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RAVEN SAD

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Italy


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Raven Sad biography
RAVEN SAD is a project instigated by Italian Samuel Santanna in 2005. The artistic goal is to create emotionally challenging music by blending elements from folk, psychedelic and progressive rock mixed with electronic textures and ambient passages.

So far this has resulted in three albums, "Quoth" (2008), and "We Are Not Alone" (2009), and "Layers of Stratosphere" (2011), all issued by Italian label Lizard Records. With the latest album Raven Sad has morphed from a one-man (with friends) vehicle to a proper four-piece band.

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

3.49 | 7 ratings
Quoth
2008
3.06 | 7 ratings
We Are Not Alone
2009
3.95 | 29 ratings
Layers Of Stratosphere
2011

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RAVEN SAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Layers Of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 29 ratings

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Layers Of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars While writing reviews can be such fun, the truth remains that it all had to start somewhere a.k.a. finding those little hidden treasures in the first place and having finnforest as your reconnaissance team is such an added plus. So reading reviews has been my main source of inspiration for future purchases, trying to establish the merits of some unheard creation and wondering if it fits into one's pleasure dome (to quote Frankie Goes to LA!). In particular, my lovely Italian friends are extremely adept at moistening my nodes, not just with their legendary RPI school of prog but equally in the psychedelic/space category where recent albums like Mappe Nootiche's Terra! and the legendary self-titled Sunscape have made me so very happy (to quote Blood, Sweat and Tears). So upon reading finnforest's and toroddflugelsteg's reviews, I felt emboldened to take the leap and hunt down this sucker all the way from Austria, of all places. .

The opening piece is a "Door Almost Closed" and through the crack, the light shines brightly, a glimmering slice of atmospheric music, deeply anchored in the prog/space genre with iridescent synths and luminous guitars vying for your attention. You almost have to don sunglasses and place them on your ears. Guitarist and main man Samuele Santanna (with 2 "n"s!) rules the space wave supremely, rifling off suave sparks from his fretboard and the modern beat shuffles things nicely forward. The bold bass lays down a solid groove and keeps things boiling hot. There is little doubt that Pink Floyd is a major influence, which is nothing revolutionary, having influenced thousands of bands world-wide. The line-up card only confirms their dedication to their influences.

The epic 16 minute + "Lies in the Sand" has the misfortune of supplying a drowsy and accented voice to the mix, a style I am personally not fond of, regardless how "natural" it may be perceived as. The breezy, piano-led air gives the track the illusion of being lightweight pop but by the fifth minute mark, the arrangement takes a more melodic direction, veering towards the deep psychedelic groove we all know and love, fueled by a long dreamy synthesizer coloring the skies, while Santanna blooms shiningly on lead guitar. The tune finishes off serenely with a delicate flutter of chagrined vocals and seductive choir.

"First Layer" is a stunning guitar flight that will astound fans of Gilmour, Latimer, Bastiaan Peeters (Odyssice) or Giancarlo Erra (NoSound), a breathtaking piece only slightly marred by some heavily accented English language poetry. Italian is such a gorgeous language, why sing in Saxon? Never could understand that!

"Mind Flies" relies on a classic synth melody line that would make Peter Bardens smile up there in heaven (RIP) and a gentle lilt over which Samuele carves a scintillating solo, full of blessed virtue and delicate desire, a series of notes immediately appealing but with that added Italian romantic flair. Fabrizio Trinci's pianos have a lot of say in the exaltation of the atmosphere.

"The Highest Cliff" possesses a less orchestrated feel, leaning heavily on those blurry, exhausted vocals described earlier, the accent heavy but charming. This popular facet of Raven Sad is not as interesting as their more symphonic side, a more powerful and talented singer would have made it so much more palatable. Oh well, Floyd was guilty of this too?. But the colossal solo saves it again, coming to the goose-bumped rescue.

"Second Layer" simply expands on the first successful exercise, reworking the original melody and taking it into a different realm, harsher, bluesier and certainly way more dramatic, with a severe dose of melancholia. This is such brilliant music, you can't imagine! Totally enthralling!

"Lullaby for A Son" comes close to an Italian version of a good Roger Waters's song, it veers very near stylistic infringement, but it's obvious this is a tribute to Santanna's influences and mentor. The fleeting synth is straight out of Wright's fluid airy catalogue but the classic sax solo a la Dick Parry is hard to not salivate to. When the 6 string monster kicks in, it's a gargantuan power loop that overcomes the last obstacles to enjoyment and overtakes the soul completely.

This is a stunner that has a few flaws but clearly anoints this unknown band to a clearly higher level and future efforts that will only confirm their talent.

4 Crow blues.

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 Layers Of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 29 ratings

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Layers Of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Are soaring melodic leads your thing?

Raven Sad is an accessible modern prog band from Prato Italy, and this is their third album for Lizards Records, one of Italy's premier labels. The band began in 2005 under the direction of multi-instrumentalist Samuel Santanna and was generally a one-man (with friends) project for a while, this time out he sought a full working band which could be taken live. So along with keyboardist Fabrizio Trinci who had played on the first two albums, they added bassist Giulio Bizzarri and drummer Simone Borsi. The result is a bit less of an ambient experience and a bit more of a muscular band feel, but of course the hazy pleasures of Raven Sad remain. At times they can remind me of Moongarden but that would be only a glancing reference.

It's been some time since I've heard the previous 'We Are Not Alone' but as mentioned the band seems to have morphed from an ambient, droning, trippy space vibe to something more crossover oriented. The songs have a more traditional song structure and less weirdness factor, certainly not what I would classify as 'psychedelic' anymore. And yet it is just as enjoyable with the new Raven Sad sound. We are treated to some robust jamming with plenty of Gilmour/Rothery flavored guitar over delicious keyboard textures, and in addition some piano giving the recording a tinge of RPI appeal as well. The weak spot would be the vocals which are simply average and delivered in accented English instead of Italian, never a good decision. With both male and female vocalists the effect is a bit like the Mindflower albums vocals.

The album starts with astronaut dialogue setting off the cool cover art (love it!), then a heavy throbbing bass and drum beat usher in succinct distortion laden guitar, a wonderful opening segment. Soon the lead guitar leaps into action and never stops, this is a passionate lead guitar lovers kind of album. When a quiet interlude interrupts it is often given to thoughtful piano or other soft keyboard atmospheres, the guitar never being far off. All of the playing is stellar and passionate, the solos have a relaxing and longing effect, sometimes made nicer by wordless female backing vocal accompaniment. There is the inevitable baby crying in one track: have you ever noticed how many Italian albums feature a crying infant? I should start a list, there's a few! It's another intimate little detail in an album filled with sincerity. 'Lies in the Sand' is a 17 minute highlight with some fantastic keyboard sections, more astronaut dialogue, and dreamy soloing, along with some occasional acoustic sections as well. Things even drift into non-prog territory with 'The Highest Cliff' which is essentially a ballad with a heartfelt chord progression. Overall the album is a very tasteful expression and a mature one devoid of some of today's cheesier clich's, the band focusing on mood and lighter ambiance as opposed to boastful theatrics or aggressive look-at-me shred.

Another album for my list of favorite 2011 titles, Raven Sad has officially 'arrived' and I suspect there are more good things to come. As usual three stars seems low and four a bit high, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt today.

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 Layers Of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 29 ratings

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Layers Of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars The third album by these Italians.

Somewhat unfairly listed as a Psychedelic/Space Rock band, Raven Sad stretch both their wings and legs on this album. The sound is excellent. The music is what we in the good old days called soft rock. That is ultra melodic soft rock as in long and lingering guitar solos with an ambient feel. The music both reminds me about Pink Floyd's final two albums and the new ambient art rock scene which counts bands like Airbag and Gazpacho. Uber-technical, this album is not. It is rather soaring like a raven heading for the stratosphere. Which is exactly what Raven Sad tries to do on this album.

The overall quality of the music is very good throughout. It is somewhat great too. My gripes is the lack of any really superb songs which would had added the dot over the i here. The lack of variation and the feeling that this album is a bit too slick and like an eel in a barrel of oil is also my gripes here. But this is an overall great album with a lot of great guitar solos and plenty of airguitar material (don't forget to order your special prog rock air guitar from our shop. All credit cards and Paypal accepted). The use of Hammond organs is also very tasty.

Flipping a coin between three and four, the coin ends on a four star. But a weak one.

4 stars

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 We Are Not Alone by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.06 | 7 ratings

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We Are Not Alone
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Don't say I am not being put to the test here. There is a lot of music here which makes my two remaining brain cells sweat blood.

Raven Sad from Italy has returned again with this, their second album. I did an interview with them some fullmoons ago and their description of the music on this album is pretty much spot on. A mix of Porcupine Tree, Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd, they says. And I make those words my own. Add Blow Up Hollywood and Dw Dunphy too into this mix.

The music here is melancholic and pretty ambient. No big sound and no big solos. Some acoustic guitars, piano, male vocals and a lot of electronica. Not my daily fare, I have to admit.

This album is too pedestrian for my liking. But I still find a lot of good stuff on this album. The slow build up of the songs with pianos and acoustic guitars is really good. There is a good ambience here and I find a lot of references to the likes of Sigur Ros here. Raven Sad just do this their own way.

This album is barely a good album, but nevertheless a good album. Now and then, that is.

3 stars (barely)

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 Quoth by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.49 | 7 ratings

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Quoth
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars This is an album full of nice mellow psychedelic/space tinged songs. 'Raven Sad' is the brainchild of Italian citizen Samuele Santanna. He is supported by several other musicians but cares for the main vocals, guitar/bass playing and samples/loops on his own. The album seems to be worked out around the famous poem 'The Raven' written by Edgar Allan Poe reflecting a special oppressive mood. Hence you really have to search for something rocking while we have lots of acoustic guitars and floating elements - drums are used very rarely, only for two songs what I can remember.

'Quoth' starts with a combination of clock samples (Have no time) and strings which evolves in a dramatic mood - suitable for crime movie soundtracks maybe. But then it continues mellow relaxed with a collaboration of acoustic guitar, synths plus accentuated percussion and cymbal - charming. My preferences are on the songs which are containing 'raven' in the song title further on. Coincidance?

Don't know ... for example Santanna cares for some Ravens Floating Into Space and the result is melancholy pure - what a fantastic tune! Based on a quite simple instrumentation with background synth patterns, (sampled) cello and last but not least looped electric guitar this is performed sophisticatedly - with so much feeling - clappies for that! Raven's Journey shows a blend of droning indo/raga and spacey meandering impressions - hallucinatory, lost in reverie with whispering vocals where most of the other songs like Talk To Me and The Sad Raven Song are representing smooth atmospheric ballads.

This production sounds like developed as a movie soundtrack. There are existing a lot of albums with a similar musical orientation, instrumentation, approach. Anyhow - 'Quoth' belongs to those who are on the better side for sure because based on singer-songwriter skills arranging melodic atmospheric songs associated with spacey/ambient goodies and on top of this proceeded with some sort of tension. Recommended ... 3.5 stars ... I'm curious about the follower album which is already announced by the way.

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 Quoth by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.49 | 7 ratings

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Quoth
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A mixed but highly fascinating debut album from this Italian project.

With Edgar Allan Poe as a lyrical, thematic and emotional inspiration, we're served a dozen compositions of a mostly mellow but still gripping, tension-filled and at times ominous nature on this production.

Some of the songs are almost purified mellow singer-songwriter ventures; and really not that interesting in themselves; but most of the album mix in space-tinged and psychedelic elements to these ventures - as well as a few pieces that are mostly sound-collages or atmospheric explorations.

And when venturing into psychedelic territories this album really gets interesting. Even if on the mellow side all along; the most dramatic effect used a droning indo/raga opening in one composition; the mood and atmosphere is one brooding and menacing, even slightly schizophrenic at times, as exemplified in the last track where a slow, calm guitar supports the vocals singing "In the End" while a recurring sample of people laughing is hears in the background to chilling effect.

Intriguing, and well worth checking out if mellow psychedelic-tinged music is of interest.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to finnforest for the last updates

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