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Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra CD (album) cover


Museo Rosenbach


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.31 | 914 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here's another gem from the annals of 70s Italian prog- this time with a slightly grittier feel. Despite the symphonic structures and accents, this is a notably heavy album for the time; I suppose you could call them the DEEP PURPLE of Italian prog.

The title song is broken up into distinct movements, all of which feature excellent transitions, pacing, and stylistic continuity. One of my favorite prog (and classical) intro styles is to slowly build into a grand opening theme- "L'ultimo uomo" does a nice variation of that, then drops into a beautiful mellow verse for a while. Just when you think it's safe, here come the fuzzy guitars and big Hammond organ that characterize much of the album. "Il re di teri" makes the atmosphere a bit more eerie with a reverb-drenched piano and a Mello solo over organ and tremolo guitar before launching into a rocking section. "Al di la..." gets even heavier, with chanted vocals over a fuzzed-out backing. "Superuomo" has some chilling electric piano sounds and the fastest tempo on the album, which then fades out completely to be replaced by an increasingly heavy martial theme- the first in a series of permutations featuring organ and fuzz guitar leads. The conclusion, "Il tempio delle clessidre" reminds me quite a bit of the climax of PINK FLOYD's "Echoes".

"Degli uomini" is more CRIMSON-sounding (down to the faint mellotron whine in the background), but with more blues-rock style in the guitar (not unlike Fripp's solo on VDGG's "The Emperor in His War Room"). It's quite good but seems to simply trail off after the vocals come in.

"Della natura" gives us more of the same, with a little Mellotron (using the same tapes as Wakeman on "Siberian Khatru", in a more ambient way). There's some explosive keyboard and guitar work, verging on fusion territory. The tremolo electric piano is shiveringly effective, like a restrained Ray Manzarek, although the scatting vocal refrain is a bit disturbing. The finale of the song picks up the pieces and wraps it up with another FLOYD type climax.

"Dell'Eterno Ritorno" is almost SABBATH-heavy at times, but also contains some nice flute sounds- actually not a million miles from moments on "Aqualung", even though the flutes here are simulated. There's even some rare acoustic guitars on this track, but they are buried a bit in the mix. Galifi gets to let loose a bit near the end, and the ragged vocal works well. The rolling conclusion sounds a little tacked-on, though.

This is a grittier sound than most of the 70s italian proggers, and not just because the production was a bit murky; Stefano Lupo Galifi is a less operatic, more natural singer and the guitars have more of a blues rock sound- as heavy as CRIMSON but played in a funkier way, with a thick fuzztone that approaches Brian May's sound. The organ is the main focus, a big cathedral sound here and a dirty B3 lead there; the playing is great on all the keyboard parts ( the ambient electrics being my favorite). The band's sound is fairly constant from beginning to end- no odd stylistic changes, just the occasional reverb- soaked quiet segment to increase tension. The downside is that the band's sound can wear on you just a little by the end of the album, and their transitions sometimes lack cohesiveness. But if you're a fan of harder-edged 70s prog with plenty of tasty moments like me, you'll have no problem.

James Lee | 4/5 |


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