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Randone Hybla Act 1 album cover
4.07 | 69 ratings | 11 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Preludio (Hybla) (2:27)
2. Guardia Alle Mura (1:30)
3. Guerra Agli Invasori (1:06)
4. La Resa (1:06)
5. Le Invasioni (1:23)
6. La Regina Di Cipro (2:30)
7. Infuria La Battaglia (2:16)
8. Enrico VI E La Corona Di Ferro (1:23)
9. Veglia Funebre Per Il Conte Guglielmo (2:01)
10. La Principessa Triste (4:19)
11. Manfredi Chiaramonte (2:50)
12. Ballata In Onore Del Conte (1:38)
13. Un Genitore Afflitto (0:36)
14. Giovanni Chiaramonte (1:07)
15. Giovinastro E Lucsia (1:47)
16. Simone Chiaramonte (1:08)
17. La Solitudine Di Venezia (3:40)
18. La Fine Dei Chiaramonte (3:51)
19. Rimpianti (1:40)
20. Bernardo Cabrera (1:31)
21. Cospirazione Contro I Giudei (1:13)
22. La Caccia (4:39)
23. Gian Battista Odierna (3:53)
24. Il Terremoto (2:49)
25. Epilogo (crevit Ragusia Hyblae Ruinis) (0:42)

Total time 53:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Nicola Randone / lead vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, digital piano, synth, composer
- Marco Crispi / electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Livio Rabito / bass, lead & backing vocals
- Riccardo Cascone / drums, backing vocals

- Beppe Crovella / MiniMoog, Mellotron, Wurlitzer
- Lautaro Acosta / violin
- Graziano Ranieri / tenor sax
- Bianca La Rosa / vocals
- Carmelo Caruso / baritone vocals
- Franco Cilia / vocals
- Elena Infantino / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Franco Cilia

CD Electromantic Music ‎- ART416 (2005, Italy)

Digital album

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RANDONE Hybla Act 1 ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

RANDONE Hybla Act 1 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars I have heard their fine debut album but this album #4 is a better and more original effort. I'm delighted about the variety in the compositions, the use of a lot of different Italian singers (especially the opera-like vocalist sounds great, a matter of taste), the wonderful vintage keyboard sound (Mellotron, Moog), the splendid and alternating guitar play (acoustic, Spanish, metal, wah-wah, some sensitive soli and howling soli) and beautiful work on the violin. The 25 tracks are varied and dynamic, only at some moments a bit too fragmentic or too many ideas after each other. But in general this CD is an impressive progressive piece, the subtitle "A barock opera" fits perfect to the music. It will not everybody's cup of tea but (it's not really mainstream) but this prog taste like adventure and progress! WONDERFUL!
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The whole Earth and the wide space produce only and always for you, o Death. And suddenly you have taken our little boy away from us. Even if he got old he would never have been yours?"

Warning: this is a Rock Opera,


a (stunning) BA-ROCK OPERA!!!

Hybla is the ancient name of the city of Ragusa, Sicily. That's where this contemporary italian band comes from. What a beautiful gift they've made to their hometown. A concept album about the millenarian history of Ragusa, passing through passions, deaths of beloved childs, hard fights and wars, invasions of foreigners kingdoms and terrible destructions. From the ancient times, through medieval age up to the baroque period. "Act First" ends in 1693 when the great (sadly well remembered) earthquake (Il Terremoto, track no- 24) destroyed Hybla. After that tragedy, in the following decades and centuries, Ragusa rising from its own ruins (Crevit Ragusia Hyblae Ruinis, track no. 25 - Epilogo). And still nowadays the older part of Ragusa in named Ragusa Ibla.

What an astonishing concept for an album! The music is in pure italian symphonic style with some "sparkling" mediterranean and traditional influence, very well written and performed. Violin, tenor sax and jaw harp often whispering or shouting loud between all these digital pianos, moogs, minimoogs and, above all, mellotron. Special guest is, between the many, Beppe Crovella who was part of the famous classic italian prog band of the seventies Arti e Mestieri. A strong rythm section and a very well played electric guitar, from the more aggressive and fiery parts to the more quieter and soft interludes. All you love of the italian prog is here. A great element is also the variety of vocals: apart Nicola's good lead vocals, you can listen to amazing female voices and to a baritone singer! This was a great surprise for me and it's very interesting because I cannot remember another italian prog album with such a vocal richness! The general mood of the opus goes from magnificient and pompous to intimate, from symphonic to folk. They've worked hardly, helped also by the mayor of Ragusa! The results are so well evident: masterpiece status!

This is a real a gem, a feast for any good prog lover!

Review by andrea
5 stars "Hybla Act 1" is a concept album (or a "barock opera", if you prefer to use the same words as the band) about the history of Ragusa (Sicily), the hometown of Nicola Randone and of his fellow musicians (Hybla is the ancient name of Ragusa). It was inspired by a book by Mimi Arezzo ("Ibla dei miracoli") and was conceived as a long suite where all the tracks are bound together...

This is a little passage from the book of Mimi Arezzo that is quoted in the liner notes: "Wandering in the evening on any little street of the baroque town I could not ignore the buzz of a thousand voices all around, and the clamour of armies, and the echo of remote jamborees, and the moaning of the unfortunates, and children's laughter; all this is comprised in the hundred year long silence of the alleys, of the mouldy doorways, of the courtyards with their shut windows. Some silences give the idea of peace, love and calmness; but some others give shivers of fear and distress to the soul; the silences of Hybla are full with all the good and all the bad of this world, they are swollen with history"...

"Story of misery and nobility / I can still hear the voices of the slaves and of their captors on the city roads"... Listening to this album is like taking a walk into a dream... Lyrics don't try to tell the history of the city in an academic way but they just suggest in a very poetical way misty and ghostly images that your imagination has to shape while the music steadily flows... The song-writing is astounding and although you can find here some "quotes" of famous "Italianprog" bands of the Seventies like Le Orme and BMS (for instance, in "La caccia"), you never have the feeling of a "nostalgic operation". All the tracks bring changes of rhythm and mood avoiding banality and monotony... Every now and then you can catch peculiar sounds of traditional instruments like the "scacciapensieri" or marching drums interacting with keyboards and guitars suggesting echoes of war (this work features also Beppe Crovella of Arti e Mestieri as a guest musician on moog and mellotron) but what really strikes in this album is the richness and variety of the vocal parts...

The crystal voice of Nicola Randone frequently give way to the operatic baritone voice of Carmelo Corrado Caruso or to female vocals that seem to come from the dark side of the moon... Nevertheless the final result is a perfectly balanced mix of prog and poetry, the music is veined by colours of local folklore and of modernity, Wagnerian and Gregorian choirs are intertwined with fiery parts of heavy rock guitar, but you never have the feeling of an odd patchwork...

In my opinion this is one of the best albums of the present Italian Progressive scene and an essential one in every prog collection...

P.S.: The booklet, where you can find all the lyrics with the English translation, is very accurate and rich with notes and images describing the concept... You can find more information about this excellent work on the official website of the band (where you can also find some samples and from where you can easily purchase the CD)...

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I was quite caught by surprise by this opera rock. Usually I donīt like concept albums that much. They tend to concentrade too much on the words and the musici usually suffers in the process. Although Hybla Act 1 is not completely free from this problem, the musical flow of the work is simply excellent. The tracks just merge one into the other like a very well done tapestry of sounds to make a symphony to homage the history of this sicilian ancient city (now Raguna, the bandīs hometown).

Led by singer and songwriter Nicola Randone, the group brings us a fantastic work that honors the tradition of music produced in that part of Europe since the late 60īs. Their approach of the music is a mix of traditional 70īs italian symphonic prog (specially the keyboards parts) with a more modern view (the electric guitars lines - a highlight here). The use of several opera singers to enhance the historical parts of the lyrics are a plus since they are very well handed to make them part of the whole. Production is also very good.

Hybla Act 1 is one of those algums you have to hear from start to finish to fully appreciate them. There are no fillers and very few lows (as one should expect from any concept album as I stated before). The musicanship is top notch. The music is very melodic, inspired and powerful. The classical influence is obvious, while the guitar parts (along with violin and saxophone) make it quite original and less derivative.

If you enjoy the classic italian prog of the 70īs (PFM, Banco, le Orme, Locanda Della Fate, etc) then this album is for you! I canīt wait to hear act 2! Highly recommended!

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Hybla, Act I' - Randone (9/10)

Staying in check with the typical album-length 'suite,' which Randone first explored in 'Nuvole Di Ieri,' 'Hybla' takes a massive amount of different musical ideas, and throws them all together into a piece of music that ends up being much more cohesive and memorable than one might expect. Without a doubt the highlight of Randone's career, this Italian artist's tribute to his hometown of Ragusa, Sicily is a stunning and dynamic tour-de- force, which reflects greatly on the group's skill and talent as artists.

Meant to be the first part of a two-act opera, 'Act I' entails the story of Hybla (the original name of Randone's hometown) from the city's formation to a greatly destructive earthquake in 1693. Spanning historical events such as invasions, civil turmoil and such a devastating natural disaster, Nicola Randone and his bandmates certainly had quite a bit of material from which to inspire this music. While it may be difficult for the typical English speaker to follow the album's narrative, there are sections where the music perfectly captures the event at hand; episodes such as the marching percussion and gang vocals for the invasion sequence, or the furious chaos and screams during the great earthquake easily transcend the language barrier, and let the music paint a tapestry all it's own.

While the music can easily be identified within the spectrum of Italian symphonic prog, Randone throws alot of instruments into the mix that wouldn't typically be heard together on a rock album. Saxophones and violins alike have their place in the journey, and the introduction of each new sound makes for a pleasant surprise; never sounding like a forced novelty and always doing well to compliment the album's sound. As well as having a wide array of instruments at use here, there has also never been such a vocal variety in a Randone album, as there is on 'Hybla.' Operatic (both man and woman) voices and even an english-speaking female singer all accompany the prevalent voice of Nicola Randone here.

While it may have been nice to see a few more of the ideas on 'Hybla, Act I' to be developed and give some of the better concepts more of a highlight in the album, 'Hybla' is a fantastic rock opera that Randone's hometown should be proud of. This album will certainly take the typical listener many times to appreciate fully for the sheer amount of ideas, but Randone has made an album that really showcases the immense talent of this group. Safe to say, I eagerly await the arrival of 'Hybla, Act II!'

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After participating in the Colossus Project's compilation ''The Spaghetti Epic'', 2005 would find Randone return with a new album.This was based on an idea of Nicola Randone after reading a story about Hybla, the ancient name of the historic quarter of the Ragusa city in Sicily, as written down by local historian Mimi Arezzo.The album was entitled ''Hybla Atto 1'-A Barock Opera'' and was again a product of Electromantic Records.

No line up changes and no significant style improvements would characterize the new Randone.It is again a mix of modern Italian Prog with retro-styled Italian Symphonic Rock and the new elements appearing are the operatic vocals by Carmelo Corrado Caruso,the strong presence of female singers (Bianca La Rosa and Elena Infantino), as well as the presence of more hard-sounding passages, let's say these would give the concept a more intense atmosphere.But for the first time Randone's music sounds a bit unfocused, going from Operatic Prog to cinematic passages to Classic Prog in a blink of an eye, but the overall delivery sometimes seems a bit loose.The orchestral parts sound rather stereotypical with no particular originality, the hard guitars appear unrelated to the previous style of the band, but Randone's personal approach on music with the strong use of synths, Mellotron, Folk elements along with his unique voice remind the listener that Randone are here.Nice and smooth Symphonic Rock with a hidden romanticism but also lots of expressive vocal explosions, these are the things the prog listener expects from Nicola and his company.

Maybe a bit too ambitious of a project, ''''Hybla Atto 1'-A Barock Opera'' fails to impress without being a weak album.It is just one of these works you really prefer to see performed live than simply taped in a CD.Still this comes recommended to all fans of serious and emotional prog music.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars An RPI rock opera penned by Nicola Randone after he stumbled upon some kind of local history (or legend). The "suite" contains a series of interconnected pieces with many, many themes and styles used to tell the story.

1. "Preludio (Hybla)" (2:27) (4.5/5)

2. "Guardia alle mura" (1:30) fast-paced gorse race guitars. (4.5/5)

3. "Guerra Agli Invasori" (1:06) Norse-like sea shanty feel to it. Fun and different. (4.5/5)

4. "La resa" (1:06) smooth, beautiful music over which operatic female vocalise and metal (and jazz) guitars solo. Impressive! (4.75/5)

5. "Le invasioni" (1:23) (4.25/5)

6. "La regina di Cipro" (2:30) female singing in English over similar music to "La resa"--then joined by antiphonal male repeater and then Russian basso profundo. (4.5/5)

7. "Infuria la battaglia" (2:16) great male operatic vocal over heavy prog (4.75/5)

8. "Enrico VI e la corona di ferro" (1:23) more rock opera action. (4.5/5)

9. "Veglia funebre per il conte Guglielmo" (2:01) a bit of a MAGMA feel to this one. Nice lead guitar play. And Jew's harp! (4.5/5)

10. "La principessa triste" (4:19) more gentle palette with picked 12-string guitar, Mellotron, delicately sung male vocal. Gets heavier and more theatric in the second minute. Another big shift at 2:20--all instruments go soaring-- before coming back to acoustic foundations for the final minute and a quarter. (9/10)

11. "Manfredi Chiaramonte" (2:50) carries forward the more acoustically founded palette from the previous song, letting violin and harpsichord take the leads above harmonized voice choir vocalise and synths. This all twists and turns until it becomes a kind of parade-like march for its final minute. (8.75/10)

12. "Ballata in onore cel conte" (1:38) using some kind of folk melody, the music takes on a more cheerful, flippant path before a seering electric guitar solo splits the Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band-like song. (4.25/5)

13. "Un genitore afflitto" (0:36)

14. "Giovanni Chiaramonte" (1:07) back to more aggressive Hammond and Martin Barre-like guitar rhythm sound & style with rough vocals and violin soloing. (4.25/5)

15. "Giovinastro e Lucsia" (1:47) smooths out with Mellotron and more smooth vocals (lead and choral). (4.25/5)

16. "Simone Chiaramonte" (1:08) up and down instrumental (4.25/5)

17. "La solitudine di Venezia" (3:40) opens with a theme familiar to me from La Coscienzo di Zeno songs, and then some Felona e Sorona themes. When the two-voiced vocal enters, the music shifts to a more RUSH-rock palette. (8.5/10)

18. "La Fine Dei Chiaramonte" (3:51) a party-like radioplay takes place over some steady music before switching to previously explored styles (one with a Paganini-like guitar solo, the other two slower in the LCdZeno fashion). (8.75/10)

19. "Rimpianti" (1:40) uses the music from the previous song to segue into a simple but effective male tenor aria. Nice. Powerful and beautiful. (4.75/5)

20. "Bernardo Cabrera" (1:31) opens with a pop sensibility. When the male vocalist and violin enter in tandem, the storytelling continues, being taken over by female vocalist and synth before just as quickly turning into a kind of Flamenco display. (4.75/5)

21. "Cospirazione contro i giudei" (1:13) instrumental hard rock similar to Trans Siberian Orchestra with violin lead shifts suddenly to a soft, emotional minor key. (4.25/5)

22. "La caccia" (4:39) takes on a STEREOLAB/TALKING HEADS-like palette and style before morphing into more standard "horn"-led RPI and then heavy RPI styles. Vocals enter around the halfway mark leading into another kind of wild party section before the music goes BANCO beneath a soloing saxophone for a bit before turning a sharp left into a short andante 4/4 song with a RICHARD WRIGHT-like saw-horn solo over the top. (8.75/10)

23. "Gian Battista Odierna" (3:53) andante continues with another PF tactic (echo- and decaying snare hits) over which high-pitch male voice sings in operatic style. Collective voices bridge into another MARTIN BARRE-like section over which several vocal stylings pass. (9/10)

24. "Il terremoto" (2:49) sounds like something from ALFONSO XII's contribution to Odyssey: The Greatest Tale. (8.5/10)

25. "Epilogo (crevit Ragusia Hyblaeruinis)" (0:42) an emotional little piano finale.

Total time 53:05

I must admit that if I knew more about the story being told here, it might make some impression on my final judgment. But, as you all know, language and lyrics are not my strong suits in music, so, here you have it.

I know it is unfair of me to use more recent musical examples for references, but my reactions can't help but be based on the totality of my listening experiences. La Coscienza di Zeno must have heard Randone's music.

I really like the way the electric guitars and synths are mixed so far forward and, thus, given a more prominent and crystal clear sound--not unlike Al Di Meola and Chick Corea on the Return to Forever albums. The theatric format with its frequent twists and turns (too frequent) is fun--and very well arranged and orchestrated--but some of the cycles become too predictive and, thus, wearing over the course of the whole album.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of theatric storytelling within the heavier and more dynamic styles of Rock Progressivo Italiano.

Latest members reviews

5 stars 5 stars because i love this album (also Nuvole di ieri)! modern and progressive rock in opera-style in this record. from the two albums i know from this guys, i like the good guitar work. the tracks are always melodic and played very fast and well. 25 tracks with no break... i think this ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#101633) | Posted by peeperkorn | Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Prolusion. Subtitled as "A Baroque Opera", "Hybla Act 1" is the fourth album by RANDONE, telling the story of the ancient Italian city of Ragusa, though all the lyrics are in Italian, as ever. Related reviews: here (featuring discography) and here. Analysis. Not surprisingly, this 25-track ... (read more)

Report this review (#66898) | Posted by | Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you didn't know that Randone comes from Sicily, now you know. The latest album "Hybla Act.1" is a "baroque opera" telling the story of the old sicilian city of Ragusa, that is Hybla. I deeply like the albums where I can find true historical facts and this album is not an exeption. If you sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#50110) | Posted by | Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "You can't teach the old Maestro a new tune": that's what happens when Beppe Crovella (Arti & Mestieri) decides to draw up his moog/wurlitzer/mellotron army in sustain of one of the bands of his ElectRomantic label. I always hear nothing but great tunes playing a Randone CD, but "Hybla - Att ... (read more)

Report this review (#42697) | Posted by | Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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