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IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus biography
Coming from the province of Gorizia, the story of Il FAUNO DI MARMO and THE REBUS properly begins back in the early 90's, a first version of the band initially being called MIRROR TRAIN (based on a track by OSANNA), then changing to IL TRENO DEGLI SPECCHI (`Train of Mirrors'). Led by singer/flutist Luca Sterle, a sole live bootleg recording from 1994 is all that survives of this group.

The band would re-emerge with some new musicians as THE REBUS in 2001 and release two studio albums between 2002 and 2005, a self-titled work and `Acroterius', as well as a live disc in 2009. During this time, they performed at events with other Italian progressive bands such as THE TRIP, BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO FOLK and GARDEN WALL.

In 2011, the group, with a slightly altered line-up, changed their name to Il FAUNO DI MARMO (The Marble Faun), and October 15th 2013 saw this new band release their debut work "Canti, Racconti e Battaglie" (Songs, Stories and Battles). The music of both bands is characterized by rough vocals, classical elements, strong folk influences, retro flavoured hard-rocking Italian prog with an emphasis on bombastic organ, heavy guitar and wild flute passages, perhaps comparable in parts to JUMBO, OSANNA and even DELIRIUM. Il Fauno di Marmo even adds stirring violin, female vocals, jazz improvisations and some psychedelic colour as well.

Bio by Michael H (Aussie-Byrd-Brother)

Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus official website

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IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS discography


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IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
The Rebus (as The Rebus)
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Acroterius (as The Rebus)
2005
4.02 | 3 ratings
Canti, Racconti e Battaglie
2013

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IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Canti, Racconti e Battaglie by IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.02 | 3 ratings

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Canti, Racconti e Battaglie
Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Il Fauno di Marmo come from the province of Gorizia and began life in 2001 under the name of The Rebus. Since then the band have been very active in the local live scene, releasing two self-produced albums, The Rebus (2002) and Acroterius (2005). In 2012 they signed a deal with the independent label from Verona Andromeda Relix and changed their name into Il Fauno di Marmo, taking the place of another project of the same name bound to Andromeda Relix and formed by Erik Spedicato (drums), Roberto Vanni (guitar), Massimo Cavallari (keyboards) and Roberto Galli (bass) who split up after recording only one track, a Haikara's cover released in 2009 on a tribute album to Finnish Progressive Rock by Musea Records, Tuonen Tytar II. Well, the owner of the label, Gianni Della Cioppa, liked the name (inspired by an Italian TV miniseries from the seventies based upon the novel The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne) and, with the consent of all the people involved, gave it as a legacy to the band he had just enrolled that heartily accepted the new brand.

Finally, in 2013 this new version of Il Fauno di Marmo (formerly known as The Rebus) released their first official album titled Canti, racconti e battaglie (Song, tales and battles) with a line up featuring Luca Sterle (vocals, flute), Valerio Colella (guitars, kazoo, backing vocals), Alberto Ballar' (bass, backing vocals), Francesco Bonavita (organ, piano, Moog, Mellotron, clavinet, bandoneon) and Luca Carboni (drums). During the recording sessions they were helped by some guests such as Simone D'Eusanio (violin), Alessandro Serravalle (guitar ' from Garden Wall), Federica Sterle (vocals) and Andrea Tomasin (percussion) that contributed to enrich the sound and the result in my opinion is really good. The packaging features a nice artwork by Francesca Capone that in some way tries to capture the spirit of this work and represents a magical flower with a long stem and very deep roots. In fact, this album is the fruit of many years of hard work and musical passion and you can feel that passion from start to finish. Of course, the band's sources of inspiration are apparent and range from Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull to the old masters of the Italian progressive rock scene of the seventies but the song-writing is good and the band reveal a great personality.

The opener 'Benvenuti al circo' (Welcome to the circus) comes from the repertoire of Il Treno degli Specchi, Luca and Federica Sterle's previous band that was active in the nineties but never had the chance to record an album. The music perfectly fits the lyrics and features many changes in rhythm and mood. It's about circus animals abuse... 'You go to the circus and you're so happy / In your mind you have nothing but entertainment / But there's someone who's trembling in fear / Beaten, bloody and in pain... Welcome to the circus of horrors!...'. Well, animals aren't actors or circus clowns. Yet this piece depicts a circus where the animals are forced to perform silly, confusing tricks under the threat of physical punishment and tremble at the sound of a whip. While going to the circus may be a favourite pastime for many adults and children, the harsh treatment of animals here is condemned without mercy.. 'How many many people can understand that an animal can feel pain?... There's so much sadness in their heart / Man is just a vile traitor...'.

The following 'Madre natura' (Mother Nature) is a joyful track that recalls Jethro Tull and depicts a timeless ritual dance in honour of Mother Nature. There are children playing and people dancing in a ring, hand in hand, while the music conjures up a strong sense of positivity. Sun rays break through the sky while incense smells soar and spread all around... 'Mother Nature, listen to us if you can / Look at your children, they know what is hope...'. You can find a first version of this piece on The Rebus' eponymous album from 2002.

The long, complex epic 'Hop Frog' is another track composed by Luca Sterle in the nineties that here comes to a new life thanks to the contribute of all the musicians involved. It was inspired by Hop-Frog, a tale by Edgar Allan Poe set in the court of an imaginary country. It tells about the vendetta of the king's fool, a deform dwarf called Hop Frog, who, during a masked ball, with his last jester's trick sets fire to the king and his ministers dressed up in ourang-outangs costumes... 'Burn, burn vile king / Burn, burn into the fire / Burn, burn vile king / In Hop Frog's stake...'. 'I now see distinctly.' he said, 'what manner of people these maskers are. They are a great king and his seven privy-councillors, - a king who does not scruple to strike a defenceless girl and his seven councillors who abet him in the outrage. As from myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester ' And this is my last jest.

'Magic Kazoo' is a psychedelic track featuring an exotic flavour. It invites you to take a trip on a very strang spaceship and set off on an interstellar musical journey, through dazzling star lights and asteroids dancing in a ring, towards a new reality... 'Maybe it's just an imagine / A voice will call me back / Maybe it's nothing but an imagine / A voice will speak to me...'.

Next comes 'Nova Res', a beautiful instrumental piece that blends psychedelia, sweet melodic lines and Latin rock. It leads to 'Non mollare mai' (Never give up), a bright track full of positive energy that invites you to fight for what is really important in your life, searching for a way out from the darkness of a personal crises by leaving behind false solutions such as booze or drugs.

'La battaglia di Kosovo-Polje' (The battle of Kosovo-Polje) is a new version of a piece from The Rebus' previous album, Acroterius. It features strong ethnic influences and a martial atmosphere. It tells about the battle fought in 1389 between the Serbian army led by prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic and the invading troops of the Ottoman Empire. This battle is also known as the Battle of Blackbird's Field and is particularly important to Serbian history, tradition, and national identity... 'Prince Lazar, what a silence! / Kosovo Polje cries for your people / The blackbirds are flying over the corpses / Dying men for the Motherland / Now the invaders have won / And the crescent moon is high in the sky...'.

'Un villaggio, un'illusione' (A village, an illusion) is a nice Quella Vecchia Locanda's cover that the band interpret here with passion. It leads to conclusive epic 'Dorian Gray', inspired by Oscar Wilde's novel of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The music and lyrics depict a troubled man who has sold his soul in exchange of eternal beauty. But Death and remorse haunt him... 'If you look at your portrait / You are upset, Dorian Gray / It's like a spell that blurs reality / A damned soul is growing inside you / You innocence is lost / What way will you choose? / Diabulus ita est / Demoni vocant te / That's Death behind you...'. A wonderful finale for a very interesting album!

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 The Rebus (as The Rebus) by IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.50 | 2 ratings

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The Rebus (as The Rebus)
Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars This group and their first album was misconsidered for years as another vintage Italian Prog rarity.The truth is that The Rebus came from Monfalcone and were formed in 2001 as a sextet, led by singer/flutist Luca Sterle.Their first eponymous album came out the following year, self- produced and self-distributed, making it a very hard-to-come-by release.It was propably mistaken with a 73' library album, carrying the same name with this group.

One reason for this total mess up behind two completely unrelated releases was the fact that The Rebus played a strongly 70's-influenced Hard Prog, a bit similar to OSANNA, JUMBO and I CALIFFI.However the clean production does not leave many doubts about the chronological placement of this work, even more strengthened by some very modern sounding synthesizers.Getting deep into the musical point of view, the tracks contain a sharp and often adventurous Hard Rock with definite Italian Prog vibes, based on Sterle's rough vocals, the hard-hitting flute grooves and the angular guitar work.A fair amount of Folk inspiratiions appear here and there, while the keyboard parts are quite interesting with bombastic organ moves and a decent dose of soaring synthesizers.The pieces are not particularly long or even original, but the music is solid with good breaks, tapping rhythmic tunes and rich arrangements.A few of the shorter pieces are quite straightforward flute-based Hard Rock, but the vast majority of the album flows in a cool, progressive enviroment with a dominant guitar-led edge and some trully powerful flute work.

A second and even rarest album, entitled ''Acroterius'' was released in 2005, before the changes in the line-up led to a change of name as well with the group moving on under the name Il Fauno di Marmo.

So, don't ever get fooled around the fame of this album.It is quite rare, yes, but it has nothing to do with the 70's.It is just a passionate, dynamic and angular retro-influenced Hard Italian Prog work with focus on the guitar and flute passages.Recommended.

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 Canti, Racconti e Battaglie by IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.02 | 3 ratings

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Canti, Racconti e Battaglie
Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars Formed around the early 90's in Gorizia and moving through a succession of name and line-up changes, 2013 finally saw the newly christened Il Fauno di Marmo (The Marble Faun) release their `debut' album "Canti, Racconti e Battaglie" ("Songs, Stories and Battles"), and the band creates music that is as evocative and striking as their name. The group in their previous incarnations (as The Rebus, Mirror Train and Il Treno degli Specchi) have always delivered strong works, but this one sees them step up in a grand way, revealing a depth and maturity that they rarely hinted at before, and it makes for one of the most lavish and sophisticated recent Italian prog releases.

Lead track `Benvenuti Al Circo' is punchy and boisterous to begin and end, with Luca and Federica Sterle's male/female vocals interweaving with an operatic gothic flavour (perhaps even bringing a slight Zeuhl sound to my ears?). Violin, piano and soaring electric guitars run through nimble direction changes, while lovely floating Mellotron veils wisp around the listener in the emotional middle. The mood is instantly picked up for `Madre Natura', the first of a couple of tracks to carry over from the previous version of the band. With jazzy infectious piano and Luca's trilling flute, it's a joyous acoustic bopper that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the first Delirium album `Dolce Acqua'. `Hop Frog' dates back from an early 90's line-up of the band, appearing in reworked form here. Through it's 11 minutes, there's plenty of keyboard variety from Francesco Bonavita - thick Van der Graaf Generator-like dark organs, ghostly synths and rippling Hammond - Luca Carboni's marching drums, strolling bass, aggressive Biglietto per L'Inferno-type huffing flute, with plenty of quirky P.F.M-styled playful interludes around intricate Gentle Giant-type group vocal arrangements.

`Magic Kazoo' is a lighter playful psychedelic popper with spiky lead guitar from Valerio Colella and loopy synths. Upbeat instrumental `Nova Res' is full of Alberto Ballare's slapping bass, funky wah- wah guitar grinding and jazz-fusion fire, with plenty of rippling Santana-styled Hammond organ as well. The brisk flute brings a cheerful Canterbury Scene touch to the piece, as does the lifting orchestration. `Non Mollare Mari' is a punchy retro blast that recalls the first Rebus album with it's positivity and catchy melody. `La Battaglia di Kosovo Polje' is a flighty little folk rocker with frenetic flute and electric guitar dueling outbursts, `Un Villagio, Un'illusione' an atmospheric cover of the violin-fuelled track from the classic debut by Quella Vecchia Locanda (one of my personal favourite vintage RPI albums), thankfully it works fine due to a muscular lead vocal from Luca, although it sticks pretty close to the original. `Dorian Gray' (I was expecting another cover version, a track from the pre-Goblin `Cherry Five' band!), closes the album with a heavy mix of ghostly narration, snarling harder guitars, crooning vocals and a spiraling gothic tension.

I would advise the band to not bother with cover versions from this point on, as not only do fans of the originals not want to hear remakes of their beloved favourites, but over the course of the previous bands that became Il Fauno di Marmo, Luca and his musical partners have been creating perfectly strong music all their own. Best to let their own strong compositions get the focus instead of attention-getting covers.

Years of the band members honing their skills and perfecting their song-craft have paid off superbly, and this is rich, complex and grand Italian progressive rock. It truly feels like the band have been building up to this one, where all their potential throughout their previous incarnations has finally come together and delivered beautifully. It reveals a subtlety and an attention to detail that the previous versions of the group rarely hinted at, and it makes for one of the most lavish recent Italian prog releases. 2013 was a banner year for the RPI sound, and "Canti, Racconti e Battaglie" is another one of the best from that year.

Four and a half stars.

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 Acroterius (as The Rebus) by IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Acroterius (as The Rebus)
Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars 2005 saw Italian proggers The Rebus, three years on from their punchy late 60's/early 70's Osanna/New Trolls/Delirium influenced debut, release their follow-up `Acroterius'. While it still showed some sounds indebted to those artists and eras mentioned above, it also displayed the band starting to move towards more of their own style, finding their feet and really beginning to experiment. Mainman Luca Sterle and the same line-up from the previous album here present a nice mix of melodic tracks (the vocal pieces a mix of gruff Italian and heavily accented English this time) with dynamic and finely executed instrumental passages, and that reckless and genuine Italian fire emerges constantly throughout.

The same energy from the debut album is thankfully still present right from the start with `Il Vecchio E Il Cane', quite a wild piece with lots of different sounds. The band works in an upbeat vocal, delirious heavy blasts around hearty acoustic guitar bursts, melodious folky flute and lurking bass that weaves and attacks. `The Rebel' has more cheerful vocals, purposeful driving guitars and an infectious beat. With it's gentle chimes over nighttime outdoor ambience, instrumental `Tantric Meditations' (perhaps a fleeting attempt at an Ozric Tentacles-type piece?!) is a brief introduction to `Avatara', a raucous and dirty grooving bluesy guitar number with plenty of wailing soloing and some Delirium-styled rough saxophone from Luca with a stirring vocal in the finale.

Instrumental `A Gentleman's Song' is a charming Jethro Tull folk ditty with fiery bursts of acoustic flare, madrigal flute and the loveliest scratchy Mellotron over regal fanfare. The English sung `Three Women Blues' stomps through light jazzy piano with a foot-tapping catchy beat. Guitar player Valerio Colella's clarinet cuts through the mix of `La Battaglia...' a spiky energetic rocker with middle-eastern tones and a churning reggae quality with manic rapid-fire vocal run-throughs and thick darting bass. Instrumental album closer `Metamorphosys' tears through stomping drum tension, warping electronics and howling electric guitar. The thick bass guitar and darting flute take on a truly maddening quality, and it's great to hear the band end on this addictive blast of noise!

By the time 2011 came around, the band had shifted line-ups and changed their name to Il Fauno di Marmo, and the adventurous and exciting sounds that started to emerge here became more fully realised and better developed, culminating in the superb `Canti, Racconti e Battaglie' in 2013. Comparing this album to both the previous Rebus self-titled album and the new Il Fauno disc reveals `Acroterius' as surely their lustiest, dirtiest and most raw sounding work, and I know many RPI fans would prefer this over cleanly produced and pristine production with any imperfections removed.

Hopefully the band are able to get `Acroterius' and the enjoyable little self-titled debut album re- released as soon as possible, as these are fine additions to any lovers of the Italian prog sound.

Three and a half stars.

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 The Rebus (as The Rebus) by IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.50 | 2 ratings

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The Rebus (as The Rebus)
Il Fauno di Marmo / The Rebus Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars There was much confusion over The Rebus when they first came to the attention of the Italian Prog team of the Prog Archives a year or so back! There were some conflicting early reports as to whether this band was a lost relic of the vintage 70's era, or in fact a modern band. Some internet sleuthing later and the latter turned out to be the case! Emerging in 2001, The Rebus had already been through two previous name and line-up changes after initially coming together in the early 90's, but the one constant was vocalist/flutist Luca Sterle, and it's no surprise to find that he dominates a lot of the compositions here. The order of the day is not only heavy 70's inspired retro RPI/Italian prog with wild flute passages and a rough production, perhaps along the lines of Il Biglietto per L'Inferno and Delirium, but also shorter, punchy little dynamic blasts of 60's flavoured up-tempo energy and ear-pleasing melodies. 2011 would eventually see The Rebus morph into Il Fauno di Marmo, but for now let's cast our ears back to 2002.

Opener `Ronchi Cali Bropmp' is an up-tempo and frantic introductory instrumental burst of bashing drums, whirring vintage synths and huffing flute, and foot-tapping it is too! `Piccola Colomba Bianca' is a nice grinding organ stomp with a floating psychedelic break in the middle, Luca's distinctive gravely vocal instantly reminding of Martin Grice of RPI legends Delirium. `Donegal' is an upbeat instrumental folk jig full of positivity and love, the catchy `L'Ultimo Viaggio' is a spiky grooving rocker with an infectious melody and stomping beat. `Lui E' Come Gli Altri' is a nice bluesy laid-back chill-out with plenty of jazzy licks and a little fusion fire before a disorientating flute and spacey effects breakdown in the finale. `Ramadan' is a lusty R&B flavoured strutter with some scorching Hendrix-styled guitar straight out of the 60's, `Ghetto Mania' sticks to the same era for another groover with a powerful scuzzy fuzziness and shattering drumming. The mellow `Cogito Ergo Sum' allows for some furious electric guitar jamming over drowsy warm group harmonies, and album closer `Madre Natura' is a joyous acoustic bopper that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the first Delirium album `Dolce Acqua'. It's the perfect way to finish this charming and positive little album. In fact, I think this album might be about the most fun you can have with an Italian prog work!

The self-titled Rebus disc displays a confident and technically accomplished band tearing through some vintage influenced Italian prog rockers, and it's an undemanding but still tasty album performed with a playful energy. The best was yet to come when the group renamed themselves Il Fauno di Marmo and recently released the album `Canti, Racconti e Battaglie' in 2013, but there's no denying this is an accomplished disc. I think listeners, especially RPI lovers, will be pretty impressed by it's positive vibes, and personally, I'm a sucker for those dirty sounding Delirium and Il Biglietto-type bands, so for me, `The Rebus' is a real winner.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

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