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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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Perfect DreamPerfect Dream
Projekt Records 1998
Audio CD$10.00
$4.98 (used)
AreazioneAreazione
Import
Cramps Records Imp 2013
Audio CD$7.04
$14.46 (used)
Area International Popular GroupArea International Popular Group
Box set · Import
Cramps Records Imp 2010
Audio CD$35.23
$158.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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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 | 467 ratings
Arbeit Macht Frei
1973
3.94 | 154 ratings
Caution Radiation Area
1974
4.22 | 263 ratings
Crac !
1975
4.05 | 137 ratings
Maledetti
1976
3.95 | 116 ratings
1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano
1978
2.88 | 36 ratings
Tic & Tac
1980
2.51 | 19 ratings
Chernobyl 7991 *
1996

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

4.08 | 49 ratings
Are(A)zione
1975
2.81 | 16 ratings
Event '76
1979
3.09 | 4 ratings
Area 1979 - Il Concerto
1980
3.54 | 12 ratings
Concerto Teatro Uomo
1996
3.06 | 7 ratings
Parigi-Lisboa*
1996
3.79 | 5 ratings
Live In Torino 1977
2005
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live 2012
2012

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

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

2.33 | 3 ratings
Anto/Logicamente
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Area '70
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Gioia e rivoluzione
1996
3.00 | 1 ratings
Revolution
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
International POPular Group
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Area Gold Edition
2007
4.92 | 3 ratings
The Essential Box Set Collection
2010

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

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

AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 263 ratings

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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*)

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

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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!

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 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 116 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

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

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

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

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 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 154 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

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

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

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 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 263 ratings

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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.

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 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 467 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Fido73

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

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

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

5 Stars, Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music

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 Maledetti by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 137 ratings

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Maledetti
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

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

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

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

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 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 263 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

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

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

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 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 467 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

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

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

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 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 154 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

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

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

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

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