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Area - Maledetti CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.04 | 179 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 168

Area began their musical adventure at the end of 1972, bringing together musicians from different backgrounds, that ranges from pop, free jazz, electronic and contemporary experimentation, with the common will to overcome individual artistic experiences to arrive at a "total music", from jazz to progressive rock music through the vanguard. With all their works, Area proved to be among the bravest and original bands of the Italian progressive rock scene. But, to turn their mark complete was also, and above all, the incredible and unique voice of their singer, Demetrio Stratos.

"Maledetti" is the forth studio album of Area and was released in 1976. It can be considered a kind of a conceptual album. The story occurs during the XX century, where an imaginary bank loses data from the XV century, causing people forgetting how to govern the world ("Evaporazione"). Some new hypothesis are formulated such as power to old people ("Gerontocrazia"), power to women ("Scum") and power to children ("Giro, Giro, Tondo"). This is Area, indeed.

"Maledetti" has seven tracks. The first track "Evaporazione" is a very short track where we can hear someone running, whistling and talking and where there isn't any kind of music to listen to. It's a kind of an introduction to the album where Demetrio Stratos tells us that there is something important to communicate on this album and that it isn't properly a very nice thing. The second track "Diforisma Urbano" is a complete instrumental track and this is really a terrific piece of music. This is a perfect, fantastic and surprisingly upbeat funk jazz/fusion song. Once more we have another great example of a song where Demetrio Stratos "plays" his voice as an instrument that adds to the song a beautiful, strange, unique, intense and special touch of colour. "Diforisma Urbano" is, in my humble opinion, one of their best and finest tracks ever. The third track "Gerontocrazia" is a song totally spectacular. It starts with a cradle song in ancient Greek and during the song we can hear play txalaparta, a Basque musical percussion instrument, that I never heard on the three previous studio albums of Area, which demonstrate once more the interest of the group in the ethnical music. During the song, and besides several musical influences, I think we can clearly listen to, strongly, the influence of Gentle Giant's music, and I think this is the music from the band, until now, where that is more evident. "Gerontocrazia" is with "Diforisma Urbano" the two greatest masterpieces of this album. The fourth track "Scum" is another great song but this time the music takes a completely free jazz/fusion direction where the piano of Patrizio Fariselli takes the front and performe in a strange tonal style. The song has also some electronic effects and Demetrio Stratos does some speech about the women rights. This is probably the jazz most oriented piece of music on the entire album. The fifth track "Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre In Sol Maggiore" is a fragment of a classical piece of music for a string quartet taken from Bach's "Brandenburg Concert number 3 in G major". It's a deconstructed version of the original piece of music made by the group to symbolize the demolition of the music corporatism. However, the personal treatment of the music, made by them, doesn't sound anything out of the place, and fortunately, it also doesn't completely erase the charm of Bach's music. The sixth track "Giro, Giro, Tondo" is another song where the musical experimentalism is more evident and represents a return into a more familiar Area territory. It's a typical avant-garde jazz/fusion song with emotional vocals dominated by the piano performance and with has also a very peculiar ending. This is another song where the influence of Gentle Giant's music is there, although not as evident as on "Gerontocrazia". The seventh and last track "Caos (Parte Seconda)" is totally an avant-garde track. This is the lengthiest track on the album and is a very strange and completely chaotic track with electronic sounds, noises, and voices, and it's full of experimentations. Each musician do what they want and this track represents one of the most strangest and difficult pieces I've ever heard. It may be interesting but it isn't for everyone. It's too much experimental.

Conclusion: Area is a band catalogued on Progarchives in the sub-genre of Rock Progressivo Italiano. I accept and I understand why. But, they would fit also very well in the jazz rock/fusion or RIO/Avant-prog sub-genres. If my memory doesn't betray me, I think they were already classified as a jazz rock/fusion group on this site. "Maledetti" is much more experimental than their previous third studio album "Crac!". Its music is equally chaotic and we can hear on it several musical influences like traditional Greek music, Arabian music, avant-garde music, free jazz, jazz rock/fusion, funk, Mediterranean music and even classical music. Despite "Maledetti" isn't as good as "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Crac!", is better than "Caution Radiation Area". It's more balanced and is less dark, more modern, and especially, it has two of their greatest masterpieces "Diforisma Urbano" and "Gerontocrazia". This is one of their finest musical works and put Area, probably, as the most creative of all Italian progressive bands and in one of the best prog groups from the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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