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Areknamés Areknamés album cover
3.43 | 82 ratings | 14 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Day Among Four Walls (12:04)
2. Wasted Time (5:40)
3. Down (10:28)
4. Season Of Death (8:43)
5. Boredom (8:33)
6. Grain Of Sand Lost In The Sea (8:55)

Total Time: 54:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Michele Epifani / organ, electric piano, Mellotron, synthesizers, harpsichord, acoustic & electric guitars, recorder, vocals, composing & mixing
- Piero Ranalli / bass
- Mino Vitelli / drums, djembe, Arabian tabla, spring drum

- Stefano Colombi / guitar solo (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Pineal Gland

CD Black Widow Records ‎- BWRCD 071-2 (2003, Italy)

LP Black Widow Records ‎- BWR 071 (2003, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AREKNAMÉS Areknamés ratings distribution

(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AREKNAMÉS Areknamés reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This debut is rather good (a few flaws explained below) but it certainly does not deserve 5* or 4*. This album although good , is hardly essential!

Areknames is one of those very recent Italian bands out in the niche of retro-prog (or 70's clonism) along with Wicked Minds, and a few others. And those guys are real good at emulating those 70's bands (read the name droping in Mark's review) and they sound pleasing as hell to my ears , flattering my nostalgy and making me wish that we were young again! But is that not the exact problem of such a release? Not one single moment , do I not think of older 70's band. Those exact copies (well I am overdoing this comment slightly but only to stress my point) of foregone times do not bring anything new to the prog watermill , and if this group did not show a great enthusiam playing their hearts out, their record would sound quite stale. I maybe just a bit harsh in comparison to the real big amount of work and love that came in for making this debut album (rather good at that, too) but the fact is that such an album lacks personality. I am sure they will correct this in their second album.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This is an Italian trio featuring Michele Epifani (keyboards, guitars and vocals) as the musical brainchild. On their eponymous debut-CD we can enjoy pleasant progrock that frequently alternates from mellow or compelling to sumptuous delivering a lush organ sound and melancholic vocals. In general the compositions are based upon creating symphonic landscapes with analogue keyboards like the Hammond - and Farfisa organ, Mellotron and Fender Rhodes electric piano. The electric guitarwork is sensitive and in combination with the lush organ sound a very compelling element. Although at some moments my attention fades away, the music from Areknames contains lots of strong breaks and captivating accelarations and changing climates. The information booklet mentions many bands that were an inspiration, in my opinion VDGG, early PINK FLOYD, ATOMIC ROOSTER and IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO were the main sources. This is not a very memorable of inventive CD but if you like to dream away on warm, keyboard-oriented prog, this one is a pleasant surprise.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. AREKNAMES lists over 50 bands in the liner notes that they thank. And at the top of the list is VDGG which is no coincidence, as their sound comes through more than any other band on this release, especially the vocals. Mellotron is very much a part of every track (they thank ANEKDOTEN) you sure don't have to listen carefully for it, it's out front and center. There is a dark and heavy sound that comes through quite often, heavy bass and guitar, reminding me of BLACK SABBATH (they thank them too).The organ plays an important role as well.

They thank ATOMIC ROOSTER and IL BALLETO DI BRONZO. Enough name dropping, but if you like 70's sounding music with mellotron and organ that is on the darker side this may be for you.

It just didn't do a lot for me.

Review by Prog-jester
2 stars I've been sold with these names in reviews - VDGG,PINK FLOYD,BLACK SABBATH, ANEKDOTEN, IL BALLETO DI BRONZO - and give it few spins. Unfortunately, none of reviewers gave a word about the QUALITY of the record. It's poor actually - guitars are too loud (and yes, too SABBATish) while vocals (more in early FLOYD vein than in Hammil one) and keys (pretty good, especially Mellotrons) are too quiet. Some moments remind me of mellowest from GENESIS (background Tron and E-Bow solo guitar), some moments are psychedelic and dark (think of early FLOYD and VDGG) but most of the time music fails to hold one's attention. Not recommended and close to backgroundish stuff in my book - but you may happen to like it if you're a fan of above-mentioned bands.
Review by andrea
3 stars Areknamés are an interesting band from Pescara (Italy) that gathered in 2001 around the main character of the composer and keyboardist Michele Epifani. The name of the band comes from the title of a Franco Battiato's song from the album "Pollution", although their main sources of inspiration are not Italian... Their eponymous debut album was released in 2003 and on it you can perceive all their love for bands like Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Caravan, Genesis...

The overall sound of the band is compact and with a vintage feeling but, although Areknamés draw on Seventies classic prog-rock, their music is not completely derivative and you can find here some really good tracks, like the long opener "A Day Among Four Walls", "Season Of Death" and the final "Grain Of Sand Lost In The Sea", all featuring shifting tempos and quirky melodies... Vocals are theatrical and remind of Peter Hammill while soaring over fiery Hammond passages or hiding in whispers under delicate piano or organ patterns... The mood is dark and the atmosphere almost claustrophobic but, in spite to the subject matter of the lyrics, the album is not boring at all... Perhaps this is not an essential album, but it's a very interesting one and it should be especially appreciated by VDGG lovers.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This Italian band is quite attractive. The trio plays some excellent music deeply rooted into the seventies; but with a modern sound. Their debut album (2003) is full of surprise: ranging from very good (and English) vocals which might remind you of Peter Hammill. But this is not the only comparison with The Graaf.

Of course, no Jackson here; but gorgeous keys are doing the job alright. The opening song is a true gem of prog music. Melodic but at times heavy, it is a marvelous journey of over twelve minutes. And one doesn't want to disembark during such a wonderful experience. The finale is passionate and bombastic. One needs to breathe deeply after such a great moment. Very powerful and effective.

Therefore, the quietness of the start from "Wasted Time", is more than welcome to come back to earth. Actually, it is a combination of tranquil and dark passages with a heavy chorus. Excellent again. Mighty and brilliant. The second part features some heavier tones and some will instantly think of the early Crimson ("Schizoid").

It is true to say that a song as "Down" borrows a lot from the Graaf (probably too much), but the addition of some fine mellotron lines give a strong impact and lots of emotion. Still, I understand that some might get irritated by the similarities; but I can tolerate them. Probably because it is less frequent to play some derivative music from The Graaf than from "Genesis".

"Season Of Death" is very close to the heavy prog genre during the great organ middle part. Heep or Rooster aren't too far. The first (and only) weak moment is the song ."Boredom". Indeed, it is less inspired but it is compensated by an energetic closing number: "Grain Of Sand.", which has some ELP influence (keys of course) and combines again these heavy and aerial moments. A fine combination to my ears. I am in love with the closing and instrumental part. Just grandiose.

Of course, this album is maybe not the most original one. But I like it very much. Seven out of ten would be appropriate. For once, I will rate this album higher that the average note of my fellow reviewers. Four stars (but this has been stretched upwards).

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having attained accolades and praises since 2006, the release year for their fantastic sophomore album "Love Hate Round Trip", Italian ensemble Areknamés really caught my attention and made me curious about their eponymous debut effort released a few years earlier. The band started as a trio, with leader-singer-keyboardist Michele Epifani playing some guitar as well (and the guitar isn't really that featured in the instrumental deliveries). Way back then, Stefano Colombi was an occasional collaborator. Epifani uses his arsenal of organ, mellotron, synthesizers, electric and grand pianos to provide the core for the song's melodic developments. Overall, this album bears only a portion of the grayish, neurotic energy that eventually will make the best of "Love Hate Round Trip", but at the end of the day, you can tell that this band has stamina, the performances are tight and convincingly inventive, the material is strong. if a bit derivative. Epifani & co. wear their major influences on their sleeves and are not afraid to flaunt them. The album's repertoire goes through lyrical moments and sumptuous passages fluidly, with notable references to pre-"Pawn Hearts" VdGG (mainly), pre-"Foxtrot" Genesis, Procol Harum and some heavy symphonic rock from Italy (Biglietto per l'Inferno, Museo Rosenbach). For contemporary references, we can cite coincidences with the sort of sound that Norwegian band Gargamel is pursuing; there is also a liberal use of jazzy undertones in some electric piano passages and drumming techniques. But all in all, regarding Tofani's singing, the most recurrent bases provided by Vitelli's drumming and the Gothic brilliance of many organ passages are related to early VdGG. 'A Day Among Four Walls' occupies the album's first 12 minutes, with a mood of desolate resignation, stirred by the ugly perspective of self-imprisonment. The mood doesn't fully explode, remaining somewhat constrained even for the conclusive coda. 'Wasted Time' is shorter, stating a sort of tribute to VdGG's 'Darkness' with a certain touch of primitive Crimson. 'Down' is another long piece, lasting almost 10 ˝ minutes. It comprises effective tempo and motif shifts, not too contrasted internally, with a slight predominance of the languid sections. You can notice the lyricism of PF's 'Cymbalaine', the autumnal majesty of "Trespass"-era Genesis, as well as the ever-present Hammillian somber emotion. All three lasts songs last 8+ minutes each. 'Season of Death' returns to the path of 'Wasted Time', albeit with an enhanced energy and a more elaborated complexity. It includes a blues-infected hard- rock section that brings a peculiar excitement for the melancholic general flow. 'Boredom' is the most intrepid song in the album - the rhythm section is focused on the jazzy side of things, while the main motifs are robust and catchy. Even the slower passages bear the echo of the more extroverted ones. Finally, 'Grain of Sand Lost in the Sea' states once again that gusto for cerebral despair and controlled restlessness that has marked the album's predominant moods, as if reevaluating and mixing the spirits of 'Down' and 'Season of Death'. The finale of organ psychedelic effects and flute mellotron free-form flows bears an inscrutable ending for the majestic litany delivered by the full ensemble. Not very original but firmly relying on its retro-prog convictions, "Areknamés" is a very pleasant album that should please any fervent prog fan that can't have enough of the genre's essential roots. 3.40 stars for this one.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite the huge amount of bands that have been founded in Italy in the 40-year history of progrssive rock,Italians seem to prefer either their personal symphonic sound or a more jazz-oriented style of prog rock.Any band that slips away from this rule could be considered as unique.AREKNAMES are a very good example of such a band.This band is very retro-sounding and heavily influenced by the darker bands of 70's prog rock,mainly VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and in a lesser extend CIRCUS (the Swiss band) and KING CRIMSON.The main figure behind this project is the talented multi-instrumentalist,vocalist and producer Michelle Epifani.He is accompanied by two other talented musicians,bassist Piero Ranalli and Mito Vinelli,who takes place behind the drum kit...

In this first eponymous album of the band you will face a dark sounding,yet inspired combination of retro- and modern prog with heavy guitars and great Mellotron and organ played by Epifani himself.The band plays at times very complex prog in the vein of KING CRIMSON and the vocals,although Epifani doesn't sound anything like Hammill,do follow Peter Hammill's vocal lines.Overall the music follows a slow doomt tempo and it is obvious tha the band tries to sound as more atmospheric as it gets.The exception of the rule iss the last track where the gears are lifting a bit up with a nice result.At the end of this listening you will find yourself amazed with this release,a very atmospheric,dark and perfectly arranged album...

Despite being accused as a VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR clone,AREKNAMES have their own style of playing combining the Crimson-esque complexity and Hamill-ian darkness and cleverness with slight symphonic elements and some doses of psychedelia.The one and only negative thing I can notice is the lack of diversity between the songs.However the quality of the musicianship covers this slight disadvantage and I expect a more diverse effort in their next album...

For one more time a generally unknown band managed to surprise me positively.This talented trio have my respect and hopes for even better,qualitive music and my rating is 4 solid stars...Well done!

Review by ExittheLemming
4 stars The Grim Reaper Goes Bowling with Albert Speer

Call me old fashioned if you like but ain't these guys a bit...old fashioned? I mean who fills a whole CD with memorable hooks delivered with crunchy gusto these days?, if that were not damning enough, they have the temerity to flaunt excellent song writing skills in our faces without so much as a 'by your leave' with the final straw being that arsenal of mouth watering 70's timbres to draw upon, well that just takes the custard cream by being just so retro..Even Mrs L doesn't hate this:

Very atmospheric and spooky

So not creepy like you think VDGG is then?

Nah, not creepy but they need to cheer up a bit. Go and get drunk or laid lads jeez...Did Albert Speer design the cover?

I was surprised to learn that Areknames are from Italy, as there are precious few traces of the proggy lineage of their fellow countrymen i.e. the writing is very far removed from RPI and has a closer kinship with that of the heavy psychedelia of Crazy World era Arthur Brown, an early Sabbath with a wider compass of arithmetic and Atomic Rooster with viagra in the chickenfeed. Add in a sprinkling of Cure atmospherics, Black Widow/Jacula panto gothic, Devil Doll vocal theatrics, Genesis dynamics of pace and don't be stingy with the Chateau de Hammill to bring things to a satisfying and dizzy head.

Perhaps the one barb that may be continually thrown at this band is how much they owe to the past as a source of their inspiration but compared to someone like those shameless plagiarists Black Bonzo, this criticism would be rather wide of the mark and reveal more about the accusers than the accused i.e. of blaming the paint factory for the graffiti. It does seem clear that Michele Epifani is a big Peter Hamill/VDGG fan but apart from the verbatim organ quote from the Generator catalogue on the opening number A Day Among Four Walls the influence is mercifully restricted to that of style rather than content.

However, in deference to Mrs L (or Tina: There Is No Alternative) the track titles indicate that the lads do need to get themselves out a bit more. How about bowling? - Wasted Time - Down - Season of Death - Boredom and in the case of the latter rib tickler, a word to the wise fellas, don't fall victim to self fulfilling prophecies by playing into your worst critics hands eh? You don't deserve it.

This is a mighty fine album that took me completely by surprise, as my own lazy association of ideas deemed that the faux Bosch imagery of the artwork was indicative of another morbid self pitying sludgefest of forgettable fuzz laden riffery. (Have I just unwittingly defined progressive metal ?) Not so, as Areknames represents a very independently minded creation that flies in the face of much of the prevailing Zeitgeist of contemporary prog and should be cherished for such thrillingly wanton perversity alone.

Wanna go bowling hun?

Only if I get to use your head

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Areknamés" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by Italian progressive rock act Areknamés. The album was released through Black Widow Records in 2002. Originally only on vinyl, but later also on CD.

Whenever Areknamés name comes up Van Der Graaf Generator are usually also mentioned in the same sentence and listening to this debut album I´d say that comparison is entirely true. The sound and musical style on this album is very similar to the dark progressive rock of Van Der Graaf Generator. I would probably also add Genesis in their darkest hour to the list of influences. So it´s safe to say that Areknamés are strongly influenced by 70s progressive rock. There is a considerable amount of guitars featured in Areknamés sound that sets the music apart from Van Der Graaf Generator but when lead vocalist Michele Epifani sings it´s hard not to be reminded of Peter Hammill. The voice, the rhythm, and the melody lines are all pretty similar to Hammill´s ditto.

So there is a definite clone factor in the music that might turn some people off. The music is generally very dark and atmospheric with great contrasts between heavy sections and more mellow parts. There are also plenty of epic moments on the album such as the closing minutes of "Grain Of Sand Lost In The Sea". The lyrics are generally very gloomy which suits the already sinister atmosphere on the album well but the track "Boredom" does seem like an attempt at having some fun.

The musicianship on the album are on a high level and is definitely among one of the assets on the album. Michele Epifani is quite the multi-instrumentalist in addition to being a strong vocalist. He plays organ, electric piano, Mellotron, synthesizers, harpsichord, acoustic & electric guitars and recorder on the album. The drums are handled by Mino Vitelli and the bass are played by Piero Ranalli. Don´t expect a stripped down trio sound though, this is huge sounding when the three guys let loose.

The sound production relatively well sounding, but there are some issues and as a consequence there are moments on the album that doesn´t sound fully professional. It´s a minor issue though and if you think back on some of sound productions of the 70s, this one is almost hi-fi quality in comparison. "Areknamés" is overall an intriguing and promising debut album and if you can live with the fact that the band aren´t exactly original sounding and borrow a lot of ideas and sounds from their 70s progressive rock heroes, this is a recommended listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Latest members reviews

3 stars A new discovery for me. This band from Italy have a long list of influences listed in the booklet. Which is both an honorable and a nice thing to do. I would personally mention three names on this list which sums up their sound: VDGG, Genesis and Pink Floyd. In particular VDGG. Michele Epifa ... (read more)

Report this review (#284138) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't really understand why some masterpieces, as this one, haven't got this label as such. We find in this album all the greatness from the 70's plus a fantastic production that few bands achieve on their first record. Dark atmosphere accompanied by visceral feelings that make you go deepe ... (read more)

Report this review (#183154) | Posted by | Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have this record in the vinyl version (beautiful cover, but some noise here and there: take note you at Black Widow records). If you read the list of the groups the band thanks for their influences, you can understand what you are going to listen. If you like early '70 dark prog, analogue ke ... (read more)

Report this review (#79173) | Posted by giuliano | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've been listening to dozens of prog CD'S over the past six months(since my wild manic spree of buying on-line) and I must admit this humble disc has brought me more enjoyment than many of the "essential" releases I've heard.The band name-checks loads of old prog bands(VDGG, Nice, Atomic Roos ... (read more)

Report this review (#31794) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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