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Unreal City - Frammenti Notturni CD (album) cover

FRAMMENTI NOTTURNI

Unreal City

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.82 | 136 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nº 482

The prog rock scene in Italy must be one of the most prolifics. Far from the mainstream visibility of the 70's, the prog rock in Italy is full with bands meeting the expectations of connoisseurs, who, if not very numerous, have efficient communication channels especialized record labels and circuit shows. One of these exponents is Unreal City of Parma. Created in 2008 by Emanuele Tarasconi and Francesca Zanetta, the band captured the attention of Fabio Zuffanti, a very influential character in the Italian prog scene, which became involved in the production of the debut album of the band.

Managing to the release of the first EP in 2012, Unreal City took part in several musical contests. In 2013 the band released their debut studio album, recorded with the artistic direction of Fabio Zuffanti, "La Crudeltà Di Aprile". After its release, "La Crudeltà Di Aprile" went at the top of many Italian prog rock albums charts. In 2015, Unreal City released their second studio album "Il Paese Del Tramonto". In the same year the band joined in a European tour, which took Unreal City by several European countries. In 2017, Unreal City released their third studio album "Frammenti Notturni".

So, one of the the most important names in the new Italian prog rock scene is back with this new work "Frammenti Notturni". In addition to the vocalist/keyboardist Tarasconi and guitarist Zanetta, bass player Dario Pessina remained in the original quartet but the drums and percussion were taken over by Marco Garbin who substituted Frederico Bedostri.

Thus, the line up on "Frammenti Notturni" is Francesca Zanetta (electric and acoustic guitars and Mellotron), Emanuele Tarasconi (lead and backing vocals, piano, synthesizer, Mellotron, clavinet, theremin and acoustic guitar), Dario Pessina (backing vocals, bass and bass pedals) and Marco Garbin (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of Camilla Pozzi (backing vocals) and Matteo Bertani (violin), both as guest artists. Unreal City and "Frammenti Notturni" are suitable for the fans of the dramatic Italian symphonic progressive rock scene from the 70's. The five long tracks are, as is usual, characterized by the dark atmospheres that we already encountered in the band's first two previous albums. Even the production sounds a bit like the time, although it maintains the high standard available today. However, the sound and the production are far more modern than the past ones, but the echoes of the 70's progressive rock music are still very present, as they have always been a trademark for Unreal City.

Not a conceptual album in the true sense of the word, the lyrics on "Frammenti Notturni" have some common themes, such as the urban setting and the obstacles that interfere with communication among humans. Although Tarasconi be always the most cited and the band is even more focused on the most diverse types of analog keyboards, Zanetta's guitar carves beautiful solos all over several tracks and sews by outside and beneath the layers of keyboard, bass and percussion created by this great quartet, always interested in melodies, in the style and taste of the classic 70's Italian progressive bands, like Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Locanda Delle Fate and many others.

"La Grande Festa In Maschera" is a suite with five parts: "Désir", "Exitacion", "Plateau", "Orgasme" and "Résolution". It has some of the most virtuous and complex moments on the album combining the classical music and prog tradition. It has rhythm changes, violins, alternating singing by Tarasconi and the guest Camilla, great keyboards, a frantic bass rhythm and a mighty Mellotron. All the elements that laid the foundations for their success are present here, from the technique to a certain degree of cheekiness. The ten minutes of "Le Luci Delle Case (Spente)" refer to the phenomenal debut album of Museo Rosenbach. This piece has a slow opening with violin, organ and electric guitar and it includes some nice bass lines and piano work. It has a passionate vocal work and a great instrumental in the ending of the piece. The five minutes of "Barricate" song, chosen as a single, is divided between the pop songwriting and a typically prog virtuoso ending. "Il Nido Delle Succubi" is a daring set of different rhythms and styles that chase and overlap, a sort of short suite with nine minutes. This is another godsend for progressive fans. Classical piano and melancholy are found in "Arrivi All'Aurora". This is the piece with the most beautiful melodies on the album, closing it in a very beautiful way.

Conclusion: This is the first album that seems to convey some of the energy that is prevalent in their live shows. Each song is filled with intrigue and drama. The subject matter of this album is different as well. The lyrics are more related to common people problems such as inability to communicate while the other two albums were more about philosophical issues. Unreal City continues to deliver complex, sometimes dark and definitely symphonic classic prog impressive and rich arrangements. The center still is the multiple keyboard attacks of Tarasconi, the nice guitar leads of Francesca and the beautiful violin themes of guest Bertani. Unreal City with "Frammenti Notturni" keeps following in the best 70's Italian prog tradition with the lengthy tracks and an amazing musicianship that is very appreciated by many prog fans.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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