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Fabio Zuffanti

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Fabio Zuffanti La Quarta Vittima album cover
3.92 | 154 ratings | 8 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Non Posso Parlare Pi¨ Forte (11:51)
2. La Certezza Impossibile (7:22)
3. L'Interno Di Un Volto (6:40)
4. La Quarta Vittima (4:35)
5. Sotto Un Cielo Nero (9:00)
6. Il Circo Brucia (7:21)
7. Una Sera D'Inverno (7:35)

Total Time 54:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Fabio Zuffanti / bass pedals, Casio keyboards, harpsichord, samples, loops, vocals, arrangements

- Laura Marsano / acoustic & electric guitars
- Emanuele Tarasconi / piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond, Minimoog
- Alberto Tafuri / piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond & synth (5)
- Rossano "Rox" Villa / Mellotron, clavinet, synth, Fender Rhodes, harpsichord, trombone, Fx, arrangements
- Gian Marco "Pantera" Pietrasanta / saxello, flute
- Fabio Biale / violin
- Luca Scherani / vibraphone, glockenspiel
- Agostino Macor / theremin
- Riccardo Barbera / fretted & fretless basses, contrabass
- Saverio Malaspina / drums & percussion, loops
- Paolo Tixi / drums (1,6)
- Enzo Zirilli / drums (5)
- Carlo Carnevali / backing vocals
- Simona Angioloni / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Eugenio Crippa

CD AMS ‎- AMS 230 CD (2014, Italy)

Thanks to progshine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FABIO ZUFFANTI La Quarta Vittima ratings distribution

(154 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FABIO ZUFFANTI La Quarta Vittima reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars "Real life awaits us".

As the accent-laden voice fades in on Fabio Zuffanti's new album, "La Quarta Vittima" (The Fourth Victim), a sense of foreboding and reality are bestowed upon the listener. This album is somber, and maybe even a little scary on a mental level. And, see, I get all this even though the album is almost entirely sung in Italian.

Fabio Zuffanti is one of my favorite songwriters, and this new album showcases why that is. This album is delicate, with flutes and RPI keys. It's also terrifyingly powerful with trombones and excellent drumming. This album is almost bipolar in a way, and I mean that in the best manner possible. One moment will be quiet, surreal, and full of vertigo, and then the next moment will be soulful or possibly powerful and bombastic. All the while, Fabio's quiet, reserved vocal style marches on and on. It's a dark, jazzy sound, for sure. Lots of RPI influence, obviously, but also many pure jazz elements are present, too.

This album is dark for a good reason. It is based on the book "The Mirror in the Mirror" by Michael Ende. I've never read this book, but now I think I might need to do so. This story is bewildering, confusing, and full of loneliness and cycles of time and space. Most appropriately, then, Fabio has constructed a blackened, sorrowful album full of tarnished beauty, longing, and loss. It is incredible in the quiet, contemplative moments, and mesmerizing in the louder, excited passages.

I think my favorite track is certainly the opener, "Non Posso Parlare Pi¨ Forte" (I Cannot Speak More Strongly). Its vast array of flute passages and writhing keyboard torrents is just unmatched the rest of the album, but this album is certainly not weak at any point. From the dark saxophone lines to the surreal keys to the meaningful horns, this album is very diverse and arranged masterfully. In fact, I don't think I've heard such interesting song structures in a while.

"La Quarta Vittima" shows Fabio Zuffanti doing what he does best: crafting incredibly unique songs with a vast array of instruments and guests. His dark emphasis this time is a new thing for him, but it doesn't harm his grasp on beauty and melody even a little bit. While this isn't the best album Fabio has ever written, it certainly is up there with his best. 2014 is off to a strong start.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fabio Zuffanti is one of the most prolific musicians of our time. In 2013 alone he released two albums with La Maschera Di Cera, one with Finisterre, one with H÷stsonaten and towards the end of the year he recorded this album here, La Quarta Vittima (2014).

Fabio could transform itself into a kind of Neal Morse or Dream Theater and release the same album year after year. But he doesn't and that's what makes him interesting, you never know what's going to be the next one!

Released in January 15 by the Italian label AMS La Quarta Vittima (2014) is a very interesting album by Fabio Zuffanti. Especially in the instrumental territory as we can see in the first track 'Non Posso Parlare Pi¨ Forte'. Resuming, all instrumental parts on La Quarta Vittima (2014) are strong and very interesting. My problem with La Quarta Vittima (2014) are the vocals. Most of the time on the background and kinda uninspired, I'm pretty sure it was on purpose, but for me they don't work and thats my one and only complain.

In general La Quarta Vittima (2014) is a hell of a modern prog album with touch of retro sounds. Go for it!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Fabio Zuffanti legend just keeps on growing, continuously subjecting fans of Italian prog (and not necessarily only RPI) to wondrous delights. His previous tour de force, duly noted by an adoring list of reviewers here and abroad, was being mentor to the ridiculously brilliant Unreal City, whose debut disc "La Crudelta di Aprile" was met with stupendous applause. Guiding 4 young, handsome (and one sexy lady guitarist) and accomplished musicians, providing them with production and advice is testament to Fabio's incredible dedication to progressive music. His accomplishment are not given enough credit, so I will right that wrong subito! In 1995, bassist and co-leader of Finisterre became an influential motor in the revival of RPI that was blossoming with bands such as Germinale, CAP, Calliope, Il Castello di Atlante, Mad Crayon, Divae, DFA, Malibran, Mary Newsletter, Secret Cinema and countless others way too long a list to name them all. He then created Hostsonaten that featured a unique series of four albums that illuminated the 4 Seasons concept so dear to Vivaldi and classical musicians worldwide. That not being enough, he contributed to a slew of other interesting projects such as the prog-folkish Aries, the avant- jazz Zaal, the dissonant experimental La Zona, the ultra-modern Rohmer, the spooky L'Ombre della Sera, the magnificent La Maschera di Cera and a series of solo albums that have not been very popular. Being the Italian Steve Wilson or Roine Stolt means that there have been, in all fairness, a few hit and miss duds such as the ambient Quadraphonic (not his best foot forward) and the rather unpolished Merlin mini-opera with Victoria Heward. I have all of these albums, save for the solo stuff, so I do possess an appreciation for this man's obvious talents. Fabio is the type of self-imposed slave master who constantly has a few pots boiling and loves stirring the sauces, adding spices and aromas to his various recipes.

So, now we come to this 2014 masterpiece, the sensational adaptation of Michael Ende's classic novel Der Spiegel im Spiegel (1985) The Mirror in the Mirror in English, a fantasy collection of short stories for adults (he wrote children's books as well) that examine the ever so frail human condition. As usual with Zuffanti, the packaging, artwork, photos (including a humorous wink at Floyd's Animals shot of the Battersea nuke plant, one of rock music's iconic pictures) and production are truly first-class. Despite being an exceptional rock bass player, he has delegated that role to jazz bassist Riccardo Barbera while he concentrates on keys, samples and voice. Unreal City's stellar Emmanuelle Tarasconi is the main keysman, with help from Alberto Tafuri and Rossano Villa, three magnificent drummers as well as the lovely Laura Marsano on electric and acoustic guitars. Throw in some mellotron, sax, theremin, glockenspiel, violin, cello and flute and the kitchen is set.

A nearly 12 minute epic raises the curtains , "I promised you a great secret and I will not disappoint you" arrives with that cute Italian accented English we all love and admire! Nasty trembling bass threatens the skies with dark shadows, incredulous guitar riffs and mellotron blasts that are more Zeuhl than Tony Banks! Punching hard is Il Tempio delle Clessidre stickman Paolo Tixi, a manic pummeller if there ever was one, calibrated by sensual flute flutterings, Fender Rhodes e-piano liquidly pooling in a gloriously tranquil mid-section, an achingly profound lead vocal from the Z-man, doused in Villa's mellotron wake. 'Non Posso Parlare Piu Forte" indeed cannot speak louder, sliced by a Laura Marsano lead electric solo that will shiver ye timbers! Tarasconi then urges his Hammond along (a feature that did not go unnoticed on La Crudelta di Aprile!). Barbera carves hard and fast, relentless in Tixi's pursuit, I am sure the two must have been smiling at each other. Call it RPI, prog, symph, neo, I call it bloody fantastic piece of dynamic music!

Check my heartbeat, yeah okay! Need to chill, so up comes my revelation, the charmingly elegant "La Certezza Impossible" (the impossible certitude). Just as smooth and velvety as a well decanted vintage Barolo, the suave Italian voice inspires, intoxicates, hypnotizes until Marsano does her George Benson imitation guitar solo (you have to hear this mofo!) , simply gorgeous as it glides over the mighty mellotron carpets, suddenly exploding (and I mean Ka-Boom!) into a million guitar strings exertions. To then finish off with bombastic symphonic orchestrations (yeah, that bitchy mellotron again) is just pure heaven.

"L'Interno di Un Volta" is a straight forward rock song that actually winks at La Maschera di Cera, typical Italian prog song, loaded with passion and a sense of exalted emotion only the Ragazzi can dare to concoct. Drummer Saverio Malaspina rolls with the punches as the sensuous sax makes a cameo appearance full of playful romance and enticing allure. Is it me or do Italians really like sax? Just wondering, darling! The raging torrents reappear in a convulsion of erupting sound, cacophonous, grandiose and expansive.

You want movement, you admire pace and speed, the title track is another killer, a devastatingly bopping bass, hip-hopping drum patterns and flute mania galore is what you are in for. There is warranted sense of playfulness and modernism, sampled voices and supersonic Mini-Moog flurries, clavinet flirtations and lots of sax. Guitar solo? Va bene, signore, Marsano lets one rip for the ages, sounding like Holdsworth on amphetamines. A vibraphone outro will remind one of that other glorious Italian icon, Franco Zappa!

The 9 minute "Sotto un Cielo Nero" effectively introduces some blackened clouds, fueled by sermon-like vocals, forlorn drumming and funereal keyboard colorations handled here by Alberto Tafuri. Melancholia sets in, the choir 'tron doing it's seducing again, insistent rhythmic precipitations as the storm clouds come racing in, showing off some jazzy experimentation that is utterly perfected, somber cemetery organ and rifling drum fills from madman Enzo Zirilli . I thought I was listening to some old Ange instrumental section! This veers into an outright jazz improve, with sensational piano work that would make Corea, Hancock and company drool in delight. Another twist into vocal oddness and then the violin shoulders the mellotron, as if there was a finer combination then piping in a melody that will drop you jaw into the Trevi fountain. I need to catch my breath!

No respite in sight, as this is no soft album, quite the contrary, very muscular and rambunctious. A Lark's Tongues-like guitar riff and Easy Money beat scours the sonic horizons on the aggressive "Il Circo Brucia" which will spank your prog bottom with some KC fueled backhands! Brooding, heavy, chaotic and screechingly effective, the sheer creativity will keep the listener on the edge of some improbable precipice, like riding a Roller coaster without any restraint! Abruptly, tchaka tchak guitar, pooling e-piano motifs and string mellotron, beep-beep bass and tight drumming take this monster into cosmic overdrive. A final explosion and I mean, wow!

This exhausting and multi-faceted masterpiece ends on a sublime note. The sad violin and the depressed piano do a little initial coupling, as Zuffanti's tired voice intones "a Winter's Night", a simple song where time and space have vanished, blurred by the sheeted snowflakes and blanketed by cooler winds. Serenity and tranquil acceptance of nature's dominion where bass, guitar and mellotron join gloved hands in harmony, giving Marsano one more opportunity to make her axe howl, scream and cry. Someone please call 911. "Real life awaits us".

Not four but 5 victims of life !

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Italian project ZUFFANTI is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Fabio Zuffanti, a name that will be recognized by just about anyone with more than a passing interest in Italian progressive rock. He has been involved in more than a dozen different bands and projects over the years, and the total number of albums he has participated on makes out a fairly impressive list. "La Quarta Vittima" is the fifth album he has issued as a solo artist, although the first where he has chosen to use only his surname as the artist moniker. It was released through AMS/BTF at the start of 2014.

As long as you don't mind Italian language vocals, Zuffanti's fifth solo album "La Quarta Vittima" comes across as one of the must have albums of 2014. A taste for symphonic progressive rock is needed to be able to enjoy this CD, as that is the core foundation of this production, and you'll need a soft spot for recordings of this kind that include a bit of variety and then especially the inclusion of jazz rock and jazz-oriented passages. If this sounds intriguing as a whole, chances are high that you'll love this album. Highly recommended, obviously.

Review by Progulator
3 stars Reflecting back on 2013, its clear that Fabio Zuffanti has been a busy man. Not only did our recently closing year see the release of Le porte del domani, La Maschera di Cera's ultimate sequel to Le Orme's Felona e sorona, and new live CD/DVD performance of Hostsonaten's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Mr. Zuffanti still managed to find time to do a solo album entitled La quarta vittima. Inspired by Michel Ende's work Mirror in the Mirror, a work cherished by Zuffanti, La quarta vittima takes us through a ride that Zuffanti considers to reflect in many ways the variety embodied in his work throughout his career. This being his 20th anniversary in the music business, it is certainly fitting that he take time to do a solo album and reflect on where he's been and where he's going.

Through and through and through Fabio Zuffanti, but its perhaps of particular interest the role that he takes within this recording. La quarta vittima being a solo album, it's obvious that Fabio is the composer, but this time around we see him not as the bass player, but instead doing vocals and some of the keyboards. Don't worry, those who are fans of Zuffanti's bass playing certainly won't be dissappointed by Riccardo Barbera. After a great narration with an intriguing metaphysical discussion launched off "Non posso parlare piu forte," I almost forgot that Barbera was doing the bass playing and not Fabio; all I heard was that characteristic fuzz bass that we hear on La Maschera di Cera and it was an immediate reminder that this was a Zuffanti album. Certainly, however, Barbera brings his own chops and style to the table, as seen on the quick walking jazz bass of "Sotto un cielo nero." Keyboards-wise, we hear all the traditional Mellotron use that we are accustomed to on MdC and Hostsonaten, but we also see Zuffanti bringing in Emmanuele Tarasconi from the young and upcoming Italian prog band Unreal City. Those who have seen Unreal City's music video for "Dove la luce e' piu intensa" will certainly recognize Tarasconi's playing at the beginning of the title track, "La quarta vittima." Honestly, I would say that it's no wonder that Fabio has done some collaboration with Unreal City in the past and is now inviting Tarasconi to play on his solo album; their styles compliment each other perfectly.

Time to get to the heart of the album, the songs themselves. As already stated, the opener, "Non posso parlare piu forte" offers that excellent fuzz bass we all love, pounding rhythms, psychedelic jamming loaded with fantastic flute solos, and a solid dose of tron. As the song progresses we move on to a moody, soft section, supported by Mellotron 3 violins, and we finally get to test out Zuffanti's vocals. My first impressions are that his soft, speaking like quality and use characteristic tone of the Italian language fits the part quite nicely: a great deliver of a meaningful melody, leaving me wishing that the vocal part extended a bit longer. As we move on to "La certezza impossibile" the vocals continue with a very speech-like characteristic, this time over some Floyd-esque chord changes. Following a number of solos, the piece climaxes with the main melody over 8 voice choir on the tron to make this a piece that had some solid moments. "L'interno di un volto" will immediately scream out La Maschera di Cera, staring off with a heavy, descending chord progression motiff on the Mellotron, then lightening up, giving space for vocals , 3 violins, and organ in between. For fans of Zuffanti's work this particular piece will certainly scream enjoyability and familiarity, particularly reminding me of the Il grande laberinto of MdC.

The second half of the record delivers some of my favorite pieces, sending us through a labyrinth of variety that always seems natural and fitting. The title number, "La quarta vittima" sets us off with a mixture of prog, cantebury, and even funk. Groovy sax parts, wild flute solos, syncopated clean guitars, and loads of prog make this near instrumental quite a fun track. Moving on, a dark title like "Sotto un cielo nero" deserves some haunting music, which is precisely what the intro piano motif of this track lets us know that we have in store. A couple of minutes in, the gradual movement towards jazz drum solos starts to develop over eerie melodies, prepping us for what's up next: a full on section of jazz and fusion section, replete with sax, brilliant drum solos, walking bass, and tasty piano soloing, demonstrating that Fabio's band really shines in this context, particularly in the piano department performed by Alberto Tafuri. Finally, I'd like to touch on the last track of the album: "Una sera d'inverno." There has rarely been a track that I felt was so fitting as an album closer as this one. "Una sera d'inverno" brings us delicate piano and mournful violin to set the stage for what I consider to be the most convincing vocals on the album. Zuffanti's performance here is light, even fragile, with postproduction that sets wet piano contrasting with lots of dry on the vocals, combining with extended rests at the end of phrases which make for an absolutely brilliant use of tension, introspection, and melancholy. Following the vocals the mood shifts, getting slightly more bright, but heavily drenched in nostalgia. An electric piano riff comes in, complimented by some great fretless bass playing, as layers of Mellotron support a slow, beautiful melody on the guitar. The chord progression and arranging become increasingly heavenly throughout as a solo builds and builds, adding choirs and arriving at a triumphant and uplifting peak, leaving the record off on a high note.

After repeated listens, La quarta vittima, proved to be an album which grew on me more and more (which is always a good sign). While I can't say that it topped his recent work with MdC (Le Porte del domani), my choice for best album of 2013, I will say that fans of Zuffanti albums will get something that is very much represents many of the aspects we have loved from his work throughout the years, in a manner that feels personal and intimate, as a solo album rightfully should be. Congrats to Mr. Zuffanti on yet another solid release and, of course, for making sure we never have to worry about running out of music. I for one, am certainly hoping to get a chance to see him perform La quarta vittima in the future.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the most notable musicians currently involved in the Italian prog related music scene, Fabio Zuffanti has worked hard to earn his reputation as a figurehead of modern RPI. Most well known for his projects Hostsonaten, Finestierre and La Maschera di Cera, as well as guiding younger bands such as Unreal City, Oxhuitza and others, Mr Zuffanti has also offered, until now, an inconsistent solo career that didn't quite deliver the same sort of potential that all his various projects had suggested. What a difference 2014 brings, as Fabio has somewhat surprisingly delivered one of the standout releases for not only Italian Prog this year, but for his own personal work. Admittedly a showcase for not only Fabio's wonderful bass playing but a collection of musical guests from members of several of the above mentioned bands, `La Quarta Vittima' (`The Fourth Victim') is one of the most instrumentally varied releases of any progressive related genre in 2014, and is a triumph for intelligent music and modern Italian prog works.

Oddly for a solo album from the artist, Mr Zuffanti utilizes very sparing vocals throughout the disc. It's probably fair to say that it seems Fabio has a fairly limited vocal range, and he frequently adopts a very carefully soft-spoken delivery bordering on narration, but at least he makes sure never to overreach vocally or step out of his comfort range. Instead, he offers endless dazzling displays of instrumental variety, these sections taking in both the classic Italian vintage styles yet being modern and contemporary at the same time. Darker brooding gothic touches, drifting psychedelic concoctions, ambient diversions, a little grand classical bombast and even some briefly jagged R.I.O flavours all weave together, and better yet, there's a creeping unease and slight tension bubbling under the background of the work that reveals itself briefly but to great effect throughout the disc in choice moments.

The album instantly grabs your attention with the eleven minute blast of energy opener `Non Posso Parlare Piu Forte' in much the same way the lead track of Steven Wilson's recent `Raven' album did, by way of numerous gutsy instrumental passages each more memorable than the last. Moving back and forth through a range of unpredictable tempos and moods, there's a brief somber vocal, attacking drumming, violent choir Mellotron bursts, darting flute, unhinged and lustful messy saxophone perfectly aided by Fabio's fluid bass work that slinks along the background before leaping out of the speakers with joyful confidence near the end. Lonely sax and a downbeat vocal permeates the percussion driven `La Certezza Impossibile', with a slow-building endless David Gilmour/Nick Barrett- esque soaring electric guitar solo builds in emotion and pierces the heart of the piece. Heavy guitars and choral mellotrons stomp down throughout gothic rocker `L'Interno Di Un Volto', Fabio adopting a sinister croon over a strangled sax solo, and the track probably wouldn't have sounded out of place on Il Segno del Comando's last album `Il Volte Verde'.

The title track `La Quarta Vittima' could be a lost Osanna track, heavy funk and jazz guitar strutting with waffling saxophone, while the delirious keyboard runs sound like they're right off the Unreal City debut from 2013. The eerie `Sotto un Cielo Nero' is a real standout, a mix of freeform and spontanioues disjointed Rock in Opposition elements, moody dark jazz with a subtle hazy psychedelic weirdness. Very Improvisation heavy, dreamy glistening electric piano, weeping violin and booming Mellotron with aggressive sax come together in a very intimidating and malovlenet manner, with smoky late-night jazz/lounge piano tinkling spinning around stream-of-consciousness rambling vocal interjections. Floating sax billowing around menacing King Crimson/Adrian Belew-like electric guitar strangulations throughout `Il Circo Brucia' again reminds of the recent Steven Wilson solo albums. With an ethereal droning other-worldly treated vocal from Fabio, the album again takes on a gothic menace when he's accompanied by female vocals on the more bombastic outbursts, and the shimmering jazzy electric piano and Mellotron wisp outro couldn't be more blissful, before the piece collapses into psychedelic violence in the climax. `Una Sera D'inverno' is a delicate and tasteful ambient closer, with a victorious and powerfully moving extended guitar solo so grand that David Gilmour better bring his A game for the upcoming Pink Floyd album to beat this one!

Soon after this album was released, Mr Zuffanti announced that he would be leaving one of his defining projects La Maschera di Cera, no doubt to focus on more opportunities as a solo artist. Although this news was unexpected, if we have more solo albums in the works to the standard of this, we certainly more many more exciting and sublime albums from the artist to come. Perhaps `La Quarta Vittima' is more of a showcase for a collection of exceptional Italian musicians working together ("Mr Zuffanti and Friends" perhaps?), but it's still evidence of the supreme taste Mr Zuffanti has, as well as being a demonstration of his ear for incredible musical talent and a showcase for his own musical and compositional skills. Along with albums from Logos, Astrolabio and Nodo Gordiano, `La Quarta Vittima' is one of the best and most surprising Italian albums of the year, and it will make Mr Zuffanti's next move a very interesting one to watch!

Four and a half stars.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review N║ 459

Fabio Zuffanti is an Italian progressive rock musician, composer and multi-instrumentalist from Genoa. He is a name very well known in the Italian progressive rock scene. He began his musical career in 1994 and since then he has been involved in the creation of over forty albums, as a soloist and with bands such as Finisterre, La Maschera Di Cera, H÷stsonaten, Rohmer, laZona, Aries, La Curva Di Lesmo, L'Ombra Della Sera, Quadraphonic, R.u.g.h.e., besides many other participations in some other musical projects. But, Zuffanti is also a very well know and respected prog artist besides his home country. Due to be a prolific artist he is often compared to Steven Wilson, Roine Stolt, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Neal Morse, Clive Nolan and Mike Portnoy. All these great musicians belong to the same prog generation.

In 2014, Zuffanti created a modern prog rock work destined to bring the name of the Italian prog scene to the attention of audiences around the world, "La Quarta Vittima". "La Quarta Vittima" is Zuffanti's fourth studio album and is also his first solo work entirely focused on prog. In 2014 the twentieth year of activity of the Genoese artist also falled, who for the occasion conceived a work that is a bit the sum of the numerous experiences that have seen him as protagonist.

"La Quarta Vittima" is a conceptual album inspired by Michael Ende's book, "Der Spiegel Im Spiegel", a Gothic surreal short collection of stories, to which some of the seven titles allude. The different stories of the book apparently seem to have nothing in common with each other, even if a more careful reading it's easy to find a subtle fil rouge combining the different stories. The same thing happens with the album, whose passages aren't formally linked, but present details that unite them. The album has very different musical styles which include symphonic, jazz, hard, electronic, psychedelic elements and much more, in a unique, powerful, labyrinthine musical kaleidoscope. The most suitable term to describe the character of both works is precisely labyrinthine, pervaded by an overwhelming and tormented anguish.

Fabio Zuffanti is one of my favorite songwriters, and this album showcases why. This album is delicate, with flutes and rich keyboard and Mellotron passages abound, these linking effortlessly to searing guitar parts and dramatic shifts of mood and tempo. The bass is an essential component of the whole sensory experience, one moment driving frenzied rhythms, the next providing subtle and melodic waves of low end ecstasy. It's also terrifyingly powerful with excellent drumming. Added to the concoction are male and female vocal parts which perfectly complement the beauty and majesty of the music. This album is almost bipolar in a way and I mean that in a good way. In one moment will be quiet, surreal, and full of vertigo. And then, in the next moment will be soulful or possibly powerful and bombastic. All these ingredients mixed together are added to raise Zuffanti's compositions to a high elevated level of skill and performance.

The album opens with the vibrant "Non Posso Parlare Pi¨ Forte" that features powerful jazz-rock guitars, rich keyboards and engaging flute melodies and improvisations, creating laid back darker and surreal moments. "La Certezza Impossibile" takes the listener into epic territory with delightful moments of bass and sax that lead to dramatic vocals and a glorious mix of Mellotron and guitars. "L'Interno Di Un Volto" presents a great mix of male and female vocals as well as saxophone solos. The keyboards, especially Mellotron passages along with the vocals, are great and epic with a grand finale worthy of the finest prog bands. The title track heads in a jazzier direction with lively keyboard, brass, flute and guitar improvisations. "Sotto Un Cielo Nero" has a dreamy feel. The magical keyboards, vocals and drums are clearly from the great Italian school of the classic prog rock. There are moments of jazz-rock improvisation, as well as straight ahead jazz combo segments. The composition ends with an outstanding violin solo surrounded by a great Mellotron work. "Il Circo Brucia" brings the album to high intensity with a mix of jazz-rock and edgy symphonic rock plus an exquisite section of funk prog. The album concludes with "Una Sera D'Inverno", a beautiful melancholic piano and soaring violin intro that leads into a mesmeric slow tempo and an epic guitar work, ending the album nicely.

Conclusion: "La Quarta Vittima" is a dark album seeming to have lack of connection. But this is for a good reason. It's based on the book of Michael Ende. The story is bewildering, confusing, and full of loneliness and cycles of time and space. Most appropriately, then, Fabio has constructed a blackened, sorrowful album full of tarnished beauty, longing, and loss, disconnected. It's incredible in the quiet contemplative moments, and mesmerizing in the louder, excited passages, a labyrinthine album indeed. Every friend of Italian prog should check it, as it holds just about anything you can dream of from the Italian school of prog. You get lavish soundscapes with beautiful guitar themes, you get complex time signature prog compostions, you get jazzy sequences and you get a load of great musicians. It's an exciting album that grows on you. The occational lyrics are sung in Italian, as usual, but that shouldn't scare any serious prog rock fan.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars This album is like a jewel box with various gems inside.From the intricate jazz topaz to baroque pearls, Fabio Zuffanti skillfully created a dark, gloomy, but sometimes iridescent necklace with these gems. The fourth track 'La Quarta Vittima' baldly demonstrated the future dimension of this Ital ... (read more)

Report this review (#1129578) | Posted by YoshiPK | Monday, February 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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