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Horus Stelle di Battaglia album cover
3.01 | 20 ratings | 5 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Respiro (3:43)
2. Figlio D'autunno (3:36)
3. Il Bosco (7:27)
4. Stelle Di Battaglia (3:29)
5. Sottoterra (3:00)
6. Danzatore Cosmico (8:22)

Total Time: 29:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Beppe Bellussi / drums, roto-toms
- Roberto Freggiaro / bass, acoustic guitar
- Battista Leone / lead vocals
- Antonino Valenti / keyboards, backing vocals
- Italo Vercellina / guitars, backing vocals

Releases information

CD Mellow Records MMP 148 (1993)
A compilation of unreleased recordings from 1978-79

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HORUS Stelle di Battaglia ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (30%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HORUS Stelle di Battaglia reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Lost dreams of a band, rescued by the indispensable Mellow Records

Horus is one of those hidden gems that is so obscure it's like the people involved fell off the face of the planet. There is next to no information out there about this group. The material for the album was recorded in Turin at G7 studios in December of 1978 but was never completed. Only two tracks were finished and released as singles. The other tracks were discovered by Mellow (thanks yet again, dear Mauro) years later in demo form and from those six tracks this album was assembled. The album is short at 30 minutes but if you tend to enjoy this kind of spacey-fusion jamming you may well enjoy Horus. They remind me most of the French band Eclat which also mixes spacey rock with instrumental fusion jamming and occasional folk/rock sounds. Horus lacks the sophistication in their recording that Eclat found in recent years but they don't lack the chops. These guys can play and they have some nice melodies here as well. One review I found buried deep in a newsgroup called the sound more like '74-75 than the later '70s, and mentioned Itoiz as a band Horus reminded him of. Other bands that remind me of what Horus is attempting here are Lebisol, the superb Lotus, and my namesake group Finnforest. Again, all three of these bands have made albums quite superior to Horus due to the unfortunate production issues here but it gives you an idea what the goals were.

Expect some soaring and uplifting music right out of the gate from "Respiro" which was one of the two "finished" tracks released in the '70s. It features a mid-paced rhythm with clean (but rockin) lead guitar over distinctly period synths. The guitar playing throughout is economical reminding me of Trettioariga Kriget in places but capable of great emotion and nuance. The synths are well played but sometimes have certain cheesy late '70s cringe factor while other times they sound pretty cool . The synths seem to be playing parts that would mimic what horns would be doing if they were present. Vocals are in Italian and are neither bad nor super, mostly staying out of the way of the band. In the lighter moments like the acoustic "Figlio d't autunno" they step up and deliver an effective, somewhat sorrowful performance. Both the 7 ½ minute "Il Bosco" and the 8 ½ minute closer called "Danzatore Cosmico" really showcase how tragic it is that this album was never properly made - when you listen carefully to the musicians (through the sound problem issues-see last paragraph) there are some moments of thoughtful and spirited interplay. There are great ideas present, changing patterns, chunky bass, squalling screeching guitar build-ups, aggressive drumming.lots of spirit!

OK, now for the bad news. What keeps Horus from being a seriously great album is the production and sound quality. The two finished tracks are pretty decent but the four "demo" tracks leave a lot to be desired. They are not horrible or unlistenable, actually they are relatively good considering their unfinished form. But in places they do become a real challenge to the point where it is difficult to "hear" what the musicians are doing, the mix is hopelessly messed up in places. So there are bad spots but mostly it is passable to anyone with some tolerance for imperfect sound. Is Horus worth your time? Absolutely - if you fall into one of two camps. If you enjoy obscure Italian bands this is one of those groups to get to after the essential titles. Or, if you enjoy "space-fusion" with good melodies built around a synth/guitar partnership you should enjoy this as well. Just realize that it is an imperfect release but one that might reward you if you give it a chance. I certainly enjoy it but of course there are many important bedrock albums to hear before you begin investigating what lies beyond the wings of the Horus crane. I'm rounding up because I liked what these guys were shooting for here but for those outside of the two groups of fans I mention, this is probably a 2-star release.

Review by seventhsojourn
2 stars Given the innumerable Italian one-shot bands that fell by the wayside during progressive music's halcyon days it was daring of Horus to produce this kind of music during the late seventies. 'Stelle di Battaglia' is actually a compilation of recordings from 1978-79 that consists of a couple of singles and four rather primitive-sounding and previously unreleased recordings. The music is mainly keyboards-led and might be described as bridging the gap between the jazzier and folksier sides of RPI. The naturalistic imagery of most of the songs certainly highlights a pastoral mood although there is in general more of a jazz feel to the music itself.

Like most of the music here 'Respiro' pulsates with electric piano and synthesizer, although for once the guitarwork is to the fore and on this opening track it reminds me a bit of Steve Howe. The light fusion of 'Il Bosco' suffers from some particularly murky production but I reckon these guys would have scrubbed up nicely to sound like Il Volo. Sandwiched between these two jazz-infused tracks is the folksy ballad 'Figlio D'Autunno'.

There's some fine musicianship here that's spoiled, if not quite ruined, by the distorted sound; the title-track features what sound to me like cardboard box drums. The band's history is a bit shadowy but one thing that is clear is that they could turn their collective hand to a fine melody when required, as illuminated by the intimate ballad 'Sottoterra'. It's interesting to speculate on how this collection of songs would have sounded if recorded properly; in spite of the rawness of the recording, closing song 'Danzatore Cosmico' in particular points to a fairly mature music.

Overall this is by no means a bad album but listeners should be aware of the embryonic nature and the inferior sound quality of most of the tracks. Perhaps one for hardcore RPI fans only.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars The sole release from an obscure Italian group truly lost to the ages, Horus get their only moment to shine thanks to this belated Mellow Candle CD. Compiled of recordings made from 1978, the Turin band is survived on this release by the A and B side of their only single, a couple of demos and some live in the studio recordings. There's peppy instrumentals, sad romantic ballads and some heavier extended workouts that suggest the band would have been one to watch for, and the five members showed plenty of talent and promise. More adventurous RPI enthusiasts will find this a fascinating document of an exciting band that we will sadly likely never hear any more of.

Like many of the Mellow compilations done this way, the sound quality varies between each track, which can be quite frustrating, but it's not really surprising. It's just a little jarring that they are arranged in such a way that no two tracks placed alongside eachother sound of the same quality. I'd rather they be grouped together into sections of studio tracks, live tracks, demos, etc. But, like many of the other Mellow releases, there's still gold to be found in amongst the fragments, so on to the music!

Horus' only single, the foot-tapping `Respiro' is an uptempo punchy and catchy little instrumental rocker, with endless swirling synths, energetic perky drumming and some nimble Steve Howe-inspired electric guitar work. I love the sedate jazz/fusion mystery of the middle section with slightly eerie glistening electric piano mystery and mumbling bass! The band throws quite a few ideas into a piece not quite four minutes long, so it's a shame about the abrupt and uninspired ending. It's B-side `Stelle di Battaglia' is even better, a forceful rock track with lots of tight snappy interplay between the musicians and plenty of wild energy.

Two more tracks appear little more than past the demo stage, but what wonderful little numbers they are. The weary ballad `Figlio d'autunno' has a lovely pained and darkly romantic vocal from Battista Leone, and this track would have been welcome on any RPI album. The hazy and dreamy `Sottoterra' is primarily acoustic, a somewhat downbeat piece contrasted with more joyous outbursts of whirring organ/synths and a grand chorus with group vocals. The murky production here actually gives the performances a bit of grit and edge, always a welcome distinction on the vintage 70's Italian progressive releases.

Sadly the two longer pieces are in the worst shape here, with a horrible sludgy recording quality that makes it very hard to pick up on subtle details the band may have implemented. They are essentially live recordings to my ears, as there doesn't appear to be any overdubs and the band seem to aggressively tear through the pieces in one take, with a slightly messier and exciting energy to their playing. The heavy `Il Bosco' is overloaded with grand dark synth passages, harsh vocals, smashing drumming, attacking up-front bass playing and wild guitar assaults. The middle section is really superb with a dazzling emotional guitar solo from Italo Vercellina over a thick ocean of synths. What a wild piece! `Danzatore Cosmico' goes in all directions, sometimes darkly funky with lots of nice interplay with the chunky bass and keyboards, stirring and commanding serious vocal passages and up-tempo racing chaotic guitar/synth moments that remind me a lot of Yes in the late 70's.

I'm going to give this one three stars, because even through the inconsistent sound quality of some of the tracks, you can still form the opinion that the band had some really good ideas. Perhaps a little directionless, as each piece sounds quite different to the last, but at least the inspiration was there. You can also tell that if these pieces had all been properly and consistently recorded, we'd have a decent album here, no classic, but one the band and fans of the RPI genre could be very happy with. All of the pieces are full of interesting moments, showing a band that had plenty of potential, so sadly it means you end up with a mix of frustration and disappointment, as all we have left are some random scraps of wonderful music of a band that were never able to achieve what they set out to do. But we can still by happy for what little bits we do have, and they can be enjoyed on this lovely compilation work.

Three stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Another Italian album of progressive music of seventies. In the vein of another supergroups, this obscure work is very spacey, with lots of keiboards and some guitars without distorction. We can listen some Genesis influencies but in general it's a pure Italian progressive work. The lirics are ... (read more)

Report this review (#286735) | Posted by Joćo Paulo | Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great record! These guys play beautifully! The vocals are great and the syntherizers are good too. This album is totally unknown among the fans. However, I've had the pleasure to obtain it, and I am totally pleased about it! I suggest you listen to it if you are in favour of Italian prog! ... (read more)

Report this review (#35253) | Posted by Dan Yaron | Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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