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Unreal City

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Unreal City La Crudeltà di Aprile album cover
4.14 | 400 ratings | 10 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dell'Innocenza Perduta (7:29)
2. Atlantis (Conferendis Pecuniis) (9:52)
3. Catabasi (Descensio ad Inferos) (8:03)
4. Dove la Luce è Più Intensa (7:01)
5. Ecate (Walpurgisnacht) (9:00)
6. Horror Vacui (17:56) :
- a. Le Radici del Mare
- b. L'Assassino
- c. Nel Sonno della Ragione
- d. Il Baratro della Follia

Total Time 59:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Emanuele Tarasconi / lead & backing vocals, piano, Hammond, synths, Moog, Mellotron, Birotron, Chamberlin, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, harpsichord, church organ, theremin
- Francesca Zanetta / electric & acoustic guitars, Renaissance lute
- Francesco Orefice / fretted & fretless bass, lead (2) & backing vocals
- Federico Bedostri / drums, timpani, percussion, narration (2)

- Fabio Biale / violin (1,3)

Releases information

Artwork: Eugenio Crippa

CD Mirror - MRL 1006 (2013, Italy)

Thanks to seventhsojourn for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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UNREAL CITY La Crudeltà di Aprile ratings distribution

(400 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

UNREAL CITY La Crudeltà di Aprile reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Classic RPI with youthful sex appeal?! No really...

Overseen by prolific modern RPI maestro Fabio Zuffanti (credited with `artistic direction'), this new band from Emilia in Northern Italy brings a blast of youthful energy mixed with classic RPI grandness for a hugely confident and impressive debut work `La Crudeltà Di Aprile' (The Creulty of April). The members of Unreal City are in a very interesting position here. Take a look at the promo video for the album track `Dove La Luce E Piu' Intensa'. They're a bunch of good looking stylish boys and an attractive female guitar player that will instantly catch the eye of younger ones, who'll possibly also be taken in by the swooning, dramatic and romantic lead vocals of virtuoso keyboard player Emanuele Tarasconi. Add in some guitar grunt to appeal to those younger listeners, a touch of dark drama for the gothic crowd, all topped off by a dazzling array of piano and synths and we have exactly the sort of music that will bring a true crossover appeal, showcasing proper Italian progressive classical grandiosity like the vintage acts from the 70's while bringing a modern and accessible edge to appeal to the current generation.

The album blasts off with a whirling synth, piano and bashing drum race across the starting line before `Dell'Innocenzo Perduta' establishes itself as a romantic ballad with Mellotron wisps, reflective piano and vocals full of sweet longing. The piece floats along on melodic clouds until at six minutes in it explodes into manic percussion, ragged Hammond organ and a sprightly violin uptempo reprise of the main refrain to the end. The ghostly `Atlantis' is all gothic gloomy Mellotron walls and booming grand piano in the opening, before swirling Mini-moog runs with confident chest- beating vocals, maniacal jazzy drumming, tip-toeing harpsichord and classical acoustic guitar - the band sure covers a lot of ground already here, and it fortunately all hangs together beautifully.

With a dark church organ, desperate vocals and booming percussion intro straight out of Eloy's `Ocean', `Catabasi' tears through an uptempo darting violin-fuelled passage with deranged unhinged shrieking, the guitars taking on a sexy sleazy strut! This sinister section will appeal to gothic fans, yet the second half, almost a laid-back country/blues rocker with moog soloing layered all over the top will take many by surprise! The finale quickly fades into `Dove La Luce...', with upbeat PFM instrumental playfulness and an impossibly stirring and grand vocal, especially the chorus. A special treat is the energetic and jazzy middle that sounds right out of UK retro poppers Kula Shaker!

The peppy and upbeat `Ecate' has a cheeky strolling bassline with gleefully unnerving organ, bluesy lead guitar and an almost reggae rhythm in parts. The band seems to be having a lot of fun here, and it's nice to hear them more relaxed and grooving without endless changes of direction. There's a nice punchy blast of heavy rocking guitar guitar grunt from Francesca Zanetta. It also lets the listener take a breath before the 18 minute album tour-de-force closer `Horror Vacui', a splendid mix of Banco-like schizophrenic unpredictability with wild tempo changes, long instrumental sections, oceans of Mellotron overload, spiraling Moog and Frederico Bedostri's snapping and complex drum-work. It incorporates every trick the band has shown throughout the rest of the album, and the fretless bass from Francesco Orefice near the end is a particular emotional standout here. This epic piece could not end the album in a more grand manner, and wraps up a virtually perfect album.

Immaculately produced, endlessly melodic and catchy without sacrificing sophistication and artistic integrity, `La Crudeltà Di Aprile' really knocked many of us RPI fans back even upon the first listen. It's rare to hear a band so confident, playing with such vigor and power. Sure they take on endless ideas and styles, but it's all so pleasing to the ear and well composed with a great sense of flow that the endless different sections shift seamlessly. I fully applaud Fabio Zuffanti's urging that the band sing in their native language, and a recent interview seemed to suggest they relished singing in Italian to `take advantage of all the quotes and expressions that would have been lost in English'. To the lads and lass in `Unreal City', real Italian progressive fans admire and are very grateful for this devotion and respect to the true sound of the RPI genre.

Like Gran Turismo Veloce, Unreal City show just what a modern Italian progressive band can achieve by blending the loved elements of the groundbreaking 70's RPI artists with something very contemporary, original and unique. The fact that they have a real crossover appeal, especially to a potential female and younger fanbase who usually wouldn't pay attention to this genre, just makes them even more promising and exciting, and ensures they are one band to keep an eye in the future.

Five stars. Highest possible recommendation and so far one of the best progressive albums, RPI or otherwise, to emerge in 2013.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars A delightful album of new music in the vein of the best musics of the prog rockers of the 1970s except with the energy, awareness and instruments and recording acumen of the 21st Century. As I listen to this collection of melodic, wonderfully constructed and performed songs I am reminded of two of my favorite albums from the past five years: 2009's Preda by Italy's MAD CRAYON and last year's 's Espectro by Brazil's VIOLETA DE OUTONO--the latter which remains my favorite album from 2012 due in large part to the amazing KHAN Space Shanty (my all-time favorite Canterbury album) sounds and feel that no one else, in my opinion, has ever managed to capture and convey so well. Powerful, emotional vocals with the usual Italian flare for bombast and very interesting instrumental mixes.

1. "Dell'innocenza perduta" (7:31) starts with two minutes of uptempo instrumental before a dramatic shift makes way for the listeners treat: an Aldo Tagliapietra (LE ORME)-like vocal set to some gorgeous music. At 5:00 the song shifts again, heading more into a vaudeville- blues rock section--a more rag-time-jazzy almost country rock instrumental section--which eventually includes some wonderful violin playing by guest Fabio Biale. Great ending to an unusual and interesting song. (9/10)

2. "Atlantis (Conferendis pecuniis)" (9:51) reminds me so much of C.A.P. (CONSORZIO ACQUA POTABILE)'s amazing "Sulle ali del sogno Odissea" from 2005's Odyssey: The Greatest Tale. It has that epic operatic kind of feel to it. (10/10)

3. "Catabasi (Descensio ad Inferos)" (8:00) opens with some powerful church organ accompanied by awesome drum, tubular bells and, later, mellotron and vocal work. At the three minute mark a cello ushers us into an uptempo section which quickly (and unexpectedly) evolves into a kind of SOUIXIE AND THE BANSHEES-performs-The Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Time Warp" section. A very fun song with great performances-- especially the vocal and organ. (9/10)

4. "Dove la luce e piu intensa" (7:03) is another very dramatic song with great piano/keyboard and vocal performances. (9/10)

5. "Ecate (Walpurgisnacht)" (9:00) is full of some very fun Broadway/French cabaret/early BILLY JOEL schmaltz. Very playful, catchy and yet, at the same time, unpredictable. The heavier drum-and-electric-guitar section beginning in the sixth minute culminating in the punk-BOWIE-like rockin' shift at the 7-minute mark is quite sobering--and powerful. (9/10)

6. "Horror vacui" (17:53) uses production/engineering treatments on the vocals which I do not enjoy, and just generally just misses on one cylinder or another throughout its epic length. (8/10)

4.5 stars for this well-crafted, well-performed album of entertaining mini-dramas. Keyboard- vocalist Emanuele Tarasconi has one of my favorite singing voices ever.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Unreal City? You mean Unreal Country, as Italy has unleashed a debut album that should be the talk of progdom for the year 2013. Musically sensational, visually attractive and fresh, we are offered a vision where classic progressive meshes with absolute modernisms, a young quartet of Northern Italian fashionistas who happen to master their instruments (besides looking hot) and incorporate all the classic RPI traditions of clever melodies, artful presentation, impeccable delivery and dramatic performances. Looks like Fabio Zuffanti has once again delivered a new and exciting progressive band that may have immense future appeal, great looks and even better hooks.

So who do we have manning the crew? Clever keyboardist Emmanuele Tarasconi is a complete standout, primarily vehiculating a raging Hammond organ as weapon of predilection, tossing in flurries of elegant piano, blistering synths, some Fender Rhodes e- piano, its distant cousin the clavinet, the rarely used chamberlin (a precursor of the mellotron) and theremin, even dashes of colossal church organ. His voice is luscious and operatic, recalling at times the great Aldo Tagliapietra but with his own sense of timbre and tone. Sultry brunette guitarist Francesca Zanetta has a more discreet musical role, letting the keys rule, does unleash a few blizzard solos but she is also very pretty indeed. Francesco Orefice mans a nasty bass, craving and blasting heavily, occasionally tossing in some dazzling fretless runs. Another clear master is drummer Federico Bedrosti, a manic thumper who knows how to power up the arrangements.

The music covers the entire RPI spectrum of influences, from Le Orme, PFM, Goblin and Banco but they actually need to be lumped in with the more recent collection of Italian proggers such as Gran Turismo Veloce, Il Labirinto dei Specchi and La Coscienza di Zeno. There are some highly original passages that defy description, mostly radicalisms colliding with the medieval harpsichord, twisted around by loopy synthesized soloing. Lost Innocence indeed opens up this masterstroke, "Dell'Innocenza Perduta " that has all the ingredients we all hold dear, velvety voice within a passionate cellophane of sound, simple but glorious melody hammered out on the piano, liquid guitar solo and subtle rhythmic drive. The fun starts when the piano kicks in, heady organ in alliance, recalling the finest Hammond moments on record. The synths just blaze serenely, I mean these are the reasons we adore prog from Italy: effortless flair! A sultry violin does the coup de grace. Ridiculous.

The colossal "Atlantis" in particular is a most impressive rendition that will hammer hard at the door of the progfan, begging to enter and settle in for posterity. An archetypal symphonic track that has stellar stamped all over it, mellotron waves colliding with the speakers and subjugating the listener into willing submission. Again, the entire progressive gamut is tossed into the salad, all that is missing is the dressing! Tarasconi's balsamic voice appears as if a miracle, full of power, lust and desire, while his startling synthesizers parp and careen like some Testarossa gone 'pazzo'. When the harpsichord, acoustic guitar and the Moogs kick in with the Greek spoken words, well, we are definitely in Progland. "Catabasi" has a mournful pipe organ motif, church bells pealing mournfully, resonating loudly amid the bass rumble and wild drum fills, whilst introducing a solemn vocal that inspires a tremendous appeal, the violin rages and the mood exalts into cavernous delirium, a descent into a fiery hellhole (as the sub-title in Latin implies) of grinding sound and fury. A bluesy guitar section only elevates the exaltation, totally unexpected yet deliciously chosen.

Where the light becomes more intense ("Dove La Luce E Piu Intensa") is bedecked with a classic PFM feel and a tremendous vocal performance once again. The lush synth solo is right out of the Flavio Premoli school of elegant sophistication, whilst the bass rumble will recall Djivas. This vibrant track just explodes into a myriad of stars and constant excitement, mostly due to Tarasconi"s expressive lungs and dazzling fingers. What a talent on display! The rhythm section also provides some exemplary support. Can they keep up this torrid pace?

You bet, as "Ecate" proposes a youthful exuberance that allays any fear of boredom or formula, all players booming on all cylinders, on a dime stops and starts, complex shifts and sudden drama. Francesca delivers a sublime guitar solo, all relaxed yet seductive. The piano extolls a carnival/barroom atmosphere that hides no punches, wide musical grins firmly established (you can imagine the quartet smiling as they play along). In a way, this dizzying track gives the listener the reassurance that these are musicians enjoying their craft and hungrily wishing to include an audience of accomplices, a trait that the Italians have mastered over the centuries. One word: fun!

To finish off with an epic nearly 18 minute romp requires lots of confidence and the band pulls it off rather brilliantly, as "Horror vacui" manages to reiterate those classic element so dear to RPI, such as a fascination of morbid soundtracks (think of their heroes in Goblin). This is cinematic prog at its most expressive, a musical catacomb where a lugubrious bass rumbles amid spectral keyboard webs, creating a blistering cacophony of devastating rhythms that pulsate monstrously. Spooky spaghetti! Tarasconi and Zanetta exchange all kinds of solos that captivate the mind, with seemingly little effort in getting the mood done! The voice has been echoed to highlight the subterranean feel, cavernous as the material is, loaded with huge mellotron (Chamberlin) clashes. This extended piece showcases so much talent, one can only shudder. The immaculate piano and keyboard work, the sexy guitars, a sensational bass attack and powerful drumming of the highest complexity all conspire to get you hooked, with line and sinker not far behind.

It would behoove any prog reviewer (such as my esteemed colleague Aussie-Byrd-Brother) who has listened to this colossus, to absolutely mention the influence of Fabio Zuffanti, an Italian master-musician and a reverential Italian version of Roine Stolt or Steve Wilson. This man's career is littered with gems (Höstsonaten especially) but this is one for the ages, giving these youngsters the confidence to forge their own path, being a true mentor. Needless to mention, the production, sound, mastering and overall presentation is phenomenal.

Italy's next big thing? If this is just the tip of their iceberg, look out Titanic! Mille grazie to the previous reviewers for tweaking my attention, this is one hell of a find! Worthy successors of CAP, Banco, PFM and company. Not to have this on your mantle is a shame.

5 Mamma mias

Review by Warthur
5 stars With a band name and album title borrowed from T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and a foreboding album cover, you might expect some sort of Morte Macabre-style horror-prog to be partaken of here. Unreal City don't quite take that direction, but there is something spookily theatrical about their work here.

Emanuele Tarasconi is in my book the star performer here, combining vocals reminiscent of the operatic singers of 1970s Italian prog greats on the one hand and synthesiser sensibilities ranging from classic prog to neo-prog and beyond on the other to create a sound reminiscent of a wide range of prog heritage but beholden to none, though Francesca Zanetta also deserves props for her excellent guitar work, which runs the full range from hard rock to classical acoustic via ethereal gothic. Put these two together with a decent rhythm section and high-quality compositions and watch the sparks fly!

Review by andrea
5 stars Unreal City began life in Parma in 2008 on the initiative of Emanuele Tarsconi and Francesca Zanetta, rising from the ashes of another band called Syllogism. After some line up changes, an intense live activity in the local scene and a first self-produced demo, in 2013 the band finally released their début album, La crudeltà di aprile (The cruelty of April) on the independent label Mirror Records. The album was recorded at the Hilary studios in Genoa with the help of experienced producers such as Fabio Zuffanti and Rossano Villa and with a line up featuring Emanuele Tarasconi (vocals, piano, organ, Moog, Mellotron, synth, harpsichord, Theremin), Francesca Zanetta (electric and acoustic guitars, lute), Francesco Orefice (bass, vocals) and Federico Bedostri (drums, percussion, vocals) plus the special guest Fabio Viale on violin. The result is a brilliant mix of memory and desire that the band achieved stirring dull roots with spring rain for the pleasure of the listener: well, it's not by chance that both the name of the band and the title of the album are in some way related to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and maybe some other verses from this poem could give you an idea of the content of this charming work... "Unreal City / Under the brown fog of a winter dawn / A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many / I had not thought death had undone so many...". The sound of vintage instruments, a solid classical background and a fresh creativity evoke ghosts, melodies and dreams from the past and give them a new life.

The opener "Dell'innocenza perduta" (Of the lost innocence) begins with a tense section, then a calmer part follows featuring soaring vocals evoking the almost human voice of the wind in a dark, enchanted wood. The music and lyrics describe in an original way the trauma of a boy who has to tackle the loss of family and security, his necessity of rapidly growing up to face the world and the hypocrisy of the people around him. As the innocence of the childhood gives way to rage and awareness the rhythm rises again with a beautiful collage of vintage sounds and a raging wave of fresh energy.

The second track, "Atlantis (Conferendis Pecuniis)", was inspired by the myth of Atlantis as narrated by Plato and deals with the dark side of human nature. The atmosphere is dark and you can almost feel an impending sense of tragedy. The fall of Atlantis and its civilization here is just a metaphor used to describe the punishment for the guilty behaviour of people corrupted by greediness, ambition and an infinite thirst of power. Eventually virtues and culture succumb to the spreading materialism but mother nature always takes its revenge. A flood that no one can stop pours on the crowded square... "The large slab of aurichalcum that gave us wisdom is now reduced to dust / It rang our guilt...".

"Catabasi (Descensio ad Inferos)" was inspired by Goethe's character Faust and describes the timeless trip of a damned scientist to the underworld in search for knowledge. It begins by a dark church-like organ passage and vocals. You can hear the sound of a bell in the background, a man is walking in the twilight on an Autumn evening, then a thousand spectres begin to dance around him to the sound of a violin while the rhythm rises evoking an eternal Sabbath that draws the listener towards black flames and mud, down into a merciless abyss. Nevertheless the damned scientist doesn't fear the devil, during his meeting with him he's calm and remorseless like a man who eats a prohibited fruit and taste it... "I'm ready, take me away from here... Time is running out / Stop the time!".

The beautiful "Dove la luce è più intensa" (Where the light is more intense) describes in music and words a man on the border of madness that runs away from reality. Prisoner of his poetry and of his nightmares, he becomes a hermit hiding in a hollow tree in a wood, not far from a graveyard... "Among white statues and tombstones / Grey and soulless / I heard his voice...". The theatrical vocals by Emanuele Tarsconi are very effective here while the music perfectly fits the content of the lyrics.

The lively "Ecate (Walpurgisnacht)" was inspired by the Goddess Hecate and by the pagan rites of the Walpurgis Night. Hecate in Greek mythology is associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, fire, light, the Moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, necromancy and sorcery. The music and lyrics evoke a solitary village in the mountains not far from a mysterious place where the witches used to gather to celebrate the new moon with their dark lady. All the travellers who had the chance to see those celebrations lost their reason... "If you follow the route beyond the mountain / Beyond the black of its darkest path / There you'll find her, queen of the horizon / In her eyes burns a fire, eternal and still...".

The last track, "Horror Vacui", is a long, complex suite divided into four parts that deals with the disquieting feelings of a serial killer. It begins with a tense instrumental part, "Le radici del male" (The roots of evil), that could recall Goblin and the atmospheres of Dario Argento's movies. The second part, "L'assassino" (The murderer), introduces the protagonist of this piece, that is set in a surreal, nightmarish New York City where you can see black butterflies in a sky of lead, living dead sitting in the metro and hungry monsters walking on bloody streets. The third part, "Nel sonno della ragione" (In the sleep of reason), is a calm, dark instrumental passage that leads to the the last part, "Il baratro della follia" (The chasm of madness), where the voices of the victims of an absurd, cruel game echo in the insane mind of the protagonist, soaring from rusted metal boxes hidden in dark, red rooms. Well, I think that this could be a perfect background for a Stephen King's novel!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Good to see that Classic Italian Prog have reached the ears of young musicians.Unreal City is yet another group to revive some of the Italian Prog majesty of the 70's, starting in Parma in 2008 as a trio with Emanuele Tarasconi on keybards/vocals, Francesca Zanetta on guitars and Carlo Rainone on drums.In 2011 the addition of bassist Francesco Orefice gives the band a more balanced sound, while Rainone was replaced by Antonio Schingo.Come spring 2012 and Unreal City recorded a debut EP with three tracks and English lyrics.But, as the studio and live responsibilities of the band started to increase, Schingo was struggling to keep up with them and decided to quit, leaving his place to Federico Bedostri.The band then met Fabio Zuffanti, who decided to help them with the recordings of their debut.Thus, the young Italians travelled to Genoa, entered the Hilary Studios and the dream of a proper album came true in January 2013.In April 2013 ''La crudelta di Aprile'' was released on the Italian label mirror.

Fortunately the band abandoned any attempt on singing in English and their debut was totally delivered in their native language, complementing nicely with the retro aesthetic and Italian spices of the musicianship.''La crudelta di Aprile'' is basically a Symphonic Rock album along the lines of the legendary Italian bands of the past, featuring an excellent keyboardist and singer, who offers some of the very best performances you can hear in an Italian Prog album.But as a whole the team of Unreal City is extremely tight as well and the compositions are executed with accuracy and passion.Tons of piano, harsichord, Hammond organ and Mellotron showcase the straight links and influences of Unreal City with the 70's, supported by the romantic, slightly irritating voice of Tarasconi, somewhere between Gianni Leone and Aldo Tagliapietra.Musically they remind me a lot of LA COSCIENZA DI CENO and IL TEMPIO DELLE CRESSIDE, they have a big symphonic sound with some heavy guitar parts and bombastic analog keyboards, akin to MUSEO ROSENBACH with bits of IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO and ALPHATAURUS.The compsitions are extremely intelligent, having a genuine ability to turn from melodic and romantic textures to haunting and occult orchestrations, while I cannot do else than praise the powerful violin drives of guest Fabio Biale in a pair of pieces.Now, even the use of synthesizers goes far beyond the usual sound on modern Neo/Symphonic Prog groups, Tarasconi appears to torture the synths in order to priduce atonal and sinister flashes, which fit well with his old-styled keyboards.Compositions are full of grandieur, tension and romanticism with a high level of coherence between the variations and a decent sense of melody.

High-class act to say the least.Emphatic Italian Symphonic Rock with vintage references but also a pretty personal approach.Great and strongly recommended stuff, especially if you love BANCO, IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO, CORTE DEI MIRACOLI, CAMPO DI MARTE, ALPHATAURUS and similar acts.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What I love the most about music, is that it never ceases to surprise me, and though regarding progressive rock some might say that its best era was the 70s (yeah, it might be), nowadays there are amazing bands like Italian monsters Unreal City who are creating gems that must be discovered, spread and listened by prog lovers. They are four young guys who don't fear to enter into this realm, whose passion and musical skills have a pronounced talent, which can be appreciated in this debut album named "La Crudeltá di Aprile", which was released in 2013.

One hour of excellent RPI divided in 6 songs, the first five range from 7-9 minutes, while the last is a 17-minute epic. It opens with "Dell'Inocenza Perduta" and since the very first seconds they let us know they are not just another band of the bunch, they show us its talent with clever compositions and wonderful arrangements. The amalgam the four form is an example that they as a musicians get on well when comes to composition and performance, and I assume they get on well also as friends. Great keyboards, strings and drums overall, and a nice touch of violin in the final part of this song.

"Atlantis" has a somber tune, a great mellotron as background while guitar plays disarming notes. The music progresses, adding nuances every minute. The voice has a soft tone, it will remind you of some 70s RPI bands, however, it is perfectly adapted to a fresh XXI Century prog sound. Some might describe their music as retro- modern RPI, just like Wobbler makes retro-modern Scandinavian prog. "Catabasi" is a magnificent piece whose first three minutes have a dark, gothic sound with keyboards, later it makes a great change when violins enter and loony vocals appear; one can easily put images on the mind, create stories, the music is very visual. It is awesome how after that dark, delirious and somber passage, the band all of a sudden produce a softer, friendlier sound when one can take a deep breath and feel relieved.

"Dove la luce e piu intensa" is a candid track that I like a lot, because though its first seconds provide keyboards with a lot of energy, that make me think of someone running for his life, at the same time the sound is friendly to me, so maybe he is running for freedom. Later the song changes, vocals appear, acoustic guitar and a nice pastoral passage. It is wonderful to listen to keyboards making solos, while mellotron works as background. "Ecate" starts with mellotron and bass, then little by little the structure is being built up; vocals enter, a symphonic and pastoral mixture live here, and so many changes inside the song can be perceived. The guitar work is great, it has some sublime moments, and as you can imagine, keyboards also play a wonderful role here.

Finally, it comes the epic long song that closes this awesome album. "Horror Vacui" whose 18 minutes are divided in four sections, will give you a blast of excellent music. A fascinating journey through diverse branches of prog, of course the symphonic sound predominates, however they offer much more than a label, they offer their own style, the Unreal City sound. Again, the capacity they have to change and change and change through the seconds, without harming the music is simply impressive, all those changes perfectly match, so the music flows, providing a river of emotions, where the water might be the purest and cleanest, and later a bit somber and grey, but always exciting, that's a fact!

This is an album that marks the debut of what I presume will be a giant prog rock band, and now with their newest 2015, I can happily say they are not a one-album-wonder band, they have a lot to give, so please give them the chance, listen to this amazing album and we'll talk later.

Enjoy it!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is UNREAL CITY's debut album released in 2013 and it certainly created a buzz back when it came out. I really like the cover art as well as the picture of the band in the liner notes. Unfortunately all of the written notes are in Italian so I can't relay any information from there. I really like the fact that I can hear some of the classic RPI bands at times when listening to this album but there's also a modern flavour in the Neo vein at times. So while i'm very impressed with this recording i'm also not blown away by any means. Great singer here singing in Italian and lots of mellotron which I appreciate. Some guest violin on a couple of tracks as well.

"Dell'Innocenza Perduta" opens with piano as outbursts of power come and go. They then get in this groove until it settles back before 2 minutes then the laid back vocals arrive. Mellotron follows and it will come and go. Some nice guitar after 3 1/2 minutes then it all picks up 5 minutes in sounding like classic RPI with the drums and organ out front. Violin 6 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Atlantis(Conferendis Pecuniis" starts with mellotron as synths, piano and drums join in. The guitar starts to solo slowly over top. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles back but then it quickly turns more powerful. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in with the vocals and mellotron shining bright. A cool instrumental section follows then vocals are back after 5 minutes. Lots of synths and vocals in the second half of this song. "Catabasi(Descensio Ad Inferos)" features lots of organ and drums to start as vocals and mellotron join in. It kicks in at 3 minutes with the violin over top. Passionate vocals follow with a heavy sound. A calm before 5 1/2 minutes as the mood changes completely with fragile vocals and a lighter sound. I like the guitar after 7 minutes as it reminds me of Conny Veit's playing.

"Dove La Luce E Piu Intensa" is uptempo at first with lots going on. It settles with mellotron a minute in as vocals follow. It picks up again at 3 minutes but this is different from the beginning of this track. Another change after 4 minutes, vocals too. It picks up again with vocals a minute later. "Ecate(Walpurgisnacht)" opens with some gorgeous mellotron as piano and drums join in. It starts to pick up, guitar too. Vocals after 2 1/2 minutes as it has settled back some. Mellotron too, as we get a light and catchy sound. An interesting soundscape after 5 minutes as it turns dramatic then it picks up again around 7 minutes with vocals. A heavy ending to this one. "Horror Vacui" is the almost 18 minute closer. Synths and a fairly heavy sound a minute in as the mellotron rolls in. Catchy stuff. I like the piano/mellotron combo that comes and goes. Some aggressive guitar before 4 1/2 minutes followed by vocals as it settles, lots of synths too. There's an excellent pastoral section from around 10 1/2 minutes to 14 minutes when the guitar, drums and mellotron spice things up.

Without question this is one of the better modern RPI bands out there and this their debut is a very solid 4 stars in my opinion.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 475

Unreal City was born in Parma in 2008. The two founders, Emanuele Tarasconi and Francesca Zanetta, met to create a complex and challenging project with the classic sound of the prog of the 70's in a modern mood, trying not to simulate but to magnify the vintage and typical side of that period. The band, which their name comes from founders' common passion for "The Waste Land" of T.S. Eliot, began to play live. In 2012 the band published their first EP, "Unreal City", with three songs with lyrics in English. In 2013 Unreal City released their first studio album, "La Crudeltà Di Aprile".

The first EP of Unreal City called the attention of Fabio Zuffanti. Due to that, Fabio decided to produce "La Crudeltà Di Aprile". As many of we know, Zuffanti is a name very well known in the Italian prog scene. He created many several Italian progressive rock projects like Finisterre, Hostsonaten, IaZona, La Maschera Di Cera, Quadrophonic, Rohmer, Aries, Buc-Ur and R.u.g.h.e, besides his musical career as a solo artist and other participations in some other projects.

So, "La Crudeltà Di Aprile" is the debut studio album of Unreal City and was released in 2013. It became one of the best prog rock albums of 2013. Unreal City performed on many great stages. In 2015 Unreal City's second album "Il Paese Del Tramonto" has been released and the band spent 2015 and 2016 touring across Europe and Canada to promote their album. In 2017, Unreal City released their third and last studio album, till now, with the title "Frammenti Notturni".

The line up on the album is Francesca Zanetta (electric and acoustic guitars and Renaissance lute), Emanuele Tarasconi (lead and backing vocals, piano, Hammond, Moog, Mellotron, Birotron, Chamberlain, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, harpsichord, church organ and Theremin), Francesco Orefice (lead and backing vocals, fretted and fretless bass) and Federico Bedostri (narration, drums, timpani and percussion). Fabio Biale (violin) appears as a guest artist.

Unreal City is above an average band, not only for the articulated plots created, but also for the attention paid to the lyrics of intense depth. A proposal that has its roots in the past but at the same time knows how to make current in numerous passages. The four members have their musical heroes of reference but the lesson has been reworked with a strong personality. The result is a direct consequence of the attention paid to the lyrics, with the predominance of keyboards of all kinds that know how to create the atmosphere more suited to what is described by the singing, really.

"La Crudeltà Di Aprile" highlights the undoubted talent of Unreal City, a band that promises a lot for the future. The album faithfully follows the atmospheres, albeit filtered with modern sensitivity, of some mythical Italian prog bands such as La Locanda Delle Fate, Quella Vecchia Locanda and Il Balletto Di Bronze. The Unreal City shows that they have an excellent feeling with the genre by creating an impressive and emphatic symphonic prog with great instrumentation.

"Dell'Innocenza Perduta" has a rhythm tight, fanned by Hammond and Moog and only when Tarasconi's subtle singing takes over, does the music calm down, emphasizing the piano. There is also room for a short guitar solo and a beautiful violin insert. "Atlantis (Conferendis Pecuniis)" starts with vintage keyboards, including the harpsichord. Also excellent here is the ending with the bass to mark the drama of the fall of the great civilization of Atlantis. "Catabasi (Descensio Ad Inferos)" has a Gothic introduction with a declamatory voice, blood riffs, pressing and slightly disturbing rhythms and a fine lyricism in the last verses. "Dove La Luce È Più Intensa" benefits from a long instrumental digression that allows us to appreciate also the important rhythmic work in the economy of the piece. "Ecate (Walpurgisnacht)" continues with the golden dark feel which is another of the common threads of "La Crudeltà Di Aprile", which the valuable lyrics remind us once again. The album ends with "Horror Vacui", a suite with over 17 minutes. The suite is divided into four sections, two of which are instrumental. Once again the keyboards reign, with ever-changing sounds. Tarasconi's singing also fully convinces, even if it's probably in the third instrumental part of the suite, "Nel Sonno Della Ragione" that the suite reaches the real climax of pathos and drama with great quality of the solo interventions.

Conclusion: "La Crudeltà Di Aprile" is a superb high-end symphonic progressive rock album that combines power, melody and liveliness in an endless farandole. The very diverse and analog keyboards lead the dance and the bass gives roundness and mellowness to the whole for an Italian progressive worthy of the great alumni of the 70's. The compositions are excellent, very full with intelligent and surprising breaks which keep the interest as the jazzy or hard rock forays which spice up the whole. The album has also an originality, their guitarist, Francesca Zanetta, a musician who delivers us beautiful guitar parts, a female presence that I would like to have more frequently in other bands in the next future. So, Unreal City can rival with the bigest names in the Italian progressive rock scene, past and present. They have a haunting quality in their music, filled with melancholy, sorrow and hope. This is another great Italian prog work.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Ok, one more Italian and unlike last one this was excellent progressive rock music in my taste. There is so many great bands you can learn about here on ProgArchives and here's my opinion of Unreal City's debut record "La Crudeltà di Aprile" from 2013. The album cover shows a face of a screa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1030952) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, September 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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