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IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Il Balletto di Bronzo biography
IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO formed in Naples in the late sixties with a line-up consisting of Lino Ajello (guitar), Giancarlo Stinga (drums), Marco Cecioni (guitar/vocals) and Michele Cupaiuolo (bass) using initially the name BATTITORI SELVAGGI. Despite avoiding the fate of many other Italian progressive bands of releasing one album and splitting up (they managed two) they still suffered from a lack of interest, the reason cited by some that they were too advanced for the time, which ultimately led to a split in 1973.

Their recording career started with the single "Neve Calda" in 1969 followed the following year by the album "Sirio 2222". Not really displaying much in the way of progressive rock at this stage the album was more in the psychedelic/blues rock vein with one foot still firmly in the sixties. 1971 saw a change of line-up with Cecione and Cupaiuolo leaving. They were replaced by on keyboards/vocals, Gianni Leone, who was in the original line-up of CITTA FRONTALE and bassist Vito Manzari, formerly of QUELLE STRANE COSE CHE, a band from Rome who despite doing some recording for RCA never managed to release anything. The addition of keyboards to the band's sound was to prove an inspired move and change the dynamics of their sound drastically. Their second album "Ys", which over time has become to be regarded as a classic by many RPI fans, was a much more sophisticated affair. Bearing no resemblance to "Sirio 2222" it saw a move towards symphonic prog with a very busy playing style containing elements of jazz and classical influences. An English language version was also prepared but didn't see a release until 1992.

After the split in 1973 one more release in the form of a single titled "La Tua Casa Comoda" saw the light of day, but only featured Stinga and Leone from the "Ys" line-up. Leone went on to a solo career as LEO NERO and released two albums. Many years later he returned with a new line-up of IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO where he was the only member of the seventies incarnation. He was joined by bassist Romolo Amichi and drummer Ugo Vantini and they released the live album "Trys" in 1999. More live shows with yet another rhythm section featuring drummer Adolfo Ramundo and bassist Marco Capozi later resulted in a DVD being released in 2008 titled "Live In Rome."

On the strength of "Ys" alone IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO are regarded as one of the more important and pioneering bands of the Italian prog scene. While it won't necessarily be t...
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YsYs
Import
Mercury Italy 2003
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$6.49 (used)
TrysTrys
1999
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Sirio 2222 (LP Miniature)Sirio 2222 (LP Miniature)
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Audio CD$26.98
Sirio2222Sirio2222
Import · Remastered
Bmg Japan 2007
Audio CD$99.81
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IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO discography


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IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.79 | 56 ratings
Sirio 2222
1970
4.19 | 398 ratings
Ys
1972
3.51 | 9 ratings
Ys (English version)
1992

IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.65 | 13 ratings
Trys
1999

IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Live In Rome
2008

IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.13 | 5 ratings
Il Rei Del Castello
1990
2.00 | 1 ratings
Il Balletto di Bronzo e l'Idea del Delirio Organizzato
2009

IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars Some albums just make your freak flag fly full staff. YS by the Rock Progressivo Italiano band IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO (the bronze ballet) makes mine fly more than an erection of a horny pony off of Prince's "Lovesexy" album. This album is in a world of its own which incorporates the best of the best as its stomping grounds and for that I am quite enamored since I can't seem to get enough of this eclectic concoction that is a progressive rock version of a wet dream. This album simply satisfies my musical needs on every level and has thus become one of those rare "desert isle" must-haves because of the simple fact it incorporates so much in a single album that it is a near panooptic view of everything prog in the most exciting year of 1972.

Lyrically speaking, non-Italian speakers will not understand that this is a concept album about a man who is the sole survivor left on planet Earth who makes a journey and mysteriously disappears. The mythical city YS is not Italian at all and is actually a Celtic creation that supposedly existed off the coast of Brittany in modern day France. The city represents a magnificent and outstandingly beautiful city in Europe and how it went to hell in a hand basket because of the way it was governed. Hmmm...

Although IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO started out as a hard rock band with their debut album "Sirio 222" they caught the prog bug and went for the jugular in their approach of no holding back on this 2nd album. They simply incorporated every musical trick in the musical universe and deftly honed every possible development to create one of the most satisfying progressive rock albums there is to be had . Upon first listen you may deem this to be the centerpiece of the musical demented and the sonically insane and for that conclusion I cannot rightfully disagree. The fact is that this is extremely complex music that requires a multitude of listens to be able to even come close to "getting" what is going on here. I pride myself on being on the extreme edge of musical "eclecticness" and I must wholeheartedly admit that this release has taken me countless listens to appreciate in its entirety to the level that I appreciate it as I currently do.

This album will test your patience. All I can say is don't let it dissuade you. There are melodies to had. There are progressive fits of wanktitude as well. There is basically everything musically under the sun that makes its way into this recording. Simply don't have any expectations except for the most unorthodox and semi-accessibly bizarre outputs of any musical entity and you just might be able to appreciate this high point in progressive music. It really does reward but not upon first listen. It demands your dedicated attention but in the end won't disappoint. Masterpiece!!!

If you're disappointed by the fact the band broke up after this simply listen to the very well performed pop rock bonus track "La Tua Casa Comoda" that adorns my remastered CD and you would realize how they would have to go down the same path as many progressive bands of the day and realize that releasing an album or two and disbanding may have been the best strategy for musical integrity. Let your freak fly high and embrace this most dizzifying and monstrous concoctions of progressive rock in its full fury. YS is mysterious. YS is energetic. YS is a freakin' full-fledged all encompassing progressive rock experience. I can think of few recordings as progressive as this one and as deserving as the fullest of 5 stars that shine as brightly as this in the vast darkened skies.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Il Balletto di Bronzo is to me an over rated band, I mean Ys album released in 1972 is a good one but fail to impress me big time. It is considered one of the most well known prog albums from italian school and aswell one of the best. Ok, the music is very much ok , but the vocal arrangements distract, I really don't like it, is odd and unintrsting. There are some powerful hammond here, and some lenghty instrumental sections, that a quite like, but always the vocal parts are quite irriating. Anyway I do considered overall a good album, but no more then that, to me is not among the greates italian records ever. The opening track Introduzione is the best by far. 3 stars to this odd album.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars One of the legendary and darker Italian Prog bands of all-time, Il Balletto di Bronzo came from Napoli and were formed as Battitori Selvaggi inl ate-70's.Marco Cecioni on guitars/vocals, Lino Ajello on guitars, Michele Cupaiuolo on bass and Giancarlo Stinga were the original line-up, that put up the ''Sirio 2222'' album in 1971 on RCA, actually a good Heavy/Psychedelic Rock album.Afterwards Cupaiuolo and Cecione left the band to be replaced by keyboardist Gianni Leone and bassist Vito Manzari.The entrance of Leone brough a significant change to style as presented on the second album ''Ys'', released in 1972 on Polydor.

Considered by many prog listeners as a masterpiece of Progressive Rock, ''Ys'' kicks off with the long ''Introduzione'', a mix of complex Symphonic Rock ala E.L.P. and typical Italian Hard Prog of the OSAGE TRIBE/JUMBO school.With absolutely angular guitar riffs and solos and a Gianni Leone spreading out all his keyboard talent, the composition is characterized by its mournful Mellotron interludes, the sudden synth breaks and the powrerful organ washes, as ''Introduzione'' changes tempos and moods in a blink of an eye, making it at the same time a rather inconsistent but strangely attractive listening at the same time.The irritating vocals of Leone, already present from the start, continue on ''Primo incontro'' with its bizzare rhythms supported by sharp, psychedelic guitars and the dreamy harsichord of Leone in another schizophenic arrangement.''Secondo Incontro'' is closer to MUSEO ROSENBACH, a passionate track where alternating Mellotron, flute strings and organs complete a frenetic trip into Il Balletto di Bronzo's adventurous skills.''Terzo Incontro'' combines the very complex Prog of the band with another poetic performance by Leone, based on loose individual performances, like Leone and Ajello work for a different direction.Another complete madness by the group.''Epilogo'' is propably the most consistent of all tracks.Incredible dual keyboard/piano parts with a pounding rhythm section meet a more theatrical and softer side of the group, although a mad atmosphere remains definitely present with over-the-top vocals and abstract jams at moments.However the magnificent piano lines next to the bombastic Mellotron notes offer one of the most unique moments of the album.

The following year Il Balletto di Bronzo split up because of personal arguments and the last single ''La tua casa comoda'' was only played by Leone and Stinga.A rather accesible track, included in many CD reissues of ''Ys'', presenting the more melodic, easy-going still proggy side of the group.Leone released a couple of albums as Leo Nero in late-70's, while the rest of the group moved to Sweden without any further traces.During the 90's Leone fronted the revival of Il Balletto di Bronzo with Romolo Amici on bass and Ugo Vantini on drums, both of Divae fame (whom he helped in their sole release ''Determinazione''), a comeback which lasted till late-00's alongside bass player Marco Capozi and drummer Adolfo Ramundo.

''Ys'' is a strange album indeed.Magnificent and masterful at moments, but maybe a bit too loose and slightly abstract, although the band could produce some really personal atmospheres.Anyway this album is highly recommended for any lover of Classic Italian Prog and strongly recommended to the rest, especially those deep into haunting, doomy and bombastic Progressive Rock...3.5 stars.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars The joyful sensation of being shot out of a canon

Some albums fortunately escape categorisation - quite simply because they are impossible to pin down. They bask in the sunlight of their own unnatural ways and give to you something unique and at times bonkers as cats. I've read a couple of reviews that relegated Ys as the album you never remember anything from. I don't feel that way though. Every inch of this record is deeply ingrained in my cerebral cortex, even if the moods change at the drop of the hat, only not in a Gentle Giant way, but far more monstrous and psychedelic.

With Arthur Brown on Italian vocals teaming up with ELP, Amon Düül ll, Gong, Area, Van Damme Generator, King Crimson and a 70s version of The Mars Volta, Il Balletto di Bronzo jump through hoops and burning buildings like the best of them. This is flexible music right here people - it bends and writhes - transforms evolves, takes nosedives on purpose only to jump back on it's feet - sprint, galloping furiously across the plains. If you want an album with loads of surprises, complex sections and a groove that'll frighten pacemaker patients, then Ys is your go to album from now on. It's just about the most successful attempt at creating a true Frankenstein monster out of sound.

You get insanely jittery classical pianos, gooey spacey guitars see-sawing back and forth in the music, and rides that scoop up everything fabulous and shiny from the spacey jazz rock of Canterbury. This last trade really comes to the fore in the tune Epilogo that starts out wonderfully erratic and symphonic, recalling a strangely confused Emerson composing freeform in the shed following a rather large tonic of vodka and coke. Eventually the temper jolts back into a slow groove, and the bass and drums commence a wild and beautiful duet taking you places only known to hawks and mountain climbing giraffes. It almost feels like Gong, but then again it's something completely different.

Melody wise you'll be reaching for your spare brain though...... It's not totally bereft of melody, but remarkably so they often only exist in some 30 seconds, and then the course shifts, gives you a wet Willy and embarks on an entirely new heading. Still with that good old piano and the additional leads you get from keyboards, harpsichord, Hammond organ, Mellotron and Moog - you often find yourself able to whistle small fractions of this album during awkward bus rides and occasionally while you're listening to the album itself. You gotta be quick about it though, or else you'll miss it!

Il Balletto di Bronzo's main course is obviously not for people with sensitive stomachs, but if you've got a thing for grooves - like in an infinitely funky, earth moving music that'll rustle up your kidneys, then you are looking at the mother load right here. As strange as it seems, I tend to think of Ys as a masterpiece of fusion sage rated RPI and symphonic Krautrock - one that relies heavily on grooves, and moreover a superhuman focus on establishing concord with only those - make them work and zing - funnelling them maniacally into the machine and see what comes out on the other side.

34985 stars and a free sightseeing tour to the loony bin.

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 Trys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Live, 1999
2.65 | 13 ratings

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Trys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

1 stars I've debated for a while whether one-star reviews serve any purpose and if I should even bother writing them; well, this came on the iPod shuffle the other day and I decided that someone needs to know how truly awful it is. Maybe awful is too strong a word, but it is definitely below average and just poor enough to not even warrant a two-star rating. Unnecessary is the first word that comes to mind. Trys is marginally unlistenable and only of interest to Il Balletto di Bronzo completists or concert collectors.

Trys is a live album recorded in 1996 and released in 1999. Keyboardist and singer Gianni Leone used the Il Balletto di Bronzo moniker for what is essentially a solo album - he is the only original member of the group in participation. Obviously the main draw here is going to be the live rendering of that group's seminal 1972 album, Ys. Unfortunately, there is about twenty minutes of filler to sit through while waiting for it. The only track of interest is "Donna Vittoria," b- side to the "La Tua Casa Comoda" single released shortly after Ys. This version however is an industrial-tinged creepfest - any redeeming qualities of the original are completely obliterated and replaced with a cheap facsimile. This seriously sounds like music played by robots.

Once the Ys suite begins we see that Gianni Leone's voice has not aged that well but he has managed to amass an amazing collection of throwaway digital synthesizers and effects pedals, all of which will be used ad nauseam. The sound is a lot like like what Yes was doing circa Keys to Ascension, which permeated most of the mid-nineties and is the main reason I try to avoid that period of progressive music. If you like that sound then this may be your cup of tea, but it assuredly isn't mine. My main complaint is the utter ruination of a masterpiece such as Ys, and the decision to record and release it. The only positives I can find are the sound quality (which is quite good), and the competent drumming of Ugo Vantini. Other than that, Trys should be avoided at all costs.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Wonderfully Horrific Keyboard Dominated Prog

I have a strange appetite for dark, somewhat gothic music. I've acquired my share of vampiric albums over the years and alongside Comus' First Utterance, Univers Zero's Heresie, and Arachnoid's self titled album, I would put YS on the list of the best 70's horror prog. Il Balletto Di Bronzo's magnum opus, while still certainly still RPI, transcends the genre and really is one of the jewels of the dark music realm.

Singer and keyboardist Gianni Leone clearly runs the show here, with warbly synth sounds alternating time with harpsichord, nasty church organs, celeste, and even a little piano. The pace varies widely from wide open plodding sections to frenetic racing interludes. Always though is the dark mood, a sense of looming danger, of moonlight and cold. Guitarist Lino Ajello's tone is icy and sharp, and often quite chaotic. The bass tone is big and round (just the way I like mine) and occupies a big share of the mix. Drums are organic and lively.

While the tone and mood really demand attention, the compositional elements are quite strong on this album. The intertwining lines that open the Epilogo are especially tasty to this prog lovers ears. The band also clearly has some strong jazz roots with the rhythm section using walking bass over swing beats on the wonderfully deranged "Terzo." Where else could you get a baroque harpsichord simultaneous with a smoky bass line straight out of some beat poet's accompaniment?

While the whole album is good, the last two songs are easily my favorite. I exclude the throwaway bonus track which adds nothing but time to the disc. This is probably my third favorite of my 10-15 RPI albums, very very good but still not quite a masterpiece. But if you like really dark prog, this may be a must get.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by CorSard58

5 stars Absolutely brilliant, those guys. They do not resemble to anyone in terms of music.They are a sort of Leonardo da Vinci when we think about what's possible to do with creative minds. Precursors. People opening new doors. Odd times and signatures, suspended atmospheres, sustained pace and precise interactions (interplay). Voices coming up from elsewhere and nowhere (erewhon?). Schizophrenia and sweetness. Astounding musicianship. These italian comediants do not belong to anyone, maybe to their selves. Leone's voice is a strange thought coming from beyond the sky and heart and Earth. There's a precision and some hallucination in the way they play all togheter. Miracle is the outcome.

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 Ys  (English version) by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.51 | 9 ratings

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Ys (English version)
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

4 stars The first version of a prog masterpiece!!!

There is some misunderstanding about what exactly this release is. When Gianni Leone left Citta' Frontale and joined Il Balletto di Bronzo, they soon wanted to take some new material into the studio. They went to Polygram studios in Milan in 1971 and recorded part of their masterwork, Ys. The band wanted to record in English--I am sure they realized the incredible boundaries their composition would push, and thus wanted to ensure widespread release. They recorded at least two parts of Ys, which we have here on this mini album. Polygram heard these songs and realized that they had a monster on their hands. However, the studio forced the band to record in Italian, eventually producing the masterpiece Ys which was released in 1972.

So what we have here on this CD, released by Mellow in 1993 and now out of print, is the two demo portions recorded in English that preceded the final version of Ys. These songs were recorded in 1971--they are raw, the sound is definitely unprocessed--and the arrangements of the songs would evolve somewhat before the final recorded version the next year. But what we have is amazing to hear--two parts of the embryonic Ys played with all the fervor and intensity of a band needing a place to record and get their message out.

These two songs have recently been rereleased on vinyl under the title "On the Road to Ys," with a live version of "La Tua Casa Comoda," a single which the band recorded after Ys. (If you don't mind downloads, check Amazon.com under "On the Road to Ys," and you will find the two tracks on this release for sale, very cheap!)

While not to the perfection of the full album, these tracks constitute a major milestone in the history of the band and are not be missed. 4.5 stars.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

5 stars I can think of no other band making such an enormous jump from one album to the next than Il Balletto di Bronzo. Their 1970 debut Sirio 2222 was a heavy psych/proto metal release - solid, but not exactly Prog. Enter Gianni Leone: The keyboardist and singer brought with him an arsenal of sound-shaping instruments, a challenging and frenetic energy, and an ostentatious concept with accompanying lyrics. Ys was the result...a rock band playing opera music...not a rock opera, mind you, but a full-fledged opera in five movements or "encounters," all designed to paint a bleak, apocalyptic vision. Often described as a masterpiece of the Italian movement, I can think of no better word to describe it; Ys is unquestionably a masterpiece of RPI, though each listener will approach and leave it a bit differently. But each one is undoubtedly changed, at first unsure why such brashness and violently terrifying arrangement and instrumentation is necessary to achieve its purpose, but eventually reaching the realization that they have experienced something special and different. It is that singular experience that makes Ys a work of art.

The chilling, siren-like voice that announces "Introduzione" is a now iconic moment in prog, but it's easy to see why upon release Ys was largely misunderstood or even avoided. This is not a lullaby. "Introduzione" is a 15-minute nightmare, taking the listener on a startling musical journey. Leone sings competently enough but it's his keyboard work that takes front and center - a battery of organ, piano, Moog, Mellotron and plucked keys generously drive the group, while the remaining band plays more of a support role. This is particularly true of guitar, which typically takes a back seat to drums and bass. The apropos accompaniment perfectly showcases Leone's grand scheme, and allows his brand of calculated insanity to roam and soar. The end of "Introduzione" prefaces "Primo Incontro," the first of three short movements. The combination of twisted tremolo guitar and unexpected spinet is an enticing combination, with plenty of explosive drum work and tasteful bass playing that only adds to the complex track.

"Secondo Incontro" is the closest Ys ever gets to traditional rock music, as Leone sings a bluesy introduction that quickly transforms into a brilliant vocal melody, frighteningly supported by Mellotron. The snare drum pops and bounces like a ping pong ball while bass slyly segues to "Terzo Incontro." This third encounter features organ and choir, as drums bubble under the surface, only coming up for air at the end of each phrase in a tense fashion. This suspenseful tension is fully heightened in "Epilogo," which begins with a repeating sextuplet figure before establishing something far more sinister. If you want to sleep tonight, I would strongly recommend skipping the middle of "Epilogo." Get up, grab a drink, check the mail, whatever. Don't come back for five minutes. The morbidly curious will likely be scared beyond imagination. Those that survive are generously rewarded with one of the most haunting moments in all of Italian Prog. You should already own Ys, but if you don't, get it now.

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 Ys by BALLETTO DI BRONZO, IL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.19 | 398 ratings

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Ys
Il Balletto di Bronzo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by lucacatone

5 stars There are many other reviews of "YS" so I really can't add very much. I give it 5 stars because this album is the most claustrophobic and extreme effort of the Italian production from the 70s'? and it's all by a boy who was under 20 when he recorded this! Gianni Leone is an amazing talented keyboard hero and author (I'm less into his vocals) and dominated the band's sound all over. There are many incredible moments in this long compositions, as long as Leone deal with all kind of keyboards and many genres, from hard rock (we're in the early 70s'...) to jazz, to classical, to atmosphere. It's a pity that these (this?) artist(s) never succeeded in repeating such an intense and extreme work. 5 stars!

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