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ARPIA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Arpia biography
Roman underground band Arpia was founded in 1984, soon experimenting with theatrical forms as an extension to the musical show. In 1987 their first demo tape was released, followed by the ambitious 40 minute "Resurrezione e Metamorfosi", released in 1988. The band continued to develop, especially with the addition of keyboards adding subtlety into the mix of rugged, dark metallic Prog music, leading to the release of their first full CD in 1995, a concept album about liberation from fascism.

After a break, the band reverted to a rougher, less airified metal sound for their latest concept album "Terramare" which explores aspects of sexuality and existence with an expanded line-up that includes female vocals. The band's early demo tapes are still available to order from their website, and I would recommend a visit to their MySpace site which has full length tracks spanning their history. [.:: Joolz ::.]

Update: The release of "Terramare" marks a turning point in the bands line-up, which sees the entry as a permanent member of Paola Feraiorni on vocals. From this point on begins a research of the expressive nucleus tied to the relation between music and literature, which leads to a new album "Racconto d'inverno" in March 2009, a combination of poetry, tale and melos. It is in reality two art objects: a novel and a long musical suite. The first one - written by Leonardo Bonetti - is published by Marietty Editors of Milan, the second one by the French label Musea. The expressive turning point is shown by the mainly acoustic matrix of the album, a long song articulated in various moments arranging the places and the vicissitudes of the novel to the sensitive suggestions of an intense dramatic lyricism. [excerpt from band bio]

See Also:

- Arpia on MySpace

Discography

CAS - De lusioni (1987)
CAS - Resurrezione e Metamorfosi (1988)
CAS - Bianco Zero (1990)
7" - Ragazzo Rosso - Idolo e Crine (1992)
CD - Liberazione (1995)
CD - Terramare (2006 - Lizard)
CD - Racconto D'inverno (2009-Musea)

Arpia official website

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Buy ARPIA Music


LiberazioneLiberazione
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$8.83
$13.23 (used)
Racconto D'InvernoRacconto D'Inverno
Import
Musea 2009
Audio CD$17.56
$17.99 (used)
TerramareTerramare
Lizard Records
Audio CD$22.49
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ARPIA discography


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

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

3.46 | 8 ratings
Liberazione
1995
3.14 | 8 ratings
Terramare
2006
3.24 | 8 ratings
Racconto d'inverno
2009

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

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

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

ARPIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Racconto d'inverno by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Racconto d'inverno
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After having released a fully prog metal and average album in 2006 ("Terramare"), the band comes back with an album which sounds more Italian this time (thank god!).

There are lots of acoustic guitar as well as sweet vocals during this short "Rocconto D'Inverno". Not only is this short album: under the 45 minutes mark which is OK with me, but it holds lots of very short tracks which makes it quite difficult to really appreciate. It is difficult to be thrilled with half the tracks clocking at less than two minutes. At least, I feel so.

This is only a suite of disparate tracks without any atmosphere. None of these nineteen songs features passion and very few do hold some decent melody. Some might also say that there aren't any bad tracks either. Accordingly.

This album sounds too much of the same stuff and I really don't like it too much. Somewhat dull and too uniform to my standards. The fantasy of the Italian genre is absent; the emotions of RPI are absent. So, there is only some regular music proposed on this "Racconto".

Two stars, no more.

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 Terramare by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.14 | 8 ratings

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Terramare
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Their first album "Liberazione" already showed some strong "prog" metal tendencies, but when I listen to the opening number from their follow-up album "Bambina Regiana" (released more than ten years later), it sounds as if the band has little to share with the Italian genre I have praised (ISP, I mean). OK, lyrics are in Italian. But don't look any further for a relation with the style which you might love.

This is not the first time that I have made the same comment since the "fusion" of all sorts of genres which are now grouped under the "RPI" umbrella instead of the "ISP" one. When I listen to "Monsieur Verdoux" I definitely feel that the move was not a favorable one. Metal lines like "Dream Theater". Yes, this is what you get here. Sung in Italian?

Here and there, some fine moments of Italian emotion like "Mari", but too scarce to imprint this work. But even this one is affected (or infected should I say) with metal lines at the end of the song. "Libera" is just a carbon copy I'm afraid: quite noisy and little prog. Not even talking about Italian prog?

Few are the moments of prog passion. Still, "Umbria" holds some of them (the first half). It is ruined thereafter with the same metal sounds. A (bad) habit by now. Some doom fragrance with "Contrasto Della Villanella" is just the track too much. Even if I quite liked the model (Sabbath of course), I can't feel the same enthusiasm here. The same applies to the title track and closing number.

In all, if you are looking to a heavy metal album sung in Italian, this might be a good option. I was not looking to this. Two stars for this lengthy album.

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 Liberazione by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.46 | 8 ratings

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Liberazione
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This little known Italian band plays a structured music with a dark angle. At times, the heavy sounds seem somewhat alien to the genre but they are not too many here and actually it is a good add-on to the whole of this album ("Ragazzo Rosso").

The music is also dark and complex; but this is also due to the themes approached in this album (fascism and terrorism). The long piece "La Roscia" conveys all of these characteristics and is one of the best tracks available. It is jazzy, weird, bizarre, melodic, harmonious, intricate and bombastic. You name it! In all a very interesting number indeed!

The prog metal lines are dispatched in the title track. One could have thought that a song with such a title ("Liberazione") would have been sweeter, lighter. Nothing as such: maybe to depict more the hardness of the fight against fascism. Very good and pleasant vocals as well.

The second part of the album consists of a suite of tracks but with no real link or musical theme between them. It is seriously rock-oriented (same as some numbers from the first part) and is closer to prog metal IMHHO. Still, this Italian band delivers a good album with "Liberazione"). Three stars.

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 Racconto d'inverno by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Racconto d'inverno
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Understated, elegant, wonderful!

In 2009 this band from Rome known as Arpia celebrated their 25th anniversary with the release of the splendid "Racconto D'inverno." The three core members have been together all that time: Leonardo Bonetti (vocals, bass, keys, and brilliant composer), Fabio Brait (guitar), and Aldo Maria Orazi (drums). While I have not heard their earlier recorded works, it is written that the band have moved through different stylistic phases of progressive rock, including symphonic, heavy prog, metallish, gothic, and certainly some classic RPI influences exist. Past work has been noted to be of a heavier and darker element. In the earlier days the music and performance were linked to theatrical presentation as well, sometimes employing actors or mime (which reminds me of the vocalist from Officina Meccanica in the '70s). Over the years music definitely became the emphasis as their discography of cassette and CD releases grew. A few years ago the band was assisted by percussionist Tonino De Sisinno and vocalist Paola Feraiorni. Around 2006 Paola would become the fourth permanent member of Arpia and the band were ready for the new work "Racconto D'inverno." It is quite difficult to find comparisons that sound like this album and doing so is always my least favorite part of the reviewing process, but I'm usually game to give it a try: Think of "unplugged" Italian prog mixed with elements of Dead Can Dance; think of Joni Mitchell's great instrumental intuitions of later years; perhaps bits of Mazzy Star, Roxy Music, Delirium, Cat Power, and Kristen Hersh. Confused? You should be, for Racconto sounds like Arpia 2009 and no one else really...read on!

Even hearing just a few samples of older work from their website, it is obvious that Racconto is a sound shift for the band. Described as a marriage of music and literature, it was a dual release of the novel by Bonetti and this conceptual album by the band. (The book is also available through their website.) For a band with a history of rough and heavy music, this new album is an amazing change-up. It comes across to me as a highly sophisticated yet toned-down progressive sound, emotionally evocative, and darkly romantic....a musically conceptual, cohesive work. I dare to say it comes closer to mature progressive-pop than "prog-rock" but it certainly is NOT saccharine, mainstream pop music. Rather it is a sound all its own, very tightly controlled, perfectly-produced, and yet passion-filled. Very beautiful. There is no electric guitar and the keyboards play only a background role in most cases, providing the atmosphere, the mood. The main element throughout is an acoustic guitar played in a unique way, tightly and often briskly strummed, most of the time not allowing the chords to ring out. It is an intensely focused acoustic guitar rather than any kind of laid-back or folksy acoustic you might expect when talking "acoustic music." While completely different in finished product obviously, the guitar style itself reminds me of Syd Barrett's playing on some of his solo stuff. I think of tracks like "Opel" where the acoustic is played so personally, so guarded, the strokes so consistent it sounds like he plays them to keep a boat afloat. Here, as there, it gives the songs a truly distinct sound, which is aided by a similarly masterful drum playing. Very crisp and defined, perfect without being flashy. Subtle rhythmic shifts combined with the understated play give the tracks a light and airy feel in one way, which makes for fascinating contrast with the moodiness of the songs themselves. Then there moments which break away to a refined yet imaginative interplay of guitar, bass, and drums....not really jamming as much as complimenting the others....these moments are just savvy and delicious examples of musicians taking their craft to a completely different place.

And then there are the outstanding vocals which are the emotional ebb and flow, alternating male and female by Leonardo and Paola. They are nothing short of breathtaking. Modest but passionate, sometimes pleading, aching....other times more narrative in feel. Paola's vocals on "Casa non mai vista" will take you straight to heaven. They are all perfectly balanced and integrated into the nimble instrumentation, never overbearing or contrived. The combination of these various forces, and without even understanding the lyrics as an English-fluent-only boy, I find the album one of the year's loveliest releases. (And it was a great choice for them to use Italian language rather than attempt the English conversion---keep singing in Italian!) Further, they did not make the modern era mistake of forcing every album to be 70 minutes long. At 43 minutes the album is the perfect length and will keep you spellbound throughout. With my highest compliments to the band members, "Racconto D'inverno" will make my yearly list of best Italian albums, and perhaps flirt with my overall best of 2009 list at ProgArchives. The folks at Musea were wise to latch onto this band. Enthusiastically recommended to fans of Italian progressive and sophisticated pop-rock music. 4 Ĺ stars. (Might eventually round it up rather than down, will have to see how it holds up over more time.)

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 Racconto d'inverno by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Racconto d'inverno
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Arpia are an Italian prog band from Rome that have been active since 1984. The present line up features multi instrumentalist and composer Leonardo Bonetti (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass and keyboards), Paola Feraiorni (vocals), Fabio Brait (acoustic guitar) and Aldo Orazi (drums). "Racconto d'inverno" is their third album and it seems to mark a change in the musical direction of the band. It is conceived as a long acoustic suite where melancholic musical landscapes are drawn by male and female vocals. The rhythm section is never invasive, acoustic guitars are omnipresent, there are not spectacular solos but the music perfectly fits the mood of the lyrics and flows away describing with notes what Leonardo Bonetti described with words. In fact "Racconto d'inverno is not only a musical work but also a novel. They're like two faces of the same coin. It's very difficult to appreciate the mood and the atmosphere of this album without knowing what it's about.

The main sources of inspiration for this opera were "Stalker", a 1979 science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and "Raconto d'autunno", a novel by the Italian writer Tommaso Landolfi (1908-1979). According to Leonardo Bonetti it was impossible for him just to put in music and words the work of Landolfi and he decided to write his own novel to shape his feelings in a better way. The result in my opinion is very good and I enjoyed both book and music.

The plot is settled somewhere in the mountains of Northern Italy, not far from a border, during the period 1943-1945. After the Italian army disbanded, Northern Italy was poisoned by the conflicts between Nazi-fascists and bands of partisans... "Crime and Pride / Our lady the Black Death / Is marching without pain...". Desperation, death and hunger are the background for this work that tells the story of a desperate man, running away from this gloomy country looking for an escape. The fugitive arrives in a tumbling down villa built upon the ruins of an ancient abbey, a kind of labyrinth haunted by a strange presence... A man tries to help him to cross the border but they are trapped in winter weather and have to come back to the villa. Here dreams and reality melt while hope and love come out under the shadows of an impending death.

The titles of the tracks are just like the titles of the chapters of a book. The tracks are not separate entities but movements of a long suite while lyrics recall the story narrated by the book evoking images and feelings. The contrast between male and female vocals is the strength of a bold and complex album with a peculiar "unplugged" rock sound.

On the whole, an excellent album.

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 Racconto d'inverno by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Racconto d'inverno
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ARPIA's first two albums are very much in the Heavy-Prog genre even close to Prog-Metal, so it was a complete shock when I listened to this their third studio album for the first time. No electric guitar and very Symphonic. It's actually a very interesting album as we get 19 tracks over just 43 minutes, but the thing is that most of these songs blend together, you often can't tell when one ends and the other begins.

This record is based on band leader Leonardo Bonetti's novel. Yes he is a writer and extremely talented. Once again he shares the vocal duties with Paola Feraiorni and she's excellent. Lots of strummed acoustic guitar here with drums and vocals leading the way. So we get this sound almost throughout as the tempo and moods shift slightly along the way. It works much better than you would think.

A big departure for this band. Greg Walker and others are raving about this one but for me the heavy style fits my tastes much better. If your into RPI please check this recording out. 3.5 stars.

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 Terramare by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.14 | 8 ratings

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Terramare
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This one really threw me for a loop, I mean these guys should be in Neo-Prog as much as TOOL should. This is dark, heavy and at times atmospheric prog that would even fit under Post-Metal. There are Italian male vocals with some guest female vocals that are so impressive. Looking around the internet I was having trouble finding any reviews were as enthusiastic as I was until I found one on the Gnosis site.Thankyou !

"Bambina Regina" opens with gentle guitar followed by deep bass then a full sound kicks in with vocals. Kicking ass ! Fast paced riffs as he sings with passion. I like when it settles. Contrasts continue. Killer track ! "Rosa" opens with drums and this guitar that almost soars. Nice bass too. It calms down quickly as almost spoken vocals come in. Female vocals before a minute. Her name is Paola and she's amazing. This track is more laid back with the vocalists taking turns. A great instrumental sound 4 minutes in to end it. Love this track. "Diana" has a bombastic intro before vocals arrive a minute in with synths. This isn't as good as the first two songs. "Monsieur Verdoux" is a return to form with heavy riffs to open as vocals join in. A fairly aggressive and dark tune. Some backing female vocals then synths wash in after 2 minutes. Huge bass follows. Great tune ! "Mari" opens with synths and some atmosphere. Reserved vocals join in. They turn passionate 2 1/2 minutes in. Some nasty riffs before 4 minutes as vocals get emotional. Amazing sound 4 1/2 minutes in with ground shaking riffs and background synths. "Libera" is dark with restrained guitar and vocals. Heavy guitar before 1 1/2 minutes followed by fast paced vocals as the tempo picks up.

"Umbria" opens with keys and guitar sounds that fill the soundscape. Vocals a minute in. Great sound ! More deep bass lines. They're cooking again 3 minutes in. It's dark again with keys 4 minutes in. Bass and synths join in too. I really like this one. "Luminosa" sounds so beautiful to open with the laid back guitar and synths. Vocals before a minute as it starts to build. It calms down then hits the fan again after 3 minutes then settles back down to end it. "Metro" has a TOOL-like intro with the drums and fat bass lines as the guitar makes some noise over top. Vocals join in. Ripping guitar 3 minutes in. It gets pretty intense later. I love this stuff. "Contrasto Della Villanelia" is raw and heavy. Fast paced vocals come in. Check out the female vocals though ! This is where she shines as she just lets it rip vocally. Killer tune. "Piccolina" opens with high pitched sounds and synths as gentle guitar comes in then reserved vocals. It's building. Electric guitar before 3 1/2 minutes lights it up. Powerful song. "Terramare" just makes me laugh with those heavy guitar riffs and huge bass line as drums pound. Vocals come in spitting out the lyrics. It's a free for all ! Some atmosphere follows then the female vocals come in. Contrasts continue. An absolutely monster track !

4.5 stars from this Metal-head. A huge surprise.

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 Terramare by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.14 | 8 ratings

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Terramare
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Arpia don't seem to be a very prolific band... Their second album comes out more than ten years after the interesting "Liberazione" and in my opinion it's not at the same level. According to the band, there's a common source of inspiration for all the songs: the recurrent idea of Earth and Sea, "elements of physical force and sexuality, poles of a real and recognizable continuity, horizontal and pertaining both to a game of commonly accepted contrasts..."

Although there's a common thread, "Terramare" is an heterogeneous album where you can find excellent tracks and really weak ones... The lyrics of some pieces are just XIII Century Italian poems adapted by the band and dressed up in hard rock sounds: this operation could conceal a lack of creativity, however it works very well at least in two songs ("Rosa" and "Luminosa").

The highlights of this work in my opinion are the complex Umbrža (a little dark gem, featuring a gothic atmosphere that reminds of some films of Dario Argento and of the music of Goblin... "Come to this caress of mine / It will be that which you haven't grazed / Come, feel in this kiss / All my silences...") and "Luminosa", (inspired by Guido Cavalcanti's poem "Luminosa apparizione di donna", featuring a peculiar and tasteful blending of rock, Piazzolla's tango and Italian folklore).

The album also features some good straightforward hard rock pieces like the opener "Bambina Regina", the cynical "Monsieur Verdoux" (inspired by a film directed by Charlie Chaplin in 1947 about the story of an unemployed banker who becomes a serial killer... "If a single crime never pays / With nine killed wives you are a hero / Monsieur Verdoux!") and "Libera" (lyrics from a Torquato Tasso's poem).

Not bad also are "Rosa" (featuring a good duet with male and female vocals), "Diana", the mysterious and unquiet "Mari" and "Piccolina", while the weak points in my opinion are "Metro", "Contrasto della villanella" and the final title track.

In the whole, a good "hard-dark-prog" album, although I don't think it's an essential one in a prog collection.

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 Liberazione by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.46 | 8 ratings

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Liberazione
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although Arpia have been active since 1984, this is the first CD they have released. Before 1995 they released only some demos... "Liberazione" is subtitled "Anthem for a dream that has become Republic" and, according to the band, "it is a concept album about the idea of a journey in the historical memory of Italy". The aim of this concept is rather bold: to express "the need to regain a collective history through individual stories"...

The album is divided in two parts. The first one, "La Resistenza", is about the struggle against fascism before and during World War II. The liner notes and the images in the booklet are an important part of this work since the band try to describe also with images and words the atmospheres and the stories that inspired music and lyrics... The opener "Ragazzo Rosso" is an instrumental dedicated to a 16 year old student who was arrested in 1927 for having handed out some leaflets against the Fascist Party. The mood of the track is dark, featuring haunting bass lines and heavy guitars... A good introduction to the following "La Roscia" a long and complex track about a red haired woman executed in 1943 in the Apennines by the Nazi-fascists for having sheltered a partisan. The song is partially sung in dialect and alternates different rhythms to express the different feelings described by the lyrics... The title track "Liberazione" is set in Modena in 1945 and tries to catch the feelings of a farmer who, while staring at the partisans entering in the city, is worried about his property and wonders about the future fearing expropriations by communists... "Piazzale Loreto" is set in Milan in 1945 and is about the feelings of a peasant who stares at the body of Mussolini, hanged, head down, by the partisans... The music flows steady trying to express hate, rage and dismay with raw electric guitar riffs...

In the second part, "Il terrore", the band try to evoke the atmosphere and the mood of the Seventies, "the years of leaden"... "Strage!" is about a bomb attack in Milan on 12 December 1969... "La ragazza Carla" is set in Piazza della Loggia in Brescia on 28 May 1974 and tries to express the feelings of a girl who is going to meeting her boyfriend while a bomb blows up... "16 marzo 1978" is about the feelings of a 78 year old retired man, an old political activist, who, while walking in Rome, stumbles on the aftermath of the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, leader of the Democratic Christian Party, then executed by the terrorists of the Red Brigades... "Bologna" is about the bomb attack at the Railway Station on 2 August 1980... The final track "Coprofagia" is about the result of the elections on 28 March 1995... The music is heavy, with cutting vocals, bass and electric guitars in the forefront that try to suggest anguish and fear, rage and indignation, anger and disdain...

In my opinion, sometimes the style of Arpia seem closer to Hard-Rock and Dark-Metal than to Neo-prog: no relation with the "Italianprog" giants of the Seventies like Le Orme, BMS or PFM. Nevertheless "Liberazione" is a good album with a really interesting concept and it's worth listening to. If you love bands like Back Sabbath this could be an excellent addition to your collection...

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 Terramare by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.14 | 8 ratings

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Terramare
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by armapo

4 stars A prog-metal-psychedelic band from Rome. "Terramare" is their return after a ten years silence, and shows a really great performance: it's a strong and dark sound, guitar based but with a lot of keyboards too. Lyrics, in italian, is a fascinating journey into Eros and Love through ages and ancient italian poetry, with great male and female vocals. Best tracks, in my opinion: "Rosa", "Diana", "Umbrža" and "Luminosa". Very good album for any prog lover!

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