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MAD PUPPET

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Mad Puppet biography
MAD PUPPET are an Italian band coming from Tyrol (Alto Adige), a place where many people have Austrian-German roots. They were formed, originally a group of six musicians and while still students, in 1980, and in the turn of a few months conquest the public rock resident of their native region.
In 1982, they released their first LP "Masque", with 6 songs. The disc sold well since never before any rock band from Adige succeeded that way - this was followed by numerous gigs and live shows. MAD PUPPET since the beginning relied on their compositions, with the repertoire being continuously widened. During mid 80s, they experimented with songs in the German language, especially with the local dialect.
In early 90s, after various substitutions inside the group - to the bassist and the drummer changed in fact - the band released another album, this time a CD, "No Only Mad ". The following tour with mimes, jugglers and dancers provoked interest and admiration. Soon their first album was reprinted on CD.
Their third album, released in 1994, "King Laurin & His Rosegarden" contained reworks and literary drafts from the king's legends. In the concert King Laurin Open Air, in 1995, made inside a castle, MAD PUPPET surprised the public with one show full of odd performances. Also as one of the most known and representative rock bands from Tyrol, they played in Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe. In 1996 they collaborate with the production of the Rocky Horror Show that took place in Bolzano. MAD PUPPET released "Live At Carambolage", their live album, in 1997, celebrating 15 years of musical activity.
In 1999, singer Manfred Schweigkofler, a front man and entertainer that has remarkably influenced the style of the group for 18 years left the band together with drummer Georg Lang and they were replaced by Michael Gadner and Bernd Andergassen. Then in the course of various jam sessions, the band got sufficient musical material for a new CD and they started to work with Annalisa Pasqualotto, which still contributed with ideas and voice to the compositions in phase of completion of what become their last CD up to now, "Cube", produced in 2000 and released in 2001.
MAD PUPPET's music reveals a unique blend of progressive rock genres but mainly oriented to the neo-prog segment, featuring vocals in English.

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Buy MAD PUPPET Music


King Laurin & His RosegardenKing Laurin & His Rosegarden
Import
Music is Intelligence 1996
Audio CD$15.90 (used)
MasqueMasque
Music Is Intelligence
Audio CD$8.50 (used)
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MAD PUPPET discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.18 | 13 ratings
Masque
1982
2.05 | 3 ratings
Not only Mad
1991
3.92 | 14 ratings
King Laurin And His Rosegarden
1994
1.05 | 2 ratings
Cube
2000

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Carambolage
1997

MAD PUPPET Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAD PUPPET Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAD PUPPET Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MAD PUPPET Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cube by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 2000
1.05 | 2 ratings

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Cube
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

1 stars After the release of the excellent "King Laurin And His Rosegarden" Mad Puppet had good live activity and in 1997 released a live album, "Live at Carambolage". Some line up problems followed and in 2000 with a renewed line up featuring Manfred Kaufmann (keyboards), Christoph Senoner (guitars), Thomas Pichler (bass), Michael "Gadget" Gadner (vocals), Bernd Andergassen (drums) and Annalisa Pasqualotto (vocals) Mad Puppet released what is their last album so far, the disappointing "Cube". Six years after their previous album the band decided another change in their musical direction veering to pop-rock again. I don't know the reasons for this decision, but as a prog lover I find that this album is nothing but a collection of songs with influences ranging from U2 to Duran Duran. Of course, the musicianship is good and there are even some good melodies but here there's almost no trace of progressive rock! The bonus track features even dance influences and recalls Blondie! Anyway, if you are in the mood of listening to some good pop-rock songs you can listen to the complete album for free on their official website...

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 King Laurin And His Rosegarden by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.92 | 14 ratings

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King Laurin And His Rosegarden
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In 1994 Mad Puppet released what can be considered their best album so far, "King Laurin And His Rosegarden". This work features a slightly renewed line up with Manfred Kaufmann (keyboards), Manfred Schweigkofler (vocals), Christoph Senoner (guitars, vocals), Thomas Pichler (bass) and Georg Lang (drums, percussion). During the recording sessions they were helped by many guest musicians who contributed to enrich the sound adding many musical colours. The result of all this hard work is a complex concept album inspired by local folklore with an amazing synthesis of modern and vintage sounds.

All the the tracks are linked together in a long suite that tells the lore of King Laurin and of his mythical garden of roses. In fact, the Rosengarten or Catinaccio is the name of a spectacular spot in the Dolomites and Laurin was the king of the dwarfs who lived up there. The music is less derivative than on the debut album and the song-writing here in my opinion is rather good. Some passages could recall Pink Floyd or Genesis or Marillion, but this influences are just reference points. There are some narrative parts that help to follow the development of the story but, in my opinion, it's a pity that the band chose to sing in English rather than in Italian, German or Ladin since this choice put some limits in the lyrical expression. Anyway, listen to the album and judge by yourselves! You can listen to the complete work and read the lyrics on the official website of the band. Don't miss it!

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 Not only Mad by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.05 | 3 ratings

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Not only Mad
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After the promising debut album released in 1982 Mad Puppet went through some line up changes and many problems. Their sophomore album, "Not Only Mad", wasn't released until 1991 with a line up featuring the veterans Manfred Kaufmann (keyboards), Manfred Schweigkofler (vocals), Christoph Senoner (guitar) along with the new members Günter Falser (drums, percussion) and Thomas Pichler (bass, clarinet). During the recording sessions the band was helped by two guest musicians as well, Hans Tutzer (sax) and Ray S. Rasp (vocals). This time Mas Puppet tried to shape a more conventional, mainstream sound and prog lovers could find highly disappointing their stylistic choice. On the album you can find some good ideas and some tracks, such as "Suicide Of Waterfall", "Gonzalo" or "You", are pleasant but sometimes the overall sound really seems closer to a kind of dark, synthetic pop than to progressive rock. Well, listening to this album you will set off on musical trip that will take you closer to Roxy Music's Avalon than to the court of the crimson king. All in all this work rarely strikes the right chords and it is "neither hot nor cold"... but maybe my criticism is too harsh!

Well, you can listen to the complete album and legally download it for free from the official website of the band, so judge by yourselves!

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 Masque  by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.18 | 13 ratings

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Masque
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mad Puppet is an Italian band that began life in Bolzano in 1980 with a line up featuring Mauro Rossi (drums), Michael Seberich (bass), Manfred Kaufmann (keyboards), Manfred Schweigkofler (vocals), Christoph Senoner (guitar) and Arthur Frei (guitar). In 1982 they released 'Masque', a self-produced album that sounds very different from the mainstream albums of that period. In the early eighties progressive rock was completely out of fashion but the young musicians involved in this project went against the tide and managed to shape a nice mix of seventies influences with a personal touch. Of course the album is not flawless nor particularly original but it's really worth listening to.

The opener 'Wild Rushing Waters' begins softly. It deals with a religious theme and draws from... Genesis! The following 'Look Out' recalls The Doors and evokes the shadow of Jim Morrison passing by, sailing across the grey night. 'The Masque Of The Red Death' is a long, complex track introduced by a charming medieval atmosphere and inspired by a short story by Edgar Allan Poe about a masquerade ball and a dangerous, uninvited guest. 'Icarus' is another long, complex track, a suite in two parts with lyrics inspired by the ancient myth of the Greek hero. Here the music flows away with gentle giants smiling in the background and wolves running wild all around. The bitter-sweet, nervous 'Wheels Of Time' concludes this good work with a pungent reflection about the changes that time provokes on our lives and our sense of freedom and security. The album was released on CD in 1992 on the independent label WMMS Music.

You can listen to the complete album and legally download it for free from the official website. Have a try!

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 Masque  by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.18 | 13 ratings

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Masque
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though most of the neo-prog movement during the early eighties' took place in England, Mad Puppet actually hails from Tyrol, Italy. Formed in 1980, these lads are certainly among the first groups to take part in the neo-progressive rock movement, although their credentials as a 'neo-prog' band can be a bit disputed. I tend to think of Masque as a 'proto-neo prog' album (I'll elaborate later), but I do certainly recognize that a case can be made for its classification as a pure neo-prog album. Either way, this 1982 debut is a solid collection of early eighties' progressive rock tunes that helped keep the spirit of the genre alive as its pioneers began to lose steam. Masque is a flawed release in many regards, but it's certainly worth hearing if you're a collector of early neo-prog recordings.

A strong influence from Genesis is definitely present in Mad Puppet's music, but many of the pop/rock influences and synthesizer-based aesthetics that characterized other neo-prog groups are nowhere in sight - although some ties can certainly be made to pioneers like Twelfth Night, Marillion, and IQ, Mad Puppet sounds quite different from many of their contemporaries. The choice of keyboard tones is particularly unique for the time period, as the array of warm electric piano tones and Hammond organs sound about as far away from the synthetic-dominated eighties' as possible. A late sixties' psychedelic feel is present throughout much of the album, and this matched with some medieval touches and pure symphonic prog makes Masque actually a rather unique album, especially in the dying prog climate of the early eighties'.

Masque's rather original musical approach, unfortunately, isn't enough to save it from a few other nagging flaws. The production is a particularly large shortcoming; while everything is audible, it doesn't sound nearly as crisp as the music demands. Mad Puppet's compositional techniques also aren't quite up to par at this point, and most of the album strikes me as 'average' rather than extraordinary. I wouldn't call Masque a particularly great or essential album, but it is worth hunting down if you're into early eighties' progressive rock.

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 Masque  by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.18 | 13 ratings

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Masque
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The organ was a popular instrument in the rock of the late 60s and early 70s, particularly in progressive rock, but, after a fallow period, it owes most of its resurgence, such as it is, to the prog movement. MAD PUPPET was one of the rare groups that carried the torch for melodramatic songs backed by ample organs in the synth-pop heydays of the 80s. I wonder if groups like MEN OF LAKE would even had existed were it not for Mad Puppet. In fact, the opener to this album sounds exactly like Men of Lake circa their debut album which appeared 9 years after this.

The group takes cues from THE DOORS, JETHRO TULL, and possibly some German acts of the 70s. In "Look Out", a rich plate of influences, none fully copied, contribute to the bluesy and rock and roll palate. Manfred Kaufmann's electric piano is also a highlight. "Masque of the Red Death" is a gothic tour de force, utilizing the organ as a wind instrument (perhaps it's a "pipe" organ) and the harpsichord to set the atmosphere for one of Edgar Allan Poe's more macabre tales. The lyrics are sung, spoken and shouted. It's certainly not a flawless interpretation, but interesting enough to merit longest cut.

The highlight of the proceedings, however, is "Icarus Part 1", starting with a sprightly yet reflective combination of acoustic guitar and, again, what sounds like flute but is probably a versatile organ or synthesizer. The guitars strum as they lead into the vocal segment, where a masterful melody unfolds reminiscent of Jethro Tull at their best (but I prefer Manfred Schweigkofler's voice to Ian Anderson). The middle break MUST contain flute even if not in the credits - I can hear the breathing! While "Icarus Part 2" is a bit too close to a jammy take on 70s RPI instrumentally, and to "You Keep me Hanging on" in main song thrusts, the musical prowess of the group remains intact throughout. The "Wheel of Time" injects a folk rock bias again, and the bassy lead guitar parts remind me of the mid 70s STEELEYE SPAN, but otherwise rehashes devices already exploited in prior cuts.

This is a fairly diverse yet cohesive album that displays the potential of Mad Puppet., even though they were working in an environment in which record company execs were pulling the strings.

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 Masque  by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.18 | 13 ratings

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Masque
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mad Puppet must have been one of the very first neo progressive bands for with their first official release, this Masque album, they were around before Marillion and IQ albeit that Marillion was there in the same year with their MSH EP. That leaves probably just Twelfth Night as the one that was around sooner. Anyway, Mad Puppet is from Italy and that's a whole different area than Great Britain, the cradle of neo. So the least we can do is check out what this first album was like. I had to get used a bit at first but in the end it proved to be a very interesting debut.

1. Wild Rushing Waters is a nice sounding melodic song with dominant keyboards though a pretty fierce guitar tries to be very present as well. I like very much what Manfred Kaufmann is showing in this opening track. A few impressing guitar performances as well by the way. 3,75*.

2. Look out has actually a very interesting opening riff that reminds me of Spooky by Atlanta Rhythm Section that was a hit over here around the same time. Could be coincidence or just an influence. Rest of the song sounds quite different anyway. Again a nice one but less impressive than previous. 3,25*.

3. The Masque of the Red Death (title track ?) starts with nice flute and keys accompanied by laid back acoustic guitar. Lovely opening section of this almost epical track. After these first three minutes the usual sound emerges again with the organ-like keys and the typical recognizable vocals of Manfred Schweigkofler. The names of these Italians sound German and that is because they are from northern Italy where more people have those kind of names. A theatrecal middle part breaks the song in two parts, it reminds a bit of Fish's acts on Marillion's debut. Harpsichord sounds and flute make the song go on giving it a medieval touch. 3,75*.

4+5 Icarus Part I and II is in a way the other epic on this album clocking 13:30 in total. Mad Puppet are already showing on this debut that they are good composers. The longer songs have a structured build up, it all sounds pretty mature. Part I is a vocal part, Part II starts with fast keys and drumming later on guitar joins in completing a very compelling instrumental section. Vocals arrive in next section making the diversity complete. Guitar sounds like Eloy I suddenly realize. The song gets better and better. This must be the absolute highlight. 4*.

6. Wheels of Time has a bit of a Camel feel in the beginning, rest of the song is the Mad Puppet I've really grown used to. This is not the very best song of them all but still very respectable. 3,25*.

At first I was sure this was going to be a three star effort but after this individual reviewing of each song I have to admit 3 stars is selling them short. And mainly looking at the year of issue I think this whole performance deserves 4 stars after all, though rounded up (3,6).

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 Masque  by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.18 | 13 ratings

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Masque
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars 3.5 STARS...

Formed in Tyrol in 1980,MAD PUPPET were a progressive rock band inclunding musicians both from Austria and Italy,mainly students.The band was inspired lyrically from literature and mythology and they tried to create an epic atmosphere in their albums.The first of their works,called ''Masque'' was recorded in 1982 and it contained 6 original compositions,much influenced by CAMEL and in a lesser extent URIAH HEEP.Their musicianship is dominated by the Latimer-like guitar work (from the interesting solos to the mellow passages and the bluesy riffs) and the great alternating synths/organ parts in the vein of Peter Bardens.Vocals are sung in English and have a slight foreign accent.When the music takes a little bit off,then you'll get some fast rockin' rhythmic parts and solos in the vein of URIAH HEEP,but there are also some decent smooth flutes added for good measure.A very interesting release back in early 80's,which I personally enjoy very much.Strongly recommended!

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 Masque  by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.18 | 13 ratings

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Masque
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The story of searches and finds…Two years ago or so I saw a review of Erik Neuteboom on this album, and realized, that I need that record. 1982, Neo-Prog, an obscure band – any Neo-Prog devotee should understand me I guess. Since those time I became less euphoric towards the genre, but suddenly found an opportunity to get this album (along with other rare Neo items). Hesitation lasted shortly – I got them practically by a song (very cheaply). Well, this is not quite Neo. This is what I’d call Heavy Prog. Songs like “Wild Rushing Waters” and “Icarus” are good examples of URIAH HEEP-inspired Prog Rock, while “Look Out” and “Wheels of Time” are rather funky (that’s what I didn’t like, to be honest). Folky “The Mask of Red Death” has stolen “Stairway to Heaven” chord progression and no singing, only declamation; nevertheless, it’s a best track here, along with 13-min long “Icarus” and opener track. Recommended, but bear in mind, that this is Heavy Prog, not Neo. Prog collectors, get this without hesitation – it’s very interesting.

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 King Laurin And His Rosegarden by MAD PUPPET album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.92 | 14 ratings

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King Laurin And His Rosegarden
Mad Puppet Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars If you are constantly on the look out for that rare hidden gem , here is a mesmerizing concept album by the relatively unknown Germanic progmeisters from Tyrol, Italy. This is an imposingly exhaustive story with lots of narration (not always a good sign yet critical here), a teutonic fairy tale about a dwarf king of unusual cruelty and the enchanted rosegarden that was his rather selfish pride and joy. The musical envelope is compelling, gushing forth effortlessly with all players ebuliently inspired, no instrument trying to dominate the other, all tuned into creating a cohesive story. Starting off with a 20 minute suite takes a lot of audacity, dive bombing straight into the saga of the mad king Laurin but the next piece the "Rosegarden" is the killer cut here, (Woe be to You) offering up a canvas very reminiscent of a harder edged Floyd both in spirit and inspiration, with a hook-laden chorus to die for and a blistering guitar solo to boot ! This hour long CD is an oyster of tasty neo-prog, quite original in scope and delivery , certainly not a Classic but a very trusted recording that I like to revisit regularly. 4 schtroumphs

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