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Mad Fellaz

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Mad Fellaz Mad Fellaz album cover
4.16 | 81 ratings | 3 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Il Colpevole - Part 1 (16:27)
2. Il Colpevole - Part 2 (18:27)
3. Banda Scavejoni (3:17)
4. White Widow (5:50)
5. La Giungla (14:32)

Total time 58:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Paolo Busatto / guitar
- Emanuele Pasin / guitar
- Enrico Brunelli / keyboards, sax
- Rudy Zilio / flute, clarinet, keyboards
- Carlo Passuello / bass
- Marco Busatto / drums

Releases information

CD self-released (2013, Italy)

Digital album

Thanks to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy MAD FELLAZ Mad Fellaz Music

MAD FELLAZ Mad Fellaz ratings distribution

(81 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MAD FELLAZ Mad Fellaz reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hailing from Bassano del Grappa and forming in 2010, the Mad Fellaz are a young five piece who perform improvised, yet carefully focused instrumental progressive rock that refuses to be restrained to one style. Combining everything from guitar fusion workouts, metal, ambient, electronica, avant-garde experimentation, jazz, ethnic flavours and plenty of Italian classical sophistication, their atmospheric self titled album constantly showcases a band that greatly enjoys experimenting with different genres, yet they never over-reach or attempt anything they're not comfortable with. Even more impressive is that they succeed in performing these different styles effortlessly in a truly proficient manner, making for an album that is daring, unpredictable and endlessly thrilling.

The almost 17 minute opener `Il Colpevole - parte 1' shows how professionally the Mad Fellaz bring a sense of control and build to their music. Delicate David Gilmour-influenced bluesy electric guitar licks, brushed drumming, blissful flute and the most placid of Hammond organ washes over the listener. They move through chiming eerie King Crimson-like unease, as snapping drums, slinking bass and boisterous noisy spiraling guitars weave around punchy Hammond bursts. Ambient electronic oceans envelope and hypnotic percussion rises behind a deeply soulful electric guitar solo through to the finale.

It's tracks like `Il Colpevole - parte 2' that really align the Mad Fellaz with numerous Italian progressive artists. They cite RPI legends such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorsso and Area as influences, and this band share the same unpredictable energy and spontaneity as those acts. Highly evocative and moving classical piano confronts the listener, dazzling yet also subtly brooding. The softest synths gently enter for a briefly playful P.F.M quality, before maddening flute and break-neck drumming fuels an unexpected schizophrenic violent attack! Meandering bassy jazz ruminations, groovy slow-burning funk strutting take endless twisting turns, and the infectious second half of the piece instantly reminds of fellow modern Italian band Progenesi's superb debut album `Ulisse: L'Altiere Nero'.

The three minute `Banda Scavejoni' is an uptempo race of skittering drumming, sneaky guitars, funky clarinet and sizzling Hammond full of positivity, and it almost resembles a very cool James Bond theme in parts! Despite being another shorter piece at six minutes, `White Widow' manages to incorporate everything from jazzy strolling bass, cascading flute that recalls all the best vintage Italian bands, devilish guitar and even some wavering electronic weirdness. Just listen to how expertly the band increases the tempo and tension in the finale! Album closer `La Guingla' is a final reminder of a group of different musicians working in perfect unity with each-other. The electric guitars are a particular standout here, moving through everything from middle-eastern themes, punchy hard-rock chugging, blissful chiming melodies and shifting Post-Rock atmospheres. Tricky jazzy piano, breezes of flute, propulsive drumbeats constantly drive the piece onward, and it displays greater restraint and a more delicate touch than in frequent other spots throughout the album. It also offers numerous exciting possibilities for directions the band may wish to pursue in the future on further releases.

Certainly one of the most sublime, varied and exquisite instrumental albums of recent years, the band displays great taste, sophistication and technical ability. Had it been released earlier than late October of 2013, meaning audiences would have been able to enjoy the album over several months, I feel it would have likely made many `Best of' 2013' progressive music polls. But it's not too late, so let's everyone make an effort to catch up with this wondrous work in 2014, and experience just the start of a hugely exciting and talented band with a very promising future, already playing with a grand skill well beyond their young years.

Four and a half stars.

Review by andrea
4 stars Mad Fellaz are a young band from from Bassano del Grappa, a town in the province of Vicenza, that began life in 2010 on the initiative of Paolo Busatto, Marco Busatto and Emanuele Pasin with the aim of playing original music inspired by the prog masters from the seventies but also by more recent bands such as Porcupine Tree. After a first demo in 2012, in 2013 Mad Fellaz released an excellent eponymous debut album on the independent label Lizard Records with a line up featuring Paolo Busatto (guitar), Marco Busatto (drums), Emanuele Pasin (guitar), Carlo Passuello (bass), Enrico Brunelli (keyboards) and Rudy Zilio (flute, clarinet). The album is completely instrumental and the band showcase great musicianship and excellent song-writing skills. The musical fabric is extremely rich and combines vintage sounds and modern influences with surprising freshness and brilliant results: in my opinion there's enough originality thrown into the mix to keep all the compositions and arrangements forward looking and interesting from the first minute to the last.

The album begins by a long, complex suite divided into two parts, "Il colpevole" (The guilty), that could be the perfect score for an Italian crime film from the seventies. There are no liner notes, so the plot is completely left up to your imagination while the music flows away without weak passages for more than thirty minutes, going through many changes in rhythm and mood, from delicate, nocturnal piano passages to fiery, nervous collective chases...

Next comes the lively "Banda Scavejoni", the shortest track on the album that with its funky grooves recalls bands such as Calibro 35 and evokes more action and criminal deeds with a typical "poliziottesco" atmosphere.

The following "White Widow" starts with a drum roll, then a bluesy pace takes over while Jethro Tull's shadow looms large over the horizon. Who is the White Widow here? Is she a wicked, dangerous woman or just a powerful cannabis strain? The band give no clues and it's up to you to decide what the music is about...

The album ends with the nearly fifteen minute epic "La giungla" (The jungle) where you can experience exotic flavours and a strong sense of adventure. You can find here a broad palette of musical colours, from oriental mysticism to flamenco sketches, from dark tribal rhythms to joyful Latin rock la Santana and while listening to this track I'm reminded of the adventures of fictional characters such as Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger or Henry Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain... A wonderful conclusion for a very interesting work!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have shown remarkable patience in trying to acquire this album, as previous reviews and a progstreaming audition had sealed the deal. Furthermore any recommendation by Aussie-Byrd-Brother has my stamp of approval unconditionally. My Oz mate has never steered me wrong. The debut album from Italian proggers Mad Fellaz is another fine example of what an instrumental prog-rock album should look, sound and feel like, the focus entirely on how the listener will perceive the music in both technical and inspirational terms. Fellow Italian instrumentalists Progenesi now have a partner in crime, as the talent displayed here is beyond the stars. With two guitarists on board, there will always be a fret board-centric appreciation, a mother lode of screeching strings, bending, weaving, caressing and exalting with unlimited zeal. Both Paolo Busatto and Emanuele Pasin know how to mesh together and also break off formation when required, agile axe pilots who are fueled by rapt exhilaration and heady adventure. They use a wide variety of tonal colorations, at times densely jazzy and at others, directly infused by the blues. Contributions from fabulous keyboardist Enrico Brunelli and flutist Rudy Zilo (who also wields that mighty Italian icon, the clarinet) simply add depth, melancholia and constant creativity to the mix, showcasing the piano one moment and the organ next, a dash of riffling flute to brighten the mood. Finally, a tight rhythm section that muscles the onslaught forward, as both bassist Carlo Passuello and drummer Marco Busatto show refined chops.

In terms of influences, one can easily cite Pink Floyd due to the bluesy approach, as well as mellower pieces by Wishbone Ash or even Robin Trower, a more progressive Eric Clapton (hey, that's a lot of lofty praise there but well warranted!) , a hint of Jethro Tull, some jazz improvisations, as well as some obvious PFM winks. Yet, one has the concrete impression of solid vision throughout, a clear and concise methodology with only one aim= prog heaven.

Two monsters jams start this debut off , "Il Colpevole" (The Guilty) has a Part 1 that focuses more on mood and atmosphere , while Part 2 is a colossal raunch-fest, a massive soloing platform that showcases the sheer talent on display, each musician getting the green light to flash, grind, sizzle and explode. Just like with Progenesi, the ever-evolving music offers such a huge variety of contrasts, twists, turns, loops, cascades that one has the impression of driving a sonic Ferrari down the German autobahn, no holds barred. These two leviathans will blow away any doubts that may be had by the musician-fans out there but also by the passive listener, as every second is wholly and completely unpredictable, even after multiple listens. Some may find this approach a tad show-offy but I beg to differ, you want a lot of exhilaration when the vocals (and its story line) are not there to guide you.

A couple of intermezzo cuts then make their entrance, the playfully rollicking "Banda Scajevoni" which has this retro 60's sound, the Hammond organ way in front, the flute weaving and the guitar jangling, sort of like bands Sugarloaf or Booker T and the MGs, which explains the James Bond/Our Man Flint atmosphere. "White Widow" has a similar TV music feel, again very period as if some time machine had taken them back to some studio in New York or LA. Loads of colliding moods here from brash and colorful to creepy and urban, a magical flute cruising down the avenue, ticki-tacka drums and utterly seductive groove.

But truth must be said, Mad Fellaz excel at the epic composition, as if such a wide berth inspires the players to even greater heights. They thus finish off this glorious album with 14+ minutes of "La Giunglia" (that should be easy, the Jungle), a lush expanse of massive rhythmic trees, luxuriant instrumental underbrush, fluttering flute mosquitoes, a missionary purpose and a need to slice through with musical machetes to find some aerate clearing ahead. Jungle jangle on piano and guitars provide this canopy of branches, swinging Tarzan-like from one shrub to another, a dense foliage that simply invigorates the by now not-too casual listener. The incredible guitars forge head-first into sandstorm Arabic guitar recon leads, screeching loudly all the way, battered by speckled winds yet determined to survive. The synths howl, the drums brutalize and the piano notes show only that hope will keep them going, relentless in the quest.

A remarkable piece of work, a sensational debut to slide between the afore-mentioned Progenesi and the recent Phoenix Again instrumental masterpieces from the Italian progressive rock fortress. Tremendous appeal to any prog fan. Not a single misplaced note, a magnificent cover, this is the real deal.

5 Angry mobsters

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