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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, neo and psychedelic 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 discography


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

3.55 | 17 ratings
Quoth
2008
3.20 | 16 ratings
We Are Not Alone
2009
3.82 | 58 ratings
Layers of Stratosphere
2011
3.97 | 56 ratings
The Leaf and the Wing
2021

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

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RAVEN SAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Leaf and the Wing by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.97 | 56 ratings

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The Leaf and the Wing
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Raven Sad are an Italian band hailing from Tuscany, listed here under Psych as opposed to RPI.

The Leaf and the Wing, released in 2021, is their fourth album, albeit the first since reforming in 2017 following a six-year layoff. This album has been one of the most pleasant surprises this year for me, having picked it up following a favourable review elsewhere in the prog universe. Band founder Samule Santanna is a fine guitarist, and he is joined by old cohort Fabrizio Trinci on keyboards, with new band members Gabriele Marconcini, the lead singer, Marco Geri on bass, and Francesco Carnesecci on drums.

Growing older, and hopefully wiser, I am not a huge fan of labelling works by their supposed sub-genre, so it is sufficient to say that this is very much an atmospheric work which rather escapes such categorisation. There are many highlights.

The album is bookmarked by two instrumental tracks, Legend #1 & #2. The initial piece is a perfect introduction to the type of soaring sounds we hear all over the album preceded by a Floydian talk-over. The closer brings proceedings to a close with five minutes of an ensemble beauty which provides perfectly the conclusion to the work I describe below.

The Sadness of the Raven is a thoughtful track, whilst City Lights and Desert Dark features at its core a vocal which reminds me very much of one Yusuf Islam, or Cat Stevens as he was previously known, and some wonderful riffing by all concerned creating a mid-track wall of noise, with a wonderful, soaring guitar solo by Santanna which segues into a beautiful, brief, coda.

There are two 10-minute plus epics on the album. First up is Colorbox, a monster of a track clocking in at 13 minutes, and my favourite here. It opens with a quite lovely harmonic vocal overlaid on a piano chord before entering a far darker (again brief) phase. This then takes us into the main segment, which twists and turns in its themes and musical textures, but with that lovely "wake up" vocal at its core. Marconcini can make you sit up and take notice, because the hairs on the back of your neck are rising when he hits the top notes. The closing third is just gorgeously dreamy with piano and a deceptively powerful rhythm section backing more soaring guitars before the lead vocal introduces the close with intensity. Very powerful and very classy progressive rock.

Approaching the Chaos is a heavier track, but with some interesting fusion cemented within. A sense of deep foreboding is expertly created in this instrumental story which then takes us to the second epic, Ride the Tempest. When said Tempest arrives a third of the way in, following a deceptive calm, it hits you straight between the eyes, but once more the moods and tempos change as we move through the track with such intelligence. The easy option would have been to provide us with crashing riffs throughout, but the band take us on a journey, at once with beautiful guitars, then with thumping drum and bass underscored by some looping keyboard work. The closing segment features a mournful cello solo.

Absolution Trial is simply a joyful heavy prog piece of music, perhaps not as subtle as all else here, but certainly foot-tapping and head-shaking execution before the close once again has those soaring guitars and delicate vocals underscored by rhythmic excellence.

What we have here is a work whose musicianship is never less than exemplary, with vocals that lilt all over your sound system, and a sense of yearning throughout, and by far the best (what I have interpreted as a) commentary I have heard on climate disaster since the wonderful Disturbance Fields by Edison's Children, to which I feel it is worthy of being compared both in scope and in execution. The production is crystal clear, and the album is available via Bandcamp. Oh, and the cover is to die for as well.

Highly recommended, and four stars for an album I hope marks the long term re-emergence of a talented outfit.

 Layers of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Layers of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Now and then I find myself scanning at my collection of CDs and see if I rediscover some album that I had left on the shelf for such long time that I canīt even remember that well what it sounded like. Layers of Stratosphere is one of such gems that I really donīt remember why I havenīt paid that much attention and forgot to write a review. I suspect I got it together with a bunch of other CDs and never heard it properly. Thatīs the only explanation Iīve got to justify why I left behind such marvellous collection of great prog songs.

Raven Sad was a project of italian guitarist Samuel Santanna. I heard his first two CDs bearing that name was a kind of electronic/ambient music stuff, but for this one they got a "real" band in the form of Fabrizio Trinci (keyboards), Giulio Bizzarri (bass) and Simone Borsi (drums, percussion). I canīt tell how was their sound on the first two albums, but on Layers of Stratosphere the result is simply stunning: a magnificent laid back progressive suite that reminds a lot the genre best moments, especially Santannas beautiful guitar work, in the best vein of Gilmour/Hackett/Rothery. His solos and licks are simply beautiful, emotive and thrilling. And Trincis keys are equally inspired, with each intervention finally tuned with the guitar parts. The rhythm section is also discreet, but very effective, everybody working for the music and not for empty virtuosity.

Their music still retains a kind of atmospheric ambience, specially the keyboards, but the impeccable songwriting, the tasteful arrangements and the superb performances of all involved makes this CD one of the best of 2011, if not the very best. Itīs ok that the vocals are only average, and Santannas english with a thick accent does not help either, but they are not bad nor intrusive. And the superb instrumental passages more than compensates any fault in that field. The production is adequate for their style and itīs better appreciated when heard with headphones, a real emotional ride.

Itīs hard to describe their music, because although Pink Floyd is obviously the biggest influence, they are quite original and have a style of their own already. The sole exception may be The Highest Cliff, where Santanna tries too hard to sing like Gilmour and ends up sounding like Waters, if you know what I mean. Itīs the most derivative track of the whole album and still it is a good one. The vocal part of the last track, Lullaby For a Son, falls into this trap too. Fortunately the instrumental part is excellent and occupies most of the songs length. All the remaining tunes are absolutely fantastic, with the 16+ gorgeous minutes of Lies In The Sand being the CDs highlight.

Conclusion: Iīm really happy to rediscover this masterpiece. Layers of Stratosphere has become of my favourites albums and although nowadays I had little time to write reviews, I felt an obligation to give testimony to this fantastic CD that deserves to be heard by anyone who loves stunning melodies, emotional guitar solos and superb performances where less is more.

Rating: 4,5 stars. Only the average vocals stop me from giving it 5 stars.

 The Leaf and the Wing by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.97 | 56 ratings

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The Leaf and the Wing
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Smurfreviews

5 stars Review #7 - Beautiful prog rock from Italy!

The pandemic has a lot of bad effects - but from a musical point of view I always notice that many terrific albums were released this year (2021) and last. "The Leaf And The Wing" joins seamlessly in this line, because it is again an album that can carry away and inspire. At the same time, the fourth album of the Italians is not a hectic prog fireworks. Rather, this album impresses with a very strong production, homogeneous songwriting and an inherent balance, which is why the album can even give a lot of pleasure after a long day. I would like to briefly elaborate on these three points: First, the clean and powerful production can be mentioned as a clear strength of the album. Every instrument has its fixed place and its space to unfold transparently. This has a particularly positive effect, for example, on the wonderful bass of Marco Geri and the beautiful voice of Gabriele Marconcini, which in itself is a reason to love the album. Then the sovereign and homogeneous songwriting of the band founder and guitarist Samuele Santanna must be mentioned. While he knows how to use his guitar consciously as a melodic instrument in solo parts, but also as a gruff rhythm tool (listen to the bold one in the sixth track!), he shapes the eight songs, always harmonious and very expressive in themselves, with particular care. Finally, the mood and stylistics of the album should be mentioned. One can hear clear influences of Pink Floyd, which the band is able to transform into their very own musical footprint. This is also contributed by the beautiful Hammond organ and piano inserts of the keyboardist Fabrizio Trinci, who, however, also relies on cool 80s brass sounds in the third song, for example, and adds another facet to the music. A great album, which I listen to with love almost every day so far. There is a lot to discover on Raven Sad's new album!

 The Leaf and the Wing by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.97 | 56 ratings

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The Leaf and the Wing
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars A wonderful new RAVEN SAD statement, this after a pause of round about 10 years. Well, not exactly. That might be the common impression maybe when you're solely considering the release dates, while not really being aware what's happening behind the curtain. Quite earlier actually, it was April 2018 already, when mastermind Samuele Santanna constituted a new five-piece line up in order to prepare for the band's fourth album. This together again with his long time friend Fabrizio Trinci (keyboards). Vocals are now contributed by Gabriele Marconcini. This is a winner. I'd say a very good find and decision, no question. We also see Marco Geri (bass) and drummer Francesco Carnesecchi being new to the fold, both are providing very solid contributions as expected.

This album still showcases the typical RAVEN SAD feel, however definitely not a simple copycat case, when matching with the previous albums. It's a neo and psychedelic prog blend basically, featuring haunting melodies all over. Here and there some Pink Floyd reminiscence is shimmering through. A distinct mellow flow is presented, though diverse heavier and groovy moments are incorporated too by way of variety. Which yet again is leading to the summed up attribute: entertaining. Celestial acoustic and electric guitar playing, pearling piano lines, spheric synths, expressive vocal presence. There's no need to highlight any particular song. Because they are offering a rounded production, appealing from the first to the last minute. 4.5 stars on the PA scale.

 The Leaf and the Wing by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.97 | 56 ratings

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The Leaf and the Wing
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by bartymj

4 stars Very accessible, but absolutely not in a "boring" way. This is the first Raven Sad album I've listened to. I'd assume early albums are slightly more psychedelic than this one, as it only really hints at psychedelia, but the "dreamscape" effect is present in many of the tracks. Certainly towards the end it reminds me of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb in style and pace.

Most tracks alternate between dreamscape and slightly heavier interruptions which blend together really well as the organs and guitar play off each other. Sit back, relax and enjoy. Colorbox, the longest track on the album, is probably a bit love or hate - it has the feel of a systematic walkthrough of several subgenres of prog one by one. For me, its the reason for giving four stars rather than five as its the only time the composition seems a bit artificial. But every other track is excellent.

 The Leaf and the Wing by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.97 | 56 ratings

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The Leaf and the Wing
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Raven Sad started as a solo project by guitarist Samuele Santanna in 2005 but gradually turned in a four piece formation, making the albums Quoth (2008), We Are Not Alone (2009), Layers Of Stratosphere (2011) and recently, after a hiatus of 10 years, the new album The Leaf And The Wing (January 2021), all at the prolific Polish prog label Lizard Records.

This is my first encounter with Raven Sad its music, during the listening sessions I got more and more delighted, what a wonderful tastefully arranged progressive rock, very melodic and accessible, like Eighties Neo-Prog. The 8 mostly mid-long compositions alternate between dreamy parts, slow rhythms and bombastic eruptions. It sounds very flowing with the focus on the excellent, often moving guitar work, with obvious hints from Andy Latimer, Steve Rothery and Nick Barrett. The keyboard play is pleasant with lots of (Hammond) organ, along piano, Fender electric piano, Mellotron and Minimoog synthesizer. The English vocals feature a slight accent but I like the emotional overtones, matching with the often sensitive electric guitar. The rhythm section does a good job, with strong interplay in the more dynamic parts. Despite the long running time (close to 70 minutes) Raven Sad succeeds to keep my attention. My highlights.

City Lights And Desert Dark (9-53) is a very dynamic and varied track, between dreamy and swinging, pretty funky rhythms, blended with inspired vocals and outstanding guitar work, from howling to heavy, wow!

The epic Colorbox (13:00) starts with tender vocals and piano, then an accellaration with fiery guitar and organ and a bombastic part with moving guitar, soaring organ and emotional vocals. Halfway a slow rhythm with again moving guitar, powerful drums and waves of organ. Then a break with Mellotron choir and spoken words. The final part delivers a slow rhythm with organ and emotional vocals, topped with howling guitar, the asset on this new album.

Approaching The Chaos (8:50) begins with a dreamy climate featuring a catchy guitar riff and the distinctive electric piano sound (like Riders On The Storm from The Doors). Then a bombastic eruption, the contrast between the heavy guitar and tender piano and choir sound creates a captivating tension. The music turns into a tight beat with moving guitar runs and sparkling piano work. Now the mighty Hammond joins, blended with fiery guitar, the interplay by the band is awesome. Back to a slow and compelling rhythm with soaring Hammond and moving guitar, this is a Raven Sad trademark, I love it. In this dynamic second part a surprising break with jazzy piano and spoken words, one of the many interesting musical ideas. Finally again those wonderful sensitive guitar runs, Prog Heaven!

The other epic composition is Ride the Tempest (11:55), first dreamy with warm vocals, tender piano, then a slow rhythm, gradually the music becomes more bombastic with fiery guitar and emotional vocals, but returns to the dreamy sound in the first part. Again the music slowly builds, culminating in sumptuous climate, embellished with Hammond, powerful vocals and howling guitar runs, wow. The final part is mellow featuring piano and a melancholical Mellotron violin sound, a beautiful conclusion.

My first encounter with this promising Italian band has turned into a very pleasant musical experience! By the way, this is now Eighties Neo-Prog oriented, not really psychedelic/space rock.

 The Leaf and the Wing by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.97 | 56 ratings

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The Leaf and the Wing
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Calm and dreamy prog rock played at an unhurried pace, where instruments compliment each other in a fantastic way, without unnecessary drastic changes of pace and dramatic twists, with some parts on the verge of progressive psychedelia, all this to create a beautiful atmosphere and bring a feel of tranquility. Just right amount of each instrument is delivered, every tone is in the right place, determined to create its certain feel - own sound landscape, a dreamy and tasteful way of effective sound backgrounds, maximally saturated with positive emotions.

The album "The Leaf And The Wing" consists of six long, about ten-minute songs and, and two shorter pieces. Opening intro "Legend #1" leads us to "The Sadness of the Raven" where at the beginning the guitars and keyboards are in the background creating a nice foundation for a great bass part. Through this composition, excellent calming vocals and guitar work is presented. "City Lights And Desert Dark" is more rock, more complex tune, which highlights the rhythm section, followed by an excellent riff on Fender Rhodes and a fantastic guitar solo. "Colorbox" the most extensive piece of the work and it represents the band's walk through multiple subgenres of prog rock. Great composition with a light beginning that leads to a kind of eclectic sphere, all the way to symphonic parts, dreamy guitar and jazz rock elements, a brilliant and energizing music.

Throughout the rest of the album, the band continues its excursions into various spheres of progressive rock. Although the focus is still on melodic/space compositions, the transitions and individual parts bring magnificent eclectic parts accompanied by excellent heavy riffs, that in combination with psychedelia and the transition to the world of symphonic rock, makes this album a real treat to hear.

 Layers of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Layers of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'll start off my review by saying that this is an Italian album which could have fooled me into thinking it was a German album. Whether or not that's where the influences actually are, it seemed to have a bit of that good ol' krautrock/space rock feel characterized by lots of ambience, synthesizer arpeggiation and super-grooving bass lines. There's lots of great texturing going on here, melodic guitar playing, and nicely composed synth parts that are always melodic and purposeful and never feeling like you have to keep up with them; even the leads are more there for ambience and feel than anything else. "Mind Flies" is a great example of this. The two downsides for me were that the vocals never really grabbed me. They weren't frequent, but when they were present, for example, in tracks like "The Highest Cliff," I always felt like the singer's voice was a bit too mundane for my tastes. The other downside is that while all the tracks were good and fun to listen to, there wasn't really a track that blew me away. Everything was good, this is definitely a good album, but nothing was amazing. However, in the end, this could be just my preference. I would definitely recommend this to people who are big fans of space rock; I think they would most likely be quite pleased. Layers of Stratosphere is most certainly an enjoyable album from start to finish.
 Layers of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Layers of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars A suprisingly good album. I love to dig up treasures like these. Normally Italian prog is much more bombastic, kitchy and I haven't heard an Italian band produce spacerock like Raven Sad does. If someone told me they were British, Polish or German I would believe it.

The album is comprised of long songs with lots of emphasis on guitarsolos and soundscapes. The drums and bassguitar are pure for backing up the band. The music can be compared to Pink Floyd, Eloy, Airbag, Milennium, etc. The vocals are not bad but not very good either. They don't bother me, but maybe some will.

Eventually this is the kind of record to put on headphones and dream away. That's what spacerock is meant for, of course.

 Layers of Stratosphere by RAVEN SAD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 58 ratings

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Layers of Stratosphere
Raven Sad Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

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

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