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La Rossa - A Fury Of Glass CD (album) cover

A FURY OF GLASS

La Rossa

 

Eclectic Prog

3.29 | 16 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nş 439

La Rossa is a French progressive rock band from Toulouse. It's half-composed by French and German musicians. The band was founded in 1980. Their name was taken from a Van Der Graaf Generator's composition with the same name that appears on their sixth studio album "Still Life", which was released in 1976. This can give to us a general idea of the musical content of the band. However, besides the clear influences of Van Der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill, we can also see some clear influences of Yes, Gentle Giant and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, besides classical influences.

La Rossa released their only album in 1983. The line up on the album is Benki (vocals and acoustic guitar), Jean- Pierre Baile (guitars), Wolfgang Holler (keyboards), Dino De Rossi (bass guitar) and Marc Neves (drums and percussion). The album had also the collaboration of Robert Licciardi with some additional acoustic guitar work. As for the music in itself on "A Fury Of Glass", it's quite emphatic and structurally very complex, as well as created on irregular rhythms. Some frenetic piano parts which are obviously influenced by the classical composer Béla Bartók, accentuate the fever, the urgency, the music's obvious romanticism as well as its tension and its dramatic intensity. But fear not, there's zero radio rock in this album of this French/German band. Perhaps it's not a mindblowing album. Still, the album is rich and filled with a refreshing energy. The selling points are arguably an eccentric vocal delivery and the richness of keyboards. The vocals, both tortured and full of feelings, evoke Peter Hammill. I hope you like the sounds of the piano, because this album is drenched with them, but in a good way. A more laid back and pastoral feel appears sometimes to contrast the hectic side of the material which can get pretty schizophrenic like in "This Unbreakable".

Speaking about the tracks, the album has twelve tracks. Still, I believe that the original track list ended with track nine, but a reissue expanded it to twelve by adding three songs that were initially cut. So, this new Musea reissue also includes those three excellent and previously unreleased studio tracks, recorded before the album was then issued.

So, we are in presence of another obscure symphonic progressive rock band brought to us by Musea. La Rossa's, "A Fury Of Glass" is a very welcome reissue for all progressive rock fans, indeed. Featuring excellent keyboard work played in the classical style, and solid musicianship from the guitarist, bassist, and drummer, this album sounds like it would be at home being released on the symphonic progressive side. Instrumentally, it's very strong, with fast and furious playing from all musicians, in particular from the keyboardist. His emphasis is on the acoustic piano, which is the center point of many of the tracks, and it's great. Still, the vocals are competent at best, and tend to be high mixed and intrusive. The singer's accented English and the dramatic style, detracts from what would otherwise be a very solid performance. While La Rossa doesn't break a new ground in terms of style, they do add an interesting twist within the established boundaries of symphonic rock. Fans of that style may enjoy this album despite the vocals. As I mentioned before, the comparisons include Emerson, Lake & Plamer, Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes, ELP and Asia Minor, mainly.

"A Fury Of Glass" highlights the singer who is as theatrical as Peter Hammill. Both vocals are very similar at times, but still more similarities reside in the vocals of The Waterboys' singer. Speaking of them, "A Fury Of Glass" is also close to a folk rock album with both that piano leading the way and elsewhere the acoustic guitar, imposing the rhythm and supporting the words of the singer. La Rossa's pianist is simply superb. I like the piano and organ at many points during the album, especially during pieces like "To The Life". I can hear him playing all day. Compositionally wise, it's a wild ride, too. It took me ages to find the whole album and it's definitely a nice gem, the walking bass on "The Unbreakable" is just spot on. If you keep the time they're clearly following the tempo, the album sounds incredibly raw and genuine. This is certainly an album that I could certainly listen very often. It probably will sound better with time.

Conclusion: "A Fury Of Glass" is a very eclectic album with music influenced by Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes, Gentle Giant and above all, Emerson Lake & Palmer, as well as the classical music. As I mentioned above, the name of the band, La Rossa, wasn't certainly a coincidence. The influences of Yes, or if you prefer, the influences of Rick Wakeman are very clear, especially on the first track. I can also see influences of Triumvirat, which isn't a strange thing due to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The vocals, sometimes reminds me Eloy, mainly due to the German accent. In general, the tracks aren't very long. The short pieces contain nice piano parts and the long pieces have some really great and intricate instrumental parts. The great highlight on the album is, in my humble opinion, "Faces We Move", which is a great track, really. This band deserves certainly some credit and praise for putting up a so good and competitive progressive album in 1983. We can't really forget that the 80's were very troubled times for prog rock music, indeed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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