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Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy

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Aries biography
Founded in 2005

Bassist and composer Fabio ZUFFANTI's recent project ARIES is a more mellow project, showing Fabio in a light-symphonic and romantic mood, in which he carries out his multi-instrumentalist capabilities with a warmer atmosphere than most of his previous work. The sound of ARIES is a specific mood, with light instrumentation and arrangements, and an atmospheric attitude. Compare this to lighter previous work of his if you will. The lineup for this project is Fabio Zuffanti on bass/guitars, Roberto Rigo on keyboards, Simona Angieloni on vocals, Pierpaolo Londo on drums, Carlo Barreca on flute, and Fabio Centarini on lead guitar.

The recent project is a warm and intricately arranged project distinct from most Italian symphonic prog, it's recommended.

If you're into Fabio's work, atmospheric art-rock, or Italian Symph in general, than check out ARIES.

: : : : Daniel Potter a.k.a. "Retrovertigo", U.S.A. : : :

See also: HERE

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Crash & BurnCrash & Burn
Escape Music 2007
$1.84 (used)
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ARIES discography

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ARIES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 30 ratings
3.61 | 33 ratings
Double Reign

ARIES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARIES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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ARIES Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Double Reign by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.61 | 33 ratings

Double Reign
Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Fabio Zuffanti is a miracle-worker, in my opinion. This multi-instrumentalist has many projects, including the always amazing Hostsonaten. So, imagine my delight to discover this newer project from Fabio, Aries. This project includes female vocalist, Simona Angieloni; something that is a little out of character for Fabio's other efforts.

"Double Reign" is a very strong album overall. The sound of the album revolves very much around the strong female vocals and also around the use of violin and viola. These two aspects intertwine and play off each other quite a bit, and we are treated to amazing violin solos throughout the album. However, this album also features some stand-out RPI keys and flutes; something that really draws me into the experience. The ambient nature of the keys overlays the tracks with a beautiful surreal nature. Indeed, the entire album has a mystical quality to it.

The album has many facets and tools. From gorgeous piano to relaxing cello to a noteworthy performance on the drums, this album has a technically strong performance style, but it also has heart, atmosphere, and whimsy. Pure beauty with a hint of darkness and sadness is the name of the game here.

A couple good examples of this are "Voices" and "Space", probably my favorite tracks. They are surreal and psychedelic in nature, but the music itself is gorgeous and organic. This mix ends up providing an eclectic palate for the listener that I hope everyone else will give a try. With a great mix of instruments and a strong showing in both vocals and concept, Aries' "Double Reign" should definitely be more well-recognized, especially for fans of iamthemorning, Introitus, or Frequency Drift. Heck, even Kate Bush fans will be satisfied.

 Double Reign by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.61 | 33 ratings

Double Reign
Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The second Aries debut evolves lightly from the debut, with leader and multi-instrumentalist Fabio Zuffanti (of Finisterre, La Maschera di Cera and Hostsonaten fame )weaving a music platform for Simona Angioloni's spirited vocal gymnastics, a haunting voice that incorporates tinges of opera , jazz and folk to her usual crystalline pipes. The big progression here is the drum kit being now manned by Davide Guidoni of Tapobran repute, a masterful time keeper who can combine finesse with power whenever needed. "The Return" has a myriad of neo-classical flourishes (nice violin) as well as a swirling Moog solo from Roberto Vigo (Hostsonaten). On "Alone" Simona's voice rekindles memories of Beth Gibbons ( Portishead), a breathy yet anguished plea, skimpily dressed up with some dazzling Boris Valle electric piano (that oft venerated Fender Rhodes, such a gorgeous instrument) and minimalist rhythmic backdrops. "Deep Inside" is poppier , short, pleading and somehow fragile . "The House is Burning" features another classic and utterly distinctive keyboard instrument (the Wurlitzer piano), glowing within the realm of a melancholic string quartet and Simona's wailing vocalized pain. Here the aroma of Kate Bush hovers above like some flaming eagle, the strings emoting strongly. "Voices" gets oddly experimental, almost atonal with pitter-patter percussion, loops, and boatloads of shivering violin. Two short pieces follow, encouraging the odder ambiances; "See Through Me" is keyboards and vocals, while the majestic "A Dream Within A Dream" is the string quartet dueling with some keyboard-backing. "Space" is the hot track here, a heady cocktail of modern folk-prog, somewhat more symphonic is scope, with a superb mellotron/ violin barrage that is quite beguiling. New Trolls legendary Vittorio De Scalzi introduces his flute into the next piece, a haunting slice of musical stupor that conjures images of frozen numbness, as the fluttering flute attempts to warm the soul. Very successful piece that blends well into the punchier "Falling Down", a robotic beat that inspires a lack of balance, a metronomic descent into some abyss of doom, with a tinge of unveiled hysteria that has a Kafka-esque feel to it. "The Moon Rises Again" is definitely more upbeat, lush with undisguised hope and exhortations of "I have found myself, again" and providing a sense of easier listening than the previous tracks. The finale "Flow" is the lengthiest piece clocking in at over 7 minutes and is another highlight, a dirge-like electric mood garnished with that darn string quartet appearing again, while Simona wails unabashed and lets her "spirit flow". An amazing cut , that has much spirit and presence.

While a very decent follow up to the Aries debut, I miss that soaring Fabio Centarini lead guitar that is unavailable here and which made the self-titled album such a proggier universe (read longer tracks such as the masterful "When Night is Almost Done", a bewitching 16 minute masterpiece). Needs more spins but a delightful companion to the vibrant Italian scene. 3.5 stars

 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.38 | 30 ratings

Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I quite like the works of this prolific Italian musican. The only project I couldn't get into was laZona but from Finnistere, Hostsonaten and my fave one La Maschera Di Cera, most of his output was quite remarkable.

The music which is available through Aries is much more accessible Morning Song and vocals are sung in English. Most of the songs are on the soft edge, and feature delicious female vocals. Simona Angieloni is really the highlight of this album: her crystal voice sounds as a jewel to my ears and combines perfectly with these sweet piano lines (Coming Back To Life). It is concluded with an extraordinary and dynamic guitar solo.

One of the epics starts as a Renaissance track: fine piano lines to back another emotional vocal part from Simona. But this song won't be a long and tranquil journey. It hardens substantially for a couple of minutes which breaks the overall mellow mood available so far. These parts almost sound as Crimson: heavy and dark. Great combination! This is a highlight.

The short has a definite Mostly Autumn structure: a quiet start which evolve nicely into a fantastic guitar solo as if Josh was around.

The second epic includes another vocal feat from Simona. Her voice is really beautiful and charming. The only minus point of this song, is that it sounds a bit too much of the same and it doesn't really kick off (only during short breaks). The whole is nice, well performed of course but I would have liked to get some more variety to be fully captivated. Do I need to say that Fabio Centarini is absolutely wonderful again?

This album features beautiful and melodic music, both vocals and guitar are phenomenal but song writing could have been more diverse. Seven out of ten.

 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.38 | 30 ratings

Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars There must be something about spring in southern Europe, "primavera" seems to be constant word in the Italian vocabulary and Fabio Zuffanti has titled two H÷stsonaten releases with English titles such as "Springsongs" and "Springtides", so there is actually a fascination for the "first green" of the year. Why start a review with such seasonal concerns, you ask? Well, this Zuffanti project is titled simply "Aries" and, even though I am not horoscope- inclined, I do know that it's a spring sign. The titles on the album also shed light (an after winter pun) on the inspiration , the first 2 being " Morning Song" and "Coming Back to Life", so I guess there is merit to my argument. Typical of the Finisterre bassist who has a Clive Nolan-ish catalog of sister projects (Finisterre, Zaal, La Maschera di Cera, Quadrophonic, Merlin: the Rock Opera, H÷stsonaten, LaZona, Buc-ur and a solo album) , the Aries concept is completely different in style and tone. The product here is very pastoral, bucolic, and dreamy, closer to Celtic-tinged Brit groups such as Mostly Autumn, Iona and Karnataka by also featuring a female English speaking vocalist as the main focal point, in this case the splendid (and hardly accented) Simona Angioloni. Fabulous fretless Fabio has also enlisted Roberto Vigo on keyboards, flutist Carlo Barreca, lead guitarist Fabio Venturini and Pierpaolo Tondo manning the drum kit. The first song certainly lays down the appropriate mood, with Simona's fragile voice ushering in the new beginning where the sun finally gets to shine, a joyous buzzing lead from the e-guitar adds to the excitement and a huge melody that sticks savagely to the cortex. Add a modest adornment from the flute, a tubular bell finale and an uncomplicated synth solo that supplies the necessary "coup de grace". The next piece is my favorite, led by a genial piano statement that sounds very Wakeman or Jobson, before literally exploding "back to life" halfway through with a slithering fuzzy guitar solo that, while not necessarily overtly technical really pushes all the passionate buttons and elevates this piece into the highest peaks. The first extended epic is "the Eye of the Storm", a more audacious 13 minute foray into austere atmospheres, highly evocative of the turbulence emanating from an agonizing winter, with loads of contrasts: gentle harpsichord guided laments overcome by stubborn synth and guitar tempests, massive mellotron flounce and sudden fluted moments of sheer peace as befits the title. The multiple melodic lines are of very high caliber with Simona's voice progressively increasing in agony. A long sibilant synth solo coda takes this to a gentle conclusion. Bravo! Another two short pieces, the seductive mourning of "It Struck Me Every Day "with a Franco Falsini (of Sensation's Fix)-like dripping lead and a heavy choir 'tron backing as well as the sweet "In the Court of the Crimson King" lilt of "Crossing the Bar", both nicely set up the massive 17 minute finale that consecrates this exceptional recording. "When Night is Almost Done" is sheer ambitious splendor, with an evident Michael Giles like feel in the drum & cymbal work, a repetitive piano platform for an extended lyrical guitar solo from Venturini, all held together by a reflective vocal performance. A cosmic Moog solo adds to the folklore, paving the way for an astonishing operatic wail that goes on forever, goose bumpingly hinting at the sacrosanct Pink Floyd gem "the Great Gig in the Sky", before Richard Wright-ing another synthesized folly. In true progressive epic fashion, the early piano motif theme returns for a bombastic closing crescendo with a hallucinating fuzz drenched solo that will capture your attention, as it is played with such raging feeling! To stay indifferent to this would be incomprehensible but, hey, stranger things have happened to Ruth. (Will someone please warn me to stop blending famous proggy titles into my reviews).To again quote my respected Dutch PA colleague Erik Neuteboom : "This is Prog Heaven "! While far from being experimental as Zaal or absently peculiar as LaZona, Aries will definitely appeal to the folksier side of progressive, especially fans of the afore-mentioned British bands. While perhaps not everyone's panacea, I love this kind of stuff. 4.5 horned Tuscan rams.
 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.38 | 30 ratings

Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Aries is a project that lays bare the contradictions in Fabio Zuffante the composer and arranger. The Finisterre work strikes me as a bit clinical, while Hostsonaten seems to most naturally blend that cold classical inspiration to warmer progressive rock. But both work as consistent entities.

The main problem with Aries is that songs set out to be gentle symphonic affairs and abruptly change direction, but not in a good way. There does not appear to be any focus for the album, but rather an insistence on alternating between gorgeous, if sometimes calculated, passages with female voice, and harshly played synths and guitars, neither of which are particularly noteworthy anyways, but they might work OK if they were on separate songs. As it is, they seem to hurt each other fighting for recognition. In the end it adds up to an album I don't much want to listen to.

The dichotomy is shown in all its flaws in the second track, "Coming Back to Life", a relatively short piece which just gets us down and mellow before ripping us apart. I'm not saying a more uptempo break was a bad idea, but the lack of flow is glaring. "The Eye of the Storm" is more of the same, as is the laughably disjointed closer "When Night is Almost Done". I am also just generally not enthused about the guitar style used on this album. I don't expect every guitarist to sound like Hackett, but the solos here lack all sensitivity. He has an on-off switch and that's about it.

"Morning Song" , "It Struck me Every Day", and "Crossing the Bar" all buck the unpleasant trend but also expose another flaw. This album tends to veer away from the Romantic style of Renaissance in which Annie was a vehicle for the moods, to the "let's use our sweet female voices" approach of Karnataka. Nice, yes, but where is the feeling?

Aries is an example of an album that should have been great on paper, but really lacks in composition and execution. Another Hostsonaten album anyone?

 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.38 | 30 ratings

Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This Fabio Zuffanti guy is the real italian "origin of storms". Isn't he?

With his many projects he, virtually, can be considered as the prog mastermind of nowadays: La Maschera di Cera, Hostsonaten, Finisterre, La Zona, Buc-Ur, Aries...his visiting cards!

Of all his works, Aries eponimous debut is one of the most romantic, mellow, soft and delicate symphonic prog efforts. Still exciting for the master use of keyboards and appreciable synth' solos, even if not at the very same level of the Hostsonaten project, in my humble opinion. A similar intimate record but less varied and acoustic than that. That's why, I presume, Aries' "lack of variety" risk to change into, sometimes, "good monotony".

On about the music' structure: a whole album dedicated to an interesting mix between classical ethereal and atmospheric symphonic prog within more commercial parts as, mainly, in the feminine sad (and beautiful) vocal parts.

Two long compositions as the self-explanatory "The Eye of the Storms" (12,53 mns) and the small epic "When Night Is Almost Done" (16,53 mns). Great musical journeys enriched by wise and not too loud use of (light) electric guitar. Pure symphonic pleasure.

Incredible but true: still another little gem from the "so-much-prolific" italian contemporary prog scene.

Highly recommended! 3.75 stars.

 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.38 | 30 ratings

Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Dirk

4 stars Aries is one of the side projects from italian Finisterre's Fabio Zuffanti who is also involved in projects as La Maschera di Cera, Hostsonaten and the prog rock opera Merlin. Aries's music can be described in short as very accessible, atmospheric,dreamy and melodic.

They are often compared to Mostly autumn probably because both bands have a very good female vocalist and the guitar playing is influenced to a certain extent by Pink Floyd in both bands. Nevertheless there are some import differences between both bands, whereas Mostly Autumn has lots of up-tempo songs and also some celtic influences Aries's music generally consists of slow moving melodies with a dreamy, often melancholic even sad atmosphere. Also Simona Angelieonie's voice resembles Tori Amos's voice more in my opinion than Heather Findlay's , as was already accurately noticed by one of the other reviewers.

The compositions on this album are somewhat similar to each other, creating a specific dreamy mood soaking through the whole album. The vocal sections are great because of Simona's outstanding vocals in good english,generally accompanied by mellow organ, piano or acoustic guitar. The band also show their teeth in the instrumental sections with rich intricate playing of various instruments.

Characteristic of these instrumental sections is the frequent use of the chorus-synthesizer especially at the end of the songs which often serves as a background for various floydian guitar or moog solos giving the music it's special atmospheric and dreamy feel. Especially in the longer songs there is room for other instruments such as flute, piano and organ as well.

In the first most vocal oriented song, Simona really sounds like Tori Amos with her haunted dramatic singing, in this track bells are used to emphasize the melody at the end, beautiful, my favorite of the album.

The third composition reminds me of Finisterre at several moments especially in the opening minutes, it's somewhat faster and more complex than the other tracks.

The sixth piece really focuses on instrumental playing with Simona wailing on top of the instruments in the middle (like Heather Findlay and Angela Goldthorpe use to do in Mostly Autumn), it has a long beautiful floydian ending.

The other tracks are shorter, there is a terrific loud guitar/organ ending in the second one, in the fourth the vocals are of special interest. The fifth song shows the band from it's most dreamy/introvert side with just singing, mellow organ and an interesting drum beat. It has a nice mellow flute outtro.

It is a pity that no lyrics were included in my package of the album. I also have been unable to find them on the internet. From what i understand of them (english is not my native language) they are generally about things as fear,loneliness, the changing of night into day and the feelings that accompany these changes.

Concluding i can say this is a terrific album, the highlight of 2005 for me even better than bands like Riverside, Opeth and PT. As i said before the album is very accessible, i liked it on the second listen, loved it on the third.After many listens it's still as fresh to me as in the beginning.

So if your music must be really complex, original or even weird with many twists and turns stay clear of this one.On the other hand if you like bands like Mostly Autumn, Pink Floyd or Camel then you probably do well to pick this one up.

For people knowing Zuffanti┤s other work with bands like Finisterre and La Maschera di cera, this band is to a certain extent like a mellow version of finisterre ,quite different from La Maschera di cera.

Personally i think the album is close to 5 stars. To be honest though i can imagine that people may have some problems with the similarity in the songs. So 4.5 stars it is, rounded down to 4.

 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.38 | 30 ratings

Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Yet another Fabio Zuffanti project. the Italian band Aries' eponymous debut album comes out as one of the most pleasant novel prog surprises for the year 2005. The album's repertoire is elaborated in a musical frame that sets a sort compromise between modern symph prog and melodic pop-rock, with an added touch of emotional density that helps to provide a special aura for the compositions and arrangements. It is not complexity, but subtlety what Aries are more interested in creating and performing. The general ambience is one of intimacy and reflectiveness, not one of explosive dramatism or pyrotechnical ostentation - the chord progressions and basic harmonies run smoothly. It doesn't mean that this album is not without its moments of sheer intensity: both the longest tracks, 'The Eye of the Storm' and 'When Night is Almost Done' do so. But even in these particular passages, the band prefers to handle the momentum with a serene density, instead of getting too dramatic or angry: Aries' music is soaring, not absorbing; captivating, not aggressive. Contralto-ranged Simona Angioloni makes her vocal deliveries are very fluidly integrated with his instrumentalists partners' inputs: her moderately gloomy style somewhat reminds me of Tori Amos, albeit Simona's singing sounds a bit more educated in comparison. The first two tracks set the mood for the whole album, properly serving as accurate tasters for the listener. Track No. 2 takes the melancholy trend to a more overwhelming level, due to the clever use of languid keyboard layers and delicately sober melodies: a similar course is recreated by tracks 4 & 5. But again, it is the longest tracks that fulfill the most ambitious facet of Aries' music. The 13- minute 'The Eye of the Storm' has an edgy feeling during its first half, pertinently punctuated by the mysterious synth leads and the powerful drumming - at times it reminds me of the Scandinavian vibe of White Willow and Sinkadus, but let's keep in mind that Aries never intends to gets too somber. The song's second half shifts into a calmer pace, although some shades of tension prevail on a subtle level. While the aforementioned track included an occasional increase of tension, the 17- minute closure 'When Night is Almost Done' enhances the frontal melancholy that has been present in almost the entire repertoire. The recurrent languid atmosphere may remind the listener of post-rock's usual patterns, but the eerie keyboard layers and leads, together with the Floydian guitar solos keep the track right on the path of prog. My overall balance for "Aries" is quite positive: I formally label it as a very nice album, full of beauty in a most lyrical expression... although I don't see it as properly excellent. In ProgArchives language, this is worth a 3.5-star grade.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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