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Sophya Baccini

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Sophya Baccini Big Red Dragon (William Blake's Visions) album cover
3.90 | 27 ratings | 6 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

01 - William 2:59
02 - Angel Of The Revelation 4:31
03 - Satan 3:54
04 - Love Of Hecate 5:49
05 - The Number 4:19
06 - La Porta Dell'Inferno 9:01
07 - Just 7:02
08 - Cerberus 8:00
09 - While He's Sleeping 5:28
10 - Au Matin Du Premier Jour 5:47
11 - Beatrice 6:37
12 - Big Red Dragon 5:27
13 - Jerusalem 3:06

Total Time: 1:12:00

Line-up / Musicians

Sophya-Voce, keyboards, synth bass
Chicco Accetta- guitars
Francesca Colaps-drums
Stella Manfredi-violino, Viola
Marilena Striano-Piano
Special guests: Christian Decamps (ANGE) Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio delle Clessidre) Steve Sylvester (DEATH SS), Lino Vairetti (Osanna ) Irwin Vairetti (Osanna), Enrico Iglio (presence), Roberto Tiranti (Mangala Vallis)

Releases information

Blackwidow Records- CD BWR 162

Thanks to octopus-4 for the addition
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SOPHYA BACCINI Big Red Dragon (William Blake's Visions) ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

SOPHYA BACCINI Big Red Dragon (William Blake's Visions) reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars I can't wait. I should have reviwed other albums before this but it's the first thing that I listen from this artist and I wasn't expecting anything like this. Symphonic orchestral arrangements on melodic bases and a concept behind. I'm not expert in William Blake's poetry but this album has made me curious.

The introduction "William" is a symphonic piece of beauty with a guitar of the "not a misplaced note" kind, like Andy Latimer is used to do, some "mute" vocals and a very nice melody. A stunning surprise.

"Angel Of The Revelation" starts with electronics and piano, then vocals and a proper song starts. The high pitched voice of Sophya joined in a choir by whom? Maybe Sonja Kristina who features in the guests? The guests list is another thing to check. This is a progressive track as I think people usually intends "progressive": sung parts alternated with instrumentals, structured as a suite with different movements and recurring themes. And all in 4 minutes and half.

"Satan" has an obsessive rhythm and has the theathrical flavor of a rock opera. The electronics behind have a vintage sound but is remarkable the dialogue between guitar and piano before the last sung part and the coda. Another great song.

"Love Of Hecate" Is a slow waltz. It's folky and theathrical in the same time, with excellent vocals again. The signature changes in the chorus. It's still a 3/4 (almost) but the tempo is accelerated. Vocals like in Mozart's magic flute are replaced by a cymbal, then piano and vocals. Another very complex and "circular" song.

Percussive piano and bass with water sounds to start "La Porta Dell'Inferno". This is a little mistake: it's taken from Dante's Comedy, but the door should lead to the "anti-inferno". The first lyrics are taken from Dante, then the man talking leaves the Dante's book to give a different view of the hell's entrance. "Here nothing grows because nothing dies". Another great song with the music perfectly fitting with the concept. The violins support the whole track, choirs, a stupendous coda... Great.

After a track like the previous one staying on the same level is very difficult, so the style changes totally. "The Number" is a rock song. Of course the number is 666. It starts hard rock, but with no relations with Iron Maiden, and the rock screamed part is alternated to more quiet and symphonic interludes. The organ is excellent, neither Emerson nor Wakeman, the sound reminds me more to Vitalij Kuprij (Artension).

"Just" is opened by percussion, piano and cello. The theme recalls "La Porta Dell'Inferno" but the vocals take a different direction. The song's intro, before the male singing, makes me think to the Russian Iamthemorning, mainly because of the instruments used. However, after 2 minutes the song changes drastically. The impression is still of a rock opera. Remove the metal element from Ayreon and add more symphonics to have an idea. The vocals here are more operatic. Not enough to think to Zeuhl, but enough to enhance the track. Great guitar solo in a Van Halen style which slows down and closes Floydian before the last sung reprise.

"Cerberus" is the three-headed infernal dog. Keyboard and strings introduce the song which reprises the chords of the main theme. It's on this song that I'm almost sure Sonja Kristina is singing. I don't know it for sure because I have received a download link from Blackwidow records and I haven't seen the notes on the CD. This is a very dark song on which the rock-opera factor is very relevant. I want to add the the most I listen to this album the most I'm surprised. It's surely one of the best albums I've listened to during all the 2013.

"While He's Sleeping" starts in a weird way respect to the symphonic mood of the previous tracks. It's still classically influenced but has a touch of Canterbury, especially in the melody. Not an easy track, but very enjoyable.

Back to full orchestra and theatrical suggestions. "Au Matin Du Premier Jour" (At the morning of the first day) is sung in French by a man who sounds like the chansonniers of the end 50s / early 60s. French and operatic don't mean Magma, but this song has a Zeuhl flavor in the instrumental parts.

"Beatrice" brings us back to Dante's Comedy. To Paradise now. Her character would deserve some words but this would lead us off topic. Of course there's less darkness now. Piano and ethereal voice for a very melodic song. A Sophya's solo performance and let me add that the sequence of chords deserves a mention. There's plenty of good passages. excellent also from the composition point of view.

We are now at the title track. Full orchestra and voice plus some electronics behind. It starts like a symphony and turns into rock. I don't know who's the male singer but his voice is incredible. The mood is still of a rock opera I'm finishing the words...

The album is closed by a cover. "Jerusalem" has been played and recorded by the likes of Vangelis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Par Lindh Project for what I remember. Well, I must say that it's probably the best version that I've heard up to now. It's a new interpretation when the one from Par Lindh was an ELP clone.

A masterpiece, amazing because unexpected. How can an artist that I've never heard before have done a thing like this? Symphonic proggers and RPI fans will surely agree with me, but there's so many stuff in this album. It will stay in my portable reader for a very long time, I think.

5 obvious stars

Review by Rivertree
3 stars Now this yet again is something totally different from what I normally hear with constant repetition ... nevertheless I learned to like the album after a while due to this special outfit and implementation overall. Variety is the spice of life, you know? So finally William Drake's Red Dragon (great or big? it doesn't matter) came in touch with me for the first time due to Italian singer Sophia Baccini, who is an experienced, frequently demanded artist and has collaborated with diverse RPI bands in her career until now. So inspired by Drake's paintings she has composed a new rock opera, released on Italian label Black Widow Records, which comes like a rather interesting affair.

While comprising lyrics in French, Italian and English language it might not really be surprising that the focus is on the vocal respectively narration presence. Hereby - amongst others - she's supported by Curved Air's Sonja Kristina and Ange's Christian Decamps. Additionally Sophia herself is caring for keyboards/piano and the synth bass, while having a bunch of musicians on her side, also completing a typical band line-up including guitar and drums. Stylistically the fundament is built by some symphonic approach, the flow is really entertaining, nearly unpredictable. In any case I can smell some Bohemian Rhapsody flavour too in between.

Of course the songs come with a classical, theatrical, respectively cinematic flair, which partially sounded unusual to me, less accessible apriori. Well. regularly it's just exactly that what makes me curious after a while, pushes and occasionally becomes an advice in the end to keep at it. Not that proper rocking parts are missing here moreover. And hereby several sections appear as an ear worm really sooner or later, speaking of The Number for example. In order to name some other exceptional album excerpts I would call La Porta Dell Inferno next. The door to the inferno is melancholic, deals with pain, shines with a lovely piano opening, later featuring violin and a fantastic vocal presence which only completely suits while using Italian lyrics, I would say.

Furthermore Cerberus and Just do appear with certain electric guitar solos - something extraordinary in the same way as the vocal presence. Embracing a wide stylistical spectrum Sophia Baccini's new ambitious project includes thirteen differing segments ... eh ... please don't bang, but even Andrea Bocelli fans might be able to connect to this in parts. 'Big Red Dragon' is unique and challenging - definitely recommended when you're keen on a blend of classical and rock themes - 3.5 stars

Review by kev rowland
3 stars Sophya Baccini has built a reputation in the Italian scene for her vocal prowess, recording with various bands (most notably Presence) and performing in multiple languages. The daughter of a tenor singer she has been immersed in music since a very young age and released her debut solo album 'Aradia' in 2009 then took as the name of her next project, 'Big Red Dragon (William Blake's Visions)'. As is suggested by the title, this album is based on the work of Blake (although somewhat sadly there isn't a song called 'The Tiger', which is probably one of his best-known works). Sophya decided that this would best be undertaken as a symphonic progressive rock album, but there are passages where it is just her and a piano, although at others it is more full-blown. Not all of the album is in English, and she has also brought in a host of guests to augment her own band, including Christian Decamps (Ange) Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre) Steve Sylvester (Death SS), Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Irwin Vairetti (Osanna), Enrico Iglio (Presence) and Roberto Tiranti (Mangala Vallis).

Somewhat unfairly I found myself comparing this with Clive Nolan's 'Alchemy', and while there is no doubt at all that this is an incredibly clever album, I found that it was something that I enjoyed only in bits and pieces as opposed to throughout with not enough hooks. It feels much more like a classical piece of music than a progressive rock album, and I am sure that this is deliberate intent, but not really what I want to hear. The vocals are wonderful, and when the album really gets going, as it does on the much more upbeat "The Number" then it shows just what is missing.

I would have much preferred for this to be less clever, and less pure classical/operatic, but I am fully aware that his is just down to personal choice and that there will be many who will feel that this an incredible piece of work, which it undoubtedly is, just not something I want to play a great deal. It closes of course with Blake's most famous poem, which was put to music by Sir Hubert Parry many years after his death. "Jerusalem" has been recorded in many different styles, and is seen by many as one of the most quintessential English songs of all time. ELP's version is one of the most well-known, and to her credit Sophya has created an arrangement that is very different to many, with multi-layered female vocals and a sparse musical backing, but somehow it doesn't gel right with me. I knew the song as a hymn long before I came across ELP's version, and love the majesty and power that this demands and the emotion that it always invokes, but somehow here it seems somewhat sterile and devoid of passion. A very clever album, but just not for me.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars To be honest I wasn't expecting anything good from Big Red Dragon (2013), latest Sophya Baccini album. I knew here from her bands Presence, especially from their latest album Evil Rose (2008) and that album wasn't that great so I was expecting something simillar to that. I lost Sophya's first solo album Aradža (2009) so I really didn't know what to expect.

Big Red Dragon (2013), released by Black Widow Records last year, is based on William Blake's paintings. Each song represent an image very beautifully represented in the booklet of the CD. The sound on Big Red Dragon (2013) still has a bit og the Gothic influence of her previous band, but this is just a small percent, in its majority the album is Symphonic and full of great vocals. Not just that, the album is filled with guests including Christian Decamps (Ange) Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre) Steve Sylvester (Death SS), Lino Vairetti and Irwin Vairetti (Osanna), Enrico Iglio (her old mate in Presence) and Roberto Tiranti (Mangala Vallis). This make the album has a certain epic feeling.

This is a great album, especially for people who like some Opera kinda of Symphonic prog.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The "voiceful" blondhaired is back! Since the first time I heard Sophya's astonishing voice (at the Pro(g)Liguria fundraising concert) I was captured by her powerful vocal range and her technical performance. At that time I wasn't aware she is also a good piano player and a proficient composer ... (read more)

Report this review (#1076001) | Posted by progpromoter | Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I totally agree with the review of Octopus-4. This work is a masterpiece and Sophya can be considered one of the best progressive singers of all time and a wonderful composer. I add only some information about this second work by Sophya. It's no longer a solo project but a work that sees the ligh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064522) | Posted by Godzilla | Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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