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AREA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Area picture
Area biography
Formed in 1972 in Italy - Disbanded in 1983 - Reformed from 1993 to 2000 - Active again since 2009

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 t...
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Caution RadiationCaution Radiation
Cramps Records Imp 2013
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$6.48 (used)
CracCrac
Sony 2017
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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)

4.26 | 595 ratings
Arbeit Macht Frei
1973
3.94 | 195 ratings
Caution Radiation Area
1974
4.24 | 330 ratings
Crac !
1975
4.04 | 175 ratings
Maledetti
1976
3.88 | 144 ratings
1978 - Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano!
1978
2.61 | 47 ratings
Tic & Tac
1980
2.55 | 26 ratings
Chernobyl 7991
1996

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

4.04 | 65 ratings
Are(A)zione
1975
2.57 | 21 ratings
Event '76
1979
3.17 | 5 ratings
Area 1979 - Il Concerto
1980
3.56 | 15 ratings
Concerto Teatro Uomo
1996
3.05 | 11 ratings
Parigi-Lisbona
1996
3.80 | 6 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)

3.04 | 8 ratings
Anto/Logicamente
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Area '70
1980
4.00 | 2 ratings
Gioia e rivoluzione
1996
2.90 | 2 ratings
Revolution
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
International POPular Group
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Area Gold Edition
2007
4.85 | 4 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
3.00 | 1 ratings
L'Internazionale
1974

AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Anto/Logicamente by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Anto/Logicamente
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nș 208

'Anto/Logicamente' is the debut compilation of Area and was released in 1977. The selection of tracks is more focused on tracks that were more hidden and less known than by their best and most known tracks. However, the band took care of represent on it, chronologically, at least one track of their entire four studio albums released by them, until that moment. Curiously, the name of the compilation is a play of words based on 'antologia' (compilation), 'anto' (not) and 'logicamente' (with sense). So, by their own words, 'Anto/Logicamente' is a compilation made without a great sense.

As it's a compilation that spans their entire musical period from the beginning to that date, and because the group had some changes into their line up, the line up of it is more extensive as what was usual. So, the line up of this compilation is Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ, harpsichord, steel drums and percussion), Giampaolo Tofani (guitar, synthesizer and flute), Patrizio Fariselli (piano, electric piano, clarinet and synthesizer), Areas Tavolazzi (bass and trombone), Patrick Djivas (bass and double bass), Eddie Dusnello (saxophone) and Giulio Capiozzo (drums and percussion).

'Anto/Logicamente' has seven tracks. The first track 'L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin' was released on 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. It's the most avant-garde track on that album. It's a song with many experimental noises made by different instruments, including the voice of Demetrio Stratos. This is a very bizarre track with many changes all over the song. It's an insane song with vocal echoes, some musical explosions, strange instrumental sounds, which abruptly ends without warning. The second track 'Arbeit Macht Frei' was released on 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. It has strong political lyrics. Its title was taken from the well known Nazi motif on the entrance of the infamous death camp of Auschwitz, in Poland. It's a song close to the avant-garde jazz, very innovative, and that typify the band to a new and unconventional approach. The third track 'Zyg (Crescita Zero)' was released on 'Caution Radiation Area'. It begins with experimental music, which is the main characteristic of the rest of that album. After begins with some distorted industrial noises and some electronic experimentation, it shows a more rocking and psychedelic side of Area. Still, this is basically a free jazz/fusion track with magnificent moments and fantastic individual performances, which gives to that album a wonderful musical moment. The fourth track 'Citazione Da George L. Jackson' was never released on any studio album of Area. It was originally released as the B-side of their single 'L'Internazionale'. It's a short track with some improvisations played over a spoken text cited by Stratos. This is a very strange and weird track. The fifth track 'Nervi Scoperti' was released on 'Crac!'. It's an instrumental track with nice guitar and keyboard solos. It's a vibrant and tense piece where the drumming work is the star here. It begins with Fariselli assuming the leading role with his truly amazing piano work, preparing the ground to Tofani complement perfectly well Capiozzo work. The sixth track 'Area 5' was released on 'Crac!'. It's a very weird experimental track full of improvisations and with some solos and noises. It's the smallest track on that album, a truly contemporary classical piece. This is a very bizarre track that concludes originally that album. The seventh track 'Gerontocrazia' was released on 'Maledetti'. It starts with a cradle song in ancient Greek and during the song we can hear play txalaparta, a Basque musical percussion instrument, that I never heard before on the previous studio albums of Area. It demonstrates, once more, the interest of the group in the ethnic music. During the song, and besides several musical influences, I think we can clearly listen strongly the influence of Gentle Giant's music. I think this is the music of the band, until that moment on their career where that is more evident.

Conclusion: I'm think that 'Anto/Logicamente' was made, intentionally, with a selection of some of their most hidden and less known tracks and not of their most known. Relativelly to 'Arbeit Macht Frei', if in relation to the title track I've nothing to say with its choice because it's one of the best tracks on that album, in relation to 'L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin', it isn't, for sure, the best choice because it's the most avant-garde, experimental, weird and bizarre track of that album. All the other tracks of that album would be better, especially 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)', which is one of the best tracks ever made by them. Relatively to 'Caution Radiation Area', the choice of 'Zyg (Crescita Zero)' isn't a bad option but 'Cometa Rossa' would be a much better option because is a typical song of Area. Musically, it's a song very close to 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)' and both songs show perfectly well their unmistakable type of music and the unique vocal style of Demetrio Stratos. Relatively to 'Crac!', if 'Nervi Scoperti' isn't a bad option, 'Area 5' is, for me, the worst choice possible. Sincerely, I never liked very much of 'Area 5' because is a very weird and experimental track. 'L'Elefante Bianco', 'La Mela Di Odessa', 'Megalopoli' and 'Gioia I Rivoluzione' would be better options. Relatively to 'Maledetti' I have nothing to say with the choice of 'Gerontocrazia' because it's with 'Diforisma Urbano' one of the two best tracks on that album. So, this isn't a compilation that best shows the great music of Area.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Are(A)zione by AREA album cover Live, 1975
4.04 | 65 ratings

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Are(A)zione
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars AREA was one of Italy's leading progressive rock bands of the 70s led by the unworldly vocalist Demetrio Stratos who singly handedly pushed this band far beyond the limits of the most adventurous progressive rock bands of the day. With his unique vocal gymnastics that scaled up and down octaves with uncanny precision and approached the human vocal limit of 7000 Hz, Stratos was the icing on an already eclectic cake where each musician excelled at his respective instrument and together this band cranked out some of the weirdest albums of the 70s with their innovative fusion of jazz, rock, Middle Eastern folk and a proclivity for the unexpected. The band was a huge hit with the youth primarily due to their Socialist leaning lyrical content but as the decades since have elapsed, this band has gone down in history as one of the most unique and technically skilled of the entire era.

After three studio albums, AREA followed up 'Crac!' which was released in early 1975 with their first live released titled ARE(A)ZIONE which emerged at the tail end of the year. The term ARE(A)ZIONE translates into English as 'ventiliation' or 'airing' and that seems appropriate since the band were good at 'ventilating' their political inclinations as well as their penchant for the over-the-top eccentricities. This live release was recorded during their 1975 tour and includes performances from the Festa del Proletariato Giovanalle in Milan, the Festa dell'Unit' in Naples, the Festa della Giovent' in Rimini and a press concert at Il Teatro Comunale in Reggio Emilia. The album is divided up into two parts. Side One contained one track from each album that preceded. 'Luglio, agosto, settembre (nero)' from 'Arbeit Macht Frei,' 'La Mela di Odessa' from 'Crac!' and 'Cometa Rossa,' the most 'normal' opening track from 'Caution Radiation Area.' Side Two contained two completely new tracks unreleased on any studio album.

ARE(A)ZIONE displayed a band that had a stable lineup for several years and the payoff is in full presentation on these live performances. Like any great musical act, AREA didn't just perform their studio tracks in a predictable manner but included lengthy improvisations that excelled at allowing the musicians and Stratos to show exactly why they were indeed a much lauded band of the era. While live albums rarely get my attention, when a band exudes a creative brilliance such as AREA does on ARE(A)ZIONE, i find such albums to be equally as important as the studio albums that surround. After the first side presents a basic summary of the band's ventures through their first three albums with a track from each, on the second side the band unleashed a 15 minute avant- garde jam for the title track. While a completely new instrumental that found Stratos wordless vocalizations as merely a supplemental instrument, the track did preview the basic drum patterns of 'Giro, Giro, Tondo' which would appear on the following album 'Maledetti (Maudits).' The final shorter piece 'L'internazionale' was their take on the Socialist anthem and was released as a single.

Live albums definitely show a band's true nature. There have been many bands that sound spectacular in the studio but don't have the chops to pull off their musical adventures in a live setting. The great thing about ARE(A)ZIONE is that it undoubtedly proves how brilliant and versatile AREA were as performers and musicians. This is not a perfect album. While the material presented is as good as you could possibly hope for, the sound production is definitely lacking but in all honesty, live settings rarely are designed to create such albums and a less than perfect series of things isn't my concern. I'm more interested in the feeling of a band in their prime where they deliver their all and the audience interaction. In that department ARE(A)ZIONE delivers all the goods effortlessly. If you are a true AREA fan, you will eventually get to this one since it is as every bit as essential as the five studio albums with Stratos. All that magic that made AREA so great is fully present on this one and despite the lackluster sound quality is well worth the experience. Should've been a double album! I'm left wanting MORE!

 Tic & Tac by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.61 | 47 ratings

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Tic & Tac
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

1 stars I could never understand the logic for continuing a musical project once one of the band's most prominent features has left or in the case of Italy's larger-than-life avant-garde jazz-fusion maestros AREA, expire. It was a sad day indeed when the charismatic and innovative vocal frontman Demetrio Stratos succumbed to a severe case of aplastic anemia at the tender age of 34. Everyone knows this sad story. The Doors tried to carry on without Jim Morrison but after two albums realized the obvious. AC/DC did the same after Bon Scott and despite having commercial success, they still pale in comparison. The list goes on as bands like Alice In Chains, Lynyrd Skynyrd, INXS, Mayhem and even more recently Queen have carried on without the signature frontman who was the major force in their ascent to the top.

While pop and metal bands can often continue, for a completely unique and talented band like AREA with such an unreplaceable figurehead, the tall task seemed virtually impossible. And impossible it was. When Stratos met his untimely passing on 13 July 1979, the response should've been met with the same clearheaded grace that Led Zeppelin would face the following year in 1980 with John Bonham's passing by retiring the band and let the legacy continue after the chapters have unfairly been written and concluded. However that was NOT the case at all and in the process three of the AREA lineup namely Giulio Capiozzo (drums, vibraphones), Patrizio Fariselli (piano and keys) and Ares Tavalozzi (bass) decided to continue the band without a vocalist! They did however add Larry Nocella as a tenor sax player.

The result of this decision was the release of the lamely titled TIC & TAC which at least is succinctly easier to pronounced than the previous "1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano"! While Stratos may have been a major feature in AREA's classic eccentric soundscape, the band was equally as dynamic dishing out ridiculously adventurous and avant-garde musical workouts offering some of the most creative music that the 70s had to offer. It seems that not only Stratos died but in the process so did all the wild and wacky creativity that AREA was so famous for! TIC & TAC has to be one of the absolute lamest attempts to carry on for any band in history. The absolute antithesis of 70s AREA, this one is straight forward jazz fusion that wouldn't sound out of place in some swanky cocktail lounge from some 60s swinging scene.

While i wouldn't call the music presented here as lacking in great jazz musicianship, i would definitely call this one majorly lacking in any kind of musical inspiration. It feels like a hollow template from some jazz academy playbook that demands suspension of a creativity for the sake of conforming to a status quo paradigm. In other words, this music is absolutely awful considering it's AREA, one of Italy's greatest exports in the musical world. I could only stomach this twice for listening, the second time exclusively for this review for i'm so underwhelmed by it all. This is the absolute worst followup album possible after a singer's untimely passing i've ever heard. Thankfully, the members realized the mistake of this train wreck and quickly called it a day. These guys must have been in shock when they did this for i feel the trauma just listening to it. Needless to say, this is as bad as it gets for a once great band in total disarray. Avoid at all costs.

 Maledetti by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.04 | 175 ratings

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Maledetti
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 168

Area began their musical adventure at the end of 1972, bringing together musicians from different backgrounds, that ranges from pop, free jazz, electronic and contemporary experimentation, with the common will to overcome individual artistic experiences to arrive at a "total music", from jazz to progressive rock music through the vanguard. With all their works, Area proved to be among the bravest and original bands of the Italian progressive rock scene. But, to turn their mark complete was also, and above all, the incredible and unique voice of their singer, Demetrio Stratos.

"Maledetti" is the forth studio album of Area and was released in 1976. It can be considered a kind of a conceptual album. The story occurs during the XX century, where an imaginary bank loses data from the XV century, causing people forgetting how to govern the world ("Evaporazione"). Some new hypothesis are formulated such as power to old people ("Gerontocrazia"), power to women ("Scum") and power to children ("Giro, Giro, Tondo"). This is Area, indeed.

"Maledetti" has seven tracks. The first track "Evaporazione" is a very short track where we can hear someone running, whistling and talking and where there isn't any kind of music to listen to. It's a kind of an introduction to the album where Demetrio Stratos tells us that there is something important to communicate on this album and that it isn't properly a very nice thing. The second track "Diforisma Urbano" is a complete instrumental track and this is really a terrific piece of music. This is a perfect, fantastic and surprisingly upbeat funk jazz/fusion song. Once more we have another great example of a song where Demetrio Stratos "plays" his voice as an instrument that adds to the song a beautiful, strange, unique, intense and special touch of colour. "Diforisma Urbano" is, in my humble opinion, one of their best and finest tracks ever. The third track "Gerontocrazia" is a song totally spectacular. It starts with a cradle song in ancient Greek and during the song we can hear play txalaparta, a Basque musical percussion instrument, that I never heard on the three previous studio albums of Area, which demonstrate once more the interest of the group in the ethnical music. During the song, and besides several musical influences, I think we can clearly listen to, strongly, the influence of Gentle Giant's music, and I think this is the music from the band, until now, where that is more evident. "Gerontocrazia" is with "Diforisma Urbano" the two greatest masterpieces of this album. The fourth track "Scum" is another great song but this time the music takes a completely free jazz/fusion direction where the piano of Patrizio Fariselli takes the front and performe in a strange tonal style. The song has also some electronic effects and Demetrio Stratos does some speech about the women rights. This is probably the jazz most oriented piece of music on the entire album. The fifth track "Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre In Sol Maggiore" is a fragment of a classical piece of music for a string quartet taken from Bach's "Brandenburg Concert number 3 in G major". It's a deconstructed version of the original piece of music made by the group to symbolize the demolition of the music corporatism. However, the personal treatment of the music, made by them, doesn't sound anything out of the place, and fortunately, it also doesn't completely erase the charm of Bach's music. The sixth track "Giro, Giro, Tondo" is another song where the musical experimentalism is more evident and represents a return into a more familiar Area territory. It's a typical avant-garde jazz/fusion song with emotional vocals dominated by the piano performance and with has also a very peculiar ending. This is another song where the influence of Gentle Giant's music is there, although not as evident as on "Gerontocrazia". The seventh and last track "Caos (Parte Seconda)" is totally an avant-garde track. This is the lengthiest track on the album and is a very strange and completely chaotic track with electronic sounds, noises, and voices, and it's full of experimentations. Each musician do what they want and this track represents one of the most strangest and difficult pieces I've ever heard. It may be interesting but it isn't for everyone. It's too much experimental.

Conclusion: Area is a band catalogued on Progarchives in the sub-genre of Rock Progressivo Italiano. I accept and I understand why. But, they would fit also very well in the jazz rock/fusion or RIO/Avant-prog sub-genres. If my memory doesn't betray me, I think they were already classified as a jazz rock/fusion group on this site. "Maledetti" is much more experimental than their previous third studio album "Crac!". Its music is equally chaotic and we can hear on it several musical influences like traditional Greek music, Arabian music, avant-garde music, free jazz, jazz rock/fusion, funk, Mediterranean music and even classical music. Despite "Maledetti" isn't as good as "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Crac!", is better than "Caution Radiation Area". It's more balanced and is less dark, more modern, and especially, it has two of their greatest masterpieces "Diforisma Urbano" and "Gerontocrazia". This is one of their finest musical works and put Area, probably, as the most creative of all Italian progressive bands and in one of the best prog groups from the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 195 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 158

'Caution Radiation Area' is the second studio album of Area and was released in 1974. The line up on the album is Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ, clavicembalo, steel drums and percussion), Giampaolo Tofani (guitar, synthesizer and flute), Patrizio Fariselli (electric piano, piano, clarinet and synthesizer), Areas Tavolazzi (bass and trombone) and Giulio Capiozzo (drums and percussion).

This is the first album that contains the more stable and better known line up of the group. On their debut and previous studio album 'Arbeit Macht Frei', the bassist of the band was Patrick Djivas, who left the band after the release of the album to be a member of Premiata Forneria Marconi. On the other hand, that musical work was the only album with the participation of the saxophonist Eddie Busnello, which wouldn't be replaced by any other musician on their new works.

'Caution Radiation Area' has five tracks. The first track 'Cometa Rossa' is a typical track of Area and it seems to be built around the ethnic and traditional music. In this case, we are presented to some influences of Arabic music, and are very close to some of the songs presented on Area's previous debut studio album 'Arbeit Macht Frei', especially its first song 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)'. It represents a perfect introduction to the band that shows their unmistakable type of music and the unique vocal style of Demetrio. The second track 'ZYG (Crescita Zero)' is a track that begins with more experimental music, which is the main characteristic of the rest of the album. It's a song that after begins with some distorted industrial noises and some electronic experimentation, shows a more rocking and psychedelic side of Area. However, we can say that this is basically a free jazz/fusion track with magnificent musical moments and fantastic individual performances all over the track, which gives to the album another wonderful musical moment. The third track 'Brujo' is, musically, a real wild track that opens in a chaotic way and where they play a lot of notes with a total improvisation. This is another free jazz/fusion track with great electric piano, bass, percussions and guitar works. It finishes with some vocal experimentation by Demetrio, accompanied by keyboard noises on the back. This is another great musical moment on the album with fantastic improvisations by all band's members. The fourth track 'MIRage? Mirage!' is, in a certain way, a surprising track. It's a song with a mix of a contemporary classical music and again the free and avant-garde jazz/fusion music. This is the lengthiest track on the album and is a song with a dark and a dissonant atmosphere, with very interesting and improvised musical moments. But, it's only recommended to the hard fans of the band, because it represents one of the scariest musical moments ever created by the band. The fifth and last track 'Lobotomia' is the most experimental track on the album. The track is an amalgam of distorted electronic sounds and noises, and this is, in reality, what this track is all about. I think this is a piece that intents to provoke the usual listener, something like lobotomize the listener itself. This isn't a piece to enjoy or hate. This is more something like if we can drop everything we knew on music and leave for something new and inscrutable. It reminds me the new contemporary classical music. It closes perfectly well this strange, savage and almost completely experimental album.

Conclusion: Area is a very special and unique band, even in the universe of Rock Progressivo Italiano. No other band can be compared with them. Their style is basically avant-garde jazz rock/fusion with clear influences of other type of music that ranges from Greek, Italian, Arab and Mediterranean music with a very special and inimitable touch of the unique voice of Demetrio Stratos. However, 'Caution Radiation Area' is a completely different work from 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. 'Arbeit Macht Frei' represents the highlighted Area's early musical sound, less experimental, which featured folk melodies, Canterbury Scene sound, acid psychedelic stile and avant-garde experimental jazz music, all together filtered and mixed through a very special and very particular Italian musical sensibility and taste. 'Caution Radiation Area' is much more experimental with plenty of electronic effects. So, this is the album where the truly experimental music was really introduced. As its name indicates, it's much darker than their previous debut album, which obviously intended to provoke and disturb the ears of the listener. We get more disturbed when we remember some nuclear accidents that have occurred since 1974, the year that we were all provoked by the terrible warning on the front cover of this album. I remember the Seveso disaster in 1976, the Bhopal disaster in 1984, and especially the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 and the most recent of all, the Fukushima Daiichi, the disaster in 2011. Backing to this album, this is really a great working. It's especially recommended for people who like free avant-garde jazz fusion music. Still, if you aren't yet familiarized with the band's music, it's preferable to start with 'Arbeit Macht Frei' or 'Crac!' which are more accessible. 'Caution Radiation Area' is more 'radioactive' and needs an extreme caution approach, especially by the newbies.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.26 | 595 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nș 148

'Arbeit Macht Frei' is the debut studio album of Area and was released in 1973. The line up on the album is Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ and steel drums), Giampaolo Tofani (guitar and synthesizer), Patrizio Fariselli (piano), Eddie Busnello (saxophone), Patrick Djivas (bass and double bass) and Giulio Capiozzo (drums and percussion).

This wasn't their original line up. In 1972 the pianist was Leandro Gaetano and the guitarist was Johnny Lambizzi instead of Patrizio Fariselli and Giampaolo Tofani. On the other hand, this was the only album with the participation of bassist Patrick Djivas, who left the band to be a member of Premiata Forneria Marconi and which was replaced by Ares Tavolazzi. And it was the only participation on the group of the saxophonist Eddie Busnello, that wouldn't be replaced.

'Arbeit Macht Frei' is widely regarded as a masterpiece of the progressive Italian rock from the 70's. Their music shows all their expressive potential like jazz, ethnic music and rock in its experimental research. The album is a manifesto of their nervous and cutting style. Their music is taken up sometimes to strange and 'oriental' forms. 'Arbeit Macht Frei' is called by the critics, 'radical music' because it tends to go to the roots of the political significance of the Pop movement. Shining in the uncommon progressive set-folk of Area is especially Stratos. Stratos was able to develop an extraordinary vocal technique, which included the use of diplofonie and an harmonic voice, as well as a vocal extension almost unattainable. It can be said that he was one of the best singers of all time, with a unique and original singing.

'Arbeit Macht Frei' has six tracks. The first track 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)' is a song with its lyrics about the black September of 1972 when the Palestinians committed terrorist attacks. The track begins with an Arab feminine voice reciting a poem. Musically, it's a very difficult song to describe and we must to hear it to understand it. It seems to be built around ethnic and traditional music, probably from Greece. Definitely, this song represents, without any doubt, one their finest musical moments. The second track is the title track 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. It's a song with strong political lyrics and which ironically its title was taken from the very well known Nazi motif on the entrance of the infamous death camp Auschwitz, in Poland. Musically it's a completely different musical proposal from their previous debut song. It's a song very close to avant-garde jazz, very innovative, and which begin to typify the band to a new and unconventional musical approach. It's another great and strong song of the album. The third track 'Consapevolezza', lyrically is a dramatically call to the revolution. Musically, is a fantastic jazz/rock song with plenty of some exotic musical atmospheres, that binds us to the song, and it has also a real hypnotic musical rhythm and the suggestive vocals invite us to freedom. The fourth track 'Le Labbra Del Tempo' is another great and complex song also influenced by jazz and with a very good and interesting rock section. It's a song that changes very often of its musical structure. This is a song with great musical passages and where the lyrics show an obscure reflection about the life and the time, and that we all should fight by our human rights and let ourselves free of superstitions and old beliefs. The fifth track '240 Chilometri Da Smirne' is the only fully instrumental track on the album. This is an avant-garde jazz piece of music with an incredible saxophone work. It's a song that, in many parts, seems to be a completely free jazz improvisation and it's incredibly a very good song. This is pure musical enjoy for any truly progressive fan, especially for jazz rock fans. The sixth and last track 'L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin' is for me the most avant-garde music on the album. It's a song with many experimental musical noises of different musical instruments, including the voice of Demetrio Stratos. This is a very weird and bizarre song with some musical changes all over the song. It's an insane song with vocal echoes, some musical explosions, strange instrumental sounds and which abruptly ends without warning. This is a strange, and at the same time, a coherent way to close this progressive masterpiece. It's one of the best improvised tracks, indeed.

Conclusion: The band members like to describe themselves as an International POPular group because they said that Area was a band that creates music for the people and for the masses and not for the elites. Sincerely and in general, I agree with them. However, with 'Arbeit Macht Frei' I don't know if that is completely true. In reality, 'Arbeit Macht Frei' is a truly and pure jazz rock/fusion album, and in my humble opinion, it's one of the best releases of that sub-genre ever made. 'Arbeit Macht Frei' is, without any doubt, one of the greatest progressive albums made in the 70's. However, I must confess that I always preferred their third studio album 'Crac !'. 'Crac !' was my third album in my progressive collection and was also my first contact with the band. Perhaps that is the reason why 'Crac !' remains for be my favourite musical work from them. Still, 'Arbeit Macht Frei' is a truly masterpiece of the band, putting Area at the same level of their compatriots of the 70's, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Anto/Logicamente by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Anto/Logicamente
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The earliest compilation from Italy's weirdest band collects a random half-dozen tracks off their first (and best) four albums, released between 1973 and 1976. According to the CD booklet (which I haven't seen: my copy is a library download) the selections were meant to follow the odder angles in an already obtuse musical geometry, in retrospect an easy task with this group of virtuoso misfits.

One thing is certain: the music isn't Rock Progressivo Italiano, despite the heading on their page in these Archives. This is pure, unadulterated Avant-Prog of a sort to strike a familiar chord in any Zappaholic, midway between the funny bone and the solar plexus: an incredibly busy and often bizarre mix of jazz/rock/what-the-fck fusion, featuring a lead vocalist whose demented mock-operatic warbling was a unique instrument all by itself.

Area at its creative peak was a challenging band, to say the least, and lots of fun when heard the right way: with both ears bent into pretzel-shaped knots. But the constraints of vinyl didn't allow room for anything more than a limited, lopsided view of their skills, in this case making the music sound even more obscure than it actually is. And with the exception of the 1974 B-side "Citazione da George L. Jackson" - a short atonal improvisation played over spoken text - there isn't any unfamiliar music here.

Consider it instead a sonic litmus test for adventurous newcomers: if you can safely navigate this quick, 40-minute sampler by all means tackle the full albums. There are only four of them from this time-frame, each one fairly short and all essential.

So: three stars, for beginners only. Otherwise the collection is aimed at completists who can't live without hearing the one (somewhat disposable) non-LP track.

 1978 - Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.88 | 144 ratings

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

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

3 stars The last album for Demetrio has been launched in the same year as the title says. At first let me say this is a fantastic album on that all AREAers might introduce sound variations all around and construct quite refined, well-matured world of eccentricity. These auditory effects here and there undies with each other are excellent indeed but Demetrio's magnificent spiritual power might have been gradually attenuated, it's my speculation though. On the contrary, instrumental affection based upon active, strict, explosive play would get more intenser ... this is another reality in this creation.

Via this album we cannot feel any of tragedy that the genuine voice creator would be likely to leave the great combo away. As above mentioned their play is quite intensive and positive, and Demetrio's voices are as powerful and immersive as well. And more of sensuality, I cannot understand Italian language though. Yes this album might not have any issue in a critical manner. Wondering why little impressive texture can be grabbed at least in my ears. Because this album sounds more of RPI-ish melodious progressive rock / pop rather than of powerful, aggressive, and violent jazz rock like their debut stuff? No, not at all.

Every single song can be created and produced greatly indeed, but no unification of the whole album nor energetic "spirit" can be heard actually ... yes there is something lacking. I guess all members should play with their enthusiasm upon every song without suspicion. It's really a difficult case each song be as good as another, "at the similar level" ... surely the collection of "not bad" songs must attenuate the identity of the album. It's a pity they created such a great colourful variation featuring the worldwide essence for every track. Tough looseness should have been another reason of Demetrio's resignation, I'm afraid. Not bad nevertheless.

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.26 | 595 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars Made sure Demetrio was a great singer, a great performer, a great voice percussionist, and a great Italian gem. AREA is one of the first jazz rock artists I'd got immersed in drastically, and "Arbeit Macht Frei" is definitely one of my favourite albums. Demetrio should be kinda killa indeed, and his splendidly energetic mantra could not be created without perfect instrumental basis performed by other musical residents. The ultimate instrumental / sound-oriented union play extensive expensive popular music (as they say) as if they would dance upon such a complicated turf, and Demetrio's funky, eccentric voice instrument unifies the superb combo as a hero.

Let me mention here the third track "Consapevolezza", my No. 1 item made in Italy. Crazy saxophone sounds, refined rhythm basis, and sensitive, sensual, sensational voices chase each other in a parallel direction. The musical formation might be simple, but the melody lines be not at all ... with a variety of music essence (jazz, avantgarde, psychedelic, folk ...) and all are extremely powerful. "240 Chilometri Da Smirne" is another bomb. Their play stability in a complicated, convoluted space is awesome really. Sounds like their rigidity could be heard along 240 kilometer ahead, that is, their play and creation should be incredibly energetic.

Of course as everyone says the titled track should be the masterpiece featuring their magnificent intention along with all of their (not only musical but also of life) elements. "Frei" might be their (especially Demetrio's) claim and attitude. To listen to this stuff could be one of the easiest ways to understand them for the audience I imagine. Reasonable and analyzable, and reliable in the RPI scene. It's surprising and amazing they stood the point of progressive departure with this splendid album. Yes we should enjoy it.

 Are(A)zione by AREA album cover Live, 1975
4.04 | 65 ratings

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Are(A)zione
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 39

This is my third review of an Area's album. Chronologically, this is their fourth album which was released later in the same year as their third studio album "Crac!" released in 1975. But this time, we have a live album. As I wrote before, in general I prefer studio albums instead of live albums, in the most of the cases. However, with Area I don't know if that it's true. What happens with Area is that they're essentially a great live group. I know that, because I had the lucky to see a live concert of the band in "Festa do Avante" in Lisbon in 1976. If you want to know more about that live concert, I suggest you to read, in this site, my review about their second live album "Parigi-Lisbona" released in 1996.

Area is really a very special progressive rock group. Their music is an uncompromising blend of jazz rock/fusion, Italian ethnic folk and free experimentation music with some electronic musical effects. Lyrically, they have real political philosophies supported by left-wing lyrics. All of this made of them a truly unique presence in the Italian rock scene during those times. Fronting the band's music, we have the unique, spectacular and inimitable voice of their singer Demetrio Stratos. The Demetrio's voice, embellished with his own operatic avant-garde vocal techniques with yodels and growls, is completely unique in the world. Taking all this things together, and joining the fact that the group has played at many festivals organized by the Communist Parties in several countries all over the world, and doing justice to the band's name "Area ? International POPular Group", the final result was a very unique live band.

But by the way, about their political leanings, communists, I'm one of the persons who think that their music is so incredible and great that I don't care about their political preferences. In general I don't care about that, and those kind of things don't put me off of enjoy their music. For instance, on the other side of the coin, the Museo Rosenbach were usually accused of being fascists, because of the bust of Mussolini in the collage cover artwork of their debut studio album "Zarathustra" released in 1973, and that the lyrics of the album were inspired by the Nietzsche's superman. But that never stopped me of love the album and to think that it's one of the great gems of the progressive Italian rock.

"Are(a)zione" is their debut live album and was released in 1975. The live musical pieces recorded on the album were taken from live recordings performed in "Parco Lambro" in Milan, "Festa Dell'UnitĂĄ" in Naples, "Festa Della GioventĂč" in Rimini, "Teatro Comunale" in Regio Emilia and in other concerts held in Italy.

The album takes one song from each of their three previous studio albums, and they seemed to be chosen to give a brief outline of the musical career of the group. The rest of the album is adding with almost complete free improvisation music, so essential and important to the taste and the ideas of the band.

So, "Are(a)zione" has five tracks. The first track "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" is a live version of an original song recorded on their debut studio album "Arbeit Macht Frei" released in 1973. The second track "La Mela Di Odessa" is a live version of an original song recorded on their third studio album "Crac!" released in 1975. The third track "Cometa Rossa" is a live version of an original song recorded on their second studio album "Caution Radiation Area" released in 1974. The fourth track "Are(a)zione" is an astonishing track with free improvisation of a harmonic invention by the group. This is a completely a new theme, which wasn't ever recorded on any of the studio albums released by the band, previously. The fifth track "L'Internazionale" is a vanguard free associative of a free experimental version of the band, of the communist hymn, "The International". It was recorded for the first time as a band's single, in 1974, and it became the classic theme that closed almost all the live concerts performed by the group.

Conclusion: "Are(a)zione" is a great live album from a great live band. It's probably the best live album released by the group. In this moment, when I'm writing this review, I only have three live albums from the band but I only know two of them, "Are(a)zione" and "Parigi-Lisbona". The other live album "Live in Torino 1977", I just bought it now, and sincerely, I haven't had time to listen to it, yet. On "Are(a)zione" the live versions of the songs are much closer to the studio versions, while on "Parigi-Lisbona" the live versions of the songs have more free improvisations. By the other hand, "Are(a)zione" has a better sound and is much better produced. In contrast to a number of Area live recordings that suffer from significant deficiencies of the sound, "Are(a)zione" is an excellent album. This is certainly a very good live album and it's perhaps the perfect choice for anyone to start with Area. In a certain way, it tells us, in a short way, the Area's story better than the band's studio albums, or even better than the compilations of them. So, "Are(a)zione" is what you mainly need from the band. It's simply one of the greatest live albums of the Italian progressive scene.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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