Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

ROCK PROGRESSIVO ITALIANO

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rock Progressivo Italiano definition

aka "RPI"


"So it's an established fact that in Italy during the period between 1971-1974, a music movement existed where bands would challenge each other to see who could be the most imaginative, who could create the album for the ages. They were all painters and sculptors just as in Renaissance Italy." -Tom Hayes/Gnosis


1. The background
As the 60s drew to an end, Italy experienced a wave of new ideas and ideals which coincided with the new musical era being born. It would not be exaggeration to state that the 70s were a watershed period in the history of the country. Even though the 60s are generally remembered as the years of the 'economic boom', it was only in the following decade that Italy made the long, difficult change from a relatively poor, traditional country into a fully developed Western society. A look at any timeline for 70s Italy will show an incredible concentration of events that changed the fabric of Italian society irrevocably: laws and acts were passed which affected worker's rights, family and divorce law, and women's rights and reproductive health. In a country where the physical presence of the Catholic Church has always been impossible to overlook, not least because of its open intervention in the country's political affairs, the introduction of such radical changes was no small feat.

Most of those changes were made possible by the presence of a strong left-wing component in Italian political life, even if regarded with extreme suspicion by both the Church and Italy's main ally, the United States. Though the existence of a party that openly called itself Communist was not exclusive to Italy, at the time the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano) was considered more of a danger than, for instance, its French equivalent - mainly due to Italy's strategic position in the Mediterranean area, as well as the party's obvious connection with the Soviet Union. Such a peculiar, potentially explosive situation sadly became a breeding ground for a number of extremist groups, who were responsible for the season of violence and unrest commonly known as the 'Anni di piombo' ('years of lead'), which lasted well into the first half of the Eighties. The number of casualties due to terror acts and rioting was quite high, involving people from all walks of life. However, the defining episode of the decade was the kidnapping and subsequent murder of well-known politician Aldo Moro (a left-leaning Christian Democrat) by the notorious Brigate Rosse ('Red Brigades') in the spring of 1978.


2. The birth of a movement
The turbulent times affected countless musicians looking for something new-some way to parallel the political climate through artistic media. Ranging from highly educated conservatory students to local singer-songwriters, this spirit managed to captivate an entire country within a few short years. Young people were restless, bursting with a burning desire to change the staid, suffocating atmosphere of Italian society starting with one of its symbols, its venerable musical tradition. Most musicians had more or less strong left-wing leanings (the prime example being Area), while the few examples of openly right-wing bands never managed to break out of obscurity, or gain more than a strictly cult following.

Without a strong rock tradition in the 60s Italy had mainly produced beat bands of varying quality, as well as singers well-versed in the long-standing canzone tradition of the country. As the tidal wave of counter-culture swept in, it brought revolution not only in the form of progressive rock, but also differing forms of heavier, continental rock which was establishing itself around the same time. Psychedelic influences and the incorporation of classical music may have been the same stepping stones used by most other progressive scenes around the globe during the same period, but even at this embryonic stage there was a whiff of something else in the air. In the late 60s when the beat scene was already heading towards a decline, a number of bands formed, some of them releasing singles (or even albums) that bridged the gap between beat, conventional Italian easy listening music (musica leggera), and the new ideas coming from Great Britain - among them, New Trolls, Le Orme, Panna Fredda, I Quelli (later to become Premiata Forneria Marconi), Il Mucchio, and Fabio Celi e gli Infermieri.

"We wanted to put some improvisations between the singing parts and we had to make up our minds about the style to follow... After having been to the Isle of Wight festival, it was clear to all of us that we couldn't keep on playing the usual songs with verses and refrains." -Toni Pagliuca, Le Orme


3. The golden years
The beginning of the new decade saw the rise of a countless number of bands and artists, some of whom would go on to become successful acts. PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Osanna, Il Balletto di Bronzo, Quella Vecchia Locanda belong to this group, with all but the latter being still active at the time of writing. Some others only managed to release one album (or even just a handful of singles) before they disbanded. The prog-rock bug became so widespread in Italy that some experts say every artist and band in Italy produced at least one progressive album during this time. A number of well-known mainstream artists started their career with a prog album, like singer-songwriters Riccardo Cocciante (with Mu) and Ivano Fossati (with the first Delirium album, Dolce acqua). Or, like Lucio Battisti or Fabrizio De AndrÚ, they released strongly prog-influenced albums when the movement was at its height.

During the peak years of the RPI movement in the early 70s, countless bands showcased their talent in the many pop festivals organized throughout Italy. The festivals were often free of charge and boasted a level artistic freedom and competition seldom seen in popular music. Fans witnessed bands rise from obscurity to compete on the same stage as the heavy hitters. This musical competition created something of an upward spiral; everyone tried to outdo each other, producing unique sounds and incorporating disparate influences into their music. The variety of the music went through the roof, with every band sharing the same aspirations, though seldom the same sound. It must also be made clear that despite the beliefs of those who write off Italian prog as simply a British counterfeit, many of these bands were creating music that was phenomenally original, experimental, free-spirited, and creatively successful. While bands from abroad helped influence and inspire Italian bands, Italy's young bands quickly took the ball and ran with it. It is ludicrous to suggest the scene a mere imitation. The upward spiral also meant an over saturated market, in which many bands only managed to put out one or two releases with minimal budget and intense recording. Some of the best, most genuine and treasured albums of Rock Progressivo Italiano can be found in this group: Semiramis' "Dedicato a Frazz", Pholas Dactylus' "Concerto delle menti", Raccomandata Ricevuta di Ritorno's "Per un mondo di cristallo", Museo Rosenbach's "Zarathustra", and Balletto di Bronzo's "Ys" to name just a few.

"We had to tackle this tradition, we had to fight against the conventions and refuse to be integrated. The New Sounds hadn't arrived yet, there was no music for the young people, there was nothing, you had to invent and build up your space. Perhaps this was the mainspring that unchained such a creative strength." -Gianni Leone

With time some of the biggest bands achieved international success, with PFM as the best-known example. Lyricist Peter Sinfield, known from his work with giants like King Crimson and ELP, even wrote for the band, while Peter Hammill provided English lyrics for Le Orme's "Felona e Sorona". Ironically this success often meant a detour from the roots of the RPI sounds, making these albums more aligned to the British scene than the bulk of the artists and albums in the archives. Look beneath the surface in order to discover hidden (or not so hidden) gems. While the oft-mentioned big 3 of Italian prog (PFM, Banco, and Le Orme) are conveniently considered the peak by those casually mentioning this scene, RPI enthusiasts know the river runs so much deeper, and many of our personal favourites are found outside of these popular groups. Those who search beyond the surface will discover that the most daring and provocative works were often made by more obscure groups who released one fantastic album and then vanished into thin air. This common syndrome of Italian "one-shot" bands became the bane of many RPI fans.

Since so many different musicians experimented with the progressive format, you will also find a broad musical scope within RPI, something which has kept the subgenre fresh and vital over time. Examples include Franco Battiato (still a very successful artist in Italy), Picchio dal Pozzo, Opus Avantra, Stormy Six and Area, who each in their own individual way, show a more cosmopolitan flavour and range of influences than most other acts.

After its explosive development in the early 70s, the movement followed the same path as other progressive musical movements around the world as the 80s approached. Some influential artists continued to release new albums though never with the same success as in the halcyon days. Others changed with the times and became highly successful mainstream artists both in Italy and internationally. As elsewhere in the prog universe the quantity and quality of RPI began to dry up a bit in the late 70s and early 80s, although there were some quality releases from that period. These titles tended to be more melodic and less brashly avant-garde than the classic period but were respectable nonetheless. To name but a few there were Locanda Delle Fate, Stefano Testa, Pierpaolo Bibbo, and L'Estate de San Martino. Area, Stormy Six, and PFM had a good title or two left in them as well.


4. Musical features of RPI
Italian symphonic prog is notable for the prominence of classical influences, often providing the driving force behind the music. The new listener will discover that this particular branch of RPI feels more like classical music in a rock setting as opposed to occasional classical influences on top of the rock format. Furthermore, the rich, diverse musical traditions of Italy permeate the albums, creating a strong national and even regional character. The "textbook" RPI groups can usually be identified by a pervasive sense of romantic melancholy and earthy flair, sometimes enhanced by baroque elements, sometimes by more ethnic ones. Other distinctive features include overt opera and operetta influences, wild and uncontrolled storytelling, and as a general rule, bold and highly emotional vocals. There is extroverted, operatic gallantry and panache or mellow balladry; exciting use of all sorts of keyboards, with sounds heard nowhere else but in this particular scene; exotic instruments such as aggeggi, ottavino, mandoloncello, clavicembalo- names that tickle the imagination and leave their distinct mark on the music. There is a uniquely magical marriage of the traditional to the modern, of the warm to the wild. The combination of flute, piano and violin is often encountered, and the interplay between the first two instruments in particular supplies the subgenre with a fair share of its identity and flavour.

Though the symphonic element is indeed the most common in RPI, the genre would be better characterized as eclectic. Jazz-fusion, folk, hard rock riffing Ó la Jethro Tull, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, intense drama a la Van der Graaf Generator (whose albums were revered in Italy), singer-songwriter, proto-metal, blues, avant tendencies, pop, psych, dark/occult, electronic-the list goes on. Even more amazing, these differences in style can often be found to varying degrees on one album, and still feel natural in the distinct stylistic framework mentioned above.

No overview of RPI would be complete without mentioning the use of the Italian language, by many considered one of the most musical languages in the world. It could be safely stated that the use of Italian is inherent to the soul of RPI, a critical component to the full appreciation of the subgenre. In fact, even if some key RPI albums were translated into English in an attempt to gain international recognition, most of them fail to impress. They feel as if one of the basic ingredients of what makes RPI such a successful concoction is missing. While most serious RPI fans consider Italian vocals essential to their listening experience, it is fair to say that some believe English lyrics are not so detrimental-even if in most cases the odd phrasing, incorrect emphasis, and heavy Italian accent of the singers detract significantly from an authentic overall effect. While some prog fans can find the gregarious Italian vocal style challenging at first, newbies are encouraged to simply stick with it for a while. With only a modest effort any RPI newbie will soon find they cannot imagine this music without traditional Italian vocals-they truly are the icing on the cake.

One common misconception that must be addressed is the belief that any prog band from Italy is an RPI band. There are bands from Italy more appropriate for other genres. As an example, a pure and obvious post-rock band who just happen to be from Rome are going to be in the post-rock sub, not RPI. A pure jazz-fusion band with no RPI characteristics to their sound could be easily placed in the Jazz/Fusion subgenre. The RPI team will work hard to evaluate bands that fit the characteristics and the feel of the subgenre, and those whose primary sound is more suited for another sub are recommended to them.

"Progressive is basically a blending of three elements: the song, the improvisation inspired by jazz and the composition in classical style. This cocktail is interpreted in different ways in every country: in England, for instance, Celtic, rock and blues influences prevail. In Italy we have to cope with our classical tradition: the melodramma, Respighi, Puccini, Mascagni but also all the contemporary classical composers. It's in this legacy, in my opinion, that the specificity of the Italian Progressive Rock is concealed." -Franco Mussida, PFM


5. RPI in the new century
As recently as the 90s and early 2000s RPI again proved its longevity to the prog community. Scores of the classic albums were re-pressed in Japan, then specialized independent labels such as BTF, Mellow and Black Widow (the latter responsible for rescuing the likes of Jacula and Antonius Rex from oblivion) started to re-issue many of the classic albums. As a consequence RPI has not only reached a new generation of fans, but the increased interest and appreciation have led to new material being released. Artists whose recordings have never been in circulation, bands that are as new to our ears as they are to many of those who were there when it happened, now have a new-found audience creating an ironic worm-hole effect: brand new music straight from prog's golden years.

With the revival clearly under way the 90s produced some stellar Italian albums and the beginning of CD reissue fever. In the 2000s the trend has continued to a much more successful degree. RPI is back and fan interest has exploded for both the classic period and the new bands of today like Il Bacio Della Medusa, Pandora, Lagartija, Conqueror, Il Ruscello, Senza Nome, Coral Caves, J'Accuse, Ubi Maior, and the projects of Fabio Zuffanti to name just a few. Italian progressive rock today covers a wide range of styles and influences, but many of the bands ground a portion of their sound in the RPI tradition. Moreover, this first decade of the 21st century has seen a new round of publications (both in print and in electronic format) covering various aspects of Italian prog, as well as the creation of a number of excellent websites dedicated to the subgenre, which are extremely influential as regards the promotion of new bands and artists.

The commercial success of RPI has always been modest compared to the big bands from other countries. However, the quality of the music past and present, from its unique compositions to fiercely independent spirit, has earned the RPI subgenre some of prog's most loyal followers.

By:
Raffaella Berry
Michael Berry
Ryan Olsen
Jim Russell
Linus Wikstr÷m
Todd Dudley

For the Mick.
29 July 2009



Current RPI Team
Todd
Aussie-Byrd-Brother (Michael)
rdtprog (Louis)




Additional information:
Italian Prog - A dedicated RPI site
http://www.italianprog.com

Italian Prog Map - A superb blog by RPI writer Andrea Parentin
http://italianprogmap.blogspot.com/

Andrea Parentin's history of RPI (essential reading)
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=33377&PID=2345095#2345095

Andrea Parentin's contemporary Italian prog (newer bands)
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=62150&FID=58

Movimenti Prog
http://www.movimentiprog.net

Centro Studi per il Progressive Italiano
http://www.centrostudiprogitaliano.it

Mats Italian Prog Site
http://www.italianprogrock.com/index.php

John's Classic RPI blog - Another good blog on the "classic" era
http://classikrock.blogspot.com/

Arlequins - A prog rock webzine with much RPI content
http://www.arlequins.it/gb/index.asp


Where to buy Italian prog
Syn-phonic (USA) - http://www.synphonic.8m.com/index.htm
Doug Larson (USA) - http://www.hicom.net/~dlarson/
Kinesis (USA) - http://www.kinesiscd.com/index.html
Wayside (USA) - http://www.waysidemusic.com/
Mellow Records (Italy) - http://www.mellowrecords.com
BTF (Italy) - http://www.btf.it
Black Widow Records (Italy) - http://www.blackwidow.it
Camelot Music Store (Italy) - http://www.semanticweb.it/camelotstore/

Rock Progressivo Italiano Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Rock Progressivo Italiano | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.40 | 1397 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.37 | 938 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.37 | 871 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.35 | 1106 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.30 | 709 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.29 | 722 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.28 | 535 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.24 | 706 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.23 | 775 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.25 | 366 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.21 | 581 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.23 | 481 ratings
YS
Balletto di Bronzo, Il
4.24 | 333 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.24 | 294 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.22 | 265 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.21 | 272 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.18 | 306 ratings
LA CRUDELT└ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.18 | 259 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.27 | 144 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.19 | 235 ratings
CELESTE [AKA: PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO]
Celeste

Rock Progressivo Italiano overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Rock Progressivo Italiano experts team

CONCERTO DELLE MENTI
Pholas Dactylus
VOCI
Basso, Luciano
ODISSEA
Odissea
NOSTOS
Ubi Maior

Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Noi al dir di Noi by PROMENADE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.78 | 8 ratings

BUY
Noi al dir di Noi
Promenade Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars There's obviously something in the water over in Italy, all these young bands, in their short time together making music, offering instrumentally skilled fresh albums well beyond their years with an enviable understanding and knowledge of so many of the defining Seventies symphonic groups from their country, but given a modern youthful approach as well! Alongside Ingranaggi della Valle, F.E.M and Il Paradiso degli Orchi (in addition to many others), we now have a fledgling band from Genoa called Promenade, formed in 2014, and their debut album, `Noi al dir di Noi', offers plenty of complex and romantic RPI-flavoured symphonic arrangements and light jazz-fusion diversions performed with honed precision, with a charismatic spirited vocalist, that fuses the fanciful majesty of a group like Premiata Forneria Marconi with an enthusiastic energy.

Right from the start, `Athletics (which might as well have been titled `Prog-Rock Gymnastics!') is one of the most attention- getting openers to appear on an Italian prog album throughout 2016, an almost eleven-minute schizophrenic instrumental that powers through an exhausting range of frantic themes, usually delivered with whirling sax, nimble jazz-fusion-flecked guitar races and dizzying keyboard runs! It sets a very high standard early on, but fortunately the vocal-driven pieces that follow are all equally superb, with the dreamy `Il Secondo Passo' given flight by keyboardist Matteo Barisone's breathy and swooning vocals, the warm romantic purr of `L'albero Magico' given a shimmering 80's King Crimson-era guitar sheen, and prancing violin themes, flute, sax and harpsichord-like effects dance through the sweet melody of `Roccoco'.

`Kernel' effortlessly jumps back and forth in tempo, loaded with jazz-fusion-styled trickling electric piano, Stefano Scarella's murmuring bass, Gianluca Barisone's electric guitar bite and Simone Scala's wild thrashing drum bursts. The final two pieces of the album are the longest since the opener, `Pantera' (again, offering that 80's Crimson chiming maddening guitar slickness) is gently grooving with ambitious multi-part vocal arrangements, especially impressing with emotional extended guitar and nimble synth solos in the finale, and the completely exquisite `Crisantemo' slows down for a more thoughtful closer, a softly melancholic near-orchestral reflection of aching violin and gloomier piano carefully revealing a lurking late-night jazzy playfulness.

Refreshingly vinyl length and also presented with superb covert art, `Noi al dir di Noi' not only showcases a young group offering a music debut of supreme maturity and great taste well beyond their years, but it's amongst the most endlessly melodic, unashamedly romantic, vocally rich and instrumentally sophisticated Italian/pure RPI discs of 2016.

Five stars for an essential modern release of Italian progressive music, well done Promenade!

 Eros & Thanatos by SYNDONE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.92 | 41 ratings

BUY
Eros & Thanatos
Syndone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Italian symphonic band Syndone have been steadily improving since emerging at the start of the Nineties, beginning to hit their stride with `Melapasante' six years ago and offering a number of superb works since then. Initially a solo alias name for keyboardist Nik Comoglio, the group stepped up in a big way and had their profile amongst the progressive rock community raised with the deliciously lavish `Odysseas' in 2014, and one of the most addictive and best Italian discs of that year it was too. Since then the project has expanded with several more musicians being implemented who have all delivered an equally fine work with 2016's `Eros and Thanatos'. Taking its name from the personifications of love and death in ancient Greek mythology, it contains all the fanciful orchestration, booming keyboard-domination and Queen-like operatic vocals of the previous few albums that fans should adore, and it even boasts guest contributions from former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Roy Thomas of the Moody Blues!

After a brief distorted vocal a-cappella introduction, `Area 51' launches straight into the furious E.L.P/Le Orme-flavoured keyboard heavy instrumental pomp the band is known for, full of quirky whirring synth soloing, heavy drumming, groovy jazz- fusion flecked guitar smouldering and murmuring bass all delivering maddening spiralling themes. `Terra che Brucia' begins as a delicate classical guitar and creaky Mellotron ballad behind Riccardo Ruggeri's Freddie Mercury-esque croon that culminates in a heavy booming organ, twitching keyboard and sweeping orchestration finale. `Gli Spiriti dei Campi' is a rapturous piano-led jazzy ballad that surprisingly reminds of Zeuhl-originators Magma (yes, really!) with lengthy improvised breaks, the schizophrenic `Qinah' is a delirious outburst of heavy soloing and histrionic vocals, and there's melancholic fuzzy guitar soloing over strings in the finale of `Duro Come La Morte'.

Both `Alla Sinistra Del Mio Petto' and `Fahra' are welcome shorter breaks, the first a delicate piano, vocal and bass interlude, the latter peppered with Mediterranean and ethnic flavours grafted to ravishing acoustic guitars and brooding group vocals. `L'Urlo Nelle Ossa' is a beautifully sung swooning acoustic ballad full of warmth that rises impeccably in drama with climbing orchestration and Roy Thomas' subtle flute, the piece eventually revealing a soft gothic quality. `Bambole' (a remake of an earlier Syndone piece from their 1993 album `Inca') jumps around from bombastic rock, symphonic majesty and jazz-fusion dreaminess, and listen for Riccardo taking on a shredding Osanna-like vocal power in the finale! Steve Hackett then delivers a masterclass guitar solo that weaves throughout the warm Hammond organ and sobering cello of thoughtful and grandiose album closer `Cielo Di Fuoco'.

Although more-or-less vinyl-length, the album perhaps still feels just a little too long at fifty-two minutes with a couple of tracks following a similar pattern - ballad opening, heavy outbursts, extended instrumental passage, etc - but the vibrant mix of rich orchestration, vocal exquisiteness and a dazzling variety of proggy instrumental colour makes `Eros and Thanatos' one of the Italian prog highlights of the year, and another inspired effort from Syndone that again shows this wonderful group in superb form.

Four stars.

 Warm Spaced Blue by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.44 | 17 ratings

BUY
Warm Spaced Blue
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Warm Spaced Blue is the band's sophomore release from a group of young Italian virtuoso musicians who are drawn to create progressive rock music in the tradition of their RPI forefathers. Here is a band that has fulfilled the promise shown in its debut album. Ingranaggi della Valle burst onto the prog scene in 2013 with their amazingly mature concept album, In hoc signo. That album served notice that seriously talented musicians in Italy of a new generation were desirous of creating serious progressive rock music. Whatever reason impels them to do this is unknown to me. I just know I am exceedingly happy that they do.

1. "Call For Cthulhu: Orison" (9:24) opens up this album with a wonderful display of the growth and maturity these musicians have achieved--especially in the compostitional department as the band here uses much more use of space and slower development than In hoc signo. I have to admit to being rather surprised that the band chose to open with what is, for all intents and purposes, an instrumental like this (the first seven minutes) as the voice of lead singer Davide Savarese is one of the things I look forward to most. Still, a great song with a great sustained buildup and climax. (9.5/10)

2. "Inntal" (10:34) opens slowly, almost delicately, even as the song moves into full-band mode, but the dynamic build up is there, they're just taking their time. By the break and ensuing slow down at 2:25 they have established a solid foundation--one that was considerably lighter than what follows as a dark, heavy YUGEN-like feel emerges with the second section. As things amp up, Mellotron vocals and violin taking leads. The meaning and significance of the recording of spoken German in the sixth minute is lost upon me, as is the vocal that follows, but it flows. Nice guitar solo in the ninth minute. Great drums throughout, as usual. (This guy is a god!) (9/10)

3. "Call For Cthulhu: Through The Stars" (3:13) opens with ominous sounds of distorted, heavily treated bells and organ which are eventually joined by slow treated/distorted piano notes. More ambiguous than scary. (I don't know what their intended effect was.) (7.5/10)

4. "Lada Niva" (8:49) a complex song that displays this band's amazing compositional skills (as well as drummer Shanti Colucci's extraordinary skills). the only flaw with this song is that the vocal feels somehow unfinished. Untreated, it feels as if it should have a little something to help it fit into the song. (10/10)

5. "Ayida Wedo" (5:52) opens with what sounds like a fast paced electronic sequence which is quickly joined by heavily riffing guitars, bass, and drums before Mellotron signals a change. Everything drops down to bass and drums before unhurried electric piano and electric guitar arpeggi join in. This is the drummer's showtime. (And he is impressive!) Then at 2:30 things quite down again for a little bridge from the vibes before a new set of instruments--synths and heavily treated guitars--take over the previously established melody (and add some really beautiful stuff to it). (It's still the drummer on display, though.) Another quiet interlude at 4:20 sets up the final run-- which includes a repetitive bass and synth sequence playing steadily while the drums and other incidentals add their wildness. Interesting and cool song in a NOT A GOOD SIGN way. (9/10)

6. "Call For Cthulhu: Promise" (6:44) a surprisingly simple and emotional beginning to the album's final song (the drums don't even appear until the 1:30 mark!) with acoustic guitar and organ supporting Davide's plaintive vocal. It's trying to be eery but it's failing (for me). It's also like it's trying to be a Zeuhl song. After the soundscape really fills up around the 3:40 mark it finally begins to succeed in expressing the heaviness of its theme. And then there are some subtle shifts starting at the five minute mark--little individual inputs, each admitted one at a time, which turn the song's mood into a more positive, hopeful feel. The ending section saves the song! (8.5/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. Not quite fulfilling the promise and potential shown in their debut but I do consider this a step forward. I look forward to seeing/hearing more vocals and dynamic variation in the future (and as much Shanti Colucci as possible, of course!).

 Different Earths by ERIS PLUVIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.17 | 5 ratings

BUY
Different Earths
Eris Pluvia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Like the big bang that set everything and everyone in motion, ERIS PLUVIA seems to diminish in potency and distinction as it vaults ever further from its source around the turn of the 1990s. The sudden passing of long time keyboard player Paolo Raciti in 2011, shortly after the release of "Third Eye Light" must have been emotionally arduous, but Alessandro Cavatorti and Marco Forella have pressed onward, playing all the instruments except for the continued contribution of Roberta Piras on flute. They have recruited but one vocalist, Roberto Minniti, to replace Matteo Noli and Diana Dallera. Hence for the first time, no female vocals are present to complement the overall placidity of the material, and I have some problems with Minniti's twang from its first appearance, although eventually he (or perhaps I) yield to the ambiance at which the group has always excelled.

"Different Earths" is yet another ambitious thematic work that prioritizes atmosphere over amplification or virtuosity, as it explores mankind's yearning for interstellar travel, discovery and settlement. Wafting keyboards, acoustic guitar and otherworldly electric guitar leads reminiscent of both Andy Latimer and David Gilmour mark most of the tracks, with the conch occasionally passed to the flute. The melodies tend to be more languid than ever, but not as memorable or lucid. This is hurtfully evident when the closing piece cedes to "Rings of Earthly Delight" in that inevitable and cruel contrivance of itunes, over and over again. That early work could hardly be described as vivacious, except in stark contrast to "Different Earths".

Flaws aside, the album includes 4 very solid tracks while most of the rest might appeal to different listeners in different moods. The centerpiece is the 10+ minute "Heroes of the Dark Star" with a few amiable twists and a fine vocal turn by Minniti. "Man on a Rope", "Poet's Island" and "Black Rainbow" are other highlights offering the attributes described above. I can't consider any of the pieces to be masterpieces like every track on the debut and 2 or 3 on "Third Eye Light", nor do I find the individual compositions to be very synergistic as an ensemble, pushing together to scale peaks not attainable individually. It's almost like what the original band might have dreamed up one night and then scrapped the next day in deference to more profound inspiration.

Overall, while I am disappointed, I think a reset is probably appropriate. The earth of 2016 is different from that of 1990, or even that of 2003 when I first heard "Rings", and "Different Earths" is a good album of mellow folk influenced prog, nothing more or less. If you are a fan, by all means reach for it, and if you are not, but you find the description intriguing, I recommend approaching ERIS PLUVIA chronologically.

 Goblin Rebirth by GOBLIN REBIRTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.15 | 43 ratings

BUY
Goblin Rebirth
Goblin Rebirth Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Best to start off by getting one thing very clear. Goblin's Roller album has been a familiar friend since its vinyl landed first on my doorstep, back in 1976, initially captivated by the thundering bass playing of Fabio Pignatelli, who has never failed to be on my top bassists list. His upfront Rickenbacker sound really hooked me good on pieces like the title track which remains one of my favorite bass lines ever. Not too shabby on "Aquaman" and "Goblin" either! Now drummer Agostino Marangolo is no slouch either, the perfect foil for Pignatelli's ramblings, a rhythmic duo I found to be my all-time best in RPI, with deep respect to both Djivas/DiCioccio and Tagliapietra/DeiRossi. Goblin Rebirth is a "stunfest" of exotic Gothic-tinged progressive rock, nearly 40 years later and they still impress beyond words. Needless to say, from my historical perspective, I could not help to be glued to the rhythm section again, as the tandem still connects like frankly few others in all of rock music. With all due deference to the Simonetti Bros, Morante, Guarini, Zammit, Cherni and Anselmi, the two veterans just kick royal ass again. Better than ever, I would even daresay. Their power and their glory are impossible to evade, supremely effortless and razor-sharp, as drummer Marangolo has developed a big sound that makes him into the prog version of John Bonham (having seen the latter live, I can assure that is one hell of a compliment!).

"Requiem for X" gives me the chills, the forlorn bell peeling in the faraway landscape, rekindling memories of that first Black Sabbath album, yet swerving into a proggier, keyboard-infected groove that evokes doom, gloom and capitulation. When the crusher lumbers forward, the bass, drums, keys and guitar are all in a merciless merger, unrepentant. Phew, sweat flooding down my neck.

As if to remind everyone of the very lengthy hiatus , "Back in '74" serves as a reminder of those heady times when rock music was breaking down all sorts of stylistic boundaries, not content to just 'rock around the clock' ! Bouncy and petulant, uncharacteristically obscure and death-defying, the theme is deliberately cinematographic, as if beckoning the listener with images of times gone by, while playing the modern card, as displayed by a 'rhino in heat' guitar phrasing that rasps asymmetrically. Hommage this certainly is. But wait it gets only better!

The morose yet grandiose "Book of Skulls" is an aural steam-roller that crushes everything in its way, the duo relentless and almost gruesome in its simplicity, finding a rhythmic path that allows the marauding Giacomo Anselmi guitar to rampage appropriately, the dual keyboards in total acquiescence with some divine synth and piano work. Pignatelli likes to step out of the furrow and unleash a few spectacular runs, a true virtuoso. The theme is bombastic, dark, spectral and downright scary.

On the haunted "Mysterium", the colossal binary beat is laid down quickly, shouldered by that smoldering bass and unhinged by some of the most glorious choir mellotron ever recorded. Twinkling piano, tortured synth bubbles, crushing guitar scrapings and Agostino lifting his sticks high in the air. The mood is sombre, cinematographic and spine-chilling. This is so good, I cannot help but to nervously giggle!

I keep the cynical laughter going as Fabio does his magic right from the get go on "Evil in the Machine", a nearly electronic prog-rock piece that has an undeniable modern feel, a Kraftwerk-like vocoder voice and the most binary beat this side of Moby Dick, a bang-bang assault of concussive muscular power that is hard to fathom, the spotlight shifting firmly towards Pignatelli riffling nastily on his sweltering bass. Chris Squire, you may rest in peace, you won't be forgotten. Perfect Halloween horror movie music.

The classic prog of the 70's is reborn on "Forest", a standout palette of classic prog standards, a return to the church of prog if you will, as the sultry choir voices exalt the divine, the pompous pipe organ involved front and center , celestial cascades of mellotron and tormented synthesizer streaks all combine to pray to the god-like guitar solo. Well-deserved winks at Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd.

Poor Maurice Ravel must be turning in his grave (an ideal place, the cemetery) , "Dark Bolero" is a neo-classical piece par excellence, with a mournful cello upfront leading the obedient violins, the drums slickly percussive, all just waiting for the reptilian Pignatelli bass to show us the way to Dante's Inferno, stormy mellotron and chanted choirs that rekindle memories of "the Omen" series of movies. Slightly satanic, breeding palpable fear and a severe sense of engulfment with danger.

"Rebirth" certainly rekindles a renaissance of this much vaunted subgenre, the voluptuous bass motivated like some zombiefied monster, infested with Mellotronic pestilence, spearing forward like a Macedonian phalanx, both immovable and immortal. Or so it's seems with this long awaited rebirth. Just to hear again the duo of Pignatelli and Marangolo on this album is worth every expense. Magnificent RPI in the Goblin tradition. Easy perfection, in my book.

5 gnome revivals

 Darwin! by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.37 | 938 ratings

BUY
Darwin!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars The much-acclaimed and revered epitome of 1970s 'classic' RPI here finds criticism and disconnect.

1. "L'Evoluzione" (13:59) This song offers a perfect opportunity for me to express a few of my dislikes in Banco music. Banco songs can sometimes be too busy. Like the comment in Amadeus about Mozart using just too many notes, the average, untrained human brain can only take in so much. Then there are the tendencies that Banco uses to compose support music for individual soli that is too rigid and monotonous--that goes on for far longer than one would like to hear. And then there are the flaws in the mixes of the instruments. Still, there is the fact of the amazing complexity and sophistication that is always a part of Banco compositions. Admirable and laudable, but they do not always translate into enjoyable listening experiences. Sometimes there can be just . . . too much going on at once. And I am often found having trouble finding, much less attaching to, lead or woven melodies. Where are they? And I will finally admit that after all these listens to Banco materials: I am just not that big of a fan of Francesco Di Giacomo's voice. He may be the equivalent of the Peter Hammill of Italy--you either love him or you hate him. (Like with Hammill), I fall into this latter category. (Well, I don't really hate him. I don't always enjoy his voice or vocal performances.) (8.5/10)

2. "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" (8:42) until the final two minutes, this is an instrumental song of typical Banco complexity and breakneck speed but possessing some nice, interesting, engaging melodies on the top (mostly from the synthesizer). Still, this song feels a bit too much like a song that would run over the introductory or end credits of a 1970s spy film. One of the more tolerable, even enjoyable, Francesco Di Giacomo vocals. (9.5/10)

3. "Danza Dei Grandi Rettili" (3:42) opens with a kind of sophisticated coffee-house jazz feel. For 45 seconds. Then the full-house orchestral hall sound bursts forth. For a bit. Reverting back to cafÚ dynamics, the jazzy sound returns for some piano and jazz guitar interplay. The louder 'chorus' section returns with some cool organ and synth interplay before a bridge back to the original sound and theme occurs. Piano, jazz bass, brushed drums, and jazz lead guitar play out to the end--and, it is assumed, the sparse applause of the smokey cafÚ. (9/10)

4. "Cento Mani E Cento Occhi" (5:22) opens with a driving, dynamic burst of straightforward organ-based rock. Francesco's poorly recorded voice is oddly mixed. There then follows a kind of Keith Emerson section before the vocals return. In the second half of the song, a kind of all-male barrel-house vocal ensemble becomes the form of vocal delivery--in both the louder and even the softer sections. A well constructed and performed song that is somehow poorly recorded and troublesome to connect with. Better to sit back and enjoy as spectator. (8.5/10)

5. "750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore?" (5:38) opens as a gentle, contemplative piano-based song over which a very strong, passionate, almost operatic vocal is sung by Francesco Di Giacomo. The man can definitely sing! There's even a section where Francesco's voice alone exudes the force that an entire full rock band might try to display--just his voice! Perhaps he was a failed or frustrated opera singer. The odd synth interlude in the middle is unfortunate. But, it is short-lived. We return to the piano and solo voce format where Francesco and Gianni Nocenzi perform their magic--until the rest of the rock band finally joins in for the final 35 seconds. (9/10)

6. "Miserere Alla Storia" (5:58) opens with a fade in of an already in full-form and fast-pace jazz-rock weave, but, then, just as it reaches front and center, it stops! Instead we are left with some spacious organ, bass, synthesizer play beneath a distant soloing clarinet. At two minute mark a very aggressive, demonic (non-Francesco) vocal sets up the onset of a new instrumental section of driving film soundtrack music. Piano soloing over staccato rhythm section ensues at the end of the fourth minute before returning first to the soundtrack "chase scene" theme and then to a pensive soft section for bass and fading clarinet to take us out. Odd song. (8.5/10)

7. "Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde ... Non Ne Ho!" (3:29) opens with themes and sounds that could come from several ethnic musical traditions--and which sounds a lot like some of Woody Allen's clarinet- led Italian music as used in his films. The song is partly beautiful, partly grotesquely sad, partly funny--and definitely interesting. (9/10)

A near-masterpiece of Rock Progressivo Italiano and a clear example of how brilliant ideas in the hands of virtuoso artists do not always result in glowing masterpieces of artistic product.

 Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Pi¨ by LOCANDA DELLE FATE album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.10 | 340 ratings

BUY
Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Pi¨
Locanda delle Fate Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars A very polished album of piano-based progressive rock music with a kind of combined RENAISSANCE-GENESIS Foxtrot/SEbtP-era feel to it.

Line-up / Musicians: - Leonardo Sasso / lead vocals - Alberto Gaviglio / electric guitar, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals - Ezio Vevy / electric guitar, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, flute - Michele Conta / piano, electric Piano, synthesizer (Polymoog), harpsichord, clarinet - Oscar Mazzoglio / Hammond organ, Fender electric piano, synthesizers (Moog, Polymoog) - Luciano Boero / bass, Hammond organ - Giorgio Gardino / drums, vibraphone

1. "A volte un istante di quiete" (6:31) opens as an up tempo, piano-based rock song sounding quite a bit like a peak-era Jon TOUT-led RENAISSANCE song. The band plays quite nicely together--nicely tight band. The synth lines in the fourth minute are almost straight out of the finale of GENESIS' "Supper's Ready" and the guitar sound that joins in later is also quite Steve Hackett-esque. The fast-paced jazzier section that takes over at the 4:40 mark returns the band more to a RENAISSANCE/ "MacArthur's Park" sound. (9.5/10)

2. "Forse le lucciole non si amano pi¨" (9:48) opens with a piano and vibes duet, establishing melody that the vocalist soon uses. By the end of the first minute the full band has joined in, establishing a fairly slow, methodical pace and sound. The instruments amp up into a little harsher ground at the 1:40 mark before falling back into support for the husky-voice male singer (Leonardo Sasso). Chunky bass (think John Camp) with well-integrated drums lead into an instrumental section with electric guitar 'power' chords and harpsichord in the lead. The more aggressive, jazzier section in the sixth minute feels a little discombobulated from the multiple vocal lines--very theatric--but it's working in a dramatic way. (8.5/10)

3. "Profumo di colla Bianca" (8:25) opens with a collection of sounds and riffs that make it sound like it comes straight off a YES album--Relayer or later. When things calm down for the vocal to enter at the one minute mark it feels all Italia(--all Banco). The next sections--instrumental and vocal--magically blend themes and sounds from the early years of both GENESIS (Gabriel era) and KING CRIMSON (ItCotCK). A more piano-based section returns to the beautiful realm of Italian melodrama--which is then carried forward and enhanced by an interesting section that feels like a blend of THE ALLMAN BROTHERS and STARCASTLE. Very interesting and deftly crafted song. (9.5/10)

4. "Cercando un nuovo confine" (6:41) opens delicately, beautifully, like the "play me a song" part of Genesis' "The Musical Box." In the second minute, piano, mellotron and background singers are added to the foundational acoustic guitar and electric guitar arpeggi. Then the song bursts into full rock dynamics in an almost ELTON JOHN way but then quickly settle back into more Genesis-Renaissance domains. An new theme is introduced at the three- minute mark that is piano-led, enriching the dimensionality of the song in a Tony Banks kind of way. The vocalist becomes more forceful but it sounds strained and makes the song suffer (in my opinion). And then the song quiets down, moving more toward the opening in its delicacy--though the piano continues tinkling away for a bit. The vocal harmonies in the final minute are nice. (8.5/10)

5. "Sogno di Estunno" (4:41) opens with flute and piano playing melody line in unison while bass and drums build in support. When Leonardo's vocals are introduced, the mood becomes more assertive, even aggressive. But then a delicate Genesis-like section ensues before it, too, is absorbed in the aggression of the next vocal-lead section (verse 2). The instrumental section that follows is peppered with soli from Arp synth and piano before Leonardo returns. It is my opinion that his voice is just to gruff for these beautiful instrumental weaves. I also believe that the piano is too dominant. One can see how these songs were created (and could be performed solo) by the piano, but it should have been mixed down a bit in the final mixes--to allow the weave of instruments to seem more even keeled. (8.5/10)

6. "Non chiudere a chiave le stelle" (3:34) opens with a pretty multiple guitar- and all-arpeggi-based weave which is soon joined by the gentle voice of a different male singer than the previous songs. Nice, gentle background harmony vocals used as well. Thought the song never really 'goes' anywhere, it is nice--and probably would mean much more to me if I knew what he was singing about. (8.5/10)

7. "Vendesi saggezza (9:37) is another piano and chunky Jon Camp-led song with Leonardo's gruff, aged-sounding voice in the lead vocal spot. The instrumental section in the third minute is quite nice--even powerful--and helps the next singing section by bringing in quite a sophisticated weave with it--or could it be that Leonardo Sasso's voice is mixed a bit further back in the soundscape? Whatever, this is the first time on the album that the instrumental dynamics has felt perfectly mixed! The GENTLE GIANT-like section that opens at the 6:20 mark is a nice twist--and then the next section at 7:10 is pure GENESIS perfection. (9.5/10)

4.5 stars; A near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Sulle corde di Aries by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.09 | 100 ratings

BUY
Sulle corde di Aries
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars Very cool, spacey, folk (or religious) psychedelia--the music a man would make if he were celebrating and supporting a kind of personal 'New Age' spiritual transformation.

1. "Sequenze e frequenze" (16:23) Side One's side-long suite opens with chaotic cacophony of female voices, reed instruments, and sustained volume-pedal-controlled electric guitar chords and notes. In the second half of the second minute this evolves into a synthesizers over a droning note. AT 2:24 a male voice enters singing in a style familiar to me from Roman Catholic High Masses. Beneath the singer the synthesizers begin to shift and evolve their weave. At the four-minute mark percussion, mandola, and synthesizers continue the weave at a fairly quick pace. Though the music feels ethereal and serpentine, it also exudes a kind of ecstatic joy. At the end of the seventh minute the drone has become chopped up like a helicopter's rotors in motion while c(k)alimba and what sounds like an organ and sax play at a loose weave. Quite mesmerizing. And beautiful. The pace seems to quicken--almost like the dance of the Sufi whirling dervishes--as we reach the two-thirds mark before it starts to fade out--all but the chopper drone. A harmonium-like sound adds itself and is then joined by tuned bells (miniature piano? small xylophone?) and calimba to form a new weave--which also builds to a crescendo of volume and frenzy over the final four minutes before finally fading away in the last minute, leaving only the tuned hand percussives playing. Amazing song of invocation and worship. (10/10)

2. "Aries" (5:27) opens with the slow emergence of a single sustained, pulsating, flute-like synthesizer note. Eventually a kind of sequenced set of synth arpeggi support this before every fallls away at the 1:30 mark to allow the entrance of African hand drums, guitar arpeggi and strums and volume pedal-controlled electric guitar notes before echo-chamber-treated "la-la-la-la" vocals enter. After these cease, a wailing saxophone leads the band into an orgiastic climax. Nice celebratory song for members of the Age of Aquarius. (9/10)

3. "Aria di rivoluzione" (5:03) opens with heavily effected guitar and rapid-echo-treated solo voice. The vocal sounds almost sacred, ritualistic, perhaps from some Arabic tradition (though it is sung in Italian). The recorded talking voice of a woman speaking in German (Jutta Nienhaus) is interjected in the place of the choruses while being accompanied by violoncello. Nice little contemplative soli occur in the "C" instrumental part over hand percussives, first from volume-pedal-controlled electric guitar and synth horn, then from several high pitched reed horns, to the song's end. It would probably mean more to me if I knew what the German recitation meant. (8.5/10)

4. "Da Oriente a Occidente" (6:38) opens like an sing-a-long in an Indian ashram with folk instruments supporting multiple loosely-aligned male vocalists, but then it turns into a kind of "everybody grab an instrument" jam session (only the instrumentalists are all well-trained musicians). Awesomely hypnotic! (9/10)

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music (though I'm not sure this fits in with the more typical RPI sounds).

 Uno by PANNA FREDDA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.59 | 75 ratings

BUY
Uno
Panna Fredda Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars This is an album of good rock music but nothing very special or too innovative here--and I even find myself wondering if it is even prog--though it is bombastic and pretentious. But, then, so were The Doors. I do wonder, however, what might have happened had the band members stuck together and done some more albums. The production engineering are surprisingly clear and the mixing done very well.

1. "La Paura" (6:02) a kind of cool, melodic, though simple blues rock song in the DOORS or DEEP PURPLE vein. I guess it's the panned "wind" synth and organ play that make this one proggy. The weave of multiple soloists in the final two minutes, too. (9/10)

2. "Un Re Senza Reame" (5:06) such clear engineering is a delight to hear--even with the lead vocals. I don' t know why it's so difficult to record and mix choral or background vocals, though. Melodic and in your face, this one could prove memorable. (8.5/10)

3. "Un Uomo" (4:56) opens with some aggressive, fairly fast whole-band chord play before dropping back into a very simple foundation for the vocals to begin. The alternating quiet vocal-heavy instrumental sections used here seems fairly common in Italian prog. At 2:16 a sole bass bridges to a new kind of jazzy jam section. Bass and organ seem both on the verge of soloing though it is really the drummer who is doing the interesting stuff. Then we get a lead guitarist to step forward in a kind of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD solo section. The spirit of URIAH HEEP seems also strongly present. (8.5/10)

4. "Scacco Al Re Lot" (4:32) opens with some quick-to-engage melodic hooks from guitar and organ. It is interesting how essential to each melody structure the bass play is. It is highly unusual to here such prominence given to the bass throughout an album as it is here. The vocal section in the second half of the second minute is quite nice. This is then followed by a bridge into a "mediŠval" section with guitar and harpsichord providing old background to the emotional vocal. Again, URIAH HEEP comes strongly to mind here. The final minute shifts back into heavier rock mode before playing an electrical variation on the classical theme using in the mediŠval section. (9/10)

5. "Il Vento, La Luna E Pulcini Blu" (9:58) opens with a kind of rock founded ancient theme (as in the previous song) with spinet and acoustic guitar. These remain to accompany the vocal section but is then followed by an instrumental section in which some experimenting with bass and electric guitar sounds in the third minute is accompanied by spinet arppegi and cymbal play from the drums. This section then repeats three times as it is alternated with variations on the theme from the opening. The plaintive vocal only recurs twice in the entire song for perhaps a total of one minute's time, making this virtually and instrumental composition. An entertaining and nice sounding song--though it could have been developed with more variation and an additional theme or two in the ten-minute mix. (7.5/10)

6. "Waiting" (3:08) opens with recorded noise either from a factory or a train station which is then joined and commuted into distorted portamento space sounds before being replaced by fast-paced blues rock music of two main alternating themes, the first ejaculatory and bridge-like, the second more organ-based blues cruising. The alternating occurs four cycles before ending in a kind of crescendo of cacophonous sound coming from all of the instruments at one time. Interesting but... (7.5/10)

A solid four star album; a nice addition to any prog lover's music collection and especially recommended for RPI fans.

 Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls by NEW TROLLS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.69 | 186 ratings

BUY
Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls
New Trolls Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Avanti il Popolo! La vittoria e nostra! (Progressive rock music has arrived in Italia!) Side one of the New Trolls' 1971 album contains a nice blend of classical instrumentation into a kind of blues-rock operetta JETHRO TULL-style. It is not as well recorded or refined as some other rock-classical blends however I have to laud it for it's daring in being one of the first fairly successful rock conversions of famous themes from classical music (Vivaldi)--and for the gutsy daring of the musicians involved. One side note: As accent-less as Nico Di Palo's English is, I do find it strange that the band chose to sing its lyrics in English.

1. "Tempo: Allegro" (2:15) an awesome JETHRO TULL-sounding rock version of classical themes. (9/10)

2. "Tempo: Adagio" (4:50) What gorgeous singing voices Nico and his background singers are! No wonder they were so successful as generators of pop hits after their prog phase. It's too bad the orchestral arrangements are so syrupy (and strings-dominant) here. (8/10) 3. "Tempo: Cadenza - Andante Con Moto" (4:10) plays for the first minute and a half as for all intents and purposes, a violin solo. But then those syrupy strings get involved. Too bad. (Barely a rock song--were it not for the drumming.) Nice use of harpsichord and wordless and worded vocals over the strings and violin in the second half. Disappointing end with orchestral strings leading us out. (8.5/10)

4. "Tempo: Shadows" (5:30) a bluesy rock song in the PROCUL HAREM vein with a show of HENDRIX in the lead electric guitar department. The flute-led instrumental section in third and fourth minutes employs a very Hendrix- like guitar improvisational background (and, later, foreground)--and it works marvellously! Most excellent! it gets a little carried away with the guitar feedback solo in the fifth and sixth minutes, but it is ballsy! and well done. (9.5/10) 5. Nella Sala Vuota, Improvvisazioni Dei New Trolls Registrate In Diretta (20:32) opens as a bluesy Hammond solo for the first two minutes. As the full band join in, the breathy flute-led song begins to sound like the theme song from the original Mission: Impossible television series--as it might be played by The Netherlands' FOCUS around 1972. JETHRO TULL influences also come raging through in the second quarter of the song. After the mid-song break, the music returns in what sounds like a RAY CHARLES instrumental. Nice Hammond work is followed by a loud and dated-sounding electric guitar solo which is then followed by a surprisingly impressive (and surprisingly long) drum solo by Gianni Belleno. (I love the fast panning effect used near its end!) Gianni finally builds back the song base to allow the rest of the band to join in for the last 45 seconds. The highs of the musician's skills on display here outweigh the distractions of poor sonic effects and engineering limitations of the day. (9/10)

Despite it's flaws sonically, and the disappointing cheesiness of the strings inputs, I really like the ballsy confidence shown by these players. Electric guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums are all solid in both their ability to contribute to the whole while all are equally able to show their confident chops in the solo department as well.

Data cached

Rock Progressivo Italiano bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
A PIEDI NUDI Italy
ABISSI INFINITI Italy
ABSENTHIA Italy
ACQUA FRAGILE Italy
AD MAIORA Italy
ADHARMA Italy
AINUR Italy
AKRON Italy
L' ALBERO DEL VELENO Italy
ALGEBRA Italy
ALESSANDRO ALISCIONI Italy
ALLEGRI LEPROTTI Italy
GLI ALLUMINOGENI Italy
ALPHATAURUS Italy
ALTARE THOTEMICO Italy
ALUSA FALLAX Italy
AMMINISTRAZIONE CAOS POPOLARE Italy
ANACONDIA Italy
ANCESTRY Italy
THE ANCIENT VEIL Italy
ANTONIUS REX Italy
GLI APOSTHOLI Italy
APOTEOSI Italy
APRYL Italy
ARCHITRAVE INDIPENDENTE Italy
AREA Italy
ARIES Italy
ARJUNA Italy
ARMONITE Italy
ARPIA Italy
ARS NOVA (ITA) Italy
ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE Italy
ASSENZIO Italy
ASTROLABIO / ELETTROSMOG Italy
ATON'S Italy
ATTO IV Italy
AUDIO Italy
AURORA LUNARE Italy
AVALON LEGEND Italy
IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI Italy
SOPHYA BACCINI Italy
IL BACIO DELLA MEDUSA Italy
THE BADGE Italy
BALLETTIROSADIMACCHIA Italy
IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Italy
IL BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE Italy
THE BALMUNG Italy
LA BAMBIBANDA E MELODIE Italy
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Italy
BARABBA Italy
MARIO BARBAJA Italy
BAROQUE Italy
BARROCK Italy
LUCIANO BASSO Italy
LA BATTERIA Italy
FRANCO BATTIATO Italy
PIERPAOLO BIBBO Italy
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO Italy
BLOCCO MENTALE Italy
BONDAGE Italy
BORNIDOL Italy
LA BOTTEGA DELL'ARTE Italy
BRAEN'S MACHINE Italy
BRAINDEAD Italy
ANGELO BRANDUARDI Italy
BRIGHT HORIZON Italy
BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE Italy
CAGE Italy
I CALIFFI Italy
CALLIOPE Italy
CAMERA ASTRALIS Italy
JURI CAMISASCA Italy
CAMPO DI MARTE Italy
CANTINA SOCIALE Italy
CAPITOLO 6 Italy
CAPRICORN COLLEGE Italy
CAPSICUM RED Italy
ENZO CAPUANO Italy
IL CASTELLO DELLE UOVA Italy
IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE Italy
CAVALLI COCCHI LANZETTI ROVERSI Italy
CELESTE Italy
IL CERCHIO D'ORO Italy
CERVELLO Italy
CHERRY FIVE Italy
CHIAVE DI VOLTA Italy
LUCIANO CILIO Italy
CIRCLE OF FAIRIES Italy
CITT└ FRONTALE Italy
CIVICO 23 Italy
CLEPSYDRA Italy
I COCAI Italy
ROBERTO COLOMBO Italy
CONDOR Italy
CONQUEROR Italy
CONSORZIO ACQUA POTABILE Italy
CONTRAPPUNTO Italy
CONTROTEMPO Italy
COOPERATIVA DEL LATTE Italy
CORAL CAVES Italy
CORMORANO Italy
EMANUELE CORREANI Italy
CORTE AULICA Italy
CORTE DEI MIRACOLI Italy
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO Italy
MARIO COTTARELLI Italy
COURT Italy
CRYSTALS Italy
LA CURVA DI LESMO Italy
GINO D'ELISO Italy
GIANNI D'ERRICO Italy
DALLAGLIO Italy
DALTON Italy
DE DE LIND Italy
DELIRIUM Italy
MAURIZIO DI TOLLO Italy
I DIK DIK Italy
DISTILLERIE DI MALTO Italy
DIVAE Italy
DUEMILA12 Italy
ECLISSE Italy
EDERA Italy
EDGAR ALLAN POE Italy
EGO Italy
EGONON Italy
EMPIRE Italy
ENEIDE Italy
ENIMA Italy
ENTITY Italy
EQUIPE 84 Italy
ERA DI ACQUARIO Italy
ERIS PLUVIA Italy
ERRATA CORRIGE Italy
L' ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO Italy
EUTHYMIA Italy
EXPLOIT Italy
LA FABBRICA DELL'ASSOLUTO Italy
FABIO CELI E GLI INFERMIERI Italy
FALENA Italy
FEM PROG BAND Italy
FESTA MOBILE Italy
FILARMONICA MUNICIPALE LACRISI Italy
FILORITMIA Italy
FINISTERRE Italy
FLEA Italy
FLOATING STATE Italy
RICCARDO FOGLI Italy
FOGLIE DI VETRO Italy
FONETICA Italy
FORMULA 3 Italy
FABIO FRIZZI Italy
CLAUDIO FUCCI Italy
FUFLUNS Italy
GARYBALDI Italy
GENCO PURO & CO. Italy
GENFUOCO Italy
GERMINALE Italy
FRANCO MARIA GIANNINI Italy
GIARDINI D'AUTUNNO Italy
GIARDINO DELLE DELIZIE Italy
I GIGANTI Italy
GIGI PASCAL E LA POP COMPAGNIA MECCANICA Italy
IL GIRO STRANO Italy
GLEEMEN Italy
GOBLIN Italy
GOBLIN REBIRTH Italy
GRAN TURISMO VELOCE Italy
GREENWALL Italy
GRIMALKIN Italy
GRUPPO 2001 Italy
GUERCIA Italy
H2O Italy
HOMUNCULUS RES Italy
HOPO Italy
HORUS Italy
HOSTSONATEN Italy
HUNKA MUNKA Italy
IANVA Italy
IBIS Italy
IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS Italy
INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE Italy
J.E.T. Italy
JACULA Italy
JANUS Italy
JESTER'S JOKE Italy
JET LAG Italy
JUMBO Italy
KALISANTROPE Italy
KUNDALINI SHAKTI DEVI Italy
LABIRINTO DI SPECCHI Italy
LAGARTIJA Italy
LAPERA Italy
LASER Italy
LATTE E MIELE Italy
LUCIANO LAURINI Italy
LEO NERO Italy
I LEONI Italy
LETHE Italy
LIBRA Italy
LINEATEORICA Italy
LOCANDA DELLE FATE Italy
EMILIO LOCURCIO Italy
LOCUS AMOENUS Italy
LOGOS Italy
LOST TALES Italy
LOTHLORIEN Italy
MACROSCREAM Italy
MAD CRAYON Italy
MADRUGADA Italy
MAGNOLIA Italy
MALAAVIA Italy
MALIBRAN Italy
MALLEUS Italy
MANGALA VALLIS Italy
LE MANI Italy
MARCHESI SCAMORZA Italy
LA MASCHERA DI CERA Italy
MAURY E I PRONOMI / AQUAEL Italy
MAXOPHONE Italy
MEDITERRANEA Italy
MELLONTA TAUTA Italy
MESSAGGIO 73 Italy
METAMORFOSI Italy
MINDFLOWER Italy
MINSTREL Italy
MIRAGE Italy
MO.DO. Italy
MÍBIUS PROJECT Italy
LORENZO MONNI Italy
MONTEFELTRO Italy
MOSAICO Italy
IL MUCCHIO Italy
MURPLE Italy
MUSEO ROSENBACH Italy
FRANCO MUSSIDA Italy
MYROS Italy
LA N.A.V.E. Italy
NARROW PASS Italy
NASCITA DELLA SFERA Italy
NATHAN Italy
NEW TROLLS Italy
NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM Italy
NICOSIA & C. INDUSTRIA MUSICALE Italy
NODO GORDIANO Italy
NOTABENE Italy
I NUMI Italy
NUOVA ERA Italy
NUOVA IDEA Italy
OBSCURA Italy
THE ODEJA Italy
ODISSEA Italy
OFFICINA MECCANICA Italy
L' OMBRA DELLA SERA Italy
OMBRALUCE Italy
LE ORME Italy
ORNITHOS Italy
OSAGE TRIBE Italy
OSANNA Italy
IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI Italy
MAURO PAGANI Italy
PANDORA Italy
PANE Italy
PANGEA Italy
PANNA FREDDA Italy
MARIO PANSERI Italy
PANTHER & C Italy
PARADISO A BASSO PREZZO Italy
IL PARADISO DEGLI ORCHI Italy
MAURO PELOSI Italy
I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Italy
LA PENTOLA DI PAPIN Italy
PERDIO Italy
PERIFERIA DEL MONDO Italy
PERIPLO Italy
PERSIMFANS Italy
PHAEDRA Italy
PHOLAS DACTYLUS Italy
GIAN PIERETTI Italy
PIERO E I COTTONFIELDS Italy
PIERO EZIO E TINO Italy
PLANETARIUM Italy
PLENILUNIO Italy
PLURIMA MUNDI Italy
LE PORTE NON APERTE Italy
PREGHIERA DI SASSO Italy
PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Italy
PRESENCE Italy
PROCESSION Italy
PROGENESI Italy
PROMENADE Italy
PROPHEXY Italy
PROWLERS Italy
PSYCHO PRAXIS Italy
QIRSH Italy
QUARTO VUOTO Italy
QUASAR LUX SYMPHONIAE Italy
QUEL GIORNO DI UVE ROSSE Italy
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA Italy
RACCOMANDATA RICEVUTA RITORNO Italy
I RAMINGHI Italy
RANDONE Italy
RANESTRANE Italy
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA Italy
RES GESTA Italy
RICORDI D'INFANZIA Italy
CLAUDIO ROCCHI Italy
ROCKY'S FILJ Italy
IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Italy
IL RUMORE BIANCO Italy
IL RUSCELLO Italy
RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI Italy
SACKA Italy
SALIS Italy
SAMADHI Italy
SAMSARA Italy
TITO JR. SCHIPA Italy
LA SECONDA GENESI Italy
SECRET TALES Italy
IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Italy
SELDON Italy
SEMIRAMIS Italy
LE SENSAZIONI Italy
SENSITIVA IMMAGINE Italy
SENZA NOME Italy
SEZIONE FRENANTE Italy
SHOWMEN 2 Italy
PAOLO SIANI & FRIENDS FEAT. NUOVA IDEA Italy
SIDE C Italy
IL SISTEMA Italy
SITHONIA Italy
SLOGANS Italy
LA SORGENTE Italy
ALAN SORRENTI Italy
ST.-TROPEZ Italy
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Italy
STRANAFONIA Italy
DEMETRIO STRATOS Italy
SUBMARINE SILENCE Italy
SUNSCAPE Italy
SYND╔RESI Italy
SYNDONE Italy
TACITA INTESA Italy
TAPROBAN Italy
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE Italy
TENEBRAE Italy
I TEOREMI Italy
STEFANO TESTA Italy
THEGENERATION Italy
THREE MONKS Italy
TILION Italy
TOTO TORQUATI Italy
LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA Italy
TRIADE Italy
THE TRIP Italy
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI Italy
TUGS Italy
UBI MAIOR Italy
ULTIMA SPIAGGIA Italy
UNA VOLTA ERAVAMO IN SETTE Italy
UNO Italy
UNREAL CITY Italy
L' UOVO DI COLOMBO Italy
VEDDA TRIBE Italy
VIEUX CARRE Italy
VITTORIO DE SCALZI - LA STORIA DEI NEW TROLLS Italy
IL VOLO DI ICARO Italy
IL VOLO Italy
VUOTI A RENDERE Italy
RICCARDO ZAPPA Italy
ZAUM Italy

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives