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ROCK PROGRESSIVO ITALIANO

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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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 André, 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 à 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 Wikström
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

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.synphonicmusic.com
Doug Larson (USA) - http://www.douglarsonimports.com
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/
Discogs - www.discogs.com

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

4.42 | 1553 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.37 | 1056 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.36 | 1237 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.36 | 979 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.30 | 795 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.28 | 807 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.26 | 596 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.23 | 859 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.23 | 796 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.23 | 532 ratings
YS
Balletto Di Bronzo, Il
4.22 | 632 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.25 | 418 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.23 | 374 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.24 | 331 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.23 | 296 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.19 | 306 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.18 | 269 ratings
CELESTE [AKA: PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO]
Celeste
4.17 | 296 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.20 | 197 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.12 | 348 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City

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

DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
PER... UN MONDO DI CRISTALLO
Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno
ASRAVA
Logos
PROFONDO ROSSO [AKA: DEEP RED] (OST)
Goblin

Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Anto/Logicamente by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Anto/Logicamente
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 208

'Anto/Logicamente' is the debut compilation of Area and was released in 1977. The selection of tracks is more focused on tracks that were more hidden and less known than by their best and most known tracks. However, the band took care of represent on it, chronologically, at least one track of their entire four studio albums released by them, until that moment. Curiously, the name of the compilation is a play of words based on 'antologia' (compilation), 'anto' (not) and 'logicamente' (with sense). So, by their own words, 'Anto/Logicamente' is a compilation made without a great sense.

As it's a compilation that spans their entire musical period from the beginning to that date, and because the group had some changes into their line up, the line up of it is more extensive as what was usual. So, the line up of this compilation is Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ, harpsichord, steel drums and percussion), Giampaolo Tofani (guitar, synthesizer and flute), Patrizio Fariselli (piano, electric piano, clarinet and synthesizer), Areas Tavolazzi (bass and trombone), Patrick Djivas (bass and double bass), Eddie Dusnello (saxophone) and Giulio Capiozzo (drums and percussion).

'Anto/Logicamente' has seven tracks. The first track 'L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin' was released on 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. It's the most avant-garde track on that album. It's a song with many experimental noises made by different instruments, including the voice of Demetrio Stratos. This is a very bizarre track with many changes all over the song. It's an insane song with vocal echoes, some musical explosions, strange instrumental sounds, which abruptly ends without warning. The second track 'Arbeit Macht Frei' was released on 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. It has strong political lyrics. Its title was taken from the well known Nazi motif on the entrance of the infamous death camp of Auschwitz, in Poland. It's a song close to the avant-garde jazz, very innovative, and that typify the band to a new and unconventional approach. The third track 'Zyg (Crescita Zero)' was released on 'Caution Radiation Area'. It begins with experimental music, which is the main characteristic of the rest of that album. After begins with some distorted industrial noises and some electronic experimentation, it shows a more rocking and psychedelic side of Area. Still, this is basically a free jazz/fusion track with magnificent moments and fantastic individual performances, which gives to that album a wonderful musical moment. The fourth track 'Citazione Da George L. Jackson' was never released on any studio album of Area. It was originally released as the B-side of their single 'L'Internazionale'. It's a short track with some improvisations played over a spoken text cited by Stratos. This is a very strange and weird track. The fifth track 'Nervi Scoperti' was released on 'Crac!'. It's an instrumental track with nice guitar and keyboard solos. It's a vibrant and tense piece where the drumming work is the star here. It begins with Fariselli assuming the leading role with his truly amazing piano work, preparing the ground to Tofani complement perfectly well Capiozzo work. The sixth track 'Area 5' was released on 'Crac!'. It's a very weird experimental track full of improvisations and with some solos and noises. It's the smallest track on that album, a truly contemporary classical piece. This is a very bizarre track that concludes originally that album. The seventh track 'Gerontocrazia' was released on 'Maledetti'. 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 before on the previous studio albums of Area. It demonstrates, once more, the interest of the group in the ethnic music. During the song, and besides several musical influences, I think we can clearly listen strongly the influence of Gentle Giant's music. I think this is the music of the band, until that moment on their career where that is more evident.

Conclusion: I'm think that 'Anto/Logicamente' was made, intentionally, with a selection of some of their most hidden and less known tracks and not of their most known. Relativelly to 'Arbeit Macht Frei', if in relation to the title track I've nothing to say with its choice because it's one of the best tracks on that album, in relation to 'L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin', it isn't, for sure, the best choice because it's the most avant-garde, experimental, weird and bizarre track of that album. All the other tracks of that album would be better, especially 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)', which is one of the best tracks ever made by them. Relatively to 'Caution Radiation Area', the choice of 'Zyg (Crescita Zero)' isn't a bad option but 'Cometa Rossa' would be a much better option because is a typical song of Area. Musically, it's a song very close to 'Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)' and both songs show perfectly well their unmistakable type of music and the unique vocal style of Demetrio Stratos. Relatively to 'Crac!', if 'Nervi Scoperti' isn't a bad option, 'Area 5' is, for me, the worst choice possible. Sincerely, I never liked very much of 'Area 5' because is a very weird and experimental track. 'L'Elefante Bianco', 'La Mela Di Odessa', 'Megalopoli' and 'Gioia I Rivoluzione' would be better options. Relatively to 'Maledetti' I have nothing to say with the choice of 'Gerontocrazia' because it's with 'Diforisma Urbano' one of the two best tracks on that album. So, this isn't a compilation that best shows the great music of Area.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Era by NATHAN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.67 | 20 ratings

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Era
Nathan Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars In 2016 this promising Italian prog band released their acclaimed debut CD entitled Nebulosa, in 2018 the successor Era, now as a four piece formation, with guest musicians on choirs, backing vocals and guitars.

They start the album with Figli Di Cane: a modern sound with a tight and powerful rhythm-section and harder- edged guitar, embellished with electric piano, organ and fat synthesizer flights, and topped with strong Italian vocals. Halfway a dreamy part featuring soaring keyboards, warm vocals and twanging acoustic guitars (evoking early Genesis). Then a bombastic eruption with organ and propulsive guitar riffs, flashy synthesizer runs and fiery guitar, accompanied by Mellotron choirs. The music turns into a dynamic mid-tempo with moving Italian vocals and fiery electric guitar work, slowly the music fades away, Nathan has delivered a captivating first musical impression, to me it sound like a modern blend of Seventies symphonic rock and Nineties Neo-Prog.

The next three compositions are 'trademark Nathan': a modern blend of symphonic rock and Neo-Prog with frequent shifting moods and a lot of soli on keyboards and guitar, topped with powerful Italian vocals. My highlights are a fiery guitar solo with howling runs in Invisibile, sensitive Hackett-like guitar and a spectacular break with propulsive guitar riffs and fat synthesizer flights in Le Vie Dei Canti and varied keyboard work and harder-edged guitar play in L'ultimo Giro. Although there is a lot to enjoy in these three songs sometimes my attention slips away. Because the atmospheres sound a bit similar, or more like a cascade of nice musical ideas than a composition.

The dynamic song L'Ombra Del Falco alternates between dreamy and bombastic: from twanging acoustic guitars with soaring keyboards, tender piano, delicate flute and warm vocals to a powerful mid-tempo with dynamic drums, a powerful male voice and fine female vocal harmonies and sumptuous keyboards and harder-edged guitar play. A kind of 'Neo-Prog meets 70-77 Genesis' (Tony Banks Mellotron, organ and synthesizer sound).

Next Indaco, my highlight on this CD. First a dreamy part with melancholical vocals, tender piano and synthesizer work and a majestic Mellotron violin sound. Gradually the music has turned into a slow rhythm with soft synthesizer flights and Mellotron drops, culminating in compelling soli on electric guitar and Minimoog, goose bumps! The final part delivers first a mellow interlude with warm piano and Mellotron, and then a bombastic finale featuring Mellotron and powerful electric guitar.

The final two tracks are a bit more song-oriented (Maschere has even hit potential), alternating between symphonic rock, Nineties Neo-Prog(Arena, Everon) and AOR (Eighties Styx and Kansas): strong Italian vocals, lots of shifting moods and breaks, often powerful and bombastic, layered with harder-edged guitar play and tasteful keyboards (electric piano, Minimoog, Hammond, Mellotron).

My rating: 3,5 star.

The first edition of this review was recently published on Dutch prog website Background Magazine.

 Aries by ARIES album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.46 | 31 ratings

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Aries
Aries Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 207

First of all I must confess that I'm not a great specialist in Rock Progressivo Italiano. When I began listening to albums of progressive rock in the distant 70's, as I can remember, I only knew a few albums from this sub-genre of progressive music. I mean 'Arbeit Macht Frei', 'Caution Radiation Area', 'Crac!' and 'Are(A)zione' from Area, 'Chocolate Kings' and 'Cook' from Premiata Forneria Marconi and 'Tilt' and 'Giro Di Valzer Per Domani' from Arti E Mestieri. However, and especially thanks to Progarchives, in this moment I have many more albums and I know much more bands from this sub-genre, such as Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Museo Rosenbach, Osanna, Maxophone, Biglietto Per L'Inferno, Semiramis, Submarine Silence, Locanda Delle Fate and this almost unknown musical project, Aries.

Aries is a personal light-symphonic project by the Italian bassist, multi-instrumentalist, essayist and composer Fabio Zuffanti which is very well known inside the Italian progressive rock scene. He worked and was also member of several Italian progressive rock bands like Finisterre, Hostsonaten, IaZona, La Maschera Di Cera, Quadrophonic, Rohmer, Aries, Buc-Ur and R.u.g.h.e, besides his musical career as a solo artist and other participations in some other projects.

However, I just have heard something about Aries on this site and I only bought their debut studio album a couple of years ago. But I don't remember why I bought it. Probably it was due from what I read about the band's biography here on Progarchives, because sincerely, I didn't know anything about this project or about Fabio Zuffanti's projects, either.

Aries is a duo made up by Fabio Zuffanti and singer Simona Angioloni and in 2005 both recorded the eponymous debut studio album 'Aries' proposing a prog rock folk influence. In 2010 they released their second studio album 'Double Reign' that moves the musical proposal towards to a more dark and electronic atmospheres than the previous one.

So, 'Aries' is the eponymous debut studio album of this Fabio Zuffanti's project and was released in 2005. The line up on the album is Simona Angieloni (vocals), Fabio Zuffanti (acoustic and electric guitars, bass and dulcimer), Roberto Rigo (keyboards), Fabio Centarini (lead guitar), Carlo Barreca (flute) and Pierpaolo Londo (drums). All songs has been written and arranged by Zuffanti with the exception of 'Crossing The Bar' with lyrics by Alfred Tennyson and 'It Struck Me Every Day' and 'When Night Is Almost Done' with lyrics by Emily Dickinson.

'Aries' has six tracks. The first track 'Morning Song' set the mood for the whole album, properly serving as an accurate taster for the listener. Simona's fragile and beautiful voice usher the beginning of the album and adds a join and a great excitement to a huge melody that sticks firmly into our heart. The second track 'Coming Back To Life' is a shorter track that takes the melancholy trend of the all album to a more overwhelming level, due to the clever use of languid keyboard layers and delicately sober and beautiful melodies. The third track 'The Eye Of The Storm' is one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. This is a more audacious track with an atmosphere evocative of the turbulence emanating, perhaps, from an agonizing winter in the end of a day. It's a song with great melodic lines that marries perfectly well with Simona's voice, progressively increasing in agony. The fourth track 'It Struck Me Every Day' is the shortest track on the album. This is a very seductive song with another exceptional vocal performance of Simona, talking about some of the things mentioned on the album, such as, fear, loneliness, the changing of night into day and the feelings that accompany these changes. The fifth track 'Crossing The Bar' shows the band from their most dreamy and introvert side with just singing, a mellow organ performance and an interesting drum beat. It has a nice and mellow flute work, too. The sixth track 'When Night Is Almost Done' is the other lengthy track. It enhances the melancholy that has been present in almost the entire album. The recurrent languid atmosphere includes another great vocal work of Simona. Her voice is really beautiful and charming. The song is nice and well performed, making of it a perfect ending.

Conclusion: Aries is a surprising Italian project. Zuffanti with his many projects can be considered as the progressive Italian mastermind of nowadays. Of all his works, 'Aries' is one of the most romantic, mellow, soft and delicate symphonic progressive efforts. Maybe musically isn't as rich as many others, but the strength of this album are based in the extremely beautiful melodies and in the stunning vocals. 'Aries' is a very surprising, mellow and beautiful album led by Zuffanti, a good and very talented Italian multi-instrumentalist musician and wonderfully supported by Simona with a fantastic and beautiful voice. I'm in love with Simona's voice. All the six musical pieces are great with nice piano moments, great guitar parts, beautiful flute sounds and splendid keyboard works led by a unique voice. The musical structure of the album is very delicate with an interesting mix between classical ethereal and atmospheric symphonic prog within more commercial parts as, mainly, in the feminine sad and beautiful vocal parts. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Dalla Vita Autentica by ORLANDO, ANDREA album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.13 | 7 ratings

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Dalla Vita Autentica
Andrea Orlando Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM"

"A very entertaining New Italian Prog Band Party'!"

Recently I was asked to review a bunch of new Italian prog for Dutch prog website Background Magazine, from Hollowscene to Nathan and O.A.K., but the CD Andrea Orlando with Dalla Vita Autentica appealled the most to me. Because it looks like a 'New Italian Prog Band Party' featuring prime mover Andrea Orlando (Finisterre, Hostsonaten, La Coscienza di Zeno) on drums, percussion and keyboards and a wide range of guest musicians from (more or less) known new Italian progrock bands, like Alessandro Corvaglia (Hostsonaten, La Maschera di Cera, Narrow Pass) on vocals, Agostino Macor (Finisterre, Hostsonaten, La Maschera di Cera, Zaal) on keyboards and on guitar Stefano Marelli (Finisterre, Hostsonaten), Laura Marsano (Hostsonaten, La Maschera di Cera) and Marcella Arganese (Ubi Maior). This along other musicians on cello, bass, violin, viola, contrabass and trombone. So high expectations, also because I am a huge fan of new Italian prog and have listened to tons of these bands in the last two decades.

1. Le Forme Della Distanza... (4:29) : The instrumental opener delivers an electronic music landscape with the sound of soaring strings and sequencers. The hypnotizing keyboard runs create a tension that matches with the melancholical atmosphere. A bit surprising but strong start.

2. Oltre Domani (6:10) : In this composition sumptuous keyboards (lots of Mellotron choirs) and moving guitar with howling runs (evoking the early Neo Prog of IQ and Pendragon) are blended with dreamy parts, featuring delicate electric piano and awesome classical orchestrations. A very alternating and compelling experience, topped with outstanding Italian vocals, reminding me of Seventies Museo Rosenbach, and singer Alessandro his former band La Maschera Di Cera.

3. Cinque Giorni D'autunno (8:16) : This varied mid-long track contains a lot of shifting moods. From bombastic with powerful Hammond organ and propulsive drums to dreamy with tender piano and emotional vocals. And from a slow rhtyhm with cello and intense piano work to an accellaration with powerful drum beats, synthesizer flights and majestic Mellotron choirs. The short silences in the music are a big bonus that contribute to the excitement in the music.

4. Cadi Con Me (3:47): A slow rhythm with a mellow climate featuring excellent female vocals. The colouring is very tasteful and varied, from fragile guitar work to subtle work on strings, piano, organ and trombone.

5. Il Giardino Di Maya (4:26) : This is an instrumental track with a propulsive and dynamic rhythm-section, halfway a flashy Minimoog solo with spectacular use of the pitchbend button. The violin play brings PFM to my mind in this swinging prog climate, this band knows how to keep my attention!

6. Fragile (5:01) : A slow rhythm with a melancholical climate and majestic Mellotron violins, evoking early Anekdoten. Again topped with excellent, very emotional Italian vocals, and fine contributions on cello and trombone. What a moving and compelling composition!

7. Dalla Vita Autentica (16:52) : Finally an epic, loaded with variety and exciting moments.

First an intro with a melancholical Mellotron violin sound, then tender classical piano and soaring strings, simply wonderful.

Next an accellaration with a tight beat, sparkling piano and Hammond waves, followed by a swinging part with a dynamic rhythm-section, blended with Hammond, violin and Mellotron choirs.

Halfway a short part with cello, then a propulsive rhythm-section with powerful Hammond organ and howling guitar runs, evoking Seventies Kansas.

In the final part the music slows down and turns into a mindblowing build-up and grand finale. First cheerful 'Vivaldi violins', then a slow rhythm and a melancholical atmosphere with wailing cello. In the end the music erupts with sumptuous Mellotron choirs, sensitive electric guitar runs, reminding me of IQ but also Pendragon, slowly the music fades away, I am carried away to Prog Heaven, what a beautiful and compelling sound this band generates, WOW!

On this debut CD it all comes together: outstanding, experienced and dedicated musicians from new Italian prog bands who wanted to make prog from their hearts, a big hand for Andrea Orlando and his musical friends, this is why I still love prog after more than 40 years, multo grazie!

 Angeli Mutanti by REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.11 | 8 ratings

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Angeli Mutanti
Reale Accademia Di Musica Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Reale Accademia Di Musica were formed in 1972, releasing two albums before breaking up. Apparently a version of the band then released more albums, but according to the press release they were unauthorised and it is this version of the band which is the official one. If that isn't confusing enough, only singer/guitarist Pericle Sponzilli is from the original line-up, and he lasted just for the debut album where he only provided guitar. So, if I have it right, this is a group using the same name as a band which released a couple of albums some 35 years ago, but with just one musician from back then. All of that is quite a distraction from what is actually a really interesting album, no matter what the name is on the cover.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a band claiming to have its roots from that era, what we have here is classic Seventies Italian style progressive rock, with some wonderfully dated keyboards in particular. Pericle has a solid voice, as opposed to spectacular, but it works very well with the often laid back style and timbre of the music. However, by also utilising the vocal talents of Erika Savastan they have allowed the mild and lower male timbre to contrast against the more alto female. Where they allow themselves to really slow it down and act as a full duet against some delightful mellotron of Fabio Liberatori, as on "Johnny e Adele" then it really is a delight. There are some incredibly enjoyable songs on here, and while not earth shattering, is an album that any of fan of Seventies progressive rock will surely get a great deal from. All the lyrics are in Italian, yet for me that just added to the overall feel of the music.

 Are(A)zione by AREA album cover Live, 1975
4.04 | 65 ratings

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Are(A)zione
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars AREA was one of Italy's leading progressive rock bands of the 70s led by the unworldly vocalist Demetrio Stratos who singly handedly pushed this band far beyond the limits of the most adventurous progressive rock bands of the day. With his unique vocal gymnastics that scaled up and down octaves with uncanny precision and approached the human vocal limit of 7000 Hz, Stratos was the icing on an already eclectic cake where each musician excelled at his respective instrument and together this band cranked out some of the weirdest albums of the 70s with their innovative fusion of jazz, rock, Middle Eastern folk and a proclivity for the unexpected. The band was a huge hit with the youth primarily due to their Socialist leaning lyrical content but as the decades since have elapsed, this band has gone down in history as one of the most unique and technically skilled of the entire era.

After three studio albums, AREA followed up 'Crac!' which was released in early 1975 with their first live released titled ARE(A)ZIONE which emerged at the tail end of the year. The term ARE(A)ZIONE translates into English as 'ventiliation' or 'airing' and that seems appropriate since the band were good at 'ventilating' their political inclinations as well as their penchant for the over-the-top eccentricities. This live release was recorded during their 1975 tour and includes performances from the Festa del Proletariato Giovanalle in Milan, the Festa dell'Unit' in Naples, the Festa della Giovent' in Rimini and a press concert at Il Teatro Comunale in Reggio Emilia. The album is divided up into two parts. Side One contained one track from each album that preceded. 'Luglio, agosto, settembre (nero)' from 'Arbeit Macht Frei,' 'La Mela di Odessa' from 'Crac!' and 'Cometa Rossa,' the most 'normal' opening track from 'Caution Radiation Area.' Side Two contained two completely new tracks unreleased on any studio album.

ARE(A)ZIONE displayed a band that had a stable lineup for several years and the payoff is in full presentation on these live performances. Like any great musical act, AREA didn't just perform their studio tracks in a predictable manner but included lengthy improvisations that excelled at allowing the musicians and Stratos to show exactly why they were indeed a much lauded band of the era. While live albums rarely get my attention, when a band exudes a creative brilliance such as AREA does on ARE(A)ZIONE, i find such albums to be equally as important as the studio albums that surround. After the first side presents a basic summary of the band's ventures through their first three albums with a track from each, on the second side the band unleashed a 15 minute avant- garde jam for the title track. While a completely new instrumental that found Stratos wordless vocalizations as merely a supplemental instrument, the track did preview the basic drum patterns of 'Giro, Giro, Tondo' which would appear on the following album 'Maledetti (Maudits).' The final shorter piece 'L'internazionale' was their take on the Socialist anthem and was released as a single.

Live albums definitely show a band's true nature. There have been many bands that sound spectacular in the studio but don't have the chops to pull off their musical adventures in a live setting. The great thing about ARE(A)ZIONE is that it undoubtedly proves how brilliant and versatile AREA were as performers and musicians. This is not a perfect album. While the material presented is as good as you could possibly hope for, the sound production is definitely lacking but in all honesty, live settings rarely are designed to create such albums and a less than perfect series of things isn't my concern. I'm more interested in the feeling of a band in their prime where they deliver their all and the audience interaction. In that department ARE(A)ZIONE delivers all the goods effortlessly. If you are a true AREA fan, you will eventually get to this one since it is as every bit as essential as the five studio albums with Stratos. All that magic that made AREA so great is fully present on this one and despite the lackluster sound quality is well worth the experience. Should've been a double album! I'm left wanting MORE!

 Della Stessa Sostanza Dei Sogni by HOMUNCULUS RES album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.99 | 54 ratings

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Della Stessa Sostanza Dei Sogni
Homunculus Res Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by felonafan

5 stars "Della Stessa Sostenza Dei Sogni" ("About the same essence of dreams") is the third studio full-length album of the band from sunny Palermo, playing music deeply rooted in stylistics and "in spirit" in Canterbury scene. If Hatfield and the North and other similar groups were created by the Italians and sang in Italian, then perhaps they would sound like Homunculus Res. Also it is worth mentioning the group with whom people compared, compare and probably will compare Sicilians - Picchio dal Pozzo. This Italian ensemble released two studio albums in the second half of the 70s / at the turn of the 80's (and again at the beginning of zero), apparently inspired by the "classic" Canterbury bands, but sounded more jazzy, a little slower and much more "more seriously" than the heroes of this review. The leader of Homunculus Res - singing composer and multi-instrumentalist Dario d'Alessandro - was able to attract a large number of musicians to the studio work. These include not only the regular members of the group - all of them, together with the leader, five - but also approximately 15 guests, performing vocal parts and playing various instruments, from guitars and keys to numerous wind instruments. There is also a "guest composer". He is the leader of the group Brezhnev Fun Club Rocco Lomonaco, dragged (in varying degrees) in creation of two works on the album. Homunculus Res, like the legendary representatives of the Canterbury scene, embody the compositional ideas built on jazz harmonies and complex/changing measures in very short songs with almost pop tunes. All tracks last less than 5 minutes, and the musicians managed to "lay" 12 such tracks in the "format" lasting about 42 minutes. Among them, it is difficult to mark the highlights (for me at the moment it is "Bianco Supreme"), but everything in general leaves a pleasant impression by its 'laconicism' and relaxedness. Comparisons of some critics and listeners with Henry Cow and Magma are not clear to me: the creativity of Homunculus Res is absolutely not gloomy or "stressful". Complicatedness does not "stick out on the surface". At the same time, a rich and varied sound, coupled with frequent changes in musical events, can strongly entice lovers of the "complex prog". "Della Stessa Sostenza Dei Sogni" is one of the best releases of the AltrOck Productions label for the last few years.

p.s. Many times I re-listened to this album and came to the conclusion that it is (almost) essential opus.

 Voci by ECFONETICA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Voci
Ecfonetica Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Ecfonetica come from the province of Viterbo and took shape in 2014 on the south banks of Bolsena Lake when composers Stefano Calandrelli (organ, piano, synth) and Walter Possieri (guitars, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards) teamed up to work on original material inspired by classical music and modern sounds. The name of the band comes from ancient Greek and means solemn reading: according to their website, the band chose it because it refers to the need of giving a graphical form to sounds and music. In 2015 Ecfonetica self-released an interesting debut album entitled Voci where they mix classical music, progressive rock and touches of post-rock with gusto and lightness.

The opener 'Taranta' starts softly and is marked by the contrast between distorted electric guitar and piano. Then the rhythm rises and drives you through disquieting atmospheres and infernal dances. The following 'Ad libitum' is calm and dreamy, almost ethereal with its light, slow pace and its soaring melodic patterns.

'Meloria' is a beautiful piece that alternates moments of calm to stormy, aggressive passages. The title refers to a rocky islet, surrounded by a shoal, off the Tuscan coast, in the Ligurian Sea, near Livorno. The music in some way evokes echoes and ghosts of the Battle of Meloria fought on 5 and 6 August 1284 between the fleets of the Republics of Genoa and Pisa...

The dreamy 'Quando' (When) leads to the short, martial 'Passi' (Steps), then it's the time of the mysterious 'Oltre' (Beyond) where organ waves and piano passages every now and again remind me of some instrumental works by Le Orme.

On 'Voci' (Voices) a beautiful melody soars slowly from background noises like a daydream from the daily grind of real life. The second part of this piece sounds like a magic, esoteric dance and contrasts with the next track, the short, classical inspired 'Dolce ostinato'.

The last two tracks 'Donna, donna, donna...' (Woman, woman, wman) and 'Toccata' are two solo compositions, respectively by Walter Possieri and Stefano Calandrelli and they could be almost considered as bonus tracks'

 Arrivederci Sogni by DOTTRINA DEGLI OPPOSTI, LA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.07 | 37 ratings

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Arrivederci Sogni
La Dottrina Degli Opposti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A lineup of all-stars from AltrOck/Fading Records with full orchestral support, start to finish, all conceived and orchestrated by LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO founder Andrea Lotti. The "mature" and "classic" voice of IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE vocalist Francesco Ciapica gives this beautiful music an almost classical, operatic feel.

1. "Dove Dio Dipinge Le Nuvole" (3:28) a very pretty predominantly-orchestral instrumental piece that sets a mood for something like a drama/romance. (4.5/5)

2. "Nero, Grigio E Tu" (9:10) opens with a laid back spaciousness while drum, keys, and percussives slowly play out a theme. In the third minute things shift for a vocal section. It's very theatric, like the opening scene of a stage play. At 3:33 the music bursts forth for a nice chorus before settling back into the piano-based theme for the next verse-- which surprises by coming at us with some power and almost operatic feel. By the sixth minute a new theme is established with two male voices singing the lyrical lines together in different registers. The seventh minute sees the arrival of a proggy/theatric jazz instrumental weave. It's okay; it feels too contrived as if for a on-stage dance interlude. At the seven minute mark all stops for a brief, simple piano interlude before the chorus returns one more time. The outgoing final minute is begun with solo piano before Francesco Ciapica's voice is vaulted to the fore in a dynamic finish. (8.5/10)

3. "Equilibrio" (2:31) solo cello and full orchestra alternating themes in a gorgeous, swelling, overture-like Italian love song. (5/5)

4. "Sulla Via Del Ritorno" (5:42) full on Italian prog with rock ensemble, soloing Arp synth in the lead and orchestra in full support. The unfortunate thing about this song is that fails to hook the listener as well as to develop anything exciting or inviting. (Why did they retain this as an instrumental? It seems ripe for a vocal.) There are a few nice dynamic shifts but the accompanying melodic shifts fail to engage or attract. (7.5/10)

5. "La Riconquista Della Posizione Eretta" (5:22) a pleasant ballad for singer Francesco Ciapica that does more to follow expected formats and predictable choices. (8/10)

6. "Quiete" (2:36) a gorgeous piece of acoustic guitar, human breathing, piano, and synth. (5/5)

7. "Fra Le Dita" (11:09) opens like a Keith Emerson piece composed for the stage, piano and then orchestra. When Francesco's gorgeous vocal joins in in the third minute it's just perfect. At 3:25/3:35 the music takes a big step into BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO territory--piano riff, winds, percussives, and orchestration (instead of or with synths). The music gets drama-big at the five minute mark but then settles down for a slightly more amped up vocal section. At 6:20 there is another shift into a cool instrumental section. Still quite theatric but great melodies throughout. The following vocal section is meant to present the powerful crescendo but it doesn't quite pack the punch one would like to see/hear. Still, this song is easily the high point of the album. (9.25/10)

Unfortunately, the best songs on this very theatric album are the brief instrumental interludes, while three of the four longer songs manage to meander more than gel or coalesce. So much beauty but such unrealized potential!

Four stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Con Fuoco by MAGNOLIA album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.11 | 18 ratings

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Con Fuoco
Magnolia Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars Italian progressive rock band Magnolia have been active since '94 in a number of ways (different name, different line-up, take your pick!), but it wasn't until 2012 that they delivered their official debut album `La zona d'ombra' under their current group branding. A dramatic concept album inspired by the true story of a death row inmate, it was a challenging and uncompromising work a world away from the theatrical and bombastic approach many Italian prog bands work in, and that continues on their latest masterwork, 2017's `Con Fuoco', a title that translates into `With Fire'. Although not exclusively narrative-structured, `Con Fuoco' retains a branching theme of `resistance against oppressive regimes, both past and present' (in the words of the band themselves), meaning it's sure to connect with a wide range of listeners in this particularly volatile political era we find ourselves currently living through.

This female-fronted act sing in Italian (but the CD booklet offers English lyric translations that will open up this work to a much wider audience), and a lazy comparison would be that they most resemble modern groups such as latter-day Anathema, Hogarth-era Marillion, Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree and perhaps even Frequency Drift or Riverside, meaning sleek guitar- driven atmospheric/alternative rock music with a slick polish and constant emotional resonance. Magnolia favour tightly- written tunes over flashy drawn-out soloing, yet one of their greatest skills is delivering compact instrumental passages anchored to the core of the songs with the purpose of prime dramatic effect at just the right moment.

Having said all that, the disc opens with an instrumental, the introductory title-track being a burst of stark piano, crashing drums and weeping Pink Floyd-ian guitar strains all swelling around sighing mantra-like wordless group harmonies. It quickly blurs into an collage of news report soundbites that bleed straight into urgent up-tempo rocker `Rivolta'. A call to action and revolt, it's all strident drum tantrums, plodding riffing and icy slivers of cooled synths, and Chiara Gironi's impassioned and scathing lead vocal snarls `If they feel you cannot breathe, they'll call it the `best air ever', see them gorging on the toil of the many just to sate their black-hole souls' - easy listening, eh?! Much of `La Citta della Notte' is a sombre and lyrically weary acoustic ballad with electric bursts that instantly calls to mind the above mentioned Marillion with a touch of overwhelming spectral moodiness, and `Gea', one of the standout tunes, is a hopeful and powerfully defiant respite that effortlessly switches tempo changes around a smart poppy chorus.

`Syrma' recalls the contrasting light/dark, acoustic/electric, soft/heavy dynamics of the later Porcupine Tree discs - musically gentle and sweeping one moment lamenting `Oh sunshine, where have you gone? I've lost track of the days', then roaring to tougher life with rebellious determination offering `I am a fly trapped in amber, but my voice can still be heard, and my soul will only find peace'. `Stasi' is a moving ballad with churning heavy guitar/bass/keyboard-dominating turns that's impeccably sung by Chiara, but the ten-minute `Terre di Mezzo' is a true showcase for the band at their strongest, a call for renewed unity between enemies that rages with brash and relentless instrumental intensity, ambient interludes and soothing reflective vocal breaks, with some particularly gorgeous extended guitar soloing and ruminating bass touches in the finale.

A thematically linked three-part suite `Luna del Viandante' (The Wanderer's Moon) closes the disc, allowing some welcome darker romantic touches to infiltrate the lush synth caresses, some exquisitely heart-breaking piano, tender poignant vocals and grand slow-burn guitar heroics, and this thirteen-minute set delivers power and restraint with danger and delicacy all in perfect unison.

Quite the antidote to the classical symphonic grandiosity and retro-flavoured moves of many contemporary Italian prog bands, Magnolia truly stand out among the crowd with a firmly modern sound, doing things in their own deeply personal, equally elegant and dignified way that confirms subtlety and restraint can be endlessly powerful. `Con Fuoco' bristles with energy and real purpose, but most importantly always retains great humanity and warmth, delivered by a group of talented and thoroughly inspired musicians touching on difficult subjects, and it's their greatest musical artistic achievement to date.

Four and a half stars.

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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
STEFANO AGNINI Italy
AINUR Italy
AKRON Italy
L' ALBERO DEL VELENO Italy
ALGEBRA Italy
ALIANTE 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
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
LA BOCCA DELLA VERITÀ 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
CHRISTADORO Italy
LUCIANO CILIO Italy
CIRCLE OF FAIRIES Italy
CITTÀ 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
DISEQUAZIONE Italy
DISTILLERIE DI MALTO Italy
DIVAE Italy
LA DOTTRINA DEGLI OPPOSTI Italy
DUEMILA12 Italy
ECFONETICA 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
EURASIA Italy
EUTHYMIA Italy
EXPLOIT Italy
LA FABBRICA DELL'ASSOLUTO Italy
FABIO CELI E GLI INFERMIERI Italy
FALENA Italy
IL FEDELISSIMO BRACCO BRANCO 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
THE FORTY DAYS Italy
FABIO FRIZZI Italy
CLAUDIO FUCCI Italy
FUFLUNS Italy
GAN EDEN - IL GIARDINO DELLE DELIZIE Italy
GARYBALDI Italy
GENCO PURO & CO. Italy
GENFUOCO Italy
GERMINALE Italy
FRANCO MARIA GIANNINI Italy
GIARDINI D'AUTUNNO Italy
I GIGANTI Italy
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