric guitar noodling that provides a brief pause from the gloom.

The fourth and fifth sections really take us down to the pits of despair again, as our narrated tale continues amongst psychedelic electronic humming, smashing percussion and ranting voices. By this stage the album really starts to dig under your skin, the tension and unpleasantness becoming overwhelming, the narration itself even more manic and harsh, and you feel like you're falling into a trance. By the time we reach the closer, the music has taken on a very pulsing electronic pattern that ebbs and flows around the listener, with a serrated edge growing more present and suffocating as it builds. It's a disturbingly reflective section that has you begging for some sort of uplifting respite from the brooding menace, but it never comes. This is quite a brave move from the band, and it will completely alter your mood and demeanor.

If the band intends to make the next two releases in the series to be of an equally short length (this one runs a total of just over 24 minutes), perhaps they might include a purely instrumental continuous version of the pieces as a bonus at the end of the album? The music you can hear behind the unnerving narration sounds absolutely fascinating and deserves to be heard clearly on it's own! This would just give the album a bit more value, even though you're already receiving a sublime musical experience.

This dramatic and striking approach to their craft puts Il Babau e l Maledetti Cretini in a very unique position within the current RPI crowd. Don't be put off by the relatively short running time, it just ensures you'll give it repeat plays more often, letting it cast it's gloomy atmosphere around you. It won't be for everyone, but those who appreciate the darker side of Italian progressive rock should make it their next priority. If you're one of those fans, why not treat yourself and grab a copy of this immersive work that you'll really come to treasure?

Four stars.

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