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MALIBRAN

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Malibran biography
A highly regarded sextet from Italy, MALIBRAN is a dynamic -- at times explosive -- group that features two guitarists and a sax/flute player. The presence of winds over strong, symphonic arrangements allows the band to engage in the kind of complex interplay that marked such Italian masters as LOCANDA DELLE FATE. They've steadily released new works since 1990's "The Wood of Tales".

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Dieci Anni Di ConcertiDieci Anni Di Concerti
Import
2010
DVD$26.93
In ConcertoIn Concerto
Import
Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$11.50
$80.12 (used)
Live On Stage 1994Live On Stage 1994
Rock Symphony
Audio CD$22.09
Oltre L'IgnotoOltre L'Ignoto
Mellow Records
Audio CD$22.85
$20.99 (used)
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G. Rossini - Otello (Malibran Version)-Comp [CD New] US $37.82 Buy It Now 3h 26m
Malibran- in concerto US $16.99 Buy It Now 17h 38m
Famous Tenors, Rubini & Malibran, Opera CD, Classical Album France Compilation US $7.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Gounod: La Colombe (Malibran) - Janine Micheau; Feyron; Lenoty; Lovano; Gounod.. US $45.00 Buy It Now 5 days
Jean Marny Sings Arias (CD, Feb-2001, Malibran Music) US $6.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Gounod: Romeo et Juliette CD (NEW Malibran) RUHLMANN 1912, Yvonne Gall/Affre US $9.95 Buy It Now 6 days
MALIBRAN - THE WOOD OF TALES green vinyl US $69.00 [0 bids]
6 days
American Divas (Les Divas Americaines) (Malibran) - Composer-Puccini; Composer.. US $27.90 Buy It Now 6 days
MALIBRAN In Concerto (Official Bootleg) CD1997 Italy SEALED US $18.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Romeo Et Juliette CD Opera, Malibran Paris 1951, Nore & Jourfier, Jules Gressier US $5.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Beriot/Malibran/Vieuxtemps/Borodin - Les Princes De Chimay Et La [CD New] US $14.32 Buy It Now 12 days
Opera Arias & Neapolitan Songs (Malibran) - Ugo Ugaro - Audio CD US $16.75 Buy It Now 12 days
MALIBRAN- STRANI COLORI US $16.99 Buy It Now 12 days
George Thill Sings (Chante) Gounod (Malibran) (NEW) - Gounod; Gaubert; Orch Du.. US $45.00 Buy It Now 14 days
Boue & Hahn: The True Mireille of Gounod / Melodies (Malibran) - Gounod [Compo.. US $45.00 Buy It Now 15 days
George Thill Chante Massenet: Sapho, Manon, Et Al (Malibran) - Thill, Georges .. US $35.00 Buy It Now 15 days
MARIA CECILIA BARTOLI- MARIA MALIBRAN Limited Ed. CD+DVD+BOOKLET SEALED! DECCA US $19.99 Buy It Now 16 days
Georges Thill Chante Wanger (Opera Arias) (Sings) (Malibran) - Wagner; Georges.. US $29.95 Buy It Now 18 days
Otello (Malibran Version)-Comp, New Music US $37.85 Buy It Now 19 days
Unknown Artist Guy Chauvet (Malibran 566) CD US $10.00 Buy It Now 22 days
Beriot Malibran Vieuxtemps Borodin - Les Princes De Chimay Et La CD US $19.25 Buy It Now 24 days
G. Rossini - Otello (Malibran Version)-Comp CD US $54.94 Buy It Now 24 days
Philippe Gaubert Conducts (Malibran) - Lalo [Composer]; Chabrier [Composer]; D.. US $29.95 Buy It Now 25 days
Otello (malibran Version)-comp - Rossini,G. New & Sealed CD-JEWEL CASE Free Ship US $55.65 Buy It Now 27 days
CD + DVD + BOOK SET CECILIA BARTOLI MARIA SUPER DELUXE SEALED MARIA MALIBRAN US $98.50 Buy It Now 28 days

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MALIBRAN discography


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

3.62 | 41 ratings
The Wood Of Tales
1990
3.95 | 53 ratings
Le Porte Del Silenzio
1993
3.38 | 17 ratings
La Cittą Sul Lago
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Raccolta 1990 - 1998
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rari ed inediti
2000
3.50 | 26 ratings
Oltre L'Ignoto
2001
3.16 | 7 ratings
Strani Colori
2004
3.71 | 25 ratings
Trasparenze
2009

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

3.11 | 6 ratings
In Concerto
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
A live Show
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live On Stage 1994
2004

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

3.09 | 5 ratings
10 anni in concerto-1988-1998*
2005

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

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

MALIBRAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Trasparenze by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.71 | 25 ratings

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Trasparenze
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars By 2005 the degradation of Malibran was completed.Giuseppe Scaravilli was practically the only remaining member of the band, but -instead of calling it quits- his desire for progressive music led him to the Tower Hills Studios in Belpasso at the end of 2006 for the recordings of a new album.Former members Jerry Litrico, Alessio Scaravilli and Giancarlo Cutuli helped him on some tracks along with Toni Granata, who provided violin duties in three pieces.The whole process ended in 2007 and all liner notes were written by Giuseppe Scaravilli in the same year, but the album would not find a release home until 2009, when Electromantic Music decided to give Malibran's new effort a chance.The man handled most of guitars, keyboards, flutes, bass parts and vocals in this work.

This was definitely Malibran's most uneven effort ever, no wonder with Scaravilli being the left-alone person for this whole work.The compositions date from mid-90's unreleased stuff to tracks written during the period of the recordings.Musically this is a weird album.The two longest pieces, the eponymous one and ''Pensieri fragili'', co-written by Jerry Litrico are good, old Malibran at their very best.Folky Symphonic Rock with sensitive Italian vocals, laid-back tunes and pastoral flutes, occasionally interrupted by nice electric guitars and atmospheric keyboards, creating emotions somewhere between melancholy and drama and a fine balance between melodious and atmospheric soundscapes with smooth interplays placed here and there.The rest of the album finds Scaravilli in a bit of confusion.Most of them maintain the folky atmosphere, flavored by more Singer/Songwriter stylings and less proggy influences, based on mellow acoustic lines, flutes and poetic vocals.These pieces though are often colored by sax, violin and keyboards for a more artistic approach.CELESTE are among the groups to spring to mind.Malibran were not known for massive electric riffs, but a few tracks in ''Trasparenze'' display the more attacking side of Scaravilli with powerful guitars and strong rhythmic tunes, definitely the less interesting material of the album.The man though has done a great job overall to keep the spirit of the band alive along the lines of Classic Italian Prog ala PFM and LOCANDA DELLE FATTE, even if the folky side is more pronounced.

A new album is yet to be desired.Malibran remained active for sometime regarding their live performances and the driving force named Giuseppe Scaravilli reputedly had tons of material ready to be released, but their absence from the recent scene make it rather questionable.

''Trasparenze'' finds Malibran reduced and generally more relaxed, even if the addition of a pair of heavier tracks is also displayed.Pastoral Symphonic/Folk Rock, based mainly on acoustic guitars, keyboards and flutes.Smooth, emotional and recommended music.

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 Strani Colori  by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.16 | 7 ratings

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Strani Colori
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The new millenium officially found Malibran in a transitional period with Torrisi and Cutuli out of the band.Still they had a contract with Mellow Records and, instead of a regular studio album, the undisputed leader of the group Giuseppe Scaravilli returned with a compilation of tracks, covering the history of Malibran and containing rare live recordings, unreleased material and a few covers.This compilation was released in 2003 under the title ''Strani colori''.

This is a very interesting CD actually with a great photo gallery, covering Malibran's journey through the ages, but also musically the album stands quite strong.Most of the unreleased tracks are either solo performances by Scaravilli or products of the new reduced line-up and range from melancholic Italian Symphonic Rock with smooth guitars, flutes and keyboards to acoustic textures with a folky edge, the quality is very nice and the compositions are really decent, though not the best among Malibran's discography.For those not aware of the sound, imagine HOSTSONATEN and FINISTERRE both on stage.Some of the well-known Malibran's tracks like an instrumental version of ''The wood of tales'' or ''La Stagione Del Re'' along with unknown material have been captured live from early-90's and it is always a good thing to listen to Malibran's delicate and dramatic sound in a live performance, not to say that the compositions are great.The album contains also some cover songs like ''Rhayader'' by Camel, '' Cause We've Ended As Lovers'' by Jeff Beck or even ''Bouree'' by Ian Anderson in an effort by Scaravilli to add a slight Malibran flavor in these without any amazing result, as most of them are kept as they were.

Nevertheless this is an interesting Malibran collection, which contains enough material to make also a dedicated fan of the band purchase it.An album full of Italian romance and tradition and a nice addition for fans of Italian Prog, Symphonic Rock or Folk Rock.

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 Oltre L'Ignoto  by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.50 | 26 ratings

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Oltre L'Ignoto
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars After ''La citta sul lago'' several official and unofficial rare studio/live recordings of Malibran saw the light like ''Raccolta 1990 - 1998'' (1998),''In concerto'' and ''Rari ed Inediti'' (both from 2000).In the meantime Malibran even toured in the USA with Giancarlo Cutuli and Benny Torrisi announcing their departure shortly after.So the fourth studio work of Malibran was a bit of an adventure,partly recorded by the whole band and partly recorded by Giuseppe Scaravilli alone.The new album, entitled ''Oltre l'ignoto'', was finally released on Mellow Records,with the band already shortened to a quartet.

Despite the difficult situation the band was going through,''Oltre l'ignoto'' sees Malibran fresh and inspired and fortunately the whole album is sung in Italian for the first time,leaving the dull English vocals behind for good.Musically the album follows the same vein as with ''''La citta sul lago'',their sound is more modern compared to the early days,but still their musicianship has a strong retro influence.Alternating between symphonic arrangements with powerful organ,harmonic flutes and sensitive guitar work and more Neo-Proggish moments with floating synthesizers and strong guitar solos,Malibran are still alive and well,offering some splendid moments among the overall decent stuff of the album,especially in the longer tracks.There are also plenty of acoustic passages with the support of violin,cello and smooth bass to give a sort of dreamy feeling to the album.However a few negative points are still present,apart from their early sound nostalgia.The sparse electronic effects and the distorted guitar at moments seem rather useless,still for the first time Malibran's vocals belong among the highlights of the album.

Another more than decent Malibran release,not so close to their early masterpieces, but a step forward from the previous album.Anyone into modern Italian Symphonic Rock,who does enjoy also some vintage passages,should simply purchase this.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 The Wood Of Tales by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.62 | 41 ratings

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The Wood Of Tales
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Malibran is one of the bigger names in the nineties' resurgence of Italian progressive rock, and this 1990 debut is the album that put them on the map for prog fans worldwide. The Wood of Tales is an interesting, but flawed, concoction of neo-prog, Italian symphonic prog, and even a few dashes of progressive folk. Flute plays a major part in Malibran's debut, and I love how the instrument is presented as an integral part of their sound - other than that, The Wood of Tales is characterized by the mix of pastoral symphonic prog and eighties' neo-prog that inspired many Italian prog bands around this era. The Wood of Tales is not a flawless gem that's been forgotten by the sands of time, but it's a solid debut that should satisfy most Italian prog enthusiasts.

The easiest comparisons to draw when talking about this album are probably Premiata Forneria Marconi, IQ, and even a bit of Jethro Tull (the flute-led sections make this comparison almost inevitable). The Wood of Tales is a mainly instrumental album, but there are a handful of vocal sections that ultimately leave me with a lukewarm impression. At least on this album, Giuseppe Scaravilli is not the most gifted vocalist and his singing parts come across as detrimental to the compositions. While he's far from an atrocious vocalist, the album would've been a bit better had it been fully instrumental. After all, The Wood of Tales does have plenty of excellent moments of symphonic prog - though there aren't any killer tracks here, Malibran was still a group of gifted songwriters from the beginning. The musicianship on this debut is also quite impressive, and every musician delivers their part with finesse.

While it may seem that The Wood of Tales is a near-flawless album after reading the first two paragraphs of my review, I've yet to mention that the album has a pretty weak production. The sound is simply muddy and unpolished, and the occasional 'buzzing' noises and uneven mix really don't do the album any justice. It's not unlistenable or anything like that, but The Wood of Tales definitely would've left a better impression if the production were up to par with the music.

The Wood of Tales is a flawed, but ultimately promising, debut from one of the biggest names in nineties' Italian progressive rock. Malibran offered plenty of cool ideas and solid compositions with this effort, and I'll be curious to hear what that's led them to create on future albums. Though not essential by any means, The Wood of Tales is a solid observation worthy of 3 stars. Fans of symphonic prog may want to check out this somewhat obscure classic.

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 La Cittą Sul Lago by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.38 | 17 ratings

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La Cittą Sul Lago
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Third and longest album by Malibran,these time my feelings are a bit mixed up.While the band still presents their deep-rooted 70's influenced music,the whole album sounds more modern,losing some of the magic of their previous releases.The vocals remain a problem,they are very flat and atonal,while on the English lyrics they are hillarious.On the other hand,the musicianship keeps going at the high level.Pastoral flute parts,dreamy solos and symphonic keys all the way.The addition of the sax makes the album more varied and eclectic,but I do not think it is for its own good,as the band lost some of their identity.

Overall the tracks sound less symphonic and complicated compared to the past,focusing mainly on melody and atmosphere.Still the albums is a good example of modern Italian Prog with big-time retro-inspirations and comes (even that way) recommended.

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 The Wood Of Tales by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.62 | 41 ratings

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The Wood Of Tales
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A debut album, no less/no more.

Malibran from Sicily, Italy has managed to release a considerable amount of good albums and they have earned themselves a good reputation. A reputation which started with this album.

The music here is both a dominated by the flutes and some guitars at the end. The sound is the typical neo-prog sound. This mostly due to the guitars and the vocals which reminds me a lot about the British neo-prog sound from the 1980s. The English vocals is also a contributing factor to the British sound on this album.

The songs are on average good with some really superb melody lines scattered around. The guitar solos on the final track Prelude means the album ends on an untraditional manner, this being an RPI album. Which neatly brings me to.......

This is not a traditional RPI album by any means, but The Wood Of Tales still has enough DNA material to fit into this scene. But most of all; this is a debut album with all it's traditional ills. And it is a good album by all standards. I have my gripes with the vocals and the lack of any truly great songs. But besides of this, The Wood Of Tales is well worth checking out.

3 stars

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 La Cittą Sul Lago by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.38 | 17 ratings

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La Cittą Sul Lago
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars Malibran is a modern Italian band that deserves more exposure here on ProgArchives. Their music is reminiscent of classic '70s RPI and their third studio album, La Citta Sul Lago (1998), contains the usual trademark Malibran elements and includes references to metal, space-rock, jazz and Eastern music. The band benefits from the twin guitars of Giuseppe Scaravilli and Jerry Litrico, while Giancarlo Cutuli's flute-play is exquisite as always although his saxophone possibly surpasses it on this album.

There are a total of ten tracks that alternate between songs and instrumentals. The main standouts among these are the three epic tracks that run consecutively on the first half of the album. NUOVO REGNO features some lustrous sax and flute, although it's the killer guitar riffs and stampeding drums that really impress. Two songs on the album contain English- language vocals and the 2-part IN THE TIME is the stronger of the two. It contrasts the tranquillity of mellow flute, piano and vocals with the pyrotechnics of metal-infused guitar and drums. Sandwiched between these two songs is the 10-minute title track. UK giants Camel, Jethro Tull and Genesis clearly influenced much of Malibran's work, but during the first section of this multi-part instrumental there's a definite Focus vibe. The second section heads into space-rock territory with its mellow sax and wah wah guitar. While these three are worthy of special mention, there's not really a bad track on the album.

Overall, La Citta Sul Lago is good but not essential. While its first half is excellent, the second half isn't quite as strong. Malibran albums are generally quite lengthy affairs and this one is just short of the 70-minute mark, so perhaps it would have benefited from a tighter focus. It would still make a nice addition to any RPI collection, but there are other Malibran albums that might be worth checking-out first.

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 Trasparenze by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.71 | 25 ratings

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Trasparenze
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Although nominally a Malibran album, it's probably more correct to think of Trasparenze (2009) as a Giuseppe Scaravilli solo project. In fact, it's even sub-titled 'A new musical project by Giuseppe Scaravilli from Malibran'. Having said that, four members of the original band play on the album and Malibran is still on the go so I don't believe Scaravilli warrants a separate database entry on Prog Archives. The other members of Malibran, past and present, that feature here are Alessio Scaravilli (drums), Jerry Litrico (guitar) and Giancarlo Cutuli (saxophone). Guest musician Toni Granata also plays violin on three tracks. Giuseppe handles the vocals and plays all other instruments... guitars, bass, keys, flute.

Trasparenze is classic '70s-inspired RPI and Giuseppe himself believes this to be his best work to date. The cd booklet contains lyrics and lengthy sleeve notes for each song, one song to each page. Although this text is in Italian, the production information is printed in English. Strange. This album is heavier in places than other Malibran discs, with the usual Camel and Jethro Tull stylings seemingly absent. However there's still plenty of acoustic stuff , mostly around the middle of the album, and Genesis remains a strong influence.

Giuseppe Scaravilli composed all the tracks, although Jerry Litrico collaborated on the two long songs that bookend the album. The first of these, the title track, is over 13-minutes long and consists of numerous ideas that involve all the classic Malibran ingredients; moody intro, funky drum rhythms, majestic main theme accompanied by flute and acoustic guitar, electric guitar solos and hard rock riffs. Excellent. Pensieri Fragili also tops the 13- minute mark and is even more complex. There are many twists and turns that help to maintain interest and fans of classic Genesis should surely enjoy this song. So the two epics at either end of the album are excellent but what of the rest?

Well, In Un Attimo and Nel Ricordo are briskly paced songs that, although pleasant enough, don't exactly set the heather on fire. Vento d'Oriente is the first song on the album to feature Granata's frenetic violin and this is much better. The heavy riff and oriental sound make it reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. A definite highlight. Presagio starts out as a fairly typical Malibran song and also features the first synthesizer solo on the disc. However we're then treated to a blistering guitar solo, heavy riffs and galloping drums. This isn't too far from Black Sabbath territory.

That run of acoustic tracks I mentioned starts with the flute and violin interplay of Proggia di Maggio. This is a lovely instrumental that livens up near the end with what is the only other synthesizer solo of note on the album. La Marea is another melodic soft rocker/ballad and is one of my favourites here. The mellow introduction of the instrumental Volo Magico soon gives way to an agitated, scraping violin and funky drums. There's a bit of a Mediterranean folk influence on Promesse Vane thanks to the acoustic guitar, although Steve Hackett also springs to mind. This song shifts nicely from slow and mellow to brisk and bright. The short instrumental Gioco di Specchi also has strong shades of Hackett, this time with electric guitar and accompanying eerie sound effects.

Trasparenze is a long album that clocks in at 78-minutes, so you get your money's worth. There's not even much filler on it, with maybe just a couple of slightly weaker songs. My one criticism is that the album is a bit light on keyboards, but the loads of great flute you usually get with Malibran offset this. Trasparenze is an excellent album although I'm not sure if I agree with Giuseppe that this is his best work to date, as I have a soft spot for Malibran's Oltre L'Ignoto. RPI fans should of course have both these albums!

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 The Wood Of Tales by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.62 | 41 ratings

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The Wood Of Tales
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars The Wood Of Tales, the 1990 debut by Italian band Malibran, is something of a rarity (at least in my RPI collection) insofar as it consists exclusively of English language vocals. I'm not particularly keen on this idea, preferring groups to sing in their native language. Some of Malibran's future releases would in fact feature both English and Italian vocals, which if anything is even more unsatisfactory in my opinion. The funny thing is that the sleeve notes are written entirely in Italian. Given that the vocals are in English it would have been nice to have at least some information on the band in that language, but what do I know? By all accounts Malibran were formed as a metal band in 1987 and I'd say there's still some evidence of that on this album. The band includes two guitarists and they tend to dominate on this album. Generally speaking Benny Torrisi's keyboards play only a supporting role, although Giancarlo Cutuli's flute is well to the fore on each track. If you like flute and double electric guitars, there's a fair chance you'll enjoy this.

The first two tracks are identical in length, with each clocking in at 8.39. I don't think there's any great significance in this fact; I just think it's a bit strange. The first song, Malibran, opens with caterwauling guitars over a piano and drums stomp. Stirring stuff indeed, although I'm not overly keen on the digital-sounding keyboards. The vocal part of the song is slow and subdued and provides an effective contrast to the introduction. These guys are clearly influenced by bands such as Jethro Tull and Camel, having at one time or another covered some of these artists' material. This may explain the prominence of the flute on their albums although here it reminds me of the man they call The Flute, Ray Thomas of The Moody Blues. Anyway, the extended flute solo reintroduces the opening theme, which in turn brings this first song to a close. It's a great start to the album and the next track is equally good. The title track begins with keys and Alessio Scaravalli's toms setting the scene. This is a slow-paced instrumental featuring flute once again, and some guitar that's vaguely reminiscent of BJH's John Lees. Midway through there's a change of rhythm with the guitars adopting a distinctly metal tone. The third track, Sarabanda, is a Baroque-styled instrumental piece featuring flute and classical guitar.

The singing on Pyramid's Street sounds a bit cheesy but it would be churlish of me to further criticise Giuseppe Scaravalli's English vocals. It's not really that big a deal; suffice to say his voice sounds so much better in Italian. There's some snake charmer flute on this song, and this Arabic influence plus the bolero rhythm make it sound more like Rock Andaluz than RPI. Some of the electric guitar even reminds me of Spanish band Mezquita. A guest musician plays the keyboard solo toward the end of this song, but I have no idea why. The final track proper, Prelude, features yet more flute; Giancarlo Cutuli owns this album! Lead guitarist Jerry Litrico gets in on the act here as well though, with a couple of blistering solos. There are three live bonus tracks on this Mellow re-release from 2002. I generally don't care for so-called bonus tracks, but that's an issue probably best reserved for the forums. The three tracks in this case are Song For Lisa, Mystery, and Trequanda. Trequanda is the most worthwhile addition to the album despite the drum solo, while Mystery features excellent guitar and saxophone solos. Song For Lisa I could do without although I could honestly do without any bonus tracks, especially live tracks added to a studio album.

Overall this is another fine RPI album, and while it's not one of the '70s classics it is nonetheless very much in that style. It's not my favourite Malibran album and I feel the English language vocals detract slightly from it, although for others those same vocals may actually be a positive. Flute fans in particular should check out this band.

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 Oltre L'Ignoto  by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.50 | 26 ratings

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Oltre L'Ignoto
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Released in 2001, Oltre L'Ignoto was the last album Malibran recorded as a six-piece band. The group's official website doesn't contain an abundance of information, and their myspace site doesn't translate into English very well. From what I can gather, band members Giancarlo Cutuli (winds) and Benny Torrisi (keyboards) left during this same year. Whether this was during the recording of this album I don't know. Giuseppe Scaravalli plays virtually all instruments on three tracks here, but he was maybe just doing that McCartney thing rather than filling in for absent colleagues.

Reading through the song list gives the impression this is a concept album. Even with my extremely limited Italian language skills I can tell there's a nautical thread here, with songs about waterways and calm seas. The album artwork reinforces this idea as it depicts a Renaissance-style scene of sailing ships in a harbour. While I can't describe the narrative I do think the compositional unity clinches this as a concept album, with musical themes recurring throughout the disc. On the subject of language, I've no idea if any people are put off RPI because of the Italian language vocals. Personally I prefer bands to sing in the vernacular, and I can't get enough of this type of little-known gem from Italy and the Spanish/Portuguese-speaking worlds. Setting aside the vocals, this album is a real musical feast that has strong shades of prog giants Jethro Tull, Genesis, VDGG and King Crimson. Admittedly this does border on slavish imitation on one song, but more of that later.

The album gets off to a fairly inauspicious start that has the opening moments of Si Dira Di Me flirting with Neo-Prog. However the song quickly settles into more familiar RPI territory with legato flute, sensitive vocals and one of those plaintive electric guitar riffs I'm especially fond of. Playful flute and vibes usher in a section that includes mournful saxophone refrains, doubled on flute. The opening riff reappears with yet more flute, this time of the Ian Anderson-inspired staccato variety. Just when you think the song is finished following further melodious synthesizer and guitar solos, Malibran hit you with a coda straight out of the left field. So typical of those Italians! For a few seconds I'll swear that's David Jackson's rasping saxophone I'm listening to. The second song gets under way with another flute and vibes duet. What is it with Italian bands and vibes? They all seem to use them. Not that I'm complaining mind, as the effect is usually delightful. After this brief intro the main part of Watcher Of The... oops sorry, Oltre L'Ignoto continues with another wonderfully tender melody and sections that contain contrasts of dynamics and tempo.

L'Incontro is the first of the songs on which Giuseppe Scaravalli plays all instruments, albeit with the addition of a couple of string players on this one. It has more than a little of Cadence And Cascade about it. Not the melody as such, but more the general mood of the song. Cerchio Mobile consists of a funk groove on either side of a brief guitar jam that reminds me of German space rockers Eloy, complete with squelching guitar chords. La Via D'Acqua and Verso Sud are the other Giuseppe Scaravalli ''solo'' pieces on the album. The former is a short acoustic instrumental; the latter is more of the same with vocals. Both are fairly innocuous tracks with maybe just a suggestion of filler. Scaravalli's slide guitar on the instrumental Mare Calmo has a bit of Dave Gilmour about it. Actually it's probably more than a bit, and then there's the Any Colour You like synth part. In Viaggio closes the album in epic fashion with the heaviest riffs on the disc. The instrumental closing section that reprises the title track is truly glorious music. There's about 30 seconds of silence before we get a ''hidden'' Jethro Tull tribute and that's your lot.

Hopefully my review doesn't give the impression this album is entirely derivative and fleshed out with fillers. I don't think Malibran make any bones of their influences and there are possibly one or two tracks that are less than outstanding. However thanks to the three top-notch songs here I rate it as excellent and a worthwhile addition to any RPI collection.

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