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CRYSTALS

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Crystals biography
Crystals is a sort of supergroup composed in the 1973 year by experienced and famous musicians, former members of name bands like PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (Giorgio Piazza), BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO (Marcello Todaro), RACCOMANDATA RICEVUTA DI RITORNO and SAMADHI (Nanni Civitenga), ALPHATAURUS (Giorgio Santandrea), and under the guidance of Paolo Tofani (AREA and ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN) that composed all of their tracks.

They recorded an album that was intended for release on Cramps label, but for mysterious reasons, it never appeared, and has only seen the light on CD in the early 90's.
The record shows an excellent musicianship. The lyrics are sung in english and the album has long instrumental parts. A Led Zeppelin influence is evident even if two guitarists make the sound original.
[Italianprog.com]


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CRYSTALS discography


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3.18 | 21 ratings
Crystals
1992

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CRYSTALS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crystals by CRYSTALS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.18 | 21 ratings

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Crystals
Crystals Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Sometimes too many chefs in the kitchen don't ruin the soup

Contrary to what anybody can expect, supergroups almost never work, sometimes the music is inferior to what fans expect from many great musicians grouped together like in the case of GTR (Hackett and Howe together was not a dream but a nightmare). In most of the cases, the group works, but they split soon due to other obligations or simply because too many egos can work together.

CRYSTALS is a special case, their only self titled album was recorded in 1974 but only released in 1992 (Only God knows why), the band was for,med by Giorgio Piazza (PFM), Giorgio Piazza (ALPHATAURUS), Marcello Todaro (BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO), Nanni Chivitenga (RACCOMANDATA CON RICEVUTA DI RITORNO & SAMADHI) plus a relatively unknown Hard Rock vocalist named Carlo Degani, and if this wasn't enough Paolo Tofani (Area) who wrote all the songs.

Looking at the list of musicians and bands involved, specially Tofano, I expected some sort of Symphonic oriented Jazz, but surprisingly their only release Crystals is closer to Blues based Heavy Prog in the style of LED ZEPPELIN than to a classical Italian Prog band from the 70's, probably that's why they went for Carlo Degani in the vocals (who has a pretty decent English accent), instead of a well known singer like Mussida, Di Cioccio or Di GIacomo, who would had been out of their natural environment.

My favourite tracks are the opener "Wrought Iron" with an outstanding bass performance by Giorgio Piazza, making it sound somehow reminiscent of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD; the soft and acoustic "Feeling" (Somebody said Stairways to Heaven?); "Is She Still Mine"" full of bluesy distorted guitar by Todaro and Chivitenga and of course "Sad Story" due to the fantastic guitar solos . But in general terms there are no weak moments or bad tracks.

Many diehard Progheads will probably rate this album lower than most Italian bands because of their relatively lack of "progressiveness", but this would be unfair, the album is a good example of what Heavy Prog would had sounded if embraced by more Italian bands and deserves no less than 4 solid stars.

It's true that we are not talking about revolutionary or extremely complex music, but the the songs and performances are delightful.

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 Crystals by CRYSTALS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.18 | 21 ratings

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Crystals
Crystals Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Very unusual album placed under RPI tag. It was recorded in 1974, but released in 1992 for the first time. I believe this one-shot project's line up can attract many RPI fans: guitarist Nanni Civitenga ( SAMADHI ), another guitarist Marcello Todaro (Banco...),bassist Giorgio Piazza (PFM),drummer Giorgio Santandrea (ALPHATAURUS) play songs ,composed by Paolo Tofani (Area)!

But... First of all music there is hard rock with bluesy roots. Or let say - music that Led Zeppelin played at their early albums. Second - vocalist Carlo Degany is absolute Robert Plant clone, he even sings in English. Third, all the music, both together with vocal, is just not too much original version of Led Zeppelin.

OK, there are some small traces of "Italian origin" - comparing with the original (Led Zeppelin) compositions there are softer, better polished, more melodic and with more complex arrangements. In fact it gives to all music slight prog feeling. Unhappily, all music is so similar to original, that can not be accepted as independent album in similar style. I believe, it was the reason why this album wasn't released in 1974, but spend almost two decades in archives.

Then, who is this work listener now? I think it could be really interesting for die hard RPI maniacs, whenever they will find well-known genre musicians playing unusual alternative project. Who else? To be honest, I don't know. Don't really think someone with love to early bluesy hard-rock will be attracted by not too original Led Zeppelin clone.

Whenever all musicians are really competent, music if not too original is played at the professional level, though. I can rate this album as almost good ( = 2,75).

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 Crystals by CRYSTALS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.18 | 21 ratings

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Crystals
Crystals Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Recorded in 1974 this album was never released until it saw the light of day in the nineties. I'm not sure why that happened, it's just that the label decided not to release it. Other than the vocalist the other members were from well known bands.They got together to record a Hard Rock album basically. Paolo Tofani from AREA composed all the music but didn't play on it. Two guitarists on here, Nanni from SAMADHI and RRR and the other Marcello from BANCO. The bass player (Giorgio) is from PFM and the drummer (also Giorgio) is from the great ALPHATAURUS.

"Wrought Iron" is the opening instrumental where drums and bass lead the way. It's like an uptempo warm-up track. "Time Out" sounds so good to open with that bass, drums and guitar standing out. Vocals join in. Check out the drumming though. Guitar solo 1 1/2 minutes in. One of the best tracks on here. "Feeling" opens with acoustic guitars with reserved vocals arriving before a minute. A melancholic and reflective tune. "If She's Still Mine" is an instrumental but better than the opener. Strummed guitar, bass and drums to open. It kicks in heavier before 1 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue.

"Sad Story" is melancholic with reserved vocals. It's laid back until after 1 1/2 minutes when it kicks in. These contrasts continue. Good song. "Persian Carpet" has an aggressive intro. When it settles the vocals join in. Nice bass. I like the sections when he's not singing 'cause they're more dynamic. "Policeman" opens with what sounds like mandolin and it continues throughout. Electric guitar, bass and drums fill out the sound. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. He sounds like Plant here at times.Nice guitar 4 minutes in. "Woman Under Water" is the closing instrumental. Some intricate playing here that is impressive. Check it out 3 minutes in as it gets a little crazy. The best part of the album.

The sound quality is just ok, the vocalsist is also just ok. I'd love to give this 4 stars but in my heart I feel it's just not that good to warrant that rating. It's also interesting that the vocals are in English instead of Italian.

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 Crystals by CRYSTALS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.18 | 21 ratings

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Crystals
Crystals Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Paolo Tofani of Area was responsible for this unknown supergroup,including Giorgio Piazza of PFM, Giorgio Santandrea of Alphataurus,Carlo Degani on vocals,Nanni Civitenga of Samadhi and Raccomandata Ricevuto di Ritorno and Marcello Todaro of Banco del mutuo Soccorso.Tofani composed all tracks of the album,which was recorded in 1974 and headed for release on Cramps label.For unknown reasons the album saw the light 18 years later on Mellow Records and succeded another re-issue on Akarma in 2003 with a different cover.

Despite the presence of some giant names of the Italian prog rock scene,this is album has nothing to do with classic Italian prog sound.Firstly all tracks contain only English lyrics.Secondly CRYSTALS draw their influences from the US hard/blues scene,especially some instrumental parts with some double guitar attacks are very close to LED ZEPPELIN's sound and even a few mellow parts come close to WISHBONE ASH.Another name that comes to mind in terms of comparison are early RUSH (first three albums).Nice bass work by Todaro and a couple of good guitar passages along with the non-accented vocals of Degani are worth mentioning.However prog addicts will meet almost nothing of significant interest in here...

A good album overall,but with a very unoriginal sound.2.5 stars for a lost release,which could have been easily part of a classic rock site.

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 Crystals by CRYSTALS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.18 | 21 ratings

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Crystals
Crystals Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Lady In Black

5 stars TIME OUT...

Recorded in 1974 and published for the first time in 1992 "Crystals" is a true missing masterpiece of Italian Prog. This band is a sort of studio supergroup that plays a Prog version of Led Zepelin. I note that the music of "Crystals" are extreme melodic Heavy Prog. But the guitars are extreme energic. Ok, Carlo Degany is a photocopy of Robert Plant and the music are 100% Led Zeppelin. But correctly or not "Crystals" is a great album. Not for involved musicians (too simply) but because is the true demonstration that when there it is the passion a clone album like this isn't a clone album. Sure. Probably "Crystals" sound in our ears like a Rock album clone of Led Zeppelin. But, in general opinion, you will not say that "Crystals" isn't a great album.

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