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AREA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Area biography
Undoubtedly one of the more adventurous, AREA were also a very important band on the seventies Italian prog scene, their first three albums in particular come highly recommended and essential listening to anyone discovering the RPI genre.

The band formed in 1972 stabilizing with a line-up of superb musicians for their debut album featuring ex I RIBELLI vocalist Demetrio Stratos, ex I CALIFFI guitarist Paulo Tofani, bassist Patrick Djivas (later to join PFM), drummer Giulio Capiozzo, keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli and on sax, flute and clarinet Victor Busnello. "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work will make your free) was released on Cramps records in 1973 and is a very accomplished debut by anyone's standards featuring an exciting blend jazz, rock and prog with Arabian and Greek (Stratos was Greek) influences along with a touch of the Avant. The bands lyrics show a politically left wing stance and Stratos was already displaying his inventive vocal style, using it as an instrument much of the time rather than in the traditional sense, something he would develop to further extremes on future albums (including solo work).

By 1974, when their second album "Caution Radiation Area" was released, Djivas had jumped ship for PFM being replaced by Ares Tavolazzi and Busnello also left but was not replaced. It's a harder listen than the debut leaning more towards the avant with a heavier emphasis on free jazz, once again the musicianship is exemplary and features some incredibly powerful moments. In comparison "Crac!" released in 1975 whilst still displaying the same inventive mix of styles was more accessible and is an ideal early port of call to the uninitiated. That year also saw the release of their first live album "Are(A)zione".

Two further studio albums followed where the band continued to expand their musical palette, "Maledetti" released in 1976 where the band used a host of other musicians to help out and "1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano". By this point Tofani had left the band. It would also prove to be the last album to feature Stratos who sadly died of cancer in 1979 at the age of only 35.

The three remaining musicians attempted to continue bringing in some outside help in the brass department for the all instrumental album "Tic & Tac". Clearly Stratos was a talent too big to replace. Drummer Capiozzo continued in the eighties with a band called AREA II, but was the only original member, leaning more towards the pure ja...
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Arbeit Macht FreiArbeit Macht Frei
Import
Cramps Records Imp 2012
Audio CD$15.68
$11.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
FAST FOLK LP & MUSICAL MAGAZINE The Boston Area April 1985 Vol. 2 No. 4 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 57m
AREA CODE 615-TRIP IN THE COUNTRY-polydor CANADA BREAKS PSYCH EX+ co USD $21.35 Buy It Now 2h 14m
Ill Mannered Playas I.M.P. CD, 1995, In A Minute Cougnut San Francisco Bay Area USD $12.99 [0 bids]
2h 15m
Messy Marv - Kontraband CD RAP BAY AREA SEAN T BRAND NEW USD $9.00 Buy It Now 2h 20m
Ampichino & Young Bossi - Cop Heavy Gang CD NEW gangsta rap Ohio/Bay Area USD $12.73 Buy It Now 2h 21m
E-40 Rep Yo City Promo CD Single 2002 Bun B Petey Pablo Eightball Bay Area Rap USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 36m
GREY AREA - GREY AREA SELF-TITLED CD USD $6.25 Buy It Now 2h 42m
Area - Arbeit Macht Frei [CD New] USD $48.42 Buy It Now 2h 46m
Area - Caution Radiation Area [CD New] USD $41.26 Buy It Now 2h 46m
THE ESTER & BASE AREA by SPEEDWAY Promo Japan 2CD USD $14.59 Buy It Now 3h 22m
RY COODER The Slide Area LP USD $9.39 Buy It Now 3h 39m
Att Will Do it At Will Rare Bay Area Hip Hop Cassette USD $26.95 Buy It Now 4h 17m
Daniel Castro No Surrender (Great Bay Area Blues) NEW CD USD $39.95 Buy It Now 5h 2m
The Jacka & MDot-80 Straight Drop Unopened CD Bay Area USD $7.00 [2 bids]
5h 56m
Richie Rich Dont Do It Cassette Tape 1990 Oakland Bay Area USD $20.00 [0 bids]
7h 36m
+ RAN REMOTE AREA NURSE CD SOUNDTRACK BY DAVID BRIDIE CD near mint! USD $14.81 Buy It Now 7h 43m
Metallica BAY AREA TRASHERS, LIVE BOOTLEG, CD 154.421, 9 tracks, Licensed U.K. USD $7.00 [0 bids]
USD $9.10 Buy It Now
8h 7m
Then Jerico - The Big Area Cassette Tape 0202R ] USD $3.85 Buy It Now 11h 43m
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH-HARD HAT AREA-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD F83 USD $26.50 Buy It Now 12h 34m
SHEENA EASTON Modern Girl 7" A-side Label But B Side Label Area Is Plain Black B USD $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 45m
THEN JERICO Big Area 7" Limited Edition Pack With Postcards And Badge B/w Big Sw USD $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 45m
THEN JERICO Big Area 7" Promo B/w Happening Tape Residue On Pic Sleeve JAPANESE USD $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 46m
THEN JERICO Big Area 7" Promo Only In Special Sleeve Pic Sleeve JAPANESE London USD $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 46m
THEN JERICO Big Area 7" Pic Sleeve AUSSIE Liberation 1989 USD $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 46m
THEN JERICO Big Area 7" B/w Big Sweep Pic Sleeve UK London 1988 USD $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 46m
Various Artists House Area 2012 CD USD $2.44 Buy It Now 13h 12m
30 cent Thieves- 30 cent Thieves 7", US, New, DC Area band. 1998 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 14h 2m
Solid State - 74th Avenue / Bay Area Hustle 12" Promo USD $10.43 Buy It Now 14h 20m
LUV JAM/AREA/PLAS VEGAS/MYSIC JUNGLE - Dots Vol 1 - 12" USD $14.82 Buy It Now 14h 40m
Ils & Solo 12" In The Area 1995 Drum & Bass Cool Cover Art M-/VG++ USD $8.50 Buy It Now 14h 53m
FUTUREHEADS Area CD 4 Track Enhanced Disc B/w Help Us Out, We Cannot Lose And Ar USD $8.10 Buy It Now 14h 54m
FUTUREHEADS Area CD 2 Track Part 1 B/w Decent Days And Nights Shy Child Remix E USD $8.10 Buy It Now 14h 55m
Area 88 - BGM Collection LP Obi Japan Anime w/ Poster ! USD $52.50 Buy It Now 14h 58m
Area 88 LP Obi Japan Anime Kaoru Shintani w/ Posters ! USD $42.50 Buy It Now 14h 59m
Area 88 LP Japan Anime Kaoru Shintani w/ Mini Poster USD $32.50 Buy It Now 15h
Area 54(CD Album)No Visable Scars-CRIDE22-UK-New USD $3.08 Buy It Now 15h 3m
Area 54(CD Album)No Visable Scars-CRIDE22-UK-New USD $3.49 Buy It Now 15h 7m
ANIME / AREA 88 JAPAN LP OBI K28G-7182 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 15h 8m
SMALL ENCLOSED AREA Quintana CD 4 Track UK Hackpen 2002 USD $8.10 Buy It Now 15h 19m
THEN JERICO Big Area CD 1 Track Promo US Mca 1989 USD $8.10 Buy It Now 15h 20m
WANNADIES Big Fan CD 3 Track B/w Love And Hate And Enhanced Area Featuring 3 Ful USD $8.10 Buy It Now 15h 21m
UP AND COMING Various CD 16 Track Sampler Of Stourbridge Area Bands Featuring Bi USD $8.10 Buy It Now 15h 21m
Federation I Only Wear My White "T" Once New Sealed 12" Promo Bay Area Hyphy USD $1.99 Buy It Now 15h 30m
CONTROL THE AREA - Frankie Paul (D0081) USD $6.17 Buy It Now 15h 34m
METRO AREA "PINA" 12" VINYL 2001 UK ISSUE VG+ USD $14.99 Buy It Now 15h 45m
SAVIOR-Power&Passion,BAY AREA,D-BUC,SCOT-FRE,ULTRA RARE USD $31.31 Buy It Now 16h 4m
RY COODER Slide Area LP 8 Track Has Staining On Bottom Of Sleeve UK Warner Bros USD $9.74 Buy It Now 16h 6m
GRAHAM PARKER Another Grey Area LP 11 Track With Inner GERMAN Rca 1982 USD $8.10 Buy It Now 16h 13m
Various-House Area 2010.1 CD Doppel-CD New USD $26.97 Buy It Now 16h 28m
RY COODER-SLIDE AREA-JAPAN MINI LP CD E50 USD $21.99 Buy It Now 16h 32m
RY COODER Slide Area LP 8 Track UK Warner Bros 1982 USD $10.25 Buy It Now 16h 35m
GRAHAM PARKER Another Grey Area LP 11 Track GERMAN Rca 1982 USD $8.10 Buy It Now 16h 50m
Stevie Ray Vaughan LIVE AT MCNICHOLS AREA IN DENVER 1989 140 Gr Vinyl LP NEW USD $50.87 Buy It Now 16h 57m
FAITH OR FEAR "Punishment area" ORG cd Under One Flag 89 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 17h 19m
AREA - BETWEEN PURPLE & PINK NEW CD USD $19.37 Buy It Now 17h 22m
Factor The Bomb Connect Bay Area Rare Hip Hop Cassette Tape USD $12.95 Buy It Now 17h 28m
Area Aa.Vv. Area CD USD $12.75 Buy It Now 17h 40m
Bay Area Funk - Vol. 2-Bay Area Funk [CD New] USD $13.24 Buy It Now 17h 50m
OAKLAND PRIVATE FUNK GOSPEL Corinthians HEAR RARE Bay Area Soul Quartet USD $29.99 Buy It Now 18h 26m
AREA CODE 615 - TRIP IN THE COUNTRY - PTCD8036 USD $17.88 Buy It Now 18h 35m
MORRISSEY-THE SMITHS-BIG AREA+PS USD $19.95 Buy It Now 19h 20m
Rare Jacksonville sealed Area - Been To The Edge Lp. on John Leonard Co. / Aria USD $24.99 [0 bids]
19h 23m
Graham Parker - Another Grey Area - LP Record NM EX USD $6.99 Buy It Now 19h 28m
DESTRO & SLOWE BURNA - "RAP MUSIC" - RARE CD - 15 TRACKS! - (2007) BAY AREA RAP! USD $12.99 Buy It Now 19h 36m
DAVINA BAY AREA RAP NORTENO PHILTHY RICH J. STALIN SHADOW MEGAN JORDAN LEE USD $14.99 [0 bids]
19h 46m
GRAHAM PARKER Another Grey Area 1982 GERMAN RCA RECORDS VINYL LP PL 25418 USD $12.35 Buy It Now 19h 57m
Private Bay Area Afro Jazz Funk LP KWAKU DADEY Heritage 11 USD $3.99 [0 bids]
20h 3m
Then Jericho Big Area CD 80s POP Rock Sugar Box What Does It Take USD $9.26 Buy It Now 20h 25m
GRAHAM PARKER - ANOTHER GREY AREA - "SEALED" - "SEALED" USD $28.00 Buy It Now 20h 30m
Self Jupiter-Hard Hat Area 2xLP-RARE VINYL-FREE UK P&P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! USD $23.17 Buy It Now 20h 31m
GOLDEN STATE FUNK Rare Funk From The Bay Area - Various Artists NEW CD (BGP) USD $18.53 Buy It Now 20h 45m
HUGH MASEKELA MAMA METRO AREA BIRTHDAY DUB VERVE 2003 DOWNTEMPO EX/VG++ USD $4.99 Buy It Now 20h 59m
KELTIC TRIBE -ALBINO GORILLAZ---SAN QUINN+ BIG MACK+ LEVITTI+ MR. KEE---BAY AREA USD $5.95 Buy It Now 21h
LEAN LEFT: Live At Area Sismica (CD 2014) Nilssen-Love / Vandermark Duo, The Ex USD $6.66 [3 bids]
21h 8m
SONS OF CHAMPLIN Live 1998 Oop Grateful Dead/Arista CD Bay Area Psychedelic Rock USD $31.47 Buy It Now 21h 22m
ELVIS PRESLEY  GOOD ROCKIN´ TONIGHT  RARE 11-61 FRANCE 10" RCA AREA 130.25 USD $525.99 Buy It Now 21h 24m
Even More Bay Area Blue (2007, CD New) USD $15.48 Buy It Now 21h 24m
AREA -Between Purple And Pink- U.S. 14 track CD Projekt:Archive Lynn Canfield USD $9.26 Buy It Now 21h 29m
THEN JERICO -Big Area- 4 track CD Single Mark Shaw USD $9.26 Buy It Now 21h 39m
No Area No Criminals - Affordable Hybrid (2010, CD New) USD $13.00 Buy It Now 22h 7m
AREA - FRAGMENTS OF THE MORNING - NEW CD USD $13.07 Buy It Now 22h 13m
PARTY AKIMBO '92 Goth/punk 7: 45 HUNGRY SO ANGRY, DC area group USD $7.20 Buy It Now 22h 22m
Hungarian Baptist Orchestra Praise Him LP Detroit Area Private 1975 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 22h 22m
(EJ959) The Futureheads, Area - 2005 DJ CD USD $4.62 Buy It Now 22h 39m
FLIPPER ALBUM GENERIC BLACK VINYL LP BAY AREA PUNK ROCK 1ST PRESSING '82 INSERTS USD $47.99 Buy It Now 22h 51m
DIVERSIONS, 1982 DC area punk-neo-Rockabilly 45 GET UP, very scarce rarity USD $18.00 Buy It Now 22h 54m
RAN - REMOTE AREA NURSE - OZ 27 TRK OST CD - DAVID BRIDIE - NOT DROWNING WAVING USD $18.00 Buy It Now 23h 22m
HOT RIBS The Beans Tommy Tutone Stingers NM RIB Bay Area Rock LP USD $14.95 Buy It Now 23h 28m
Area Codes [PA] by Various Artists (CD, Jan-2003, Southern Vibe Recordings) USD $1.99 Buy It Now 23h 29m
Alan Holdsworth Hard Hat Area mini lp replica cd 2008 remastered japan USD $19.99 Buy It Now 23h 41m
No Gray Area USD $4.00 Buy It Now 23h 44m
Futureheads Area CD2 CD USD $3.32 Buy It Now 23h 54m
SHARKRAGE Dreamland Area 51 CD 1998 MEGA RARE OOP THRASH ORIGINAL 1st PRESSING!! USD $59.99 Buy It Now 23h 57m
FAITH OR FEAR Punishment Area CD 1989 RARE OOP THRASH ORIG 1st PRESS USA COMBAT! USD $39.99 Buy It Now 23h 59m
FAITH OR FEAR Punishment Area CD 1989 ORIG 1st PRESS EUROPE - UNDER ONE FLAG!!!! USD $39.99 Buy It Now 23h 59m
SEFF THA GAFFLA Livin' Kinda Lavish SEALED 1995 Bay Area Gangsta G-Funk 90s RAP! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
RARE 104.5 KFOG BAY AREA ROCK RADIO CD TRACK CD SAMPLER #5 PERFECT PLAYBACK LOOK USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
AREA - AREA INTERNATIONAL POPULAR GROUP NEW CD USD $48.57 Buy It Now 1 day
Sounds of the City: New York Area Doo Wop 1956-1966 [Box] by Various Artists (CD USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Area 44 Fragment CD USD $12.75 Buy It Now 1 day
LP are(a)zione
AREA
~ USD $17.80
LP caution radiation area
AREA
~ USD $17.80
CD caution radiation area
AREA
~ USD $15.03
LP crac
AREA
~ USD $17.80
CD event 76
AREA
~ USD $15.03
LP gli dei sene vanno
AREA
~ USD $23.33
LP maledetti
AREA
~ USD $17.80
LP tic & tac
AREA
~ USD $23.33


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AREA shows & tickets


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AREA discography


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

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

4.31 | 456 ratings
Arbeit Macht Frei
1973
3.95 | 159 ratings
Caution Radiation Area
1974
4.21 | 266 ratings
Crac !
1975
4.03 | 144 ratings
Maledetti
1976
3.95 | 126 ratings
1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano
1978
2.88 | 36 ratings
Tic & Tac
1980
2.51 | 19 ratings
Chernobyl 7991 *
1996

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

4.07 | 45 ratings
Are(A)zione
1975
2.79 | 15 ratings
Event '76
1979
3.09 | 4 ratings
Area 1979 - Il Concerto
1980
3.54 | 12 ratings
Concerto Teatro Uomo
1996
3.06 | 7 ratings
Parigi-Lisboa*
1996
3.79 | 5 ratings
Live In Torino 1977
2005
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live 2012
2012

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

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

2.33 | 3 ratings
Anto/Logicamente
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Area '70
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Gioia e rivoluzione
1996
3.00 | 1 ratings
Revolution
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
International POPular Group
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Area Gold Edition
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Box Set Collection
2010

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
L'Internazionale
1974

AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 126 ratings

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1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The bizarre musical outfit known as AREA who was one of the most unique entities to emerge from the avant-prog and jazz-fusion scene in Italy continued their string of challenging and eclectic releases with their fifth studio album 1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO which translates into "The gods depart and the angry ones remain!" This album immediately sounds like AREA but it also feels different than the previous four and there are legit reasons. Firstly Paolo Tofani had left as guitarist and there is less guitar as a result. Bassist Ares Tavolazzi picks up any needed guitar parts on this which mostly shine through as acoustic. They are now a quartet and there also lacks the ensemble of guest musicians who helped out previously. Demetrio Stratos also contributes as a composer on GLI DEI... something he had not done before.

The feel of this album is totally different. Many of the songs seem to be more accessible. There are plenty of avant-jazz passages and frenzied instrumental "noodling" to be found but the tracks are primarily composed of catchier melodies more akin to "Crac" than the other albums but even more so by incorporating funky disco and poppy fol and even some Mothers inspired doowop. The tempo is slower on this one with fewer blitzkrieg fusion attacks but not totally devoid of them either.

AREA is one of my faves because I really love their uniqueness and fearless approach but I have to admit that on this album it starts to feel like they are beginning to recycle many of their ideas and that they are one album away from becoming a total parody of themselves. Thankfully that doesn't happen here as there are plenty of fresh influences to keep this album interesting from beginning to start. Although I don't understand Italian fluently I don't mind the spoken parts as the vocal style is so emotive as to convey the mood of what's being said.

Sadly this would be the last album with Demetrio Stratos before he died from complications caused by a severe case of aplastic anemia at the age of 34. It is so sad that such a talent was taken from the world but at the very least the band was wise enough not to try to replace the irreplaceable and decided to call it quits keeping the legacy from falling into mediocrity like many innovative bands from the 70s did. This album, while not their best, is still an excellent addition to any avant-prog lover's collection but I do recommend skipping the horrible all instrumental album "Tic & Tac" that several members released under the AREA name a few years later.

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 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.95 | 159 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Are is one of the Italian prog's most famous bands and their highest ranked record on ProgArchives is the seventh highest ranked in the subgenre. Therefor i was very excited to investigate their music when I so deeply respect the Italian prog. When I am acknowledging records from 1974 I now have picked Area's second studio album. Their first came the year before. "Caution Radiation Area" features Giuilo Capiozzo(drums, percussion), Patrizio Fariselli(piano, bass clarinet, synthesizer), Ares Tavolazzi(bass, trombone, contrabass), Paolo Tofani(guitar, flute synthesizer) and Demetrio Stratos(vocal, organ, cembalo and percussion).

This fourty years old record doesn't contains usual songs. Prog listeners don't demand such usual things either. "Area" must be one of the most experimental bands I have heard. When I put this record on I was totally amazed by the two first songs(both 10/10) which was both so coherent and perfectly fitted and still totally crazy. My inner self screamed out how good this music was and I though the success was a fact. But the music continued and the experimentality didn't end but became intensified. "Brujo" is a fine and interesting jazz piece but it lacks some of coherence(6/10). Even weirder is "Mirage" which partially is very good but most places on this area of the record are so very random(5/10). The last song "Lobotomia" is, I am sad to say it, just cacophony(1/1). This short record are full of musical information so the shortness is not a shortage. But the difference between a fantastic A- side(4,33) and a bad B-side(1,5) is too big for me to enjoy it fully. The creativity and the greatness it mediates makes though this still a fine record. I give it three stars and recommend it for fans of very experimental prog. Best tracks: "Cometa Rossa" and "ZYG(Crescita zero)".

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 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.21 | 266 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A storm of great live performances followed the release of ''Caution radiation area'', including the gigs at the Parco Lambro Festival in Milan and the first International Festival of Rovereto.Area represented Italy at the first Pop Festival of Berne and performed at the anti-war Velodromo Vigorelli event next to Joan Baez.Entering 1975 things followed the same flow with numerous live performances and the group revisiting the second Parco Lambro Festival as well as the "Festa Nazionale dell'Unità" in Florence.In November comes the third title of Area ''Crac!'', the first disc of the band to be released also outside Italy (in France).

While the previous album contained some experimental elements, the new one sees the band back into its familiar Fusion style of frenetic rhythms, complex breaks and technical executions, propelled by a very dense instrumental sound and the unique voice of Demetrio Stratos.There are moments when their sound evokes the rich electric Fusion of RETURN TO FOREVER due the powerful electric piano, but similarities stop there.Area still find room to add some Ethnic vibes into their music with all these Eastern elements displayed in the process, but their sound was definitely a unique amalgam of jazzy and progressive principles, featuring endless tempo changes and a great number of individual soloing, not isolated by the rest of the team.Plenty of clarinet and trombone and frequent use of organ, acoustic piano and synthesizer next to the constant exhibition of electric piano guarantee an emphatic and dynamic sound.Stratos' performance is again a seminar of how to use a voice like an instrument, while he even displays some poetic harmonies along the way.One of the richer Area albums, with the later tracks (like ''Gioia e rivoluzione'') showing a tendency towards more conventional tunes and a less complicated sound, although the technical efficiency is more than evident.Only reference to more experimental forms is the short ''Area 5'' with Fariselli's piano, Tavolazzi's bass and Stratos' voice in an improvised mood.

Another solid Fusion album by Area.Again, this is not an outstanding release in my books, but everything here is played with accuracy, passion and virtuosity, completing series of dense, fast-paced tracks with instrumental versatility.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 456 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Fido73

5 stars Being a big fan of RPI and especially the band Area, it's about time I review my favourite album of theirs, Arbeit Macht Frei. After discovering PFM, Banco and Le Orme, and realizing that I really like Italian Prog, I began to look for other band in the RPI genre, and one of the first band I tried was Area. There is a Prog Rock music store in Montréal, yes we have that kind of store in Montréal, where I usually get my Prog CD/DVD. By going there often, I became very friendly with the owner, and one of the first thing he suggest me, as one of the essential RPI album to get, was Arbeit Macht Frei. He was right, not the only time he will be.

To get the music of Area, you got to have an ear for Jazz, world and experimental music, because it's not your regular kind of Prog. They will mix arabic motif with jazz groove, or do beats with white noise etc? The essential part of Area is naturally the incredible voice of the late Demetrio Stratos. What a voice!!! He's IMO one of the best singer in music, being prog or not, making his death, like Hendrix or Bob Marley, another big lost in music.

Arbeit Macht Frei is the first album by Area and my personal favourite of theirs. Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero) start the album with the voice of a girl speaking in arab, then fallow with a great arabic riff, wow! If that riff doesn't do anything for you, stop there, I doubt you'll like the rest. What a great intro piece, it grabs you instantly and never let you breath. Then you have the title track, Arbeit Macht Frei, my favourite of the album, it may start slow but when the main riff start, it never let you go, the last riff of the song with Demetrio singing on top of it is amazing, one of the best riff in music, especially when the keyboard solo enters, sorry Yes, but you are not the only band to have a amazing keyboard solo under an amazing riff. If the album was only the first 2 songs, it would still have a 5 star resting from me, but no, you still have 4 other masterpiece to go. Consapevolezza, the third song is tour de force vocally speaking + another amazing riff and a beautiful sax solo, so perfect, so it, this is my definition of what good music is and should always be. Next, Le Labbra Del Tempo, may be more traditional in therm of Prog Rock but with Demetrio, it's nothing but traditional, great Rhodes solo at the end. 240 Chilometri Da Smirne is a great followup to Le Labbra Del Tempo, very Jazz rock/Fusion, lots of sax and great bass groove and it as the distinctive to be instrumental. L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin might be the most experimental song of the album, a great way to finish one the greatest album in Rock history.

5 Stars, Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music

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 Maledetti by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 144 ratings

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Maledetti
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Although many artists in the 70s were recording albums in English, most of the Italian groups including AREA continued to use their native language. One of the plights of this decision is for non-Italian speakers to be utterly clueless what the album is about. Not speaking much of the lingo I formed my opinion solely on the music. What a surprise to learn that this is actually a concept album about an imaginary bank in which history is stored and loses data from the 15th century causing people to forget how to govern the world. The outcome of which leads to society learning how to divide power amongst the different demographics. Hmmm. More socialist proganda? Maybe....

Did that change my perception of this album? Well, YES! and it made me appreciate that AREA was an even more complex band that I thought and made me realize how much we can miss when taking an album out of the context of its place and time. What once seemed like random and chaotic tracks now seem like they were placed there for a reason.

About this album! AREA continue their strange mish-mash of rock, jazz, Balkan and Mediterranean music that separated them from other prog acts of the day. MALEDETTI incorporated all of the elements that made up their sound and went the experimental route once again. After a spoken word opener (in Italian) that explains the evaporation of information we get a rather straight forward jazz-fusion track "Diforisma Urbano," followed by "Gerontocrazia" which incorporates a txalaparta (a Basque xylophone type instrument) to the mix. This is a track that Mr Stratos really steps up to the plate and delivers a stunning vocal performance. "Scum" is a track that is clearly inspired by the jazz classics but takes it into a frenetic and ecstatic state of virtuosity. "Il massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore" is the most unexpected track in all of AREA's disocraphy. It is an excerpt of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto. WTF?!! After that unexpected tidbit we continue with "Giro, Giro, Tondo." This is yet another ecstatic jazz-fusion fest which everyone shines especially keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli. The last track "Caos (parte seconda)" is probably the track that leaves most casual listeners alienated and running for the hills. This is one of the strangest tracks on the album. It is indeed a piece of musical insanity but there is a bass piano piece that is the underpinning of the whole thing (kinda reminds me of The Pink Panther theme). Very wild and has something to do about the whole structured system falling apart.

In conclusion, this album started out as a 4 star album but after many listens and then another few after the discovery that it is a concept album I have to say this has weaseled itself into my heart as the 4th masterpiece in a row. The details are dizzifying. Just read the amount of guest musicians and instruments involved in the whole thing. AREA continue to make me believe they were one of the best musical entities of the ages. I wish I knew Italian better so I could understand their lyrics. This album requires multiple listens and dedication to appreciate it. Sorry, no easy listening with this one.

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 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.21 | 266 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars After the bleak (but brilliant) CAUTION RADIATION album, AREA return to an even more accessible sound started on their debut album. Well, accessible AREA style. Still not the easiest of listening but at least they have a template of musical scales that you can get into including the signature Macedonian scales and even some progressive funk on "L'elefante Bianco."

This album is more about crafting cohesive songs and less about lurking into the free-jazz-fusion experimentation although some of the experiments from CAUTION are incorporated. This album is another winner for me. It's as tight as ever and Demetrio Stratos' vocal skills are still incredible (which we get more of this time.)

This is the album that made them popular in Italy and this is also the album that extended their music into France. This was also the first part of their existence where they benefited from a stable lineup (considered the classic period) that allowed them to tour. This is by far their easiest album to like on the first spin so if you are totally new to this band, CRAC! may be a better entry to this band's discography than even the impressive debut album.

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 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 456 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars This album and this group blow me away. They managed to create a unique and avant-garde sound at the very peak of experimental progressive music while most Italian prog bands were going the PFM route. A lot of this clearly has to do with the virtuosic crazed yodeling vocal acrobatics of Demtrio Stratos, but the entire band deserves equal recognition for one of the most original, spastic and bizaare debut albums i've heard even to this day. Everyone's just plain nuts! But in a good way.

The album starts off with a prayer in Arabic and then the first track "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (nero)" (based on a Macedonian folk song) begins. It's apparent from the get-go that this is some unique stuff. After the rather structured first track, we then get the more avant-prog-jazz-fusion side of AREA. Although it sounds like other jazz-fusion bands seem to have been the main inspiration, AREA clearly found their own sound early on by upping everything a few notches. They were more aggressive, had more odd time signatures, more solos, were more experimental and had the unmatched vocals which certainly meant they had a sound no one else could touch. The production on this album is also amazing for its time.

A true innovator of avant-prog with politically charged socialist leaning lyrics (in Italian), this is clearly a work of equal parts dedicated passion and crazed frenetic hyperactivity. Since i've discovered this band they have become one of my all time favorites. This debut album is a bonfide masterpiece to my ears.

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 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.95 | 159 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars I guess I have an appetite for the wilder side of music. I absolutely love it when a band has the audacity to go places where no one was expecting. AREA did just that with an even more outlandish second album after an already experimental first.

I think this album is albsolutely brilliant! If you listen from beginning to end you will notice that the music is the perfect representation of either radiation poisoning or a nuclear meltdown (not sure which). The album starts off with kind of a warning siren sound and proceeds to a familiar song structure similar to their first album ARBEIT MACHT FREI with the same Macedonian inspired scale that leads you to believe you're in for a continuation of the debut. However things quickly change gear after the first track and the free-jazz-fusion and avant-prog experiments begin.

The tracks gradually become freer and more experimental as they procede until the very last track simulates complete breakdown of anything remotely melodic and structured representing a total musical meltdown similar to the death of a human cell or a nuclear reactor (still not sure which). It leaves you with a feel of lifelessness where only radioactive isotopes now rule for the rest of eternity.

An interesting concept album that allows the listener to slowly devolve from order to chaos representing the destructive nature of radioactivity. Unbelievable that Demetrio Stratos would go on to die from complications due to aplastic anemia which can be caused by exposure to radiation. I just wish he would've used his vocal skills more on this one.

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 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.95 | 159 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars During 73' Area traveled for a tour in Chile and represented Italy in the eighth Biennale de Paris Festival.Soon after though the band was struck by the departure of Patrick Djivas, who joined Premiata Forneria Marconi, and sax player Victor Busnello.A new member entered the picture, this was bassist Ares Tavolazzi, completing the most classic Area line-up.In 1974 Area held a unique concert at the Psychiatric Hospital of Trieste, which apparently influenced the band's second album ''Caution Radiation Area'', released the same year on Cramps.

''Cometa Rossa'', which opens the album, sees Area at their best.Fiery and powerful Prog Fusion with a fantastic technique by the rhythm section and superb keyboard work in a dense and complete track.All lyrics are sung by Stratos in Greek.''ZYG'' is another monster track, somewhat split between Prog Fusion and Free Jazz, including another bombastic ad virtuosic delivery by the rhythm section, excellent synth parts and fiery electric piano by Fariselli and a suprising trombone performance by bassist Tavolazzi.''Brujo'' closes the awesome first side of the original LP and follows more or less the same vein of the previous track.Mostly instrumental Jazz/Fusion with incredible piano exercises and a powerful sound, blended with some Avant-like synth parts and a sinister ending section with Stratos' unique, dramatic vocals.The second side sees Area entering more experimental grounds.The long ''MIRage? Mirage!'' flows for over 4 minutes in an Avant-Garde/Experimental atmosphere with percussion, strings and trombone creating a cosmic soundscape and from this point on the band starts alternating between incredible Fusion themes with organs, guitars and synths in the forefront and psychedelic soundscapes with wordless vocals and screams.The closing ''Lobotomia'' is based on disturbing synths and sound effects with a clear tendency by the group to surprise the listener, as listed in the liner notes of the album.

Musically speaking ''Caution Radiation Area'' is outstanding.The vocals of Stratos do not play a basic role and the focus leans towards the incredible instrumental workouts.The more experimental moments during the second half of the album might bother some listeners though and possibly prevent someone from fully enjoying the album.Nevertheless the structured ideas in this album are many and great, so this comes at least strongly recommended, especially for lovers of trully intricate music...3.5 stars.

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 Maledetti by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 144 ratings

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Maledetti
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by pfloyd

3 stars An interesting jazzy album by one of my all-time favorite Italian groups. Unfortunately, After the amazing album "Crac" the band wasn't able to follow up at the same level. This album could potentially be really great if I could just cut out about 40% of the boring noisy junk. let's explore:

The first song "Evaporazione" is weird and pretty much pointless, yet oddly amusing. I wouldn't really consider it music though. "Diforisma Urbano" is a very jazzy and unique keyboard dominated jam. Classic Area. "Gerontocrazia" starts out slow with some random noodling by the band, then about halfway gets reeally good with some excellent keyboard work. An okay song with potential. "Scum" is a song that may take a while to appreciate. Its got a mix of classical piano playing with a mix of intense, fast-paced avant garde jazz playing. Leandro Gaetano (piano) really demonstrates his amazing talent here. This song gives Keith Emerson a run for his money. The last minute and a half is just weird abstract noise that does nothing for me. Very cool track still, probably my favorite on the album. "Il Massacro" is a really random song that's entirely a classical symphony. Sounds nothing like the rest of the album, I don't know why they bothered with this. "Giro, Giro, Tondo" is another jam that gets interesting about a minute in. Its a good track, but not at the same level as the second and third song. "Caos, pt2" starts with even more pointlessness. Maybe i'm missing something, but almost the entire song is just noise. It just sounds lazy and uninspired. which is really too bad, because it ends the album terribly.

Overall, The small amount of Demetrio Stratos' vocals is disappointing, because I absolutely love his style. And there are too many parts of the album that seem unnecessary and sound like weird avant garde noise just for the sake of it. Compared to some of their other albums, this one is not very memorable. Nonetheless, There are some fantastic jams on this album. A good album for any fan of the group, unfortunately I can't really recommend this to anyone else. Unless you are willing to put up with lots of uninteresting nonsense for about 20 minutes of great jams.

2.5 stars.

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