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IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Il Rovescio Della Medaglia biography
Italian seventies progressive rock band playing dynamic prog with many rhythm changes. Their first album called "La Bibbia" is a concept work based on the early parts of the Bible. They used a classical orchestra on "Contaminazione", a classical rock album based on the life and works of Bach. Very kayboards oriented in the vein of ELP, heavy guitars and a tight rhythm section, much variation: this is great stuff! (Claude)

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La BibbiaLa Bibbia
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Io Come IoIo Come Io
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MicrostorieMicrostorie
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Imports 2011
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.87 | 45 ratings
La Bibbia
1971
2.80 | 37 ratings
Io come Io
1972
4.16 | 213 ratings
Contaminazione
1973
3.95 | 30 ratings
Contamination
1975
1.05 | 10 ratings
Vitae
1993
2.00 | 2 ratings
Il Ritorno
1995
2.52 | 6 ratings
Microstorie
2010

IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.96 | 4 ratings
...Giudizio Avrai
1988
3.33 | 3 ratings
Live in Tokyo
2014

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IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 5 ratings
I Grandi Del Rock
1993

IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Contaminazione by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 213 ratings

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Contaminazione
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Among the favorites of Classic Italian Prog fans, Il Rovescio Della Medaglia came from Rome and were found in early-70's by guitarist Enzo Vita, bassist Stefano Urso, drummer Gino Campoli and singer Gianni Mereu, who's place was taken soon by Sandro Falbo and then Pino Ballarini.Their performance at the Viareggio Pop festival marked the band as a live monster and the first two albums, ''La bibbia'' (1971) and ''Io come io'' (1972) are good examples of dynamic Hard Rock.They reached their pinnacle though the following year, when RCA came in contact with Argentine composer Enriquez Bacalov (the same man who helped New Trolls) to dress the band's music with his arrangements.By the time they had added Franco Di Sabbatino on keyboards and the result of the recordings was the ''Contaminazione'' album, released in 1973 with lyrics written by Sergio Bardotti and Giampiero Scalamogna.

''Contaminazione'' follows the trends of the time, it's an album heavily inspired by Classical Music, resulting to a work of complex Prog Rock with hard-edged guitars and keyboards in the forefront, obviously linked to NEW TROLLS ''Concerto grosso'' due to Bacalov's presence and the dominant display of some powerful string sections.On the other hand they had surfaced with their own identity, while ''Concerto grosso'' was much more of a harmonic and well-flowing release, ''Contaminazione'' is characterized by a dark atmosphere, ranging from melacholic lyrics to mascular guitar attacks.Split in 13 tracks, this album flows as a single suite with monster orchestral arrangements and excellent keyboard parts, including Hammond organ, piano, harsichord and synthesizers, evolving from Classical themes with a sweet atmosphere to complicated keyboard parts with a very dense and compact sound.This one grows with every listening, as every single part has its own approach, it often comes close to the works of LATTE E MIELE, trying to combine romantic tunes and interludes with Symphonic/Hard Rock.The vocals are absolutely great, mostly delivered in a sentimental tone and placed between the complex instrumental passages for a more balanced sound.Cinematic textures and early-60's Psych influences are also detected in here, but the bulk goes for keyboard-based Symphonic Rock with some beautiful dual executions and the usual presence of electric guitars around.

The band played live also in France and Switzerland, the later country became the home of Pino Ballarini in late-73', replaced for a few concerts by Semiramis' Michele Zarrillo.After an English version of their classic in 1975 the band fell apart to be reformed twenty years later by Enzo Vita, leading to some more studio releases, far from the classic style of Il Rovescio Della Medaglia and closer to a more AOR/radio-friendly sound.''Live in Tokyo'' though, released in 2014 on Immaginifica, offers a good live take by the recent formation on the classic ''Contaminazione'' album.

Very good Classical Prog with some emphatic keyboard and string arrangements, almost a classic of the genre, twisting between cinematic and haunting soundscapes.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Contaminazione by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 213 ratings

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Contaminazione
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mr. Mustard

4 stars Classical influence isn't a wild concept for progressive rock, but RPI group Il Rovescio Della Medaglia take this to another level with this Bach inspired album. Working off of Bach's works, the band manages a unique blend of this influence and the standard sound Italian progressive groups are generally known for. That is to say, the listener should find no shortage of intense, dramatic, and beautiful moments a like.

Being of course based on Bach, there is pure orchestral work visited throughout the album, particularly of the Baroque variety, but this never takes away from the prog moments, which are highlighted by keyboard riffs, heavy guitar work, and memorable vocal lines.

Made up by a collection of abnormally short songs, this shortened length doesn't lend too much variety between songs. Instead the albums strength relies on distinctiveness in the songs themselves. Themes are often cycled through quite rapidly leaving little room for repetition and development. This is perhaps my only complaint of the album, though a minor one at that.

Seekers of an album with a perfect balance between heavy Italian prog, and classical music need look no further. With few flaws aside, Contaminazione is a dynamic album that deserves a solid spot in the RPI oeuvre.

7/10

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 Contaminazione by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 213 ratings

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Contaminazione
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by AEProgman

5 stars Absolutely Marvelous!

It has been a while since I reviewed an album, mainly when I first joined the forum and picked some of my old favorites (plus a new one or two) until the novelty for me wore off. Since reviewing is harder and more time consuming than it appears, at least if it is to be one worthwhile, I prefer to read others. That being said, I am at my 1 year anniversary of hearing RPI music for the first time and then fell head over heels into it. So I felt compelled to pay homage to the genre by reviewing a RPI album that continues to amaze me, that being Rovescio Della Medaglia's Contaminazione.

It would have been easy to pick PFM's Per Un Amico as that was my first album that started it all and was blown away by it, as well as albums by Le Orme, Area, Quella Vecchia Lonconda, and some others. I do not speak or understand Itailian which does not bother me, but adds to the mystery and charm of the music. I have a feeling if I understood the lyrics, I would not be nearly as fond of RPI as I am (like some of the english speaking bands I have heard). The vocals are another instrument for me.

Now for the album, it is a remarkable blend of various forms of prog and classical music. Don't be misled by the classical reference, it is prog at its finest. However, from information on this album, it is a work based on J.S. Bach's "The Well Tempered Clavier". I always like reviewers who let me know their interpretation of what the tracks sounded like, so here goes:

The first two tracks, Absent for this Consumed World and Ora non ricordo piu merge together as a dreamy interlude with some vocal harmonies that have a Queenish flavor to them.

The third track, Il suono del silenzio, covers a variety of musical territories mixing in some heavy riffs, playful psychedelic keyboards which later morph into heavier classic organ, good vocals, and baroque style moments. Sort of lets you know what to expect for the rest of the album.

Next is Mi sono svegliato e... ho chiuso gli occhi, just beautiful orchestra and organ beginning that builds into a darker mood with vocals that fit perfectly. This jumps into Lei sei tu: Lei, sort of a duel effect of clean guitar, excellent bass and drum work with great vocal harmonies with a mid section of seamless mix of orchestral strings.

The 6th track is La mia musica, a very soulful sad, but beautiful song with piano and organ mix, and oh yes, great vocal and string section harmonies again.

Johann is a short song that for some reason reminds me of a Zeppelin folk song with haunting, distant vocals and guitar.

Scotland Machine and Cella 503 go hand in hand into each other and we are back at our theme of covering many wonderful territories in varied time signatures as in the 3rd track (and throughout the album). Lots of psych keyboards, guitar riffs, strings, great flute work, a flamenco acoustical moment, and a lovely dueling banter of classical instruments (a little brass also) versus a proggy synth and drum combo. Then breaks into heavy guitar form into a dramatic pipe organ. What a delight.

Contaminazione 1760 is very Ian Anderson sounding with excellent soloing flute play.

Alzo un muro elettrico is a nice heavy guitar driven song and the usual excellent mix of orchestral strings and vocal harmonies, with a light jazzy moment in between. Very nice.

Sweet Suite begins with soft, erie classic organ with clean guitar mix which feeds into the finale, La grande fuga, just a majestic and very climatic end with all instruments in full glory. Makes goose pimples on my arms every time!

It gets a rating of 5 stars. It is a RPI classic and the musicianship is excellent. I hope that those who have not ventured into this genre give it a try, it has more to offer than the beautiful compositions heard here, it has many varied styles. I love it and am getting constantly surpised that music like this was around back in the 70s and I had not heard any of it until a year ago.

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 Contamination by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.95 | 30 ratings

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Contamination
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

4 stars By 1975, the golden era of Rock Progressivo Italiano had all but ended, leaving bands like Rovescio Della Medaglia at a crossroads; many folded up entirely, some formed new groups and went on to play jazz fusion (Etna, Il Volo, Baricentro, etc.), and a few sought the international market (PFM, Le Orme, Banco). RDM, willing or not, were lumped into that last category when RCA decided to milk every last drop of their classic 1973 album Contaminazione for all it was worth - by releasing an English-sung version for Europe and the US. RDM had essentially ceased to be a band by this point, having nearly all their equipment stolen resulting in an indefinite hiatus for most of 1974. A changing of the guard was occurring, as new groups like Maxophone, Arti e Mestieri and Agora were finding success with a hybrid of progressive rock and jazz like never before. Why the label had RDM overdub English lyrics on an already perfect album is anyone's guess; to me Contamination is like painting a smile on the Mona Lisa, but there are also unnecessary sonic choices that prevent the album from equaling its 5-star counterpart.

Reviewing a variation of an already classic album is challenging in that the music itself is not really subject to critique. The physical product in and of itself is the object being reviewed. And in this case, Contamination has some subtle, almost undetectable flaws that may not be apparent unless a side by-side comparison is done. Take for instance the initial surge of "Johann's Rock" aka "Il Suono del Silenzio" - the original sounds blisteringly heavy and crisp while the English version is a midrange mess, flat and compressed, atop with a pale imitation of those cavernously resonant vocals. By the time Luiz Bacalov's orchestration comes in, the harpsichord sounds listless and ordinary, and the strings lifeless. If you had never heard Contaminazione, it would be a non-issue and the impressive quality of the composition would shine right through...but the obsessive RPI clinician will notice right away, and always prefer the genuine article.

This is not to say the lyrics themselves are laughable and embarrassing - on the contrary - Contamination succeeds where earlier attempts by Osanna and Acqua Fragile failed. Here the affect is limited, and only a remnant of Italian accent is heard. The original lyrical concept is intact and even benefits from translation. Fortunate we are to have corresponding language copies of Maxophone, Felona and Sorona and Photos of Ghosts; in the case of mistakes like Ibis' Sun Supreme we will never be so lucky. But the fact that Contamination cannot stand on its own and is a supplemental purchase by nature prevents it from being essential in my book, the high level of music on display notwithstanding. Having said that, completists and those struggling with foreign-language prog will eat this up, and hopefully develop a more sophisticated palate because of it.

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 Contaminazione by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 213 ratings

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Contaminazione
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Here's an enjoyable Rock Progressivo Italiano tour de force on which Il Rovescio della Medaglia put their own twist (or "Contamination") on the work of J.S. Bach, mashing up their own original compositions with themes from The Well-Tempered Clavier. Pino Ballarini plays some dynamite flute on here, and whilst it's a bad habit to compare every prog band which includes flute to Jethro Tull the hard rock style in which Ballarini plays his instrument really does remind me of Ian Anderson's approach; meanwhile, Franco Di Sabbatino's keyboard style shows an impressive range, from Keith Emerson-like flamboyance and forcefulness to a more subtle approach which puts me in mind of David Kaffineti of Rare Bird (and Spinal Tap, though it's his work in Rare Bird I'm reminded of here). Whilst I wouldn't put it in the top tier of RPI releases from the 1970s, it's certainly a decent one which is worth exploring once you've covered the RPI essentials.

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 ...Giudizio Avrai by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Live, 1988
2.96 | 4 ratings

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...Giudizio Avrai
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

3 stars A very nice surprise!!

This album came as a surprise to me in many ways. This band is one of my favorite in the RPI genre, but I didn't realize that this album existed until recently. Their first two albums are more along the lines of heavy prog and hard rock power trio with flute, with the thunderous bass of Stefano Urso commanding most of the attention. Then for their masterpiece, their third album Contaminazione, they added keyboardist Franco di Sabbatino. He immediately took a preeminent role in this amazing symphonic album. There are flashes of their first two albums, as well as bursts of flute from Pino Ballarini, but the keyboard and symphony take the lead. The band during this time was famous for their amazing liveshows, featuring quadrophonic sound and coordinated lights--just never seen in RPI bands during this time.

But disaster soon followed. Theft of their expensive equipment seemed to spell the end of the band. Vocalist/flautist Pino Ballarini soon departed, apparently replaced for a brief time by Michele Zarrillo from now defunct Semiramis. (What a show that would be!)

But about three years after that, the band was down to a quartet, with no vocalist. They performed this show in 1976 (some sources say 1975), which is completely different stylistically from their first two heavy albums and from their third symphonic album. This live show is keyboard-dominated as well, but this time the style is spacey atmosphere with a strong rhythm section and jazzy guitar outbursts. About 45 minutes of really fun improv. And despite it being a bootleg recording, the sound is pretty good. The band officially released the album in 1988, on limited run LP only. But you can find the entire album on YouTube. So have at it! Enjoy a slice of RPI history, and imagine what might have been. 3+ stars (Gnosis 10/15)

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 Contaminazione by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 213 ratings

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Contaminazione
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

5 stars This band had made two albums of heavy prog when they collaborated with L. E. Bacalov, who had made Concerto Grosso with NEW TROLLS. The difference to their previous works must be notable, since they didn't even have a keyboard player before. Contaminazione is loaded with organ, piano and synths, without forgetting the excellent electric guitar of Enzo Vita. It also has a Baroque-style orchestration by Bacalov. The album is based on the harpsichord work The Well Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach.

Apart from a couple of opposite opinions, this album is highly respected and enjoyed. Quite rightly so. The arrangements are gorgeous, combining the world of Art Music and that of (relatively hard) rock. The result is shamelessly ambitious, dramatic and emotionally powerful. I also like the presence of vocals (sadly my Italian's too bad for understanding the lyrics!). ELP did their interpretation on Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition in their own style, Renaissance owe something to Rimsky-Korsakov with their Scheherazade, etc. In my opinion this album is among the best Art Music adaptations - and other orchestral works - in Prog. Bach melodies are recognizable here and there (e.g. the opening of 'Ora non ricordo piu'), but the group made a unique, original work of their own. Many tracks are very progressive even separately, and more so when they form the whole concept.

Classic RPI albums are often short; this is 36 minutes. Some tracks may be too heavy for my taste, but I agree this is a masterpiece in its field (though I can understand not everybody enjoys it at all). Bach could be at least as proud of this innovative adaptation as of numerous jazz versions of his works. I like the cover art too.

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 Microstorie by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.52 | 6 ratings

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Microstorie
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Il Rovescio della Medaglia began life in 1971 in Rome on the initiative of guitarist Enzo Vita. After two albums in hard rock style, 'La bibbia' and 'Io come io', in 1973 they collaborated with composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov and lyricist Sergio Bardotti for a third album in symphonic style with the interaction of a real orchestra, 'Contaminazione' that is usually considered their best one. The band was famous for its live performances but the members had to give up for economical reasons and the experience came to an end in the mid seventies. Enzo Vita tried to start again in the nineties with a new line up and a new musical direction but the results were very disappointing and another long pause followed.

In 2011 Il Rovescio della Medaglia came back with a new album, 'Microstorie'. Well, in fact there's no reunion. Today Il Rovescio della Medaglia is mainly the brainchild of Enzo Vita who set up a brand new project under the old name gathering around him some experienced musicians such as vocalist Roberto Tiranti (from Labyrinth), bassists Gianni Colajacomo (former member of BMS) and Pippo Matino and drummers Cristiano Micalizzi, Daniele Pomo (from RanestRane) and Luca Trolli. On winds we find Sandro Deidda, Roberto Ciminelli, Roberto Schiano and Claudio Corvini while on strings there are Marcello Sirignano, Prisca Amori, Adriana Ester Gallo and Giuseppe Tortora. The result of the recording sessions is an album that most of the old the fans will find difficult to appreciate I fear. The approach is more direct than in the past, there are no long suites or complex tracks but twelve songs featuring an interesting pop rock sound that every now and again could recall Santana's recent works.

Well, the overall sound is lighter than in the past works of Il Rovescio della Medaglia but it's never banal. All the tracks are well crafted and the guitar playing of the leader is always brilliant. According to an interview with Enzo Vita, every track here represents a meeting. Some are meetings with feelings others with books, politics, religion, friendship and music. The lyrics describe the way he got involved in these meetings and Roberto Tiranti's heartfelt vocals interpret them in a convincing way. A man who wants to see what's behind his mask, a star dancing over the chaos, old lovers and troubled dreams, frenzied people who go nowhere as if they were on a treadmill, pieces of history sold as souvenirs... Just twelve simple micro-stories where feelings and emotions are in the forefront and are expressed through funky rhythms, hard rock riffs, Latin atmospheres, short prog reminiscences or melodic ballads. 'Have you ever tried to imitate your heart? / Your heart with its beating and you with your words...'.

Well, on the whole I have to say that I like this album, even if I don't think it's an essential one for a progressive-rock lover...

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 La Bibbia by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.87 | 45 ratings

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La Bibbia
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by nikow

2 stars The debut of Il Rovescio Della Medaglia is a raw sounding album, retaining a live feel throughout. More than full blown prog, it treads the same ground as the giants of hard rock like Black Sabbath or Deep Purple. Therein lies both the strength and the weakness of the album: It is very well done despite the raw production, the songs are energetic and the riffs are good, but there's no real originality to be found here. Also Il Nulla and Il Diluvio, the opener and the closer of the album respectively, are just random noises, a bit what Iommi liked to do in Black Sabbath. Needless to say that they are dragging the album down a bit in their uselessness to the sound of the album. Of the individual songs, Sodoma e Gomorra is a highlight, a very energetic sounding jam, lots of good guitar soloing featuring great drumming and bass playing. Drums and bass must be mentioned also as they are really, really good, keeping the album from being outright mundane.

2 stars, a solid, good album but not essential in any way, and not original in any way.

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 La Bibbia by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.87 | 45 ratings

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La Bibbia
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Hard Rock Bible Study.

No, you won't learn much of the Holy Scriptures with this cookie. But on the other hand, you will hear some of the Devil's Music!

This album consists of L-O-U-D music done more or less professionally. I must insist on the cheap production and unpolished tunes they are offering. Disappointed, to say the least. Not a horrible record, but certainly not a keeper. My expectations (darn them) were high and I've been spoiled by other bands like Cream, Rush and The Who; which are using the same guitar/bass/drums approach.

I say stated earlier, the music is guitar, bass and drums. Nothing more, not the shadow of an organ or such. It shows. The guitar player is sweating from every pore, trying to shoot his best riffs at your face. His Gibson Les Paul attempt is wishy-washy; you're never sure if he's skilled or not. Sometimes it fits (Sodome and Gomorrah), many times not. On the other hand the bass player is giving a good show, Jack Bruce style. He's busy as a bee trying also to thicken the whole thing, and a good hand clap to him.

Overall, my fantasy of RDM being the 'best secret of prog rock' is damaged due to the limitations (in talent and creative aspect) of the band. No subtle for one second, this has nothing to do with the eargasm that was Contaminazione. Oh well, at least I have my health.

It's brute, it's raw and it's in your face!

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