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Area - 1978 - Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano! CD (album) cover

1978 - GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO!

Area

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.89 | 153 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Avant Psych-Funk Jazz. Not for the timid!

Area is one of the wildest bands in my collection and I think sometimes they should be in the Avant genre. Fans of Deus Ex Machina and Discus should take note, this is the band that likely inspired them. Formed in 1972 they are one of Italy's most important exports and unlike so many others from there, they are not a "one-shot." They had many albums. This is the last from their classic period before famed vocalist Stratos died of cancer. Ironically it is also the first Area album that didn't feature long time founding guitarist Paolo Tofani, who also released the solo project "Electric Frankenstein" in '75. But I don't think the album suffers much for it, it probably shook the apple cart a bit and gave the others a chance to try different things in the absence of prominent guitar.

I have read Area was influenced by Soft Machine and Nucleus but they certainly took things much farther than those groups in terms of cosmic weirdness. Area is more adventurous and wild that the typical "jazz prog" group like Nucleus or Arti Mestieri. Area can be downright obnoxious, throwing all matter of styles and heavy funk together with the insane vocals of Stratos. While I acknowledge that Stratos is one of the most beloved and respected Italian vocalists he can be a challenge to get used to. But even with the bizarre vocal yelps and barks I still love the music. These guys have the chops to compete with anyone. Track after track of smokin percussion, keys, horns and bass in an experimental jazz soup. But even though they dabbled in dissonance Area will never leave the listener with a cold feeling. Their sound has an organic warmth and an appreciation for melodies even if they take their time coming out of the patchwork sometimes. "Il Bandito" jumps immediately into the fire with a fast paced and very quirky repetitive melody that sounds like Gentle Giant jazz style, Stratos already doing the bizarre yelps in the first track! "Intorno Con Figure" starts with some nice bass and keys before Demetrio again tries some non-singing vocalizations that could be compared to some of the weird psych mouth sounds from Roger and Syd on Piper. Then the bass and keys literally wrestle each other for control-fabulous! Some smokin drums at the end. "Return from Workuta" starts with some Eastern sounds over synths and features a most poignant vocal performance from Stratos. It becomes obvious listening to this that he likely knew this was his last chance for doing new material becomes he sure seems to putting everything into it. Very touching stuff. "Guardati Dal Mese" is a wicked maelstrom of piano and percussion. "Hommage A Violette" is a departure injecting a folksy atmosphere and an almost California sound. It's a nice respite from the craziness although Demetrio still throws in plenty of his ululating thing. "Ici on Dance" features great bass and a very catchy little riff. "Acrostico in Memoria di Laio" is a hoot. After starting with some tasteful, tame jazz by Area standards, you think maybe this song is going to be "normal." Nope. Halfway through, Demetrio starts this rant that I really wish I could understand. It sounds hilarious, almost like a phone sex conversation. Someone who speaks Italian will have to enlighten me on what the hell this is about someday. "FFF" features some crazy drum solos and even wilder piano runs. "Vodka Cola" (hmmm, that made me thirsty) is another strange character with everything from lonesome horns to barking weiner dogs to Demetrio's very humorous farewell end serenade. A very solid album with plenty to chew on for the adventurous prog listener, and from what I've heard this is one of Area's tamer albums.

The Japanese mini-lp sleeve reissue features a gatefold reproduction of the interesting photos and drawings within. The back cover band photo is a classic with a tired looking group posing with their mascot weiner-dog. While it is sad that Demetrio was gone so soon after this we are left with 5 classic studio albums from this period. They pushed boundaries with their Socialist ideals and chaotic compositions representing well the true spirit of what "progressive music" entails. Not everyone will like Area, but few who hear them will accuse them of playing it safe. The 60,000 plus audience (some placed the number much higher) that turned out for Demetrio's memorial concert prove that Area were more than just another Italian band, they were important and beloved by the Italian people. I can see why.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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