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Crossover Prog • Italy

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Nova Malà Strana biography
NOVA MALÀ STRANA was a 90's Italian progressive group. The band consisted of Baccio Astengo (acoustic guitars), Stefano Bertoli (drums), Max Fattorini (electric & acoustic guitars), Stefano Mori (keyboards) and Antonella "Nona Luna" Suella (vocals & bass). They released two albums in the nineties for the Mellow records label. Their music is highlighted by the operatic vocals of Antonella Suella and the metallic electric guitar.

The album "NeMeSi" is the better of the two albums they released. Both albums are progressive with a slight heavy metal edge and the latter one called "NeMeSi" being also slightly more symphonic of the two. There is especially some expressive neo-classical electric guitar playing on both albums.

The music is not essential but both albums are an enjoyable listen nevertheless.

: : : Markus Mattsson, FINLAND : : :

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NOVA MALÀ STRANA discography

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2.05 | 3 ratings
Nova Malà Strana
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nova Malà Strana by NOVA MALÀ STRANA album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.05 | 3 ratings

Nova Malà Strana
Nova Malà Strana Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Nova Mala Strana's first album for Mellow Records is some pretty bizarre stuff. The sound is very heavy, pretty abrasive, sometimes downright obnoxious. It has almost a punk attitude and sound mixed into its prog-ness and also a gothic metal feel.

To be blunt, many of you will not be able to get past the vocalist. Antonella Suella has a caterwaul style of singing that can channel Siouxsie (of Banshees fame) or Patti Smith combined with the operatic Italian style, and I'm someone who usually loves the large Italian vocals. Another huge problem here is the production which is ridiculously Jekyll and Hyde. Sometimes it's fine but other times the band sounds like they were recorded with a single hand held mic pointed at the opening of a 200 foot mineshaft where they were jamming at the bottom. Translation: not good. Some of the keyboard sound choices are also unfortunate and many of the songs simply sound poorly mixed and unprofessional--the band certainly is passionate and I'd like to hear their next album, but here it is tough going.

The 10-minute closer "Opera Macabre III" is fairly interesting. Starting with a heavy galloping rock over synths I try to ignore the vocals until the 2 minute mark when we get a wailing electric guitar solo. The guitarist is easily the most talented member of the group. About a minute later everything falls away save some echoing cleanly picked chords, joined shortly by Antonella doing better in this mellow part. It gets very spacey for several minutes. After 7 minutes the band charges back in with the power chord gallop and the final vocals are belted out with power.

There are some interesting moments sprinkled throughout along with some good heavy rock and avant-garde weirdness but it's not quite enough for me. I could only recommend this to the most adventurous listeners who also happen to love the more gritty side of weird music and hard/punkish rock. I truly believe there are some people out there who will consider this album good but I think it's a rough start. Vocals are in English and lyrics are included in the Mellow Records cd reissue.

This band has an interesting feel and their next album is said to be an improvement, but I'm afraid this one doesn't cut it. I give them a second star for their adventurous spirit but that's it.


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