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UNREAL CITY

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Unreal City biography
The idea for UNREAL CITY was hatched in 2008 by keyboardist/vocalist Emanuele TARASCONI and guitarist Francesca ZANETTA, the line-up later completed with the arrival of Francesco OREFICE (bass) in 2010 and Federico BEDOSTRI (drums) a further two years after that. A self-released EP by the Parma-based outfit in 2012 brought them to the attention of Italian prog lord Fabio ZUFFANTI who was subsequently involved in the production of the band's recent debut album ''La Crudeltà Di Aprile'' (2013) for Mirror Records.

The young members of UNREAL CITY project something of a retro-modern image and their music also enjoys the best of both old and new. The tracks on ''La Crudeltà Di Aprile'' display a similar present day consciousness but they do so with reference to the traditional RPI creed. That epic tradition manifests itself through typical Italian lyricism and the unrestrained expansion of lavish arrangements adorned with Mellotron, Moog, church organ, violin and lute. The texts scrutinize dark themes of psychological conflict (the trauma of Oedipal separation, corruption, the mediation between the conscious and unconscious realms) and draw inspiration from encounters with shadow forces (Faust, primitive deities, witches' Sabbaths) although these related stories ultimately present a narrative of personal growth. The lyrical themes also seem to release the collective imagination of the band and the end result is a phantasmagoric Italian Symphonic Prog with a dark gothic bias.

Looking at UNREAL CITY in the context of new Italian groups it might not be too much of a stretch to describe them as the archetypal modern RPI band, and ''La Crudeltà Di Aprile'' is an absolute must-have for fans of the genre. Currently available in CD format and to download/stream via their bandcamp.

- seventhsojourn

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Il Paese Del TramontoIl Paese Del Tramonto
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La Crudelta Di AprileLa Crudelta Di Aprile
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Ephemeral SubsistenceEphemeral Subsistence
Eulogy Recordings 2008
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UNREAL CITY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.21 | 275 ratings
La Crudeltà Di Aprile
2013
4.15 | 185 ratings
Il Paese Del Tramonto
2015

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UNREAL CITY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars Second album from these talented Italians and a late (better than never!) review from my part. I have now spun this album more than a few times and it always leaves my ears satisfied: retro- (almost medieval in a way) Italian progressive rock, also influenced from the Brit scene, but maintaining a peculiar dark/gothic, and, at the same time, 'Italian-optimistic' character. To this largely contribute the mellotron and lush keyboards in a plethora of different formats e.g. organ, high-pinched, piano etc.

Somewhat reminding me of my favourite "Eternity" album from Anathema, the album kicks off with a 'dream sequence' sample and a lovely piano intro, followed by a much more dynamic keyboard section which alternates between grandiose and 70's electronica, before setting off to a pure progressive tempo and improvisation. Traditional Italian music, symphonic a-la Genesis progressive rock, jazz/fusion and middle-eastern passages comprise a purely varied album where fear for experimentation is non-existent. Within this mix, there are enjoyable heavy references to Sabbath and Atomic Rooster (see e.g. the closing sections of ''Caligari'' and ''Lo Schermo di Pietra'' or the beginning of ''Ex Tenebrae Lux''), which work exceptionally well with the gothic atmosphere and the revolving theme of dreams.

Despite its long duration (ca. 70min), the variation and ideas of the album are more than enough to maintain interest at high levels. Perhaps a small potential for improvement is the vocals of Emanuele, which are full of energy but at times sound rather rough around the edges or rather too flat. A bit more colour would lift the compositions even higher, but appreciate the youth element here!

Most likely one of the top-10 prog releases in 2015. The 70's RPI pioneers would be proud of their children. Personal highlights: Ouverture, Caligari, Ex Tenebrae Lux

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by marcuse

5 stars I saw their gig in Chiasso (Switzeland) yesterday. What a performance! They introduced their complete last album ''il Paese del Tramonto''. This CD is in my opinon a masterpiece of Italian Prog. The rooth of the group are very clear in he classics of the past, but their style is somehow new and fresh. We can esily say this is the new ssymphon prog for the future. They kebord wizar Tarasconi is possibly one of the best, and not only in Italy. A great mix of Weakman and Emerson, with a strong touch of classic music. To see him live is a show in the show, as he manage to handle a huge mumber of instriments. Hammon organ,mellotron, moog, syntyetizer, Rhodes and he even perform Theremin....He his the author of musics and texts, than are a value on their own, being very deep and poetic with a strong touch of psicoanalisys. This is a big advantage for Italian supporters, that can understand the message of UC. The cd start with a instrumental part of about 5 minutes, where they summarize the armony of the complete album. There is a lot of young energy in what they perform, and this is an extra point in their music, kind of atomic injection. Other feature is the complexity of each single song, with sudden change of rythm and style. In some point a great tribute to hot jazz, in some other a fantastic acustic piano of classic inspiration. The music of UC can be very easy in some part and very hard in some other. The second piece, Oniromanzia has a beautiful armony that is developped with the help of several nice guitar solos and some bass solos as well. Bass and drimmer are not just participarting, but often rise to protagonists quite orfen. The last Song is a faraonic suite of more than 20 minute where you find all the good I can say about them.Another point I like in UC is how the fuse all the sounds together in a way that sometime it seems only one instrument is playing. For sure keyboards are protagonist, but the guitar give a substantial support in all parts. I beleive this masterpieve of Italian prog merit 5 start indeed.....

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by giulia

5 stars My second review for today is about a group that I really love . Unreal City. 4 youg artists coming from the region of Parma in Italy. Il Paese del Tramonto is their second album and it created a very big expectation among the Italian Progressice Rock supporters, as the first ''La Crudeltà di Aprile'' was really great.Expectation really match reality this time as Il Pase del Tramonto goes one step further. I beleive this group will be in a near future the best of this gentre, when you consider that the avarage age I think is around 23 years. So you can expect a further maturation from the actual already very high level.Young , but with an evident very strong musical background in a variety of areas (classic music, jazz, blues, hard rock etc..). In this album they keep their style, that is already well defined, made of a wide variation during each song. They major capability is to move from gotic to funk to jazz so quickly that it is always a surprise. Amazing how they manage to blend rythms and styles in a very logic sequence. The vocalist (who is also the keyboard wizar) has a very personal voice that you can love or hate, but in this second cd he has matured a wider range of tones (maybe due to the very young age...). An evident improvement of the guitarist, one of the very few girls in the progressive word. She has an emotional way of playing with some clear influences from Guilmore and Fripp. The ritmic part is largely in line with the 2 leaders and give a great support with some very nice bass solos. Another feature of Unreal City is the qualitry of their live performance. They are a group more famous outside Italy, with gigs in Canada,Austria,Holland and Switzeland. I consider this new cd as the best RPI album of the third millennium. 5 stars without discussion and make sure to participate to one of their live gigs...

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Yayamimi

5 stars I had the chance to see Unreal City last gig in Rotterdam and iI was surprised by several things. First they are really very young, but their performance was very professional and mature. Secondly I liked very much how they gave us the live version of their last album, 'il paese del tramonto'. Their first album was a surprise indeed, a fresh music in a classic word like the Italian Progressive rock. Well this second album is more mature and achieve a great level. the music is for sure synphonic prog, with a sense of majesty and power, given by the extensive use of vintage instruments, like mellotron and moog. Tarasconi is a key wizard at the highest level. The classic origin is very evident and fantastic in the great acustic piano solos . The guitarist Zanetta has a great Giilmour touch and some solos are very emotional. The rithmic part is superb both in the bass ans the drum. Il paese del tramonto is a concept album that follow a trip in the deep soul of an assassin. The murder and the final judge through a mistic and honiric expirience. The texts are fantastic like the music is. I feel sorry wher i think that many foreigners will judge only the music.... A fantastic album that largely merits 5 stars...

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by MELNIBONÉ

5 stars When they came to Québec city in the Spring of 2014, Unreal City played "La Crudeltà Di Aprile" in full, but also performed a few pieces from their future album. Back home, I wrote to friends that, from what I had heard, I wasn't worried at all about the content of their sophomore album (contrary to numerous other young bands, especially those whose first album had been an equally stunning success). Now that "Il Paese Del Tramonto" is available, I could validate my assertion.

From the outset, I must admit that I'm unable to determine whether "Il Paese Del Tramonto" is better than "La Crudeltà Di Aprile", or the other way around. In fact, the overall quality, the invention and talent displayed, the inspiration and execution are such in both cases that to play the game of "better than" is but a waste of time.

"Il Paese Del Tramonto" defines a state between life and death, a sort of limbo. The concept album tells the story of a man who, having committed a crime of passion, dreams that he is judged and sentenced by his own conscience to eternal damnation into this limbo, where he regresses to cellular life, without any will of his own. Upon this dark and dramatic canvas, the four young musicians have weaved a sonic tapestry which is by turns vivid, gloomy and mournful, dense and delicate. There are frills and laces, but also power unleashed, musical influences from a vast array of horizons, but also a sure and definite loyalty to the band's own musical signature (already !), in other words a richness used with rare aplomb. Even though the pièce de résistance, "Ex Tenebrae Lux", encompasses by itself all the qualities of this opus and its creators, the other pieces that lead to it brim with original motifs, shades, detours and effects that never become formulas. To find such enduring musical maturity within such young musicians is enough to warrant deep respect and admiration.

By RPI standards, Unreal City are a generous lot ? "Il Paese Del Tramonto" clocks at almost 70 minutes, which is close to 10 minutes more than the first album. There are seven pieces, the shortest clocking at 5:01, the longest at 20:34, and the others ranging between 7 and 10 minutes. The line-up is the same, except for F. Orefice replaced by Dario Pessina on bass, who seems to be a bit more deft than the former ? he excels particularly on "Ex Tenebrae Lux". Also, guitarist Francesca Zanetta handles the mellotron. It's worth noting that her presence on the album is stronger than before ; she plays more, better and with greater variety, as can be heard particularly on "Oniromanzia", "La Meccanica Dell'Ombra", "Il Nome Di Lei" and "Ex Tenebrae Lux". Emanuele Tarasconi reigns over the keyboards with as much brilliance as ever, showing a stunning finesse and lushness in his orchestrations (that are not devoid of quirky humor ? or glee ?, as can be heard in the otherwise unsettling "Caligari"). Rythmic sequences and ambient variations cascade with frenzy or move one into the other with the softness of some lullaby, but always with a surprising melodic twist. The piano part are simply gorgeous, elegant and remarquably subtle, classic here, jazzy or bluesy there, and the organ parts are second to none, magnificent throughout. Tarasconi may not have the greatest voice among his RPI colleagues ? and he probably knows it ? but he's sensible and intelligent enough to use it as he does : true to traditional RPI singing (somewhere between Le Orme's A. Tagilapietra and Banco's F. di Giacomo), with just enough theatrics and emphasis Italian style (all the while with flawless diction and musicality), but also with a palpable passion and fun that are buoyant and juvenile without shame or restraint. In other words, an invigorating shot of vitamimns ! Federico Bedostri is still as convincing a drummer as he was previously (he does know how to rock the house when need be), providing a solid base without being monolithic, from which Tarasconi and Zanetta can soar and/or plummet at ease without fear that their musical acrobatics might lead them astray, as "Lo Schermo Di Pietra" shows with brio.

With "Il Paese Del Tramonto", Unreal City demonstrate that their inspiration has far from dried up and that their execution of the opus is up to its richness. Usually, that sort of confidence and accuracy is synonymous with more seasoned and experienced musicians, but Unreal City clearly show that "In souls nobly born, valour does not depend upon age". So, until the band visits your neighborhood eventually, do yourself a favor ? buy "Il Paese Del Tramonto"? then play it back to back with "La Crudeltà Di Aprile" and you'll know what is RPI body and soul !...

5 limbos without hesitation

PS By the way, if you feel that tszirmay's review below is overblown ? you're totally wrong ! Although he is as gifted with words as ever, this time his depictions of each track haven't managed to bring out the fullness of what Unreal City have layered in "Il Paese Del Tramonto"? It's that rare sort of album.

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars This band from Parma has got it all! I will now waste little pretense and gobbly-gook by anointing Unreal City as the next BIG THING in prog, now that the Porcupine has fled the Tree. Their 2013 debut album 'La Crudelta di Aprile' was received by glowing praise and general trepidation by the progressive community and that acclaim was richly deserved. But what really seemed so impressive is that for a band of youngsters barely in their twenties, they seem to have incorporated mountains of hours in reliving the RPI greats of the past and simply learned from their glorious history and forged a new form of RPI. A land where history is evident on every street corner, in every town, this should come as no surprise. Not much has changed on this sophomore release except for a new bassist in Dario Pessina but the maturity of lead singer and keyboardist Emmanuele Tarasconi has already leaped forward by a Mao Tse Tung mile, while guitarist Francesca Zanetta has now assumed much more confidence, once showing timid tendencies both on the previous work as well as in a live setting. She literally smokes on this album, her fuzz-laced tone mindful of past greats like Franco Falsini (Sensations Fix) and Franco Mussida (PFM). Now Tarasconi showed off some incredible piano and synth chops but here he includes incredible organ ramblings as well as astute harpsichord and clavinet where needed. His singing has quickly evolved into greatness, a combination of speed and substance, full of theatrics and sustained emotion. Drummer Federico Bedrosti is a fine basher, masculine and complex when prompted which is often as this gleaming Maserati has an engine that can rocket with the best in the business. All of the tracks are bathing in pubescent exuberance and talent that verges on genius. Within the confines of one track, there is an abundance of diversity, feeling, mood swings and technical know-how that will make your head shake/quake in disbelief. Not even a bum second on this piece of plastic, just a sheer pleasure ride.

"Ouverture" opens the show with a terrific synthesizer fueled instrumental that has classic RPI stamped all over it, imagine modern non-vocal version of Banco at its prime, with Tarasconi doing some weird things to his electronic instruments. Exalted, eruptive, turbulent and sizzling, the mood inducer is just a proper introduction to all the 'sturm und drang' that follows.

The first one to hit you between the ears is the enormously appealing "Onoromanzia" that gets you grooving right from the get-go, good sound and a suave delivery. Yes, classic RPI expedited with flair and passion, the vocals simply divine, somewhere near Aldo Tagliapietra meets Francesco di Giacomo. The introduction of funky clavinet within such symphonic confines is irresistible. This is followed up by a tight organ flurry, sensationalist flute and a rollicking electric guitar and synthesizer duet, mellotron haunting the back alley. Needles to repeat again, the vocals are simply off the charts!

The creepy 10 minute "Caligari" starts off in a solemn mode, slowly building up into a frenzy, winking at Roller- era Goblin and then infuses some lovely 'la la la' moments, respectful of their Italian canzone folk roots, with a divine mandolin-like buzz. The stage is thus set for some tight mini soloing where everyone takes a brief turn, combining the past with the future, the fast with the slow, the soft with the hard, all done with immense precision and yet fueled by that peculiar Italian talent of effortless class and natural style. A mind-blowing roller coaster experience where Tarasconi does another fab job on the vocals. The last two minutes in particular are gently awe-inspiring, going from serene to volcanic in a Pompeii heartbeat! Let the lava flow!

On the 9 minute "La Meccanica dell' Ombra", a trilling synthesizer and choir mellotron are both propulsed by the tight rhythm section, while Zanetta shows off some slick licks and guest violin does the Italian 'dolce vita' soundtrack circa 1961 (another reviewer wrote about a Jewish dance style of music, which is not a bad analogy). This then seamlessly morphs into a more somber affair with gloomy guitars serving a stark mood. But when Tarasconi sits down at the piano and adjusts his tuxedo tails, cracks his knuckles and gets it done with expressive piano ornamentals. Then he grabs the mike and delivers a haunting vocal, gauzed in that gorgeous language we all love so much. As if that was not yet enough, he then masturbates his synthesizer into gurgling out effervescent liquid bubbles of sonic madness. He then lays the screws to the organ and tortures it courteously. Finally, Zanetta pushes this into the ether with her celestial guitar foray. Mamma mia, this is dramatic and so hot!

The heat is kept on with the enchanting "In Nome di Lei", a perfect template for Unreal City's vision of new RPI, a clash of Titans, with harpsichord and violin ushering in electric guitar themes that seem to come from heaven, mellotron haunting in the forefront (why stick it in the back, eh?), an endlessly evolving style that leaves no stone unturned, and then infusing modernisms that identify the current times, mostly found in the youthful and powerful vocals. Zanetta flashes a lovely bluesy lead that has that Falsini feel mentioned earlier and combines with the melodic voice to simply kill it. Wow!

Check out the video for "Lo Schiermo di Pietra" and you will immediately understand where these crazy Italians are coming from and just how close they are to being the next big thing! Emmanuele looks like a fiendish madman as he assaults his keyboards but his facial and corporal expressions are a tribute to the theater and the drama stage, otherworldly, bizarre, punky and slightly deranged. Please remember that old adage 'Italy is not a country but a series of civic theaters"! The delivery goes from insane, speedy and fiery to the opposite end, lush, symphonic and intense. And then back, of course! What a ride!

They ended their debut with an epic, the gripping Goblin-esque "Horror Vacui", so why change the successful menu, bring on "Ex Tenebrae Lux" (out of the darkness, light)? A 20 minute rampage that spares no prisoners, pillaging everything in sight with magical displays of technical fire, showing their mastered progressive rock heritage with unabashed pride and inventive creativity. Sweeping synths enter the room, almost ambient in nature as a distant drum beat announces the road ahead. The mood then [&*!#]s to symphonic/gothic and then, much to my surprise into a funky, clavinet-led jazzy exploration that is just jaw-dropping! The synthesizer then takes over and rolls the train forward, mellotron, bass and drums in tow, in a truly classic prog motif, traversed by another violin scratch that hits the spot. Tarasconi embraces his microphone with confidence, singing his heart out, old-school organ burning the pace, then nimble piano, slippery Moog runs. In fine prog tradition, he mentions the debut album 'La Crudelta di Aprile' in words and then propels the whole into an entirely new atmosphere that brings images of ELP, Deep Purple and all the classic RPI paragons out there.

The cover art is drop-dead beautiful, the sound ecstatic and musically, a glaring omission of any kind of occasional blandness or prog-by-the-numbers. The end result is possible the finest RPI album in recent and past memory, full of bravado, courage, balls and delight. A classic prog album.

5 Lands of decline

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars This is the second album from this group of young Italians. I haven't heard their first album yet but after listening to this I now want to. The music is a mix of retro symph prog and more modern harder-edged stuff. The sound and production is really good. Not too loud and the drums in particular are mixed very well. The keyboardist is also the lead vocalist. The keyboards are generally retro sounding while the guitar playing alternates between bluesy 'classic rock' style and a more modern distorted sound.

"Ouverture: Obscurus Fio" opens the album with some altered vocals and spacey sounds. Then some piano lays the foundation for the other instruments to join in. A great symph prog instrumental with some great synth soloing. The track moves around to different sections and is a great introduction to the album. After a majestic theme "Oniromanzia" goes into more straight-ahead rock territory. The vocals here are in the traditional emotive Italian variety. The clavinet is a nice touch in the keyboard department. A soulful organ solo in the middle. Changes to a few different sections for the rest of the track.

"Caligari" starts with some bells and other atmospheric sounds. I like the delay/chorus effect on the guitar near the beginning. After it goes into traditional symph prog territory. Then it goes into an upbeat marching band type of vibe (including brass, although I'm not sure if it's 'real' or not). A jazzy section with a piano solo follows. I really like the 'la-la-la" section with the background vocals. "La Meccanica dell'ombra" opens with some MidEast inspired synth work backed by a sympathetic rhythm section. Eventually goes into RPI style ballad territory. Nice organ solo towards the end when the music gets more busy.

"Il Nome di Lei" has some great harpsichord work and some Floydian style guitar soloing. The vocals arrive once the music settles down into RPI ballad territory. Near the end is piano chords reminding one of Floyd's "Echoes"/The Phantom Of The Opera. "Lo Schermo di Pietra (Kenosis)" has a video for that can be watched on YouTube. This is both the most retro sounding and also the most modern sounding track on the album. The album closes with the 20+ epic "Ex Tenebrae" which is divided into four parts. Spacey synths and random drumming which gets more busy gives way to classical piano. Then we are in heavy symph prog territory. Then it switches to great funk-rock with clavinet playing. At one point you hear a violin.

The vocals appear once the track has changed to a ballad vibe. There is a catchy vocal part which is repeated. Classy organ and guitar soloing over an odd time signature in the middle. Gets more traditionally symph prog oriented over halfway. I like the jazzy piano riff and altered vocals around the 17 minute mark. It is too early yet to say if this will be one of the better prog releases of 2015 but I wouldn't be surprised if it is. This album is yet another example of the great music that continues to come out of Italy. 4 stars.

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was asked to listen to this album and to write a review about it.

This is a band of four young musicians from Parma, Italy, and this is their second album. As I don't speak, read or write in the Italian language, my review is only about the music of this album.

I don`t know if this album is a conceptual album or not, but in general the music and the arrangements are very good. It contains a lot of ingredients from the Prog Rock music style: different time signatures in the songs, the use of silences and variations in the intensities of the music, long song structures, the use of 'old' keyboard sounds (organ, analog synthesisers, mellotron, piano), some Classical Music influences in some of the piano arrangements, etc. The music in this album remembers me of influences from several other Prog and Neo-Prog Rock bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Triumvirat, IQ, Marillion (with Fish)'. but without really losing their Italian identity. All the young musicians of this band (they really look in photos of not being of more than thirty years old, but I could be wrong) sound like being musically trained in musical schools or even with private musical classes (but I also could be wrong on this, too). They are very good musicians and they seem to have a lot of musical ideas which as a whole sound arranged and performed well.

The music is melodic for the most part. It really is not very 'dark' like some of the titles from the songs (or my little understanding of the Italian language) could suggest.

The use of the organ sounds (I don`t know if it is a real Hammond organ or not) make the musical influences from ELP, Triumvirat and Rick Wakeman very clear, at least for me. The same could be said about the use of analog synthesizers and of the mellotron (done with the real old instruments or being sampled from them or created with new digital keyboards). The keyboards create musical atmospheres on which the occasional guitar solos are good. The lead vocals are good, even if they are not really outstanding. Also there are some occasional backing vocals.

As a whole, this is a good album which is a good representative of the Prog Rock musical style. Even if the music is not totally Italian in a strict sense, the mixture with the influences from the Prog Rock from other countries (particularly from England) makes this album interesting. Maybe their main idea as a band was to 'rescue' the influences from mainly the 'old' Prog Rock bands from the seventies using those 'old' analog sounds with lyrics written and sung in the Italian language. As a whole, all these things work very well.

I also like the recording and the mixing of this album. The cover design is also good. The album sounds like being made with a lot of work and dedication. So, I give a four stars rating to it.

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having lived for almost 2 years in Italy, I should know a little more about Italian prog rock than what I do. But, it was in 1980 that I lived there and I didn't keep up on the scene like I should have. Of course, I am somewhat familiar with PFM, i Pooh's "Parsifal" (which is frankly the only real progressive piece they did in their huge discography), and The New Trolls and their progressive work in that era. I really should have stayed up to date, but I haven't. I have basically concentrated on the many progressive bands that are English based, and that is where my weakness with Prog lies, in the huge library of RIP music out there. Time for me to get to work, right?

So, in reviewing this album, I am perhaps comparing somewhat unfairly to the Progressive music that I am familiar with. But, if it is unfair, I still think this is a worthy progressive release anyway. I must say, for only a 2nd release, this band sounds very mature and well-versed in progressive techniques and have quite an impressive understanding of the music that they have been inspired by.

Overall, the voice and the instrumentals work well for the genre. The vocals do have a little naïve sound to them, but not enough to put me off or make me think that their sound isn't mature enough. On the contrary, the sound is very mature. The guitar and bass guitar work is well done and tasteful, the keyboards are mostly current sounding and in good taste, especially the acoustic piano work. There are some synths that sound dated when compared to some of the general sound of progressive music, but those times are seldom and short. It may be that the sound is current in the sub-genre of Italian Progressive, I'm not sure, but to me there are a few times the seem dated. But that still doesn't put me off much. In most cases, the interplay of the instruments on the long instrumental passages is really very tasteful and mature sounding, very well done. I also love the addition of the violin from time to time that helps to give the album more character and variety.

To mention a few highlights, there is some nice inventive sections in these songs. In the first half of "Caligari" there is a great instrumental passage 5 minutes in that shows off that interplay between the instruments between the bass, the lead guitar, the piano which is later swapped out for the organ that is fun and exciting which later turns into a keyboard-led ballad with wordless vocals towards the last part of the song. "La Meccanica dell'Ombra" has an almost Jewish dance music vibe to it during the first part and later easily morphs to a mid-eastern style vibe. "Lo Schirma di Pietra" has a more dense section that actually approaches the sound of The Mars Volta for a few minutes. But the sound never really settles in to anything predictable throughout the entire album and if anything, compares a lot to a Neo-Prog sound. You get glimpses in the album of their contemporaries both old and new, but the music still stays fresh and alive throughout. The biggest highlight here is the multi movement 20 minute epic "Ex Tenebre Lux" which is a masterpiece and some of the quickest 20 minutes ever because it goes by so quickly and never drags.

The biggest complaint is that with the multi-faceted songs, there are a few times when things sound a little same-y and it can be hard to distinguish one song from another as far as each song's individuality. I think that might be only an issue for the first few listens though. It would have been nice to give each track a little more individuality, that maybe the ever changing music is a bit overplayed within each track, but as I get more familiar with the songs, that might change. In any event, I enjoy this album enough to want to get to know it better. I can easily give it a four star rating and would easily recommend it to fans of the more progressive Saga music or even Spock's Beard.

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 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 185 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Epic, well threaded, lots of keyboards, true to the bone electrics and a precise dosage of vocals.

Unreal City- "IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTOI", 2015.

It is quiet a surprise to listen to young musicians being so truthful to their heritage, RPI speaking. Most of those pioneer band's elements are fully displayed, yet the technological recordings are now, almost by rule, better than those days of yore. Therefore the thrill is listening to this young and talented quartet show the same energy of early Banco or Il Balleto di Bronzo, but translated to today's younger audiences in this high-tech environment, which means usually refinement.

Taking in, a general overview, it will reveal immediately that the songwriting is generous and expansive in creative ideas, not necessarily RPI, it takes some interesting detours (ELP comes to my mind) . The performance is impeccable all way through, although the vocalist voice is not that great, he manages to keep it in size.

Now at close distance, the keyboard's extraordinary work is what makes this album the real deal. The majority of the songs structures rely on them and their ideas, therefore freeing the electric guitars and fiddles and vocals and other musical decorations to different moods and settings without being obligued to be upfront as usually is understood and being always supported by the keys creative progressive inventions.

The acoustic piano songwriting is superb!

****4 "A blast to the past and its comeback and future" PA stars.

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Thanks to seventhsojourn for the artist addition.

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