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CHERRY FIVE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Cherry Five biography
Founded in Rome, Italy in 1973 as "Oliver" (and later renamed again to "Goblin") - Reformed in 2014

This band included Tony Tartarini (vocals), Carlo Bordini (drums, he later started a captivating project with Rustichelli) and three musicians who later founded GOBLIN: Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Massimo Morante (electric guitar) and Fabio Pignatelli (bass). The music on CHERRY FIVE's eponymous album is very YES-oriented (like DRUID, ENGLAND or MIRTHRANDIR) but the keyboards sound more virtuosic.

The album "Cherry Five" ('75) is a real treat for all progrock lovers: strong and fluent compositions, very melodic and flowing with many good ideas. The emphasis is on the keyboards (Hammond organ and vintage synthesizers), especially the "Tronmaniacs" will be delighted! This is one of the gems of Italian progrock from the Seventies, a bit overlooked due to the attention for PFM, Le ORME, BANCO and GOBLIN.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator


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3.91 | 190 ratings
Cherry Five
1975
3.97 | 48 ratings
Il Pozzo Dei Giganti
2015

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CHERRY FIVE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il Pozzo Dei Giganti by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 48 ratings

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Il Pozzo Dei Giganti
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Il pozzo dei giganti" is the second album by Cherry Five and was released in 2015 on the independent label Black Widow Records by a new line up featuring, along with historic members Tony Tartarini (vocals) and Carlo Bordini (drums, percussion) who took over the old brand, the fresh energies of Ludovico Piccinini (guitars), Gianluca De Rossi (keyboards - from Taproban) and Pino Sallusti (bass). It's an excellent work containing three long tracks, inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy", in a symphonic prog style where vintage instruments are blended with more updated sounds. The beautiful artwork by Daniela Ventrone helps to understand the musical and lyrical content...

The long, complex opener "Il pozzo dei giganti (Inferno XXXI)" (The well of the giants) is a new, extended version of an instrumental piece included in the 2008 Musea - Colossus themed compilation "Dante's Inferno - The Divine Comedy Part I" and credited to De Rossi & Bordini. It starts by obscure percussive sounds and disquieting organ chords, then the rhythm rises and Tony Tartarini voice plays the role of a damned giant evoking abysses of emotions, an inner raging fire and a violent, blinding lightning. The giant would like to be again the strong, scary giant he was when alive but he realizes that he's not dreaming and that his current condition is everlasting. In a world crowded with thieves and scoundrels, where injustice reigns, there are too many fake giants that live on the shoulders of other people, too many coward giants hiding their feet of clay and too many crimes committed in the name of God and there's no one who can save him, no one who can set his legs free, his legs crushed by pride and arrogance. As rage and hope fade out the rhythm calms down and the atmosphere becomes even darker... The giant feels little and helpless as he desperately looks around for help. The music and vocals express anguish and fear and there are some narrative vocals in Latin evoking Cerberus and the eternal pain of hell... Then the rhythm rises again as the giant warns you that nobody can escape from the divine judgement, but from his mouth what comes out is only a terrible rage. A masterful interpretation!

Next comes "Manfredi (Purgatorio III)", an excellent suite divided into four parts and inspired by the character of Manfred, King of Sicily. The first part, "La forza del guerriero" (The strength of the warrior) conjures up in music and words the blue eyes and proud look of the warrior who was led to defeat by his ambition. Great is the injury on his face and many are the sins he committed during his life but in his heart there's room for kindness and humility. His rage melts as hope creeps in and his pain fades out as hate disappears from his tormented soul... On the second part, "Il tempo del destino" (Time of destiny), the voice of Tony Tartarini goes from description to empathy and begins playing the role of Manfredi. His heart beats the rhythm of destiny and slowly that rhythm turns into the sound of the paces leading him to the meeting with history and death, mercy and repentance... The third part, "Terra rossa" (Red soil) is more aggressive and depicts the last battle of the warrior who can still remember the soil drenched in blood, the smell of death, the echoes of the fighting. Then the warrior turns his look to the poet and gives him a message for his daughter... The last part, "Un mondo tra noi due" (A world between us), calm and melodic, reveals the content of the message with all the love of a father for his daughter, the regrets for the time he spent away from her and the asking for a prayer...

The last track, "Dentro la cerchia antica (Paradiso XVI)" (Within the old city walls), was inspired by the meeting between Dante and his ancestor Cacciaguida. It starts by a medieval flavour evoking a pastoral, celestial landscape. Then rhythm rises while music and words deliver a heartfelt ranting against moral decadence and lack of justice, greediness and prevarication, corruption and richness. What can save us is the constant search for justice and truth in a merciless fight against evil. It's better to stop for a while and reflect, trying to find again the right sense of a humanity that's getting lost on account of its thirst of luxury and power... Eventually, a short reprise of the first track closes the circle and ends the album.

On the whole, an excellent work! By the way, I had the chance to see the band performing it live and the show was really good as well...

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.91 | 190 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The eponymous debut album by Cherry Five was recorded in 1974 with a line up featuring Tony Tartarini (vocals), Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Massimo Morante (guitar), Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Carlo Bordini (drums). It's a good work where the influence of British bands such as Yes or Genesis is apparent but the choice to sing in English was not a great idea, especially on the Italian record market of the seventies... In fact, this was supposed to be the first album by Goblin but it was put apart and released only after the band had reached the success in 1975 with "Profondo Rosso" and a different line up. As a consequence, the album was released in 1976 on the Cinevox label under the name Cherry Five to avoid confusion with the new Goblin's course...

The opener 'Country Grave-Yard' starts by a frenzied, hurried pace. Then the rhythm slackens and darkness comes down... This piece tells the Gothic story of a wayfarer who, passing near a cemetery in the middle of the night, sees a fire above a cross and the ghost of a child creeping out from a grave, seeking for a breath of life. The fear takes hold of the unfortunate traveller as he begins to perceive a loathsome smell...

The following 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray' was inspired by Oscar Wilde's novel of the same name. It starts by organ and an acoustic guitar arpeggio, the mood is dreamy but the dream ends when the music and lyrics conjure up the image of the protagonist stabbing his picture... For him the blade is like a key for safety, a way of seeking shelter, peace and rest into the depths of the earth, the last punishment for a damned man who lies now in a purple sheet of sins and shame...

'The Swan Is A Murderer' is divided into two parts, probably just because of the length of the old vinyls. It closes the first side of the LP and opens the second one by telling the dark fairy tale of a beautiful, wicked swan that, having killed a prince leaving him in a pool of blood, is condemned to live alone and without love, hated by the other birds...

The long, complex 'Oliver' depicts in music and words a strange character, a dandy who, to show his beauty and power, takes for a walk a lion on the leash through the streets of Paris ignoring the people laughing at him. Strange? All in all, French writer and poet Gérard de Nerval walked a lobster on a blue silk ribbon leash through the streets of Paris to make fun of middle-class pretension... 'Why should a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog? Or a cat, or a gazelle, or a lion, or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don't bark, and they don't gobble up your monadic privacy like dogs do. And Goethe had an aversion to dogs, and he wasn't mad!' (Gérard de Nerval quoted by his friend, Théophile Gautier, in "Portraits et souvenirs littéraires", 1875. In Théophile Gautier, "My Fantoms", translated by Richard Holmes). By the way, Oliver was also the previous name of the band, then changed into Goblin...

The dreamy 'My Little Cloud Land' ends the album by drawing in music and words visionary images that seem coming out from a Roger Dean's picture. In a land that lies on a little cloud you can dream of camels wearing a crown, rabbits falling in love with pink butterflies, dancing sharks, speaking crocodiles, flying cats, boats floating on a lawn of daffodils... It's a holy place, in which you can feel the breath of life and live forever listening to magic tunes (mainly inspired by Yes, I would say).

On the whole, this is a good album even if it doesn't shine for its originality. Anyway, I'm sure that fans of bands such as Yes or Starcastle will appreciate it.

 Il Pozzo Dei Giganti by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 48 ratings

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Il Pozzo Dei Giganti
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars CHERRY FIVE are probably most known for being the band that GOBLIN came out of. The guitarist, bass player and keyboardist would make a lasting mark in Italian music with their Horror soundtracks. The singer and drummer interestingly enough had more pedigree than the other three with the vocalist previously being in one of my favourite RPI bands called L'UOVA DI COLOMBO. The drummer was in RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI prior to CHERRY FIVE. Anyway the drummer and vocalist have resurrected this band to surprisingly great results some 40 years after the debut. They've gone to Italian vocals instead of the English featured on their debut plus no YES flavour here at all only a strong RPI sound that is often quite powerful. I'm leaning to this one over the debut even though this is far from perfect.

Highlight is the almost 25 minute opener. Yeah lets make an impression. They did! Bass and sparse sounds as the organ rises out of this and drums join in. Soon the organ is pulsating and the vocals join in. So good. Powerful vocals 5 minutes in as we get some great sounding bass, guitar and drums before the synths arrive. Not a favourite sound here but it's mostly all organ on this album from the keyboardist. Pulsating organ once again after 7 1/2 minutes. It turns powerful once again before 9 minutes as the vocals step aside. Piano only a minute later. Vocals are back around 11 minutes in. It's building until the guitar is ripping it up 14 minutes in. Gotta like the vocals and mellotron after 19 minutes in. A guitar solo then a calm before 20 1/2 minutes. Check out the depth of the sound. Organ then leads to the end.

The second track is energetic with vocals. The next one "Il Tempo Del Destino" is a favourite of mine. Love the contrasts between the mellow passages and powerful sections. This and the next track along with that long opener are my top three. Not big on the ballad-like section to start "Un Mondotra Noi Due" or the lightweight start on the closer but both end well.

A very solid album here and 4 stars in my book. Ahhh it's good to listen to some RPI again.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.91 | 190 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 391

Cherry Five was an Italian progressive rock band which is considered a precursor of the project of Goblin, another Italian progressive rock band. In fact, the group named Oliver has been created by Claudio Simonetti and Massimo Morante. Both went to England in late 1973 to audition a singer, the Englishman Clive "Artman" Haynes, or Clive Heinz as he was then known. He was briefly in the band, recording only some tracks with them. He was sacked then, and didn't appear on the album. With a new singer and the addition of a bassist and a drummer, the band recorded their self-titled album what was to become their first and only album in the 70's. The band's name changed to Cherry Five.

Despite be an Italian band, Cherry Five isn't so particularly representative of the Italian progressive rock sound, really. The reason for this isn't only in the choice of the English language, but in the fact that Cherry Five acted quite technically for many of the Italian standards and the arrangements are by no means as nested or bulky as with many compatriots. The album is a genuine rarity due to the great world success that Goblin achieved with some of their soundtrack works, and it's in many collectors' want lists. The album is characterized by multi-layered keyboard sounds, a colourful mixture of the former analogue keyboard instruments. Sung in English, Cherry Five was strongly influenced by the likes Genesis, Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, especially in the fluid keyboard parts and powerful bass sound.

"Cherry Five" is the eponymous debut solo studio album of Cherry Five and was released in 1975. The line up on the album is Tony Tartarini (lead vocals), Massimo Morante (guitars), Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Fabio Pignatelli (bass and acoustic guitar) and Carlo Bordini (drums and percussion).

This pre-Goblin outfit should have great appeal to everyone who loves the typical 70's sound. As I mentioned before, the lyrics are unlike most other Italian progressive rock bands sung in English and it works very well. The music here is ballsy symphonic progressive rock of a more traditional kind than the horror soundtracks that they later would make as Goblin. There is a hint, just a slight threat, of what madness Goblin would get up to on the tracks that closes side one and opens side two. But, that's almost an aberration in the midst of this joyful Yes/ELP fest. Cherry Five is evidently fond of four part vocal harmonies that are evident in early Yes. This, of course, makes further comparisons with early Yes, unavoidable. However in their defence, the musicians are excellent and their arranging skills are superb. Melodic and rhythmic counterpoint is staggeringly complex at times and it's during these fleeting moments that glimpses of the real Cherry Five come through the thick pea soup of ELP and early Yes hybridization. Even bassist plays like Squire.

"Cherry Five" has six tracks. The opener "Country Graveyard" is very representative for the album. Tight, energetic and complex progressive rock based in strong themes and arrangements with lots of Mellotron, organ, 70's synths and guitar. Some of the breaks in "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" sounds a bit like Genesis. At the beginning recalls Genesis, but soon it develops in the course of a stylistic life of their own. The catchy vocals also arouse some memories of American bands. In the meantime, very slight Yes reminiscences flash out. The two-part "The Swan Is A Murderer" goes in a similar direction. It's obvious that the Italians had dedicated to the less complex variant of progressive rock music. Thus, the energetic sound unfolds an unexpected dynamic and doesn't move in the spheres of filigree sounds of many of their contemporaries. It has some very intelligent use of harpsichord. The almost 10 minutes art musical "Oliver", which I assume was written during the time when the band was originally known as Oliver, is a true kaleidoscopic. It's a pure progressive joy with several influences, mainly Yes and ELP, with massive keyboard firing from all instruments, an excellent polyphonic performance with confident vocals by the singer Tony Tartarini. The organ has an obvious ELP influence. "My Little Cloud Land" has less intensity than the preceding tracks. But, in general, all the instruments are featured through development and variations all over the track. Maybe less good, but it closes the album well enough.

Conclusion: "Cherry Five" isn't a typical Italian progressive rock album and is likely to please more to fans of British Prog than Classic Italian Prog due to the English lyrics and the strong British Prog influences. But, despite of that, this is a very strong album, and next to PFM's "Photos Of Ghosts" it will probably be one of the easiest and best places to start if you're not familiar with Italian progressive rock, yet. The album offers some nice long tracks with plenty of keyboard instruments, nice guitars and useful vocals. However, this isn't a stone classic of symphonic prog, but it falls into the upper end of the "damn that's good" category that demands dragging out every once in a while. It's quite different from Goblin, but just as tasty in its own way with pretty decent vocals. If you're a lover of the Italian prog rock in general and you enjoy such bands like Genesis, Yes and ELP you must give this album a try. You'll not regret, surely.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.91 | 190 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars Before Goblin made their rounds with their eerie horror-themed prog and extensive soundtrack repertoire, there was Cherry Five. Although they'd soon go on to re-brand, it's great that they put out this sole album as this incarnation, because it's really something of a classic!

What we have on display here is well-done symphonic prog that puts the "rock" back in progressive rock. While not being a heavy album in the slightest, there's still a youthful exuberance that permeates the whole record that stands out, giving it that extra bit of rock n' roll edge. I suppose that the "closest English equivalent" to Cherry Five's work would be "The Yes Album". Positive, upbeat music with active, in-your-face bass parts and blistering keyboards (someone had been studying up on their Rick Wakeman!). More Yes comparisons can be drawn, but I don't feel that it does Cherry Five much justice. The vibes are similar, but there's a different, more down-to-Earth element that comes across on this album. Another commonly addressed tidbit is that the vocals here are sung in English, which was atypical of Italian bands. Surprisingly, though, they turned out quite well. No embarrassing accents, and the delivery is convincing and powerful.

Really, I have nothing much more to add here than praise. "Cherry Five" is a concise, well-paced, well-arranged, well-performed collection of songs that are fun to sing, dance, and air-keyboard along to. I'd also highly recommend this as something to put on while going for a drive out in the country; the upbeat pace is perfect for the open road. There are plenty of other buttons that it hits, though. The interplay in the band is superb. It never feels like there's any competition between players, even in the busier sections; Cherry Five really comes across as a tight musical unit. There's even a bit of storytelling that goes on, notably on the opener "Country Grave Yard", which is spellbinding, but never outlandish. Although the whole album is consistently strong, I think that a standout section would be the instrumental opening of "The Picture of Dorian Gray". The way it builds from pastoral tranquility to a frantic prog workout is really something!

Personally, I'd give this a 5 (maybe even 6) star rating any day of the week. And although a personal favourite does not a prog masterpiece make - well what the heck! An album this groovy deserves some extra recognition. I'd recommend this endlessly to fans of joyful music, and especially Yes aficionados looking for something fresh. Great tunes and excellent vibes!

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.91 | 190 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars The Italian progressive rock supergroup Goblin found great success as writers of eerie and spooky soundtrack music beginning with their debut album "Profondo Rosso (Deep Red)" and continued with the much bigger hit "Suspira" and beyond but the group that would become Goblin actually began under the moniker Oliver when in the early 70s keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, guitarist Massimo Morante, bassist Fabio Pignatelli and drummer Walter Martino all met and recorded some demo tapes together. After a happenstance encounter with Yes producer Eddie Offord, they managed to score interest and a tour with Yes which in a roundabout way led to a contract back in Italy with Cinevox. For unknown reasons the record label changed the band's name to CHERRY FIVE upon release and the band released this one release under that band name until they were approached by Giorgio Gaslini to provide soundtrack music for his "Profondo Rosso" flick upon which they changed their name to Goblin and the rest is history.

CHERRY FIVE is the perfect place for Goblin addicts to begin their journey of understanding the roots and influences of Italy's premier soundtrack spook masters. This 1975 album perfectly reflects how these guys were followers in the footsteps of the greats like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Emerson Lake Palmer and how they combined elements of their influences into their own vision. At this stage the then known CHERRY FIVE were not quite successful masters of musical alchemy and unfortunately this release reeks of elements of the aforementioned prog bigwigs without properly simmering them down into a cohesive broth. As all of the major influences were English, CHERRY FIVE went against the grain in the mid-70s Italian scene and chose to sing in the English language possibly hoping for the international success story as fellow countrymates PFM.

This album starts out immediately with prog pomp run amok. It begins with a fast and furious Steve Howe inspired guitar riff with a bass line and Emerson keyboard run to match, however the first lineup change of Carlo Bordini on drums in no Bill Bruford. Also i feel that the lyrics in English sound a little stilted, however when Tony Tartarini shuts his mouth and lets the instrumental prowess of the band shine through all is good although there is never a doubt that this music is 75% Yes influenced in the composition department and the other 25% or so being dedicated to Gentle Giant type complexities, Emerson keyboard worship, Genesis theatrical dynamics with symphonic pomp and to a lesser extent King Crimson-esque excursions into a more heavy jazz-related type of prog.

Personally i find the first track "Country Grave Yard" a bit put offing as it seems like it's trying too hard to make a statement throwing all the influences in your face at light speed but ultimately fails to gel into a cohesive original piece. While the second track "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" slows things down a little, it is so reeking of early Genesis that i expect Peter Gabriel to start wailing in at any moment. The true surprise is on track three "The Swan Is A Murderer Part 1" when a sudden break in prog influence worship cedes into a glimpse of the future a la Goblin when after a highly energetic drum circle effect and ELP keyboard pomp suddenly changes near the end of the track into a soundtrack type of setting that reminds one of not only "Rosemary's Baby" in musical structure but of all the Goblin soundtracks that follow. This soundtrack theme continues into the intro of "The Swan Is A Murderer Part 2" before it fades into another Yes inspired prog rock theme.

While this is an insightful specimen of history intrigue, i can't say i love this album as much as others due to the fact that is so derivative of the previous greats and not distilled into a proper amalgamation thereof. Even Tartarani's vocal style evokes a reference to Jon Anderson without his range of vocal prowess. While this album is by no means bad as it delivers some outstanding musicianship in the process, i can't help but be grateful that the main players in this band found a niche in their horrific interpretations of movie soundtracks as i feel the Goblin years more than blow this early incarnation away manyfold. Anyone interested in the early years of Goblin will totally be into this however. The year 1975 was a wild year for this band as they released an album under the moniker CHERRY FIVE, but also one as Il Reale Impero Britannico (exposing their Anglophilic tendencies) as well as the debut under the more recognized entity Goblin. Musically excellent. Creatively mediocre. I'm still glad i own it.

3.5 rounded down

 Il Pozzo Dei Giganti by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 48 ratings

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Il Pozzo Dei Giganti
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars With several variations of RPI/horror soundtrack group Goblin currently active - a new version of the original Goblin, Goblin Rebirth, Claudio Simonetti's Goblin - why shouldn't the pre-Goblin band that started it all, Cherry Five, get a look in as well? The sole self-titled Cherry Five album from 1975 is often considered by some Italian prog fans as a bit of a minor classic, an energetic Yes- influenced English language work easy to enjoy and constantly return to. While Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli are busy elsewhere, the original vocalist Tony Tartarini and drummer Carlo Bordini from the Seventies have now reformed in 2015 with three additional talented new players to offer a superb return in the form of their adaption of Dante's La Divina Commedia entitled `Il Pozzo dei Giganti' (`The Well of the Giants'), and this version of the group have not only released a vital new work, but one that stands strongly on its own merits, not some mere uninspired or desperate `comeback' album! It's a tough and heavy symphonic work far more ambitious than the charming previous work, and it just might be one of the best and most surprising Italian releases of 2015!

There's a lot of talent, both vintage and modern, on display throughout `Il Pozzo dei Giganti', a fine coming together of two eras of Italian progressive music. Original vocalist Tartarini also sung on the Seventies RPI self-titled classic `L'Uovo di Colombo', and his voice these days has taken on a groaning, raspy crooning quality, while drummer Bordini teamed up with keyboard player Paolo Rustichelli on the rough-as-guts grand classic `Opera Prima', both from 1973. Here they've recruited fresh blood with talented jazz musician Pino Sallusti, whose bass playing is thick, fluid and upfront as expected of progressive releases, and heavy guitarist Ludovico Piccinini, who comes from a more metal background. But the real standout is keyboard player Gianluca De Rossi, whose own project Taproban released a minor dark symphonic Italian classic with 2013's `Strigma', and he dominates the arrangements here with vintage sophistication and bombast.

Reverting to singing in Italian (can you imagine what that first album would have sounded like sung in Italian?!), the twenty-five minute title track kicks the album off with one almighty powerful statement of intent. `Il Pozzo dei Giganti' is a gutsy and relentless side-long slog of heavy symphonic with traces of unease and great intensity. The piece launches headfirst into Gianluca's manic and relentless church organ grinding, a coarse vocal from Tony, Carlo's maddening and busy drums, Pino's slinking bass and Ludovico's snarling electric guitar wailing (although very rarely if ever actually sounding like heavy metal), the group overwhelming with a hair-tearing madness. Everything from jazz-fusion runs, droning stormy ambience, gothic Mellotron choirs, delicate piano ruminations, pleading vocal cries, fretless bass eruptions, loopy and dazzling keyboard colours and theatrical and classical bombast are all worked in, and it's a showcase to the supreme talent of the musicians here.

Covering about sixteen minutes, the second side's `Manfredi' suite is a collection of four separate pieces that are not quite as brash and overwhelming as the first epic, but they do bring back some of the chiming, upbeat and even playful sounds of the original album in balance with the modern harder style presented here. Piano and twisting guitars are urgent throughout the snappy `La Forza del Guerriero', humming Hammond organ, jazzy guitar licks and seductive bass flirt through hard-groover `Terra Rossa' ('Red Earth'), and both `Il Tempo del Destino' (`The Time of Destiny') and the classy `Un Mondo tra Noi Due' (`A World Between Us') have emotional and powerful ballad passages that are deeply moving and reflective. The album then closes on the eight minute `Dentro la Cerchia Antica' (`Inside the Ancient Circle') that opens as a lush and sprightly acoustic madrigal folk ballad with flute and harpsichord-like synths before taking off into P.F.M-like galloping races of whirling Moog and charging guitars.

Released on the heavy Italian specialists Black Widow label, housed in gorgeous dark artwork (no-one does the mix of erotic and infernal quite like Daniela Ventrone), this vinyl-length return is a fine way to not only get reacquainted with Cherry Five, but witness the birth of a brand new version of the band with so much to offer. With `Il Pozzo dei Giganti' they've delivered a confident, intelligent and lavish work that will equally appeal to vintage and modern RPI listeners, up there with the best Italian releases of 2015 from both modern and established older acts. Hopefully the band is inspired to continue on with more new works in the near future and we won't have to wait another forty years for a follow-up!

Four and a half stars.

 Il Pozzo Dei Giganti by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 48 ratings

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Il Pozzo Dei Giganti
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars - The First Review of This Album -

CHERRY FIVE made in mid-seventies their sole, eponymous album which has become a middle-league classic of RPI. Three of the five members continued as GOBLIN. Now, four decades later, the other two members - vocalist Tony Tartarini and drummer Carlo Bordini - have reformed Cherry Five with keyboardist Gianluca De Rossi from TAPROBAN, a jazz bassist Pino Sallusti and a rock guitarist Ludovico Piccinini. Black Widow, the record company, seem to have played a role in bringing the two original members together again. The new album is inspired by Dante's La Divina Commedia (featuring lyrics by Tartarini). I haven't heard the mentioned Cherry Five album from 1975. Nor are either Taproban or Tartarini's other 70's band L'Uovo di Colombo's music familiar to me.

For the 25-minute title epic the role models are the classic 70's prog epics, especially ELP's Tarkus. Hmm, risky to make such comparison, because this work lacks the powerful and melodic emotion of the Tarkus sections like 'Stones of Years' and the Emersonian keyboard virtuosity. In fact the first 5-8 minutes, featuring a flat background pattern of Hammond, are a bit pushed and monotonous, apart from a decent keyboard solo. Somewhere in the middle of the epic is a fine, jazzy bass solo. The vocals that seem at first listen rather colourless show also some warmer emotion later on the album, but 'Il Pozzo dei Giganti' doesn't fully succeed to me, though I presume it grows with time. It draws from Inferno's Canto XXXI and is about giants punished for their pride.

'Manfredi' (Purgatorio, Canto III) is a four-part epic of 16½ minutes. The first part is in fast tempo and attempts to sound like GENTLE GIANT in its rhythmic complexity but it's quite unmemorable. The second part is slower and more emotional - indeed approaching accessible soft pop - featuring also a brief guitar solo. The third one rocks slightly heavier with URIAH HEEP-ish Hammond, and the final part returns to the slightly sentimental softness. Nothing wrong with that! Sadly the wide dynamics in composition is not very present sonically; the album has a bit forced atmosphere, it never gets in full flight.

Could the mixing be a bit unbalanced in this album? I have a feeling that the instruments, especially the wide set of keyboards, are not heard very brightly; often the sound gets stuffy. 'Dentro la Cerchia Antica' (Paradiso, Canto XVI) "offers a progressive-medieval style..." Well, the harpsichord-like keyboards etc. get half-buried in the Heavy-oriented sound. A good prog piece otherwise.

3½ stars. This would be SO close to a strong four-star album in the vein of classic 70's symphonic prog, happily even less Heavy than the Black Widow releases in general. But I guess rounding down to three stars reflects more honestly my reception.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.91 | 190 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another example of how prog had become, by the middle 1970s, more than simply a trend or even a "movement". It was by any fair estimation the preeminent direction and sound of modern rock music, which is to say not simply new versions of what the Beatles had already done, but rather a ridiculously, even dangerously ambitious quest to stretch the rock 'n roll format to the point of near collapse. Thank God for punk, some would say, for having saved true rock from these ill-suited and pompous players. But it was too late to deny the deep and almost overnight impact ELP and Yes and Genesis and anyone else with the balls to follow those guys had on almost everybody. By 1975, Prog had become more than widely attractive, it had taken on the inescapable gravity of a black hole.

Of course it was all over as fast as it had emerged and most 'prog artists' flew from the genre faster than a spooked monkey, looking ashamed at their embarrassing, indulgent past and running toward the clipped gleam of the New Rock. The Cherry Five project is an ideal example of the peak of that prog era ~ The Grand Age, if you will ~ with three members of this Italian unit going on to create the more modern and cinematic Goblin who in turn would influence everyone from John Carpenter to Zombi. But it is here that us shameless prog trainspotters get to have our taste of this group at a hungrier and less polished stage, as on eight-minute 'Country Graveyard', oozing with classic Anglophonic instrumentation and vocal arrangements, jazzy grooves, swing, and smoky Hammond leads. A bracing first cut. Familiar 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' shows the Yes influence and is quite good though 'The Swan is a Murderer' part 1 & 2 falters a bit as it thuds along. 'Oliver' on the other hand is a treat with an expansive bass ground, sweet keyboard breaks and an acrobatic performance packed with changes; a great moment for this quintet and worth the price alone, and we end on trippy 'My Little Cloud Land'.

Cherry Five is right up there with all the other guys that, for an all too short moment in popular music, let their hair down in a way never envisioned for the adolescent and untrained rock 'n roll style, and their original album is a must for any fans who love not just the chart-topping prog, but also Greenslade, Yezda Urfa, England, Cathedral, and all the other quiet masters who, luckily for us, left behind a small sample of how to make the impossible possible.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.91 | 190 ratings

BUY
Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The sole Cherry Five album sets itself apart from the rest of the Italian scene with the wide spread of UK prog influences it displays - indeed, vocalist Tony Tartarini sings in English, an oddity for all but the most internationally successful Italian bands at the time. At points some of the quirky instrumental passages remind me of Gentle Giant, whilst The Picture of Dorian Gray is nothing less than a loving tribute to Yes. (Seriously, put Jon Anderson on vocals and it sounds like something from The Yes Album.) Overall, not as original or groundbreaking as the strange waters that some of this crew would sail under the Goblin flag, but still an interesting entry to the annals of the less well-known Italian prog bands. Look it up if you are interested in the roots of Goblin.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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