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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 discography

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

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

4.29 | 519 ratings
Arbeit Macht Frei
3.95 | 165 ratings
Caution Radiation Area
4.22 | 286 ratings
Crac !
4.04 | 149 ratings
3.91 | 126 ratings
1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano
2.86 | 38 ratings
Tic & Tac
2.53 | 20 ratings
Chernobyl 7991

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

4.06 | 53 ratings
2.59 | 17 ratings
Event '76
3.09 | 4 ratings
Area 1979 - Il Concerto
3.54 | 12 ratings
Concerto Teatro Uomo
3.04 | 8 ratings
3.79 | 5 ratings
Live In Torino 1977
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live 2012

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

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

2.33 | 3 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Area '70
4.00 | 1 ratings
Gioia e rivoluzione
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
International POPular Group
5.00 | 2 ratings
Area Gold Edition
4.92 | 3 ratings
The Essential Box Set Collection

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin
0.00 | 0 ratings

AREA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Are(A)zione by AREA album cover Live, 1975
4.06 | 53 ratings

Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 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'Unitá" in Naples, "Festa Della Gioventù" 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*)

 Parigi-Lisbona by AREA album cover Live, 1996
3.04 | 8 ratings

Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead

3 stars Review Nº 38

First of all, I must explain how I met Area. I was born and I lived in Lisbon, Portugal, in those times. I only left Lisbon in 1993 when I moved to Viana do Castelo, a town in the north of Portugal, near Porto. In 1974, there was a revolution in my country, the revolution of the 25th April, which opened my country again to the world after a dictatorship political regime of 48 years. After that, we did have the possibility to receive many bands from all over the world. With the political democratization in my country, the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) started to organize a festival named "Festa do Avante", in which many bands were invited to participate, especially from jazz and folk areas. I must say, that many people who participated in that festival, weren't communists, like me. But I also must confess, that only in strictly musical terms, the festival was pretty good. It had many bands from various musical styles from all over the world. As a curiosity, and only with information purposes, the festival exists even today, in every year, in September, but it isn't the same, because it lost the flame and the quality of those troubled political times.

Everybody who knows Area recognizes that Area was a political band, probably the most overtly political progressive rock group ever, and that it was very close to PCI (Italian Communist Party). Musically, it's an experimental band from jazz rock fusion area with a mix of avant free jazz, electronic and Mediterranean folk music. So, without any kind of surprise, Area was one of the best bands invited to participate on that festival. Fortunately, I had the luck of have seen the live concert of them in 1976, registered on this album. Area was really a spectacular live band.

"Parigi-Lisbona" is one of the six live albums released by Area, at the time and to my knowledge, and represents one of their few live concerts recorded by the group. It was taken from the recording tapes which were made in 1976 during their international live tour. They were invited to take part in the "Fête de L'Humanité", the festival organised by the PCF (French Communist Party), in Paris, and in "Festa do Avante", the homonymous festival organised by the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party), in Lisbon. The band's participation in those two festivals, ideologically so well- defined, is the perfect demonstration of the group's faithful to their socio-political international commitments.

"Parigi-Lisbona" has nine tracks. It's divided into two parts, and each part corresponds to the live songs recorded on each concert. The first part corresponds to the Paris concert and has four tracks. The first three tracks "L'Elefante Bianco", "Megalopoli" and "La Mela Di Odessa" are three live versions of three original songs recorded on their third studio album "Crac!" released in 1975. The fourth track "Lobotomia" is a live version of an original song recorded on their second studio album "Caution Radiation Area" released in 1974. The second part corresponds to the Lisbon concert and has five tracks. The sixth track "Arbeit Macht Frei" and the eighth track "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" are two live versions of two original songs recorded on their debut studio album "Arbeit Macht Frei" released in 1973. The seventh track "Cometa Rossa" is a live version of an original song also recorded on their second studio album "Caution Radiation Area". The ninth track "L'Internazionale" is a live version of an original song recorded only as a single and which was released in 1974. It was the song that the band usually ended their live concerts.

I left to the last place the fifth track on the album, because it's a very special track. It does the presentation of the Lisbon concert. It brings to us a message of Area read by the presenter. This is an important message to understand the musical concept of the group. Because it's in Portuguese, which is my mother tongue, I'm sure that most of the usual users of this site aren't accustomed with this language. So, I decided to transcribe the contents of it into English, as faithfully as possible: "For Area, composed of five young Italians coming from very different social ambient, the jazz music at this time has lost much of its compositional ability, timeliness and communication. So, the band chose a more advanced form, to exceed what separated the jazz of POPular music. The purpose of the group is to establish a direct impact, as far as possible, in the public, without compromising the dominating essential features of the music".

Conclusion: Despite the book notes saying that the sounds of both concerts were well preserved, there are some deficiencies, especially in the Lisbon concert. Sadly, its sound quality doesn't get beyond an average bootleg quality level. This is very unfortunate, because it detracts from the bite and the energy of the music in comparison with the studio albums, noticeably. Which is even worse, is that their debut live album "Are(A)zione" released in 1975, has less musical material than "Parigi-Lisbona". However, the sound quality on "Are(A)zione" is clearly much better. Anyway, definitely and undoubtedly "Parigi-Lisbona" is one of the most important and interesting live documents by a remarkable, original and unique Italian band from the 70's, which marked the Rock Progressivo Italiano forever, I think.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Event '76 by AREA album cover Live, 1979
2.59 | 17 ratings

Event '76
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by rushfan4
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This mostly just baffled me. I'm not really familiar with Area so I have no idea if they are playing "compositions" from their studio albums or if this is strictly improvised; but either way, I am left pondering who, at the end of the day, thought, "wow we nailed it..we need to release this as a live album". And how strong were the drugs they were on. There were a few passages where they came through as talented musicians who knew how to play, but otherwise I am reminded of the "you can place an infinite amount of monkeys in a room with an infinite number of typewriters and by pure randomness come up with a masterpiece of literature". This, unfortunately, was one of the failed attempts...hence the pieces titled Chaos, I suppose. To top it, the random vocal squeaks and squeals remind me of something that may have been recorded of the monkeys in that room.

Postscript: I see from reading other reviews that it was all improvised. Improvisation, at least to my ears, is one of those things that can be done really well but mostly should remain in the studio behind closed doors to be mined for the worthwhile gold nuggets hidden within.

 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 286 ratings

Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 2

In my humble opinion, Area is with Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme, the four best bands from Rock Progressivo Italiano, in the 70's. Area was the first group, with whom I had contact, on this genre of music. "Crac!" is their third studio album and was released in 1975 and it represents my first contact with the group. With this album, the group gained more popularity all over the world and confirmed finally the great value of them.

I was very surprised when I listened to this album for the first time. Its strong musical compositions, between Jazz Rock/Fusion and Rock Progressivo Italiano, with their left-wing lyrics and the unique and spectacular voice of Demetrio Stratos, something that I never heard before and which is completely inimitable, amazed me completely. The Demetrio's voice needs to be listened to be believed. His avant-garde vocal techniques and the agility with cuts between genres and motifs are absolutely astonishing. Sincerely, I can't compare Area with any other group. They are a completely different and truly original band. I strongly recommend this band to everyone who likes Jazz Rock/Fusion with Progressive Experimental Rock and likes to listen to something wild, new and different.

"Crac!" was one of my first vinyl albums. For me, "Crac!" is their best studio album, with theatrical vocals and an experimental, exotic and robust sound. The energy contained on this album is really and truly incredible, and it's full of abundant humour. "Crac!" is an avant-garde album and represented a breath of fresh air in the progressive rock scene.

"Crac!" has seven tracks. The first track "L'Elefante Bianco" is a song with ethnic sounds and is essentially an instrumental track with variations all over the same theme. It's a track full of energy with clearly Oriental musical influences and some nuances of the southern Mediterranean music. The second track "La Mela Di Odessa" is a song that starts with an instrumental part and continues with great musical works by the entire band, with Demetrio's vocals accompanying perfectly the music and giving a more melody to the song. This is a very complex track that begins with some experimental sounds and a drum solo. It's a typical jazz rock fusion track with symphonic tendencies. The third track "Megalopoli" is the longest song on the album. It's a superb instrumental track with Demetrio's vocals performed as a musical instrument. This is a very intricate song full of energy and clearly influenced by the usual concepts of the jazz rock fusion style. The fourth track "Nervi Scoperti" is another instrumental track with nice guitar and keyboard solos. It's a vibrant and tense piece of music where the drumming is the star here. It begins with Fariselli assuming the leading role with his truly amazing piano work, preparing the ground to Tofani flourish and complemented perfectly by the Capiozzo work. The fifth track "Gioia I Rivoluzione" is a song where stands out more the powerful voice of Demetrio. It's an acoustic and peaceful song. It has a very unusual introduction that features some acoustic guitars and powerful melodic lines. This is clearly a song that shows a tendency towards a more conventional tunes and a less intricate and complicated sound, in contrast with the more experimental forms, such as "Implosion" or "Area 5". It became as one of the best Area's songs. The sixth track "Implosion" is a free instrumental and experimental track where each member of the band plays an instrument improvising in their one way. It begins very calm and soon develops with some sudden musical changes of mood and rhythm. This is a track that contrasts perfectly well with everything else which was made before. The seventh track "Area 5" is a very weird experimental track full of improvisations and with some solos and noises. It's the smallest track on the album, a truly contemporary classical piece of music. This is a very bizarre track that originally concludes this great album.

Conclusion: "Crac!" is one of the best progressive albums from the group and represents a mark in the Italian progressive music. It has also some of the best popular and known songs from the band, like "L'Elefante Bianco", "La Mela Di Odessa" and "Gioia I Rivoluzione". They quickly became some of the songs most performed live by the band, keeping the long instrumental parts that have become as one of the mainly characteristics of the group. To finish my review, I must say one more thing. The band describes themselves as an International POPular group. Sincerely, they take it very seriously. Why? Because Area, defines them as a POPular group, which means that they are a band that creates music for the people and for the masses because they don't create music for the elites. Area is a very special band and "Crac!" is a very special album. It's definitely one of the most influential albums of the 70's in the Italian progressive scene. This is a classic album in its genre, and it's for those who love to listen to something different, fresh and new. Sincerely, this album should be part of every progressive musical collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Essential Box Set Collection by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
4.92 | 3 ratings

The Essential Box Set Collection
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by omphaloskepsis

5 stars As Good as a Box Set Gets!

I can't believe I'm the first to review this 2010 box set!

Progarchive collaborator's have posted a plethora of reviews on Area's four studio albums, contained inside this collection, therefore I won't dilly dally and dawdle over the four studio albums.

Instead, I will confine my comments to the two live albums ensconced in this exquisite box set. But before I go on, suffice to say, Progarchive ratings on the studio albums are accurate...

Arbeit Macht Frei - 4.31

Caution Radiation Area - 3.95

Crac ! - 4.21

Maledetti - 4.04

My husband and I are rabid followers of Rock Progressivo Italiano rock. When I was a teenager, Rock Progressivo Italiano albums didn't exactly saturate the shelves of your average American record store. Recently, hubby and I morphed into musical anthropologists, unearthing scores of Rock Progressivo Italiano classics.

On my birthday, my sweet heart gifted me, AREA's "The Essential Box Set Collection!" The musical equivalent of a box of Godiva Truffles!

Area vocalist Demetrio Stratos is simply to die for for! Unfortunately Demetrio did die on June 13, 1979, which explains the low Progarchive scores for the two Area studio albums released after 1978. I'm sure the Area fan base was devastated!

Area decided to go on without a singer. Smart decision! Stratos was irreplaceable. So the next album was instrumental. And it's a good album, if you can separate yourself from the loss of Demetrio's vocals.

Demetrio Stratos was the Frank Zappa of vocalists. Don't get me wrong, Demetrio doesn't sing like Zappa, instead Demetrio experimented and twisted his voice similar to the way Zappa turned rock, pop, and Doo Wop on it's collective ear. I salivate at the thought of Demetrio joining Zappa's band or recording an album with Captain Beefheart.

Area had more of a Jazz Fusion sound then most Rock Progressivo Italiano bands. If you like Area's Italian take on jazz fusion then I highly recommend the Perigeo album "Azimut". But I digress... Included in Area's box set are TWO LIVE animals, and they are very different albums.

First up is 1975 live album "ARE(A)ZIONE" with a progarchives score of 4.08.

My god! What a voice Stratos has. I am sadden he died so early...But, I'm not overly distressed, because the incredible sounds Area left us with are out-of-this-world-wonderful!

ARE(A)ZIONE doesn't stray far from Area's jazz fusion roots. Short story- An amazing live, prog jazz classic. I think Progarchive's most prolific music critic "Mellotron Storm" summed it up best, when he wrote so elegantly in his review of ARE(A)ZIONE-

" I can just imagine being there back in the seventies in Italy watching this very entertaining band. There's one picture in particular of a young (teen?) girl being held up, above people's shoulders by several guys. She has this huge triumphant smile on her face with her arm up in the air, while the people around her are all laughing and smiling at this sight."

Yeah, that sums it up... And as an added bonus- Two of the songs (including the title song) never appeared on an Area studio release!

Saddled with a relatively low progarchive score of 2.81, the last album in the six album box set is "Event '76" Why the low score? Because "Event '76" was an improvised live album. That's right, Area made it up, on the spot, in front of a live audience. In the Mile Davis tradition of winging it, these guys risked egos, starting from scratch, Area created a one of kind, dissonant, jazzy, spectacular, atmospherically enchanting live experience. If you are like me? You want an album for every mood you experience. Event '76 fits my cooking beef fajitas and Mexican rice for family mood. Go figure?

I rate "Event '76" a 3.2, because it makes me happy. I'm not saying "Event '76" will forever rotate through your car stereo system, but I'll wager several souls find the feeling "Event '76" evokes fits perfectly at an unique and specific time in your life!

Pros. - With the exception of the absence of Area's 1978 album - "gli dei se ne vanno, gli arrabbiati restano" , this box set is truly an essential progressive rock classic. ( I immediately purchased "gli dei se ne vanno, gli arrabbiati restano" , after listening Area's Box Set.)

- These guys created a new way to hold CD's into the package, so they never fall out. They snap shut! I'm sure several of you guys have cursed the Prog Rock Gods while you watched your precious CD's fall willy nilly to the floor. Not with this collection! These Cd's snap shut!

- Area's Box Set packaging is so nice, and you get a groovy Area post card for an affordable price! OK, Area's box set is not as visually arresting or as impressive as Steven Wilson's Deluxe Book and Box Set- Hand. Cannot. Erase. But what do want for 5 bucks per classic CD?

- If you love Italian prog or jazz fusion, And you don't have any AREA albums, then this is The Box Set for you!

You get all the Area classics at once. Thank God the surviving members of Area had good sense not to release a greatest hits album or anthology. If you feel like We do, you want your albums uncut, untarnished, and original.

Cons- Only one con...The 36 page booklet is written in Italian! Listen people, I'm not trilingual! I don't speak three languages! Heck, I'm not even bilingual In case you didn't know, a bilingual person speak two languages.

What do you call a person who speaks only one language? That's right....American! I'm a silly American on a bargain basement budget.

"Area's International POPular Group" Essential Box Set Collection gets a 5 star rating from moi!

Essential masterpiece of progressive rock music!

 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.91 | 126 ratings

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.

 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.95 | 165 ratings

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)".

 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 286 ratings

Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.29 | 519 ratings

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

 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 286 ratings

Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by GKR

5 stars Greece, Portugal, Vietnam, Angola, Moçambique, Green Cape... Rejoice: revolution is coming. Capitalism is at end. Another world, more just, more equal, with no exploitation is coming. Is it easy? No. We achieve withou losses? No. We need to be strong and built ourselves another possibility of social living.

Thats what Crac! is all about: possibilities and the comprehension that a new world can be built by ourselves second by second, while we're still here, talking, listening to this music.

AREA is probably the group I feel more closely related. As I said in the Arbeit Mach Frei review, they touch me with their quality and political message - one not interfering in the other, becoming complementary.

Crac! sang revolutions that, in the medium and long term, did not sustain themselves. As I have already said, Arbeit Macht Frei is more present than this album.

But let us arise our fists, lets fight and dream.

No analysis of music here: just feeling. Just emotion. Just the praise for AREA and their great commitment to to a land we're we can unite the human race.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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