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 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

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 | 1398 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 | 710 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.29 | 722 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.28 | 536 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.24 | 707 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 CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.18 | 260 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.27 | 144 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.19 | 235 ratings
CELESTE [AKA: PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO]
Celeste
4.22 | 161 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.10 | 356 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.10 | 340 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PIÙ
Locanda delle Fate
4.07 | 447 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.19 | 161 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.11 | 287 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.10 | 271 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.18 | 152 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM: THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte e Miele
4.08 | 265 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.09 | 237 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.15 | 147 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.26 | 93 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.11 | 176 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.16 | 133 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.08 | 214 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.08 | 196 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi della Valle
4.04 | 265 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.05 | 240 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.07 | 212 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.02 | 310 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.16 | 117 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate di San Martino, L'
4.01 | 308 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.14 | 117 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
4.00 | 315 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.12 | 122 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI
Jumbo
3.95 | 392 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.00 | 209 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.04 | 153 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
4.07 | 122 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
Hostsonaten
4.01 | 170 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
4.00 | 181 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.01 | 163 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
3.98 | 205 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
3.94 | 280 ratings
SUMMEREVE
Hostsonaten
4.09 | 100 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
4.11 | 92 ratings
CAPITOLO 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.11 | 89 ratings
DELIRIUM III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
4.01 | 135 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
3.94 | 209 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
4.19 | 62 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
3.95 | 169 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
3.98 | 127 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.03 | 89 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO, THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
4.04 | 82 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
3.98 | 103 ratings
AUTUMN SYMPHONY
Hostsonaten
3.95 | 122 ratings
PFM IN CLASSIC - DA MOZART A CELEBRATION
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
3.93 | 130 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi
4.05 | 72 ratings
NOUS
Nodo Gordiano
3.96 | 107 ratings
ODYSSÉAS
Syndone
3.90 | 158 ratings
SENSITIVITÀ
Coscienza di Zeno, La
3.93 | 129 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte e Miele
4.00 | 84 ratings
ULISSE: L'ALFIERE NERO
Progenesi
3.95 | 111 ratings
1984 - L'ULTIMO UOMO D'EUROPA
Fabbrica dell'Assoluto, La
3.99 | 90 ratings
STRIGMA
Taproban
4.00 | 84 ratings
DEDALO E ICARO
Cerchio d'Oro, Il
3.96 | 99 ratings
DI CARNE, DI ANIMA
Gran Turismo Veloce
4.14 | 51 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
3.90 | 145 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
3.91 | 127 ratings
IO SONO MURPLE
Murple
3.91 | 129 ratings
PROFONDO ROSSO O.S.T.
Goblin
3.99 | 81 ratings
SYMPHONY N.1: CUPID & PSYCHE
Hostsonaten
3.98 | 85 ratings
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
4.17 | 45 ratings
HYSTERO DEMONOPATHY
Antonius Rex
3.98 | 83 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band
4.49 | 25 ratings
IL CORPONAUTA
Paradiso degli Orchi, Il
3.83 | 251 ratings
COLLAGE
Orme, Le
3.87 | 158 ratings
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - CHAPTER ONE
Hostsonaten
3.90 | 121 ratings
ESSERE O NON ESSERE?
Volo, Il
3.92 | 104 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
4.13 | 47 ratings
GOBLIN REBIRTH
Goblin Rebirth
4.15 | 45 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
4.10 | 51 ratings
FRONTIERA
Procession
4.00 | 69 ratings
L'ISOLAMENTO DEI NUMERI PARI
Astrolabio / Elettrosmog
4.11 | 47 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
3.87 | 130 ratings
1978 - GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO!
Area
4.05 | 55 ratings
VOCI
Basso, Luciano
4.12 | 45 ratings
E TUTTO COMINCIÒ COSÌ...
Sensitiva Immagine
4.02 | 60 ratings
LE PORTE DEL SILENZIO
Malibran
4.28 | 31 ratings
LA BELLA E LA BESTIA
Syndone
3.94 | 80 ratings
THE GATES OF TOMORROW
Maschera Di Cera, La

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

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

Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Noi al dir di Noi by PROMENADE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.71 | 17 ratings

BUY
Noi al dir di Noi
Promenade Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

5 stars Another great find for Italia's risk-taking, forward-thinking music label, AltrOck Productions! These creative musicians have a cool confidence that belies their youth.

1. "Athletics" (10:32) a fast-paced, complex instrumental opens the album as if to say: "We can play!" And, boy! can they! (9/10)

2. "Il Secondo Passo" (6:43) a scaled down, gentler song, with very delicate play from all band members and a great, understated vocal from lead singer, Matteo Barisone. Beautiful. The best song on the album. (10/10)

3. "L'albero magico" (4:33) starts out as another gentler song with some really nice guitar and fretless bass (Chapman stick?) interplay. The drum work also really shines on this one--not for its flash or demonstrativeness but for its solid support and subtle contributions. A top three song for me. (9.5/10)

4. "Roccocò" (5:48) Harpsichord! Renaissance minstrels/troubadours! A very fun 'period' piece--complete with farmers market noises and orchestration! (9.5/10)

5. "Kernel" (4:16) opens with lots of gentle arpeggi and soft drum play in a kind of celebration of 1970s jazz-lite. Once the vocal and lead guitar parts enter and take over, the rest of the band amps things up (especially the drummer!) and accelerates to all-speed ahead. Still some quirky pauses, temp shifts and sound samples liven this one, making it quite unpredictable. ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS-like. (9/10)

6. "Pantera" (6:47) more fast-picking guitar and intricate bass and drum play over which Matteo sings in a style that seems both out of time and yet old. Amazing how fresh and refreshing this music is! I am quite reminded of the Chilean band AISLES with their twin masterpieces from 2010's In Sudden Walks, "Summer Fall" and "The Maiden." Another top three song. (9.5/10)

7. "Crisantemo" (7:53) sounds almost like a classical music piece from the Romantic era as written by COLIN TENCH. (9/10)

A five star masterpiece of progressive rock music and quite likely my favorite AltrOck release of 2016!

 Eros & Thanatos by SYNDONE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 42 ratings

BUY
Eros & Thanatos
Syndone Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars Master of theatric (almost operatic) storytelling through music NICK COMIGLIO is back with another eclectic blend of sounds and styles, often based in classical or jazz idium, but enhanced/embellished by electronic twists and effects, theatric Italian vocals (Riccardo Ruggeri), frequent contributions from the vibraphone (Marta Caldera), and very solid drum and bass play--thanks to Martino Malacrida and Maurino Dellacqua, respectively. Unfortunately, the music sometimes feels a bit formulaic, rooted in rote traditions and borrowed progressions and styles, though the bombast factor seems more reined in (or more polished and finessed) than on the previous Syndone album.

Five star songs: 1. "Frammento" (1:01) (9/10); 4. "Gil spiriti dei campi" (5:27) (9/10), and; 7. "Alla sinistra dei mio petto" (3:08) (9/10).

Four star songs: 9. "L'urio nelle ossa" (7:15) (8.5/10); 5. "Qinah" (6:10) (8.5/10); the MYRATH-sounding 8. "Fahra" (3:19) (8.5/10); 3. "Terra che brucia" (5:26) (8/10); 11. "Cielo di fuoco" (7:38) (8/10), and; 10. "Bambole rmk" (4:15) (7.5/10).

A nice addition to a prog rock music collection--especially if you know and like theatric Italian prog.

 Macroscream by MACROSCREAM album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.60 | 15 ratings

BUY
Macroscream
Macroscream Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

3 stars AltrOck Productions' Fading Records is releasing this new collection of quirky prog--complex 'show tunes' that float somewhere in the universe of GENTLE GIANT, KHATSATURJAN and HUMBLE GRUMBLE. A group of accomplished musicians and adventurous composers from Italy, Macroscream supports a large lineup of musicians and guest artists--no less than six in the main lineup with a virtual army of session artists. Five star songs: 2. "Then It Goes Away" (6:13) and 3. "Unquiet" (8:04).

Four star songs: 5. "Goliath" (10:51)

Three star songs: 1. "Mr.Why" (12:52); 4. "The Flying Giampy" (8:56), and; 6. "Impenetrable Oak Bark" (12:15).

3.5 stars; not for everyone but definitely entertaining and ambitious--and worth checking out for your selves. "Macroscream" is listenable but often too quirky and quick to twist and turn for my attention span. The band has room to grow.

 Eppure by FONETICA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Eppure
Fonetica Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Fonetica began life in Mestre in 2011 on the initiative of composer and lyricist Fabio Bello who gathered around him a bunch of musicians who shared his passion for music and committed lyrics linked to the tradition of Italian canzone d'autore. After a good live activity on the local scene and some personnel changes, in 2014 Fonetica self-released a debut album entitled Eppure with a line up featuring along with Fabio Bello (guitar, harmonica, vocals) also Claudio Martinolli (guitar), Douglas D'Este (drums, percussion), Massimiliano Cadamuro (bass, flute, vocals), Riccardo Gallucci (keyboards, vocals) and Silvia Siega (vocals). Some guests helped the band during the recording sessions: Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Alessandro "Unfolk" Monti (mandolin), Giorgio Cordini (bouzouki), David Boato (trumpet), Giannino Fassetta (bandoneon) and Giuliano Perin (vibraphone, piano) added some nice touches of musical colours to the overall sound and the final result is a good collection of passionate songs and ballads that are worth listening to, even if they are more in the vein of pop rock bands such as I Nomadi than to Premiata Forneria Marconi or Le Orme...

The album opens with three ballads full of positive energy. "Santa pace" (Holy Peace) starts softly, with a delicate sound of flute in the forefront, then the rhythm rises. It's a song against war, inspired by ideals of peace and love... Then "La strada del sole" (Sun Road) invites you to leave behind boredom, old habits and certainties to join the men and women who fight for a change on the streets of the world. Next comes "La legge del branco" (The law of the pack), a song against conformism, consumerism, empty fashions and trivial TV shows...

On "La scuola è morta" (School is dead) the rhythm slackens. It's a piece against the current state of the public education in Italy that depicts crumbling schools and the agony of a system that seems to be going downhill in general disinterest. Every now and again it reminds me of Eugenio Finardi but in my opinion this track is too "pedagogical" and not particularly inspired. The following "La nuova guerra" (New war) is better. It's an antimilitarist song with a dark, threatening atmosphere inspired by a book by Bertolt Brecht, Kriegsfibel (War Primer).

"Inno (canzone politica)" (Anthem - Political song) is a reflective piece about the positive values that can be expressed through good politics. Politics is a word that too often is associated only with power, dirty businesses and corruption but here it means freedom, imagination, a white page where you can write down your ideas for a better society, a white canvas where you can paint a better world giving your contribute to the common welfare, overcoming the differences between left and right... The following "Le parole" (The words) is a nice melodic piece veined of light jazzy touches painted by the trumpet of the guest David Boato featuring lyrics about the need to communicate and the thaumaturgic power of words. It leads to the beautiful, dreamy instrumental "Pianeta blu" (Blue Planet)...

"Aspettare" (Waiting) is a light, melodic song of hope that leads to "Posto in affitto" (Rented place), a piece dedicated to Trieste that tells of a serene period that the protagonist spent in that city. "Pioggia pioggia" (Rain rain) features Latin American flavours and celebrates the love for life through the metaphor of rain pouring down allowing mother nature to blossom. The closer "Eppure" (And yet) is based upon a poem by Luisa Moleri that evokes apocalyptic sceneries of war and nevertheless gives room to hope because peace is what really do want and need the humankind...

On the whole, I enjoyed this album, even if Fonetica's music is not particularly challenging or complex and I know that prog lovers could be a bit disappointed. And yet... Have a try!

 Noi al dir di Noi by PROMENADE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.71 | 17 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
3.94 | 42 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 | 19 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
4.13 | 47 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 café 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 café. (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.

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
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
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
MÖBIUS 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
SYNDÉRESI 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