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PHAEDRA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Phaedra biography
PHAEDRA is not a new band even though their debut was released in 2010. The origins of this group from Trento Italy harken to 1993. They started out as a band with good live activity and played many shows and festivals, with a mix of originals and lots of covers from the likes of Genesis, Yes, Rush, and Marillion to name a just a few. Today?s Phaedra is a large 8-person ensemble with the usual 4 piece plus an extra keyboardist, a flautist, and two violinists.

The music of the debut album "Ptah" is lush, beautiful, pastoral progressive rock influenced by English and Italian prog. It ranges from Anthony Phillips (Goose period) styled acoustic prog with folk influences to symphonic prog-rock to a touch of neo. Synths and piano, electric and acoustic guitars, flute, mandolin, and violin all add up to a well-rounded and delightful listening experience, one which is firmly on the more reserved, refined side of Italian progressive rock. Occasionally they rock out but there is nothing weird enough to drive your family members from the room. Fans of Conqueor and Cooperativa Del Latte should love this band.

-Jim Russell / Finnforest

Phaedra official website

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Beyond the StormBeyond the Storm
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$19.98
$18.99 (used)
SeaSea
Rune Grammofon 2011
Audio CD$11.34
$10.53 (used)
Double flesh (1996, I, LC) / Vinyl Maxi Single [Vinyl 12'']Double flesh (1996, I, LC) / Vinyl Maxi Single [Vinyl 12'']
Import
Vinyl$9.19 (used)
Phaedra / Forbidden MethodsPhaedra / Forbidden Methods
United
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Ptah: A Rock OperaPtah: A Rock Opera
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$16.26
$27.54 (used)
Up Against The WallUp Against The Wall
Tough Records
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PHAEDRA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.62 | 16 ratings
Ptah
2010
3.79 | 14 ratings
Beyond the Storm
2013

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

PHAEDRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PHAEDRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PHAEDRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PHAEDRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ptah by PHAEDRA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 16 ratings

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Ptah
Phaedra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Despite releasing their debut in 2010, Italians Phaedra were no newbies in the Progressive Rock scene.The group from Trento was found in 1998 by its only original member bassist/singer Claudio Bonvecchio, while his long time bandmate keyboardist/guitarist Stefano Gasperetti joined the group the following year.They started as a cover band but by mid-90's original ideas came to surface, leading to a self-titled demo in 1998.Line-up changes were several, but even this way the band started working on an ambitious Rock Opera in 2000.Part of it was performed on stage in 2002, but it was a very slow work in progress.Eventually the whole concept was ready by the end of the decade, featuring an 8-piece group of musicians, and in 2010 Phaedra's first work ''Ptah'' was privately released.

This sci-fi concept work is written around an ancient extraterrestrial, delivering strong social and emotional messages, an idea captured by Stefano Gasperetti.Musically though ''Ptah'' comes in the best Italian Prog tradition with more than evident PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI influences as well as notable QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA touches due to the constant presence of the two violin players, Elisabetta Wolf and Antonio Floris.What is extremely strange is that this very rich and delicate musicianship is rarely performed on electric guitars.Phaedra's music is almost entirely based on keyboards, violins and flutes with a tight rhythm section supporting, having overall beautiful folky colors.The basic path though is an elaborate and sensitive Symphonic Rock with melodic flutes, Classical-inspired violins and excellent performances on keyboards with organ, synthesizers, clavinet and harpsichord in evidence.Moreover the vocals are trully magnificent, very poetic, warm and expressive with great singing lines.Despite the lack of electric explosions ''Ptah'' remains a balanced album all the way with intricate instrumental variations, characterized by the sudden shifts from elegant flute-driven themes to darker passages with dual violins, always surrounded by the deep use of keyboards.The music gets even quite complex at moments with pronounced bass lines, orchestral movements and complicated keyboard turns, all these ideas are amazingly connected to each other, resulting a solid work with many exceptional moments.

Another great discovery from one of the best countries regarding Prog music.Old-school Italian Prog performed with passion and inspiration, offered in a perfectly executed concept effort.No less than highly recommended.

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 Ptah by PHAEDRA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 16 ratings

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Ptah
Phaedra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Phaedra is an Italian prog band from Trento that began life in 1993. After many troubles, line up changes and a lot of work in studio, in 2010 the band released a self produced album with a line up featuring founder member Claudio Bonvecchio (bass, guitars, backing vocals) along with Stefano Gasperetti (keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin), Stefano Dalcanale (drums), Davide Tabarelli (keyboards, theremin), Fabrizio Crivellari (flute), Elisabetta Wolf (violin), Antonio Floris (violin, viola) and Claudio Granatiero (lead vocals). This work, titled Ptah, is a concept album telling a science-fiction story written by the vocalist Claudio Granatiero whose atmosphere reminds me of some novels by the French writer René Barjavel as "La nuit des temps" (The Ice People) and "Le grand secret" (The Immortals) or the sci-fi TV series "Space:1999". The music flows in a long suite where calm acoustic passages alternates with more aggressive parts. The overall sound could recall some historic Italian bands such as Locanda delle Fate or Maxophone and features a very good use of flute and violin...

The excellent instrumental "Overture" set the atmosphere and draws some melodic lines that will be developed later... "They say that once upon a time the sky was blue / They say that the sun was shining / There were green lawns over there and there was a river as well... They say, but for me it's just a dream... They say that there were many children... And now I'm alone...". On "Dicono" (They say) the very particular voice of Claudio Granatiero interprets a lonely child on a dying planet, victim of the human ambition. What happened to the Earth?

The next track "Sotto un cielo stellato" (Under a starry sky) takes us far back in time, on another planet where some people are leaving their advanced civilization to seek for another world where they can live and start again. The people of that planet had defeated maladies and aging but they couldn't survive to a sudden natural catastrophe provoked by their endless quest for knowledge. The vocals are broken, almost out of tune, when depicting a sad farewell and the nostalgia for what was left behind while the music in the middle section describes a journey through the space.

Next comes "Il reietto" (The outcast) that describes in music and words a strange character, one of the people who left the doomed planet when he was just a child... "We escaped from Death / We tricked our fate / We wondered through the space looking for a better day / Nobody run after us / Nobody regretted us / But fear has not left us since then...".

"Un mondo nuovo" (A new world) is a beautiful instrumental track featuring nice flute passages. The music here tries to describe the feelings of joy and relief that the space- traveling survivors prove while they're getting closer to the Earth. Then they go down from their starship to explore the new planet and realize that they are finally ready for a new start...

"Come un bambino" (As a child) describes the meeting with a primitive form of life whose strength is the brain: man. The survivors don't get old but they are not immortal and they are not able to breed anymore. They "adopt" men as children, they start to manipulate their DNA to accelerate their evolution to build up a new civilization... "Life is growing up, new hope / Offspring of the Earth and of an ancient science / Here men will live their innocence / They will grow up strong, they will be mighty / Our leadership will make them wise / We will be free again...".

"La costruzione di Atlantide" (The construction of Atlantis) is another instrumental track which begins with a nice marching beat, then soaring melodies played by flute, violin and synthesizers interact painting a busy scene with "Renaissance colours". The music tries to depict a scene where the survivors and their new "children" build up a new city and a new civilization.

On "Uomo!" (Man!) the tension rises. Something goes wrong between teachers and pupils. Men get old and die while their masters are always young, immutable and strict. Seeds of rebellion are spreading... "How many years have passed by? I still remember my defeat... It's sad when you see the work of a whole life destroyed by a son who can't understand / That all what you were doing was necessary to give him a better world and a happy life...".

"La distruzione di Atlantide" (The destruction of Atlantis) begins with an acoustic guitar arpeggio. It's a dark, sad instrumental track that marks the end of the new civilization. All the masters but one are killed, dreams explode and Atlantis crumbles... The men escaped from Atlantis go back to their nomadic primitive life and the knowledge of the masters gets lost in a few generations. The memory of Atlantis survives just as a myth...

"Dilemma interiore" (Inner dilemma) describes the pain of the only master escaped, Ptah. For many centuries he shunned men. His feelings were contradictory: hope, fear, disappointment, love. But eventually despair gives way to hope... "Leave the past behind you / Dream again / Don't let fear rule over you / You will find all the strength you need inside you...".

"Il saggio errante" (The wondering wise man) is a nice instrumental that describes the peregrinations of Ptah while he tries to transmit his knowledge and help humankind undercover. From the Egyptian city of Qena to Benares in India, to the dark sea of the coast of Norway...

The next track "Preghiera" (Prayer) deals with the issue of Faith. It begins with organ chords and a church like choir, then from a strummed acoustic guitar pattern heartfelt vocals soar... When Ptah came back seeking contacts with men, after centuries of solitude, he realized that humankind had developed the faith in God. Of course, God was just a distorted memory of the old masters, but he started to think about it for the first time... "I don't know if you can hear me, if you exist or you're nothing but a dream / Many people believes in you / No one can know if you are real / But listen to the pain which is destroying me / It doesn't give me any hope... Give me hope... Knowledge has always been my only faith, my only God / But when everything falls down and time bestows on you the gift of eternity / There's no reason to go on living and fighting / Please, give me a sign...".

"Il peso del rimorso" (The burden of remorse) describes a spiritual struggle. No sign came from God and Ptah wonders whether is it better to give up trying to transmit his knowledge to humankind or not... Ptah can't bear the burden of the remorse, he feels that he must help what he still consider his children, he has to help men...

"La decisione" (The decision) concludes the album. Thanks to the hidden help of Ptah, men were able to build up a new advanced civilization that could even compete with the one of the old masters. When Ptah reveals himself nobody believes him and a new destructive war is going to begin. The impending doom closes the circle and you can now imagine Ptah talking to the wind clod in a crimson cape while beside him a child dreams of a better world with green lawns and rivers and other children to play with...

Well, on the whole this is a very good album although the vocal parts are not flawless. Claudio Granatiero wrote the lyrics and the liner notes in the booklet that contribute to explain the plot but in my opinion he should have shared the vocal parts with other singers since he had to interpret too many characters and passages in this "rock-opera" and the result is not always convincing...

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 Ptah by PHAEDRA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 16 ratings

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Ptah
Phaedra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars Italian octet Phaedra originally formed in 1993 so their recent debut album has been a long time in the making. The band went through some changes of personnel around the turn of the millennium and the present line-up has subsequently spent the past ten years honing the material on ''Ptah'' through their extensive live activity. The long-awaited ''Ptah'' is a rock opera (veering towards chamber opera) that takes its inspiration from mythology and science fiction, with the Egyptian deity of the title symbolising mankind. The concept will be academic to non- Italian speakers like myself of course.

The musicians in Phaedra have created an accomplished and individual sound world courtesy of the instruments at their disposal. The line-up includes two violinists and a flautist, all with a background in classical music, and the album is festooned with their colourful contributions. In fact, acoustic instruments form the backbone of the disc with mandolin and 12-string guitar adding to the intrinsically unplugged feel. However there's a general lack of textural variety between tracks and although there are occasional bursts of activity and aggression, things overall just seem a bit too tame with very little electric guitar or keyboards to light up the fire on the mountain. There's not much to attract non-RPI diehards, and there's none of that famous Italian fervour that the band must have left behind in the studio.

''Ptah'' is certainly an ambitious and visionary tableau, but with 14 tracks and a running time of 75-minutes it's very long, perhaps too long. I hate to be critical about the album, especially as the band has clearly invested a great deal of time and effort in its creation, but someone really should have separated the sonic chaff from the wheat. It's not all bad news, mind you. The album has moments of calm beauty and an overall atmosphere of quiet intimacy, while my favourite pieces are the intermittent instrumentals that intersperse the longer tracks. Although graceful and well crafted, ''Ptah'' just seems to lack spontaneity and something of an edge. Phaedra is undoubtedly a band with great potential, although if it's a further ten years until the band's second release I'll consider myself lucky if I'm still around to listen to it.

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