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PHOENIX AGAIN

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Phoenix Again biography
An obscure (but brilliant) Italian rock combo PHOENIX were founded in 1981 (after the disbandment of a rock project named Gruppo Studio Alternativo) by the three LORANDI brothers - Claudio (lead guitar, voices), Antonio (bass), Sergio (guitars) - and Silvano SILVA (drums, percussion), all of whom had been remarkably influenced by 70s British progressive rock scene (e.g. Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator). In 1986 they recruited Emilio ROSSI (keyboards) and their soundscape could get more symphonic. With the collaboration of many session musicians, they had recorded some material for releasing a medium, that had not seen the light of day until 2011.

PHOENIX were disbanded in 1998 and each member had performed in his own project. Upon April 15, 2007, a serious loss for them - the death of Claudio - started their plan of compiling previous material and releasing their album. Finally, "ThreeFour" could be released in 2011 under the moniker of PHOENIX AGAIN for the purpose of identification.

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PHOENIX AGAIN discography


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

3.68 | 11 ratings
ThreeFour
2011
4.04 | 7 ratings
Look Out
2014

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Flero
2012

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Alchimie (Phoenix)
1991

PHOENIX AGAIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Look Out by PHOENIX AGAIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Look Out
Phoenix Again Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The Italian avalanche of stunning 2014 releases continues unabated with the Neo-flavored Phoenix Again up for evaluation, a different appreciation is needed as their sound requires a little adjusting, mostly instrumental and on the raunchier side , veering into hard-jazz- fusion, space-rock and symphonic splurges when and where it is warranted. My first audition was underwhelming but it came after multiple trysts with Logos' recent jubilating masterpiece 'L'Enigma della Vita', a love affair that continues on my vehicle dashboard. Phoenix Again could easily have been called the Lorandi Famiglia +guests but it really comes through as a much focused (sic) affair, with occasional winks at classic Focus, among a few other influences. This took a few spins to really imbibe myself into the rather explorative nature of this mostly instrumental album. But once I did, 'I could scarcely believe all the pleasures inside'.

The voluptuous resonance of 'Adso da Melk' will instantly get the prog juices flowing, as this master 12 minute piece introduces some Gregorian chants, followed by an acoustic guitar surge that will warm your tired bones by the fire, the lead guitar paralleling the main theme with a little more bluster. It's a gorgeous melody that spawns a real cool, jazzy, free wheelin' and breezy guitar solo that is utterly awe-inspiring. The piece is then led by a resolute bass motif which signals a lengthy jam where guitar and synths exchange musical vows as well as some carnal intercourse, as keyboardist Andrea Picinelli adds a mellotron flurry for good measure. With such a sterling opener, how can one go wrong? That main theme is further enhanced by a bombastic arrangement that throws dense symphonics onto the already shimmering bonfire. What a track this is!

'Oigres' is a torrid little monster track, clocking 6 minutes and 19 seconds of pure proggy bliss, grumbling voice effects (monsters?) and an insistent guitar riff that spirals wildly, swerving with devilish bass undertow and a keyboard swarm of synthesizers and topped off with that classic Italian sound , the accordion. The picking style is deeply expressive, the riffs punchy and vivacious and the keyboard bombast there to elicit even more drama and depth.

A tremendous follow-up that is further heightened by the nuclear-powered boogie of the title track, 'Look Out' being another 10 and a half space rock jam fest, where both Lorandi guitarists (Marco and Sergio) really get to showcase their rock personality with little hints of Robin Trower, Jan Akkerman and Andy Powell. The massive Mellotron onslaught is slightly reminiscent of KC'S 'Sailor's Tale' with that that tempestuous barrage of white noise violins amid the frenzied drumming, booming bass and screeching guitar solos. Relentless like some deranged Rottweiler, the music packs a thunderous punch with drummer Silvano Silva slamming hard on his kit, in order to keep pace with the brothers. Picinelli seasons the sonic cauldron with strange cubist synthesized doodles (a la early Eno), giving the listener both a sense of chaotic order and linear dissonance.

The glittering warmth of 'Summer' brings much appreciated light to the surroundings, a classic piece of progressive rock, nothing too fancy, just very 'finesse', led by a sweet synthesizer melody that elevates the elegant piano insertion, something Chopin would be proud of, orchestrations in the background only serving to enhance the grandiose mood. No doubt that a PFM/Banco feel permeates the track, a lovely mellotronic breeze adding to the mystery. The silky finale guitar part is like George Benson meets Jan Akkerman.

Speaking of whom, 'The Endless Battle' has a raucous riff that screams out 'Hocus Pocus', comically so very obvious, one can only smile in abject respect. The guitar shrieks loudly amid the Hammond organ stop and starts, whist drummer Silva does his best Pierre Van der Linden imitation, pushing hard and fast. The solo is like a Ferrari on turbo mode on a tortuous highway of ripping notes, quick accelerations and sudden bursts of supercharged power. This attention to being fun and entertaining was what finally convinced me that this album is a total keeper.

The only vocal track 'Invisible Shame' was recorded when older brother Claudio Lorandi was still alive and strangely differs greatly from the previous instrumental-driven material. The song is strongly infected with various Marillion-isms, 'You Know You Know', Trewavas- like bass, Kelly-styled keys and Rothery schooled guitar parts. The vocals are acceptable but certainly not up there with Fish or Hoggarth. The musical parts are stellar but the piece does represent the only weak track on the menu.

After summer's warm embrace, the frigid reality comes back every year to remind us that snow and ice are a natural phenomenon (except in the tropical areas of course) and 'Winter' certainly adheres to that kind of glacial imagery. The Manfred Mann 'styled synth solo, the flowery bass attack as well as the brash riffing will provide all the bliss, rolling organ and raunchy guitar blasts go back and forth, like some crazed tennis match. Serene medieval bliss is guaranteed on the intoxicating 'Dance of Three Clowns' , where acoustic guitar, flute, violins, cello and light percussives all get to play in the garden of aural delights. Very Italian, very romantic and utterly elegant, this piece puts a fine stamp of playfulness on the recording. Bravo!

This is another fine 2014 addition to the recent and thankfully ongoing Italian prog invasion currently titillating the RPI lads as well as other prog fans looking for their fix. Well, their soccer team currently sucks but Italian bands surely are riding very high in progland lately. The artwork and cover are both sublime and inspiring. I plan to keep this one playing a lot more than I originally thought.

4.5 watchtowers

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 Look Out by PHOENIX AGAIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Look Out
Phoenix Again Neo-Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars Second delightful studio offering from this obscure Italian band. As in "ThreeFour", here we have music that was composed in the 80's by the band but only now saw the light. Compared to that album, the group has grown with the addition of more members from the Lorandi family (Marco on guitars and Giorgio on percussion) and Andrea Piccinelli on keyboards/cello. The result is a more dynamic, varied and somewhat heavier sound.

The voice of Claudio Lorandi (R.I.P.) appears on the only sung track (Invisible Shame), which, although pleasant, is arguably the weakest moment, balancing between a pop-Marillionesque and Phil Collins style, but closes with an impressive neo-prog keyboard solo and strong vocal melodies. Although the average track length approaches the 8 minute mark, the instrumental compositions of Phoenix Down flow freely.

The moods vary from pure Neo-prog passages to heavy fusion and symphonic prog coming straight from the 70's. "Summer" and "Dance of the Tree Clowns" shows the mellower side of the band, with the former reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's soundscapes and organ-like dreamy keyboards and the latter a short baroque, chamber prog, ethereal piece with cellos, flutes etc., which will bring a smile to fans of (mellower) Anglagard. On the contrary, the up-tempo "Endless Battle" reminded me of Maiden's "Transylvania" with a hefty dose of fusion, which shows the band's heavier side. "Look Out" builds up to similar riffology but coming from a funk/jazz intro with lush Neo-prog keyboards that see it out to the end. "Oigres" is a mix of King Crimson and accordion on low tempos! "Asdo da Melk", inspired by the "Name of the Rose" is the highlight of the release and grasps the listener's attention with the "romantic" opening acoustic guitars that swiftly change to early Marillion styles, progress to jazz/fusion dancing rhythms and uplifting bass lines and peak towards the end with cello accompaniment - breathtaking.

A multitude of rhythms and styles, a background of Neo-prog but with space to elaborate on jazz/fusion and classic progressive rock, "Look Out" is an album with a distinct character, even though we can only hear snippets of the band's Italian heritage. Emotion, skill and character: this has to be in the top-10 for 2014. 4+ stars.

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 ThreeFour by PHOENIX AGAIN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.68 | 11 ratings

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ThreeFour
Phoenix Again Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars This band from Brescia was formed as Phoenix in 1981 by brothers Claudio Lorandi (lead guitar, vocals), Antonio Lorandi (bass) and Sergio Lorandi (guitars) with Silvano Silva on drums.They played mostly in a Classic Prog style, performing live with various guest musicians on stage, before switching into a more symphonic sound in 1986 with the addition of Emilio Rossi on keyboards.They released the ''Alchimie'' cassette in 1991, before disbanding in 1998 with the members spending their time in other projects.When Claudio Lorandi died prematurely in 2007, the remaining Lorandi brothers along with Silva gave birth to the band for a second time, now as Phoenix Again, working on the old compositions of the group and adding the guitar parts of Claudio as listened on ''Alchimie''.The result was the album with the touching title ''Threefour'', released in 2011.

Phoenix Again's sound is not the closest it gets to Prog Rock, it is more of a melodic, instrumental Rock affair with plenty of progressive/symphonic colors, that often remind me of Spanish band FRANC ALBIR with a bit of a Dutch nuance akin to FLAMBOROUGH HEAD or even TRION at some point.Acoustic and electric guitars prevail in the album with supporting keyboards, propably played by Sergio Lorandi, and a few lovely flute parts occasionally popping up, eventually offering a palette of Mediterrenean perfume, OLDFIELD-ian atmospheres and melodious CAMEL-esque textures.If you love the most sensitive side of the electric guitar, you will love this album.The duo of Sergio and the passing Claudio Lorandi offers great melodic runs ans solos with some emotional acoustic lines in the process, while there are also moments of a rising virtuosity with a few technical twists in a Fusion style.While not being the leading instrument, keyboards are used in a clever way.Plenty of grandiose Mellotron and some naughty synth and organ moves will satify all listeners of rich musicianship.And at the top, Phoenix Again's music often turns the back to instant melodies for the sake of more dramatic instrumental themes with fantastic guitar work and a prominent symphonic influence with even some piano lines added for good measure.Very good instrumental album with some great ideas throughout and efficient execution on instruments.

Sweep away the dust of the old and forgotten Phoenix and be ready to welcome the revived Italian act.Great purchase for fans of melodic, instrumental Prog Rock with a few symphonic hints and a discreet CAMEL resemblance.Recommended.

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 ThreeFour by PHOENIX AGAIN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.68 | 11 ratings

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ThreeFour
Phoenix Again Neo-Prog

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

4 stars Phoenix Again are a lost 1980's Italian progressive band who never got around around to releasing an LP in their heyday, but have since compiled all their music onto this one album `ThreeFour'. I tend to think that the music was written at that time, but properly recorded in our modern era for this album. This will likely be their only release, due to the death of their beloved guitar player and founding member Claudio Lorandi. Therefore, this album is probably considered as a one-off tribute to the man, and the band couldn't have put out a more deserving memento. It's a wonderfully varied and lush instrumental progressive album filled with tasteful and tuneful arrangements that frequently highlight what a talent their guitarist was, in addition to the skills of the rest of the band.

I find it strange that this band has been listed as a neo-prog band, which is far too limiting a description! When you listen to the album for the first time, several of the tracks have far more in common with the symphonic and romantic prog artists such as Rousseau, Camel, Terpandre and even the more recent Sanhedrin. In other words, lovely melodic instrumental prog rock. `ThreeFour' does eventually come across as a positive and bright neo-prog album like the Jadis debut `More than Meets The Eye' and the self-titled Index album, too.

All the tracks are loaded with soaring electric guitar solos, warm acoustic playing, bravura bass playing, varied drumming and waves of lush keyboard sounds. Despite the band being comprised of the three Lorandi brothers, with Silvano Silva on drums and percussion, the CD booklet doesn't seem to credit who plays the keyboards! The synths all over the album are mostly used to subtly colour the backgrounds of the music, with only occasional flashy solos.

In an album filled with all quality material, there's a few real highlights that truly stand out. The first track `Agli Amici Scomparsi' sets the standard for the rest of the album. Warm acoustic guitar playing, a lovely evocative violin melody and gentle flute makes the track something that wouldn't sound out of place on Camel's much-loved `Snow Goose'. It's soon joined by evocative mellotron and joyful rising electric guitar action before a stomping finale.

The majestic `Lindberg' has a grand and regal melodic electric guitar line, along with killer solos and Hackett like acoustic moments. This sounds like a classic early 70's Genesis instrumental without being a total imitation, and there's a beautiful uplifting quality to the piece.

`Quiete'' flies through a number of different styles and ideas within it's near 8 minutes. Like a heavenly crossing of early Pendragon and Camel in the beginning, before dancing back and forth between snappy 80's Yes-like guitar runs and upbeat Wakeman synth attacks, chugging bass playing and pounding drums. The guitar solo at the ends partly reminds me of the final track on Ange's `Au-Dela Du Delire'!

The 9 minute `Aquarius Time' has a harsh electronic introduction before an extended fluid and tasteful electric guitar solo from Claudio that snakes it's way along the track, through washes of Mellotron and dramatic drumming. Would probably be hailed as a classic track if it was from an IQ album!

The rest of the album offers plenty of interesting music. There's twisted metallic funk on `Cianuro Puro', the Split Enz-like quirky reggae of `I Bambini'.', the dirty jazzy grooves of `Autumn', medieval acoustic folk ballads like `What Can I do?', harder scorching riffs on `Eppur Si Muore' (but with a sumptuous acoustic solo in the finale), bouncy synth and guitar interplay in the appropriately titled `Spring' and haunting shimmering ballads in `The Phoenix Flies Again'.

Despite that this release is something of a `compilation' of all their material, with a wildly varying display of styles and genres throughout, the album never sounds too disjointed or uneven. Certainly the sound quality is always consistently full and clear, and doesn't come across as fragments taken from years of recordings. But there's so much great material on offer here that likely many listeners will find plenty to appreciate, making it a perfect prog album to gently unwind to.

`Threefour' is played with great love and energy, and there really couldn't be a finer way to commemorate not only the late Claudio Lorandi's talent, but the skills of the entire band. It's now here for us all to enjoy, no longer confined to a lost chapter in the progressive rock genre.

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 ThreeFour by PHOENIX AGAIN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.68 | 11 ratings

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ThreeFour
Phoenix Again Neo-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'ThreeFour' - Phoenix Again (7/10)

Drawing a parallel with the UK proggers in BunChakeze, Phoenix Again are a remnant of the eighties that have only recently divulged their art to the world. Originally called Phoenix, they formed in '81 and met some anticipation by those aware of their music. Though some of Phoenix's music found its way into the studio, they could not find a way to release it. By the late nineties, Phoenix had all but split, and it was conceivable that their music would never find the ears of proggers at large. Following the tragic death of guitarist Claudio Lorandi however, Phoenix (now styled as Phoenix Again) opted to release their music at long last. With that in mind, "ThreeFour" is a compilation of sorts, consisting of tracks all recorded over a decade past. It's understandable then that it contends with a weak sense of flow, and though Phoenix Again plays a familiar neo-prog style, this music deserved to be released.

Filled with melodic lead guitar and bright synths, Phoenix Again feels very much a product of the 'transition' era of prog, lodged between the vintage nostalgia of the seventies and a yearning to expand outward. Though the late guitarist Claudio Lorandi is cited as doing the 'voices' for Phoenix Again, this album is almost purely instrumental, save for a short interlude at the end of "I bambini nascono per vivere felici" where a children's choir ambles on to give the prog a breather. Musically speaking, Phoenix Again sticks to composition- oriented, melodic rock. Though there are no pesky lyrics to write verses around, "ThreeFour" is dominated by structure-based tunes, often relying upon Claudio's tasteful leads to guide the band. Synthesizers are also used in a similar context, although "ThreeFour" is certainly a guitarist's haven. The other instruments here fill a secondary role, although every musician is worthy of respect. Lorandi brothers Sergio and Antonio get a driving pulse across with their rhythm and bass work. Silvano Silva does not take the artistic license to madness I am used to hearing from instrumental prog drummers, instead going for an upbeat energy that directly compliments what's going on at the forefront. Overall, Phoenix Again perform with skill and taste.

The compositions are quite diverse, and as a result, "ThreeFour" often reminds itself that it is a compilation of tracks, thanks to a fairly hodge-podge sense of flow. Fortunately, the quality of music and production is generally consistent, although the two 'epic' tracks "I bambini nascono per vivere felici" and "Aquarius Time" both stand out as particular highlights, giving the time necessary for the Phoenix to spread its wings and explore some ways beyond the confines of their compositions. The brief "What Can I Do?" is also a gem; a two minute escape into a dream world I would sooner expect out of post-rock. "Cianuro Puro" is another surprise, moving away from the album's general pleasantry in exchange for a somewhat creepy dive into gothic-symphonic rock.

Though I imagine that this hour of music is not nearly enough to grasp what Phoenix must have done in their careers together, "ThreeFour" is a very good record. Their often 'soaring' brand of instrumental rock occasionally sounds a little tame for its own good, but Phoenix Again throws a handful of more adventurous moments our way as well. Although- to my knowledge- Phoenix will not be rising once again, it is cool to finally get to hear their music, in spite of the tragedy that provoked its release.

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