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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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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)

4.30 | 414 ratings
Arbeit Macht Frei
1973
3.97 | 145 ratings
Caution Radiation Area
1974
4.26 | 250 ratings
Crac !
1975
4.04 | 136 ratings
Maledetti
1976
3.94 | 120 ratings
1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano
1978
2.88 | 35 ratings
Tic & Tac
1980
2.52 | 19 ratings
Chernobyl 7991 *
1996

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

4.01 | 48 ratings
Are(A)zione
1975
2.82 | 14 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
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

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

AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Maledetti by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.04 | 136 ratings

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Maledetti
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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
4.26 | 250 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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
4.30 | 414 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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
3.97 | 145 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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
3.97 | 145 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
4.04 | 136 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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 Tic & Tac by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.88 | 35 ratings

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Tic & Tac
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BORA

1 stars Good Heavens, what's the world coming to?! An Italian band imitating American elevator music? Just horrible and an absolute waste of time - unless you enjoy getting stuck in an elevator where only the piped sound remains operational.

This is the first - and very last - Area album I've listened to as going on this experience, I'd be hard pressed to detect any possible improvement expected of this band. Brass-Rock, Jazz- Rock? Nope. More like quality musicianship gone to the pigs in an effort to conform to a style that some - like myself - would frown upon. Did I say horrible before? If so, I'd repeat it in capital letters - any day.

There is no doubt that the musicians could play, but here they are seemingly Hell-bent to create something that's not to reach even mediocre by any means. Horrible - ah, yes, I said that before...

If you imagine the least quality offerings of the band CHICAGO to go out with the flavour of a Mexican procession band, then this album comes very close to that. Instrumental all the way through, which is a relief as the solo album of their singer Demetrio Stratos left me speechless and only able to rate it - not very favourably.

Area is off my menu for good. Not because it's bad, but for providing a serious disappointment. The musicianship I'd rate 4 out of 5, the material - well, let's just not go there.

Arrivederci - or rather not.

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 Chernobyl 7991 * by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.52 | 19 ratings

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Chernobyl 7991 *
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

3 stars The Chernobyl theme park

Having been a fan of this marvellous group for some years now, I hesitated somewhat diving into Chernobyl 7991 their latest release. As most of you guys know, front man Demetrio Stratos died an untimely death at the young age of 34 - leaving the group without the real fuel behind the pyrotechnics and earth-shattering middle eastern yodelings.

The loss of Stratos is comparable to when The Doors lost Jim Morrison. Big words, I know - but the fact of the matter is, that he had an artistic aura about him, as well as vocal chords that could shatter the polar icecaps in a jiffy - something that rubbed off to his musical surroundings, - and suddenly he was gone...

Chernobyl 7991 continues Area's unhealthy obsession with radioactive matters - and on here we get re- introduced to the horrible grey and dusty terrors of the Russian city, where the atomic trap once snapped and we as a whole nation of people, worldwide, felt the cold lifeless hand of death on our shoulder, if only for a brief moment.

What I then find bizarrely weird and perplexing, is the choice of music found within this album, that's supposed to illustrate this black chapter in man made energy. Even if it's coloured in the widely spread 90s sounding synths, you know the ones you'd find on an IQ album from around the same time, - you'll still almost instantly hear the Area flavour boosting through it all. Sure there's a sombre atmosphere occasionally peeping through, but most of all, what I get is those same old circus themed organ runs only now performed on electric piano and those plasticy synths - only much much slower! Not only does this sound oddly misplaced and inappropriate - it also makes me chuckle a bit now and then........ I am so ashamed of myself - no really. This album is about one of the worst man generated catastrophes in modern times, as well as serving as a memorial to one of my absolute favourite singers bar none, and here I am having a bit of a laugh...

Still, take a step back from this and the penny drops. Area were always like that. Whatever they've chosen to say or reveal with their music in the past, they did so with carefree attitudes and circus themed craziness all over the board. Even when they were at their most experimental and dark circa Caution Radiation Area, the stagnant horrifying sound sculptures and unorthodox Eastern phrasings still got followed by something completely "Areaesqe" and zany. That particular trade is still here, and whatever one thinks about its surroundings and how one preferably should behave around them: Please!!! Do the opposite of grow up!! Pull out the old Peter Pan outfit and jump out through your bedroom window!

The fierce spiralling tempo of this band has diminished slightly, I'll admit to that. But once you hear the drum rolls of Giulio Capiozzo and the whirlwind piano of Patrizio Fariselli - it quickly becomes apparent that these guys are the same bunch that once made albums such as Crac! and Maledetti. On Chernobyl 7991 they may have opted for some boring production qualities and veered into jazz lounge territory, if only briefly, but the finished product is one that they can be proud of. With musical guests throwing chitarra, saxophone and French horn into the mix, you are treated to an Area album that sounds unlike any other in their discography. It's a trip, and had it not been for that catastrophic production job and the, at times, rather flavourless lounge jazz, I may even have awarded this album with 4 stars.

Well worth the effort this one, you just have to get your head around the odd tempos and the unforgiving attack of the 90s. Area fans approach with care - fusion flavoured lollipop men of da-daah-da tendencies, jump right on in!

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 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 414 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars A really tight and concise debut album from these talented Italian musicians. So much so that three of them would go on to release solo LP's.

Quite like 'Magma' in certain parts, this goes borderline crazy, therefore I don't recommend playing this at work. There's a heavy emphasis on Avant Garde Fusion throughout. 'Arbeit Macht Frei' is one of the most radical Italian Prog albums available

Well, we all know what the title means so lets just skip that or else we'll just get into a fight. Good cover though eh?

Demetrios Stratos, as usual, sounds like a yodelling Tarzan on steroids, beating his chest as chimpanzees try to steal his collection of coconuts and berries.

This first 'Area' album is notable in that it has Patrick Djivas on bass who would later become more well known for his contributions with 'Premiata Forneria Marconi'

'Arbeit Macht Frei' was issued on the brilliant 'Cramps' label, which is more well known for their far more tuneless experimental recordings. This album has dated pretty well on the whole where at all times Demetrios Stratos, the Egyptian born Greek singer is the star... the main event.

Hats off to poor Demetrios who died at far too young an age.

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 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.26 | 250 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Whatever this is jazz-fusion, free-jazz, italian prog or eclectic it's certainly very good, although I do sometimes find myself wishing Demetrio Stratos did more singing. Whatever it is, it's certainly atypical and very recommended.

The music is dramatically colourful, wild, energetic, experimental and technically impressive, not at all cheesy or dated. It is an acquired taste that not everyone will be able to enjoy or understand, but if you're inclined towards adventurous prog, then you're going to love it.

Vocals are dramatic and avant-garde but, for the most part, this remains an instrumental record where even vocals loses their usual leading role and assume the likeness of an instrument, as you can hear by the many gurglings here and there (e.g. in "Area 5"). Has to be mentioned that Stratos was able to perform diplophony, triplophony, and also quadrophony and has been described as the person who decimated monody by the demultiplication of the acoustic spectrum.

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