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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)




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

4.42 | 1198 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.40 | 763 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.38 | 947 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.38 | 818 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.30 | 623 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.29 | 602 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.31 | 462 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.27 | 681 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.27 | 605 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.25 | 526 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.27 | 265 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.20 | 423 ratings
YS
Balletto di Bronzo, Il
4.23 | 286 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.21 | 327 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.21 | 267 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.22 | 238 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.21 | 218 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.10 | 399 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.15 | 226 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.26 | 123 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.15 | 209 ratings
PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO
Celeste
4.10 | 307 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PIÙ
Locanda delle Fate
4.08 | 335 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.17 | 163 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.09 | 246 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.12 | 193 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.16 | 149 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.13 | 167 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.08 | 234 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.07 | 237 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.14 | 146 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.16 | 123 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.13 | 131 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.06 | 201 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.03 | 251 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.01 | 303 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.14 | 122 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM: THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte e Miele
4.00 | 274 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.23 | 81 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.03 | 206 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.05 | 174 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.10 | 114 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI
Jumbo
4.10 | 108 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
3.94 | 356 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.02 | 162 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.04 | 145 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
4.07 | 117 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate di San Martino, L'
3.95 | 265 ratings
SUMMEREVE
Hostsonaten
3.98 | 180 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
3.98 | 181 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi della Valle
4.02 | 132 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
3.99 | 149 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
4.03 | 114 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
Hostsonaten
3.95 | 185 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.05 | 100 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
4.09 | 83 ratings
CAPITOLO 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.10 | 79 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
3.95 | 160 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
3.92 | 197 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
4.09 | 73 ratings
DELIRIUM III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
3.97 | 122 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.14 | 61 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
3.95 | 126 ratings
1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO
Area
3.89 | 164 ratings
SENSITIVITÀ
Coscienza di Zeno, La
3.98 | 96 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
4.12 | 56 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
3.97 | 93 ratings
AUTUMN SYMPHONY
Hostsonaten
4.00 | 79 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO, THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
3.92 | 115 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi
3.92 | 113 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte e Miele
4.06 | 62 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.02 | 70 ratings
DEDALO E ICARO
Cerchio d'Oro, Il
3.82 | 222 ratings
COLLAGE
Orme, Le
3.89 | 128 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
3.90 | 113 ratings
IO SONO MURPLE
Murple
3.90 | 110 ratings
PFM IN CLASSIC: DA MOZART A CELEBRATION
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
3.89 | 111 ratings
ESSERE O NON ESSERE?
Volo, Il
3.94 | 87 ratings
ULISSE: L'ALFIERE NERO
Progenesi
3.94 | 87 ratings
ODYSSÉAS
Syndone
3.89 | 110 ratings
ELEMENTI
Orme, Le
3.97 | 74 ratings
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
3.91 | 99 ratings
DI CARNE, DI ANIMA
Gran Turismo Veloce
3.98 | 69 ratings
STRIGMA
Taproban
4.15 | 41 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
3.91 | 89 ratings
DNA
Jumbo
3.94 | 79 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band
3.87 | 109 ratings
PROFONDO ROSSO O.S.T.
Goblin
3.82 | 155 ratings
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - CHAPTER ONE
Hostsonaten
4.04 | 50 ratings
VOCI
Basso, Luciano
3.89 | 84 ratings
ARIA
Sorrenti, Alan
4.09 | 42 ratings
FRONTIERA
Procession
4.11 | 40 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
3.80 | 139 ratings
CAMPO DI MARTE
Campo di Marte
4.05 | 46 ratings
THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY CIRCLE
Three Monks
3.86 | 94 ratings
IL VOLO
Volo, Il
4.00 | 52 ratings
LE PORTE DEL SILENZIO
Malibran
3.95 | 62 ratings
LA TORRE DELL'ALCHIMISTA
Torre Dell Alchimista, La
4.12 | 38 ratings
E TUTTO COMINCIÒ COSÌ...
Sensitiva Immagine
3.90 | 74 ratings
L'ISOLAMENTO DEI NUMERI PARI
Astrolabio / Elettrosmog
4.26 | 28 ratings
LA BELLA E LA BESTIA
Syndone

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

STORIA MAI SCRITTA
Capuano, Enzo
RICORDI?
Lagartija
IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI
Paese dei Balocchi, Il
MELOS
Cervello

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Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Metafora di un Viaggio by SEZIONE FRENANTE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Metafora di un Viaggio
Sezione Frenante Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars Italian prog is scattered with occasional bands that were active during the Seventies heyday of the sub-genre yet never got around to committing their music to a proper album. Formed in Venice, Sezione Frenante are the latest to join that group, performing live during that defining decade alongside notable Italian progressive groups such as Le Orme, Perigeo, Biglietto per L'Inferno and others, yet breaking up after a few years before making any official recordings. With several members reforming in 2006 with the help of a couple of new musicians, the band finally deliver their debut album some forty years later, `Metafora di un Viaggio', a vinyl-length mix of reworked older compositions and brand new material, and it's sure to please lovers of the classic Italian prog sound.

Despite many tasteful and lengthy instrumental passages, several of the pieces here are dominated by younger member Franco Nardo's powerful vocals. Singing in his native language, he displays great control and is less flamboyant than many of the usual theatrical-styled Italian singers, but he has a hearty and impressive voice all the same. Some may find him mixed a little too upfront here, but this disc joins the fine tradition of vintage Italian works with boisterous lead singers like those on the Alphataurus, Jumbo and Rustichelli & Bordini albums. Sadly, Franco has now been replaced in the band by the original singer Luciano Degli Alimari, so this album will serve as a fitting brief tribute to the charismatic vocalist Franco and his emotional, spirited performance.

Opener `Quattro Stelle' is one of a few longer, more ambitious pieces. It initially starts with reflective electric piano tip-toes behind a tolling bell, Steve Hackett-like guitar strains and droning church organ that reminds of gloomy Italian band Abiogenesi, but it jumps up in tempo with some whirring Moog and a frequently reprised accordion theme that will make you smile! Tasty instrumental `Attesa' has a mid-tempo galloping P.F.M-like guitar melody backed up by nimble- fingered thick murmuring bass and the warmest of humming Hammond organ. `La Quiete in un Attimo' bristles with punchy Genesis-like regal electric guitar and organ fanfares before shifting into delicate classical piano and wounded soulful crooning, and chiming guitars and shimmering organ bring a touch of uneasy atmosphere behind Franco's wail for `Viscido Ambiente'.

Le Orme fans will adore the constantly soaring organs of the two part `La Meta non Trovata' (but with a bit of surprising heavy guitar funky groove thrown in too!), and it sure seems like Franco is channelling Aldo Tagliapietra vocally here as well! After interlude `Passaggio' interrupts with upfront pumping bass and wild organ stabs, the second part reprises the main theme with some victorious Moog and heroic piano lifting high into the heavens. With a constant dramatic build growing in stature throughout the almost ten minute epic `Svegliati Luce', the band manage to include everything from phasing electronics, a touch of gothic piano mystery, whirring Le Orme- flavoured Moog, booming military drumming and beautiful thoughtful bass ruminations, and the lead guitar strains in the finale bring to mind Frank Bornemann's playing on the early Eloy albums. `Pace Immaginata' is a catchier, more accessible bass-driven tune with a foot-tapping beat and delicate Mellotron choir harmonies, plus a nice scratchy guitar solo in the middle. Finally, there's plenty of acoustic guitar warmth, sweeping and prancing P.F.M/Genesis pomp and glorious Hammond organ throughout the eight minute closer `Nota Stonata', and a soaring vocal makes it quite a romantic piece to end the album on.

There is one secret weapon that sets Sezione Frenante's album apart from so many other more extravagant and lavish recent Italian works. The whole disc has a stripped back, more direct, possibly rougher sound quality that actually succeeds in making the music sound like a genuine lost Seventies vintage Italian prog relic from the golden era! Plenty of newer bands adequately convey similar sounds to the classic Seventies works, but none quite capture that true quality as effectively and convincingly as Sezione Frenante do here.

`Metafora di un Viaggio' gets Sezione Frenante's belated studio recording career off to a great start, and the results have been more than worth the wait. A mix of pleasing melodic tunes and subtle, restrained but quietly thrilling instrumental moments, with a very joyful quality constantly present really makes this album shine brightly. Hopefully we see the band build on their efforts here with more recordings in the near future!

Four stars.

 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.98 | 181 ratings

BUY
In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by MELNIBONÉ

3 stars Young band from Rome Ingranaggi Della Valle is part of the New Wave of Italian progressive rockers? although some might dispute labelling them RPI, since their debut album veers quite often to Fusion and flirts with Metal and Funk. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that IDV ignore altogether what they owe to their symphonic forebears from the previous century. As a matter of fact, it would almost be impossible to do so, given the number of musicians featured on "In Hoc Signo". First, there's the band itself : I. Leone (vocals) M. Liberati (keys). F. Gonnellini (guitars & vocals), M. Gennarini (violin & vocals) S, Colucci (drums & percussion). Then come the guests appearing on certain pieces : M. Bruno (bass), E. Arrigo (vocals & bass), S. Massimi (various types of bass), L. Colucci (speech), F. Projetti (classical guitar) and B. Miglietta (vocals). And then, we have the "special" guests : M. Olsson from Anglagard (drums, percussion, synth & noises), D. Jackson from VdGG (sax & flute) and pop singer A. S. Scutti (vocals). By any standards, when there are so many musicians and/or vocalists on an album, it usually means that we're in for a treat, in that the music on display will most surely feature a rich and wide palette.

That said, before getting into the musical core of the album, I must say that the concept explored in "In Hoc Signo" is not necessarily one that I would've expected on a new band's first release. The album refers to historical facts surrounding the launching of the first Crusade (1096-1099) ; "In Hoc Signo" is Latin meaning "By this sign (the Cross, you shall win)", even though the Norman knights of the times would have said it in low Latin: "Deus lo vult" ("God Wills It"). From the notes (the only ones that are written in English) within the booklet, we learn that the songs are not about the mustering of armies, the long journey from Italian shores to the Holy Land and the walls of Jerusalem, but they are rather focused on "the development of a modern social conscience in a period dominated by a savage and intolerant individualism. A time where a "Deus Lo Vult" hid more than a heroic action of defense or a sacrifice in the sign of the Cross. A time that's not so far away." All of which make for quite an intriguing and challenging lyrical endeavour? but one that you won't access to unless you understand Italian (which I do not, at least not enough to get a clear picture of the exact content of each song).

The album offers a bit more than an hour (63:55) of music. Apart from the "Introduzione" (0:15) and "Fuga da Amman" (5:56), the nine other pieces are songs. That said, the lyrics within some of them are relatively short as is the case with "Mare in Tempesta" (3:17), "Kairuv'an" (6:09), "Masqat" (5:16) and "Jangala Mem" (6:47), leaving therefore ample space for the music to expand. The other songs range from 5:49 ("Cavalcata") to 9:34 ("Finale"), with "Via Ignatia" clocking at 5:41, "L'Assedio di Antiochia" at 8:11 and "Il vento del tempo" at 7:00. So, all in all, despite the serious and dramatic "concept" (we might even say "context" in this case) underlining the album, IDV have given themselves plenty of elbow room to create, develop and offer us a meaningful opus, where words have their rightful place, but not to the expense of music.

Since other reviewers have been through each songs thoroughly enough, it would be a waste of time and space to go through that all over again. So I'll move right away to my conclusions. "In Hoc Signo" is modern RPI, in that it's edgy, often heavy, with frequent jazz frenzy, so dense dense at times that you might be wondering where it will lead to. Tempo changes abound, in par with a wide range of atmospheres from delicate to frantic, from almost metal to eerie, and melodically romantic to power funk. Here and there, there are echoes of iconic Italian bands of the '70s (even those that were short-lived), but IDV are no copy cats. There's a feel throughout that connects these young musicians to their forebears, but it's more a matter of attitude and a desire to push the envelope than producing (or re-producing) the readily identifiable sound of a bygone era.

"In Hoc Signo" is good from start to finish, and very good at times. But, overall, Ingranaggi Della Valle has still some work to do in order to achieve a distinctive, original sound they can call their own, whatever means or direction this may imply. Granted, their debut album is more than promising, but still the band's musical identity must be refined. We'll see how it will all turn out on their next album. And I really hope there will be a follow-up to that brilliant start.

3 well oiled cogs

 Quinta Dimensione by PERSIMFANS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Quinta Dimensione
Persimfans Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars An obscure group from Genoa, formed by students in 1978 and led by keyboardist Marco Grasso, who was taught music at the Nicolò Paganini Conservatory.The other members were keyboardist Mirko Sannazzaro, drummer/percussionist Alessandro Castaldi, guitarist Roberto Gasparini and Marco Cipollina, who played both bass and guitar.They were named after an odd conductor-less orchestra found in Russia in early-1920's by Lev Tseitlin.The band released one album, ''Quinta dimensione'', and a single for the Eleven label the same year.

A trully bizzare effort of Avant Garde weirdness, Classical education, acoustic mysticism and deep experimentation, which breaks any narrow barriers and present a group of young guys ready to conquer the world with an undefined, cosmic sound, swirling around both grandiose orchestrations and very mellow textures.In that sense the name of Persimfans had much to do with the band, they really sounded like a totally free group of musicians, wanting to explore the possibilities in both synthesis and experimentation, as a result their only work lacks any sense of coherence, proper structure and melody, as they have chosen to compose short tracks with influences from Electronic and Classical Music, FRANCO BATTIATO's deep love for Avant-Garde Music and Minimalism and any other free form of music.They had an impressive armour of instruments, the notes display some 20 instruments, but their sound worked for the other side, they prefered to play slow-motion material with light symphonic and jazzy vibes, interrupted by occasional Mellotron majesty, Film-Score aesthetics and academic performances headed for teachers and not for the masses.The result was totally incosistent, often flirting with a mix between Experimental Rock and Library Music, propelled by a mood for haunting, cinematic atmospheres, but not having the appropriate experience to come up with something trully groundbreaking.

Original album is extremely rare and thus pretty expensive.Giallo Records reissued it in 1999 in CD with the pair of tracks from their only single of the band and other unreleased recordings.Weird listening experience, containing every possible music path with the only common link being the dark sound, definitely a work of an acquired taste, but you've got to have some love for mystical, experimental listenings to appreciate this.

 The Lost Tales by AINUR album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
4.00 | 5 ratings

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The Lost Tales
Ainur Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars The works of fantasy writer J.R.R Tolkien, most recognized as the author of `The Hobbit' and `The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, have certainly influenced a number of progressive music artists over the years. Swedish keyboardist Bo Hansson was inspired on his `Lord of the Rings' LP, modern symphonic masters Glass Hammer offered `Journey of the Dunadan' and `The Middle Earth Album' early on in their discogrpahy, and Marillion themselves were initially named after a less widely-known known Tolkien tome, `The Silmarillion'. Also taking inspiration from that particular work even further is an Italian collective known as Ainur, a group that boasts no less than 18 musicians and singers. `The Lost Tales' is a compilation of both reimagined earlier pieces and unreleased tracks, yet it works perfectly well as a standalone album all its own. Every one of the thirteen compositions on offer here present a kind of light symphonic/medieval/folk and Rock Progressivo Italiano prog based around Tolkien's worlds with accessible arrangements, tasteful (frequently acoustic) instrumental playing and always pleasing male and female vocal melodies. Brief vintage prog sounds of the Moog, Mellotron and organ weave blissfully between violin, cello and harp, and it all comes together with evocative and sumptuous taste.

Looking at some of the standout moments, right from opener `Welcoming of Eriol', Gianluca Castelli's piano delicately and subtly dazzles, as a mix of charmingly Italian- accented English vocals (perhaps bringing to mind a less stuffy and grandiose version of Hostsonaten's `Alive in Theatre' live album) swoon around a haunting melody with restrained power and conviction. Violin, cello and harp weave magically together with warm group harmonies in the chorus of the madrigal `Mourning - The Coming of Nienor'. Tracks like `The Beginning of Days' are sweet and joyous, the droning group harmonies of the finale of `Verge of the Forest' is hypnotic, and the album closer `Lorien' is refreshingly upbeat and softly romantic. More ambitious and lengthier pieces impress even more and hold the most interest to progressive music listeners. `Yavanna's Song' begins with softly stirring horns and violin and careful jazzy drumming, before taking an uneasy, more up- tempo darker acoustic guitar turn alongside groaning cello.

But best of all is when the group moves closer to a more traditional Italian prog/RPI sound. `The Fall of Gondolin' features a passionate and raspy theatrical male vocal, melancholic flute, and a dashing range of exotic acoustic guitar flavours with wilder jazzy and classical piano outbursts. `Glaurung's Death' includes dirtier huffing flute and a pompous operatic vocal with a fiery Mediterranean acoustic guitar, violin and piano extended instrumental finale. The first half of `Hirilorn' has a lovely extended instrumental build on clarinet and acoustic guitar before sprightly piano, flute and violin duel in the finale, and `Return from Death' has a sprinkling of maniacal classical piano and tricky murmuring bass throughout. The symphonic drama of the almost ten minute `The Time Beyond' incorporates everything from operatic vocals, sweeping orchestration, glistening classical piano, heavenly violins that rise into the sky and the most sly of tiny Mellotron wisps.

Admittedly thirteen tracks equalling seventy four minutes mostly in a similar style becomes a little repetitive after a while. I'm not sure if the band would even fully identify themselves as a full-blown progressive rock band, but they should definitely consider incorporating longer instrumental breaks more often into their music, as many of the pieces here are loaded almost beginning to end with vocal passages that become a little tedious from time to time. However, this is immaculately performed with great conviction, and looking over the photos of the group all dressed in medieval garb inside the CD booklet reaffirms what a true sense of community these performers share together. Tolkien fanatics who will connect closer with the lyrical themes and book references will be the ones who really cherish `The Lost Tales', able to appreciate it on so many more levels than more general progressive rock and RPI listeners. But so much love, passion and devotion has gone into this work from the Ainur collective that the sheer talent on display cannot be denied.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

 Beyond the Storm by PHAEDRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 17 ratings

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Beyond the Storm
Phaedra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by maryes

4 stars Although in their second studio album entitled "Beyond Storm" the Italian band PHAEDRA don't reserve musical surprises, this band is extremely competent in remake the sound of old progressive rock school (mainly 70's symphonic prog). The work and sonority from this album is full of nostalgic moments, starting by initial and main theme of track 2 "No Crime" with a certain GENTLE GIANT"s swing, passing by GENENESIS clearly influence in track 4 "Phaedra", the overture theme of track 6 "Journey to the Edge of Nothing" with a flute melody in NOVALIS mood and the closing section with a GG Keyboards timbre. Another remarkable moment is the strong rhythm of track 7 " Freezin' Breeze on the People at Ease" which reminds me a jam band in the style of Allman Brothers and some others. My rate is 4 stars !!!
 The Essential Box Set Collection by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
4.92 | 3 ratings

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The Essential Box Set Collection
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by omphaloskepsis

5 stars As Good as a Box Set Gets!

I can't believe I'm the first to review this 2010 box set!

Progarchive collaborator's have posted a plethora of reviews on Area's four studio albums, contained inside this collection, therefore I won't dilly dally and dawdle over the four studio albums.

Instead, I will confine my comments to the two live albums ensconced in this exquisite box set. But before I go on, suffice to say, Progarchive ratings on the studio albums are accurate...

Arbeit Macht Frei - 4.31

Caution Radiation Area - 3.95

Crac ! - 4.21

Maledetti - 4.04

My husband and I are rabid followers of Rock Progressivo Italiano rock. When I was a teenager, Rock Progressivo Italiano albums didn't exactly saturate the shelves of your average American record store. Recently, hubby and I morphed into musical anthropologists, unearthing scores of Rock Progressivo Italiano classics.

On my birthday, my sweet heart gifted me, AREA's "The Essential Box Set Collection!" The musical equivalent of a box of Godiva Truffles!

Area vocalist Demetrio Stratos is simply to die for for! Unfortunately Demetrio did die on June 13, 1979, which explains the low Progarchive scores for the two Area studio albums released after 1978. I'm sure the Area fan base was devastated!

Area decided to go on without a singer. Smart decision! Stratos was irreplaceable. So the next album was instrumental. And it's a good album, if you can separate yourself from the loss of Demetrio's vocals.

Demetrio Stratos was the Frank Zappa of vocalists. Don't get me wrong, Demetrio doesn't sing like Zappa, instead Demetrio experimented and twisted his voice similar to the way Zappa turned rock, pop, and Doo Wop on it's collective ear. I salivate at the thought of Demetrio joining Zappa's band or recording an album with Captain Beefheart.

Area had more of a Jazz Fusion sound then most Rock Progressivo Italiano bands. If you like Area's Italian take on jazz fusion then I highly recommend the Perigeo album "Azimut". But I digress... Included in Area's box set are TWO LIVE animals, and they are very different albums.

First up is 1975 live album "ARE(A)ZIONE" with a progarchives score of 4.08.

My god! What a voice Stratos has. I am sadden he died so early...But, I'm not overly distressed, because the incredible sounds Area left us with are out-of-this-world-wonderful!

ARE(A)ZIONE doesn't stray far from Area's jazz fusion roots. Short story- An amazing live, prog jazz classic. I think Progarchive's most prolific music critic "Mellotron Storm" summed it up best, when he wrote so elegantly in his review of ARE(A)ZIONE-

" I can just imagine being there back in the seventies in Italy watching this very entertaining band. There's one picture in particular of a young (teen?) girl being held up, above people's shoulders by several guys. She has this huge triumphant smile on her face with her arm up in the air, while the people around her are all laughing and smiling at this sight."

Yeah, that sums it up... And as an added bonus- Two of the songs (including the title song) never appeared on an Area studio release!

Saddled with a relatively low progarchive score of 2.81, the last album in the six album box set is "Event '76" Why the low score? Because "Event '76" was an improvised live album. That's right, Area made it up, on the spot, in front of a live audience. In the Mile Davis tradition of winging it, these guys risked egos, starting from scratch, Area created a one of kind, dissonant, jazzy, spectacular, atmospherically enchanting live experience. If you are like me? You want an album for every mood you experience. Event '76 fits my cooking beef fajitas and Mexican rice for family mood. Go figure?

I rate "Event '76" a 3.2, because it makes me happy. I'm not saying "Event '76" will forever rotate through your car stereo system, but I'll wager several souls find the feeling "Event '76" evokes fits perfectly at an unique and specific time in your life!

Pros. - With the exception of the absence of Area's 1978 album - "gli dei se ne vanno, gli arrabbiati restano" , this box set is truly an essential progressive rock classic. ( I immediately purchased "gli dei se ne vanno, gli arrabbiati restano" , after listening Area's Box Set.)

- These guys created a new way to hold CD's into the package, so they never fall out. They snap shut! I'm sure several of you guys have cursed the Prog Rock Gods while you watched your precious CD's fall willy nilly to the floor. Not with this collection! These Cd's snap shut!

- Area's Box Set packaging is so nice, and you get a groovy Area post card for an affordable price! OK, Area's box set is not as visually arresting or as impressive as Steven Wilson's Deluxe Book and Box Set- Hand. Cannot. Erase. But what do want for 5 bucks per classic CD?

- If you love Italian prog or jazz fusion, And you don't have any AREA albums, then this is The Box Set for you!

You get all the Area classics at once. Thank God the surviving members of Area had good sense not to release a greatest hits album or anthology. If you feel like We do, you want your albums uncut, untarnished, and original.

Cons- Only one con...The 36 page booklet is written in Italian! Listen people, I'm not trilingual! I don't speak three languages! Heck, I'm not even bilingual In case you didn't know, a bilingual person speak two languages.

What do you call a person who speaks only one language? That's right....American! I'm a silly American on a bargain basement budget.

"Area's International POPular Group" Essential Box Set Collection gets a 5 star rating from moi!

Essential masterpiece of progressive rock music!

 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.98 | 181 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Ingranaggi della Valle were formed in Rome at the end of 2010, when Mattia Liberati (keyboards) and Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), both playing in the Jazz Rock act The Big Chill, joined forces with drummer Shanti Colucci and bassist Edoardo Arrigo.In June Marco Gennarini enters the band on violin and with the help of their friend and singer Leonardo Pandolfo they recorded a demo EP in November of the same year.Enough of a good work to be approached by Black Widow, so the searching for a full-time singer begun, resulting to the hiring of Igor Leone in 2012.By the time of their debut ''In hoc signo'' Arrigo appears only as a guest with Simone Massimi playing most of the bass parts.Several guests appear on the album, but the names of Van der Graaf Generator David Jackson and Änglagård's Mattias Olsson shine through.This one came out in 2013 both in vinyl and CD format.

The name of the game here is very dense Italian Prog with a Fusion aura and enough vintage echoes to get goosebumps to lovers of the Classic Prog era, just do not expect the strong Classical tastes of the old groups, although there are plenty of them, cause Ingranaggi della Valle are more of a Prog Fusion band, the mass of quirky, schizophenic interplays, the display of strong jazzy components and the tireless soloing on various instruments are certain proofs of their direction.Considering that, they are much closer to ARTI E MESTIERI or AREA, while the jazzier period of PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI still springs to mind.Now, the music is perhaps on the jazzier side of Prog Rock, but the vocals have this flawless expression, warmth and romanticism of Italian Prog singers, excellent work by Igor Leone.The performance of the group comes at a professional level with a full-time violin player and a wide array of vintage keys like Mellotron, Hammond B3, Moog synthesizer and a Rhodes electric piano.Closer look from the recent bands could be DEUS EX MACHINA, heavy instrumental music with power and passion all over the place, rhythmic lines and odd time signatures, surprising breaks into varied tempos and a fascinating palette of different protagonists with each minute passing by.At times the music gets a bit chaotic and too complex with constantly changing rhythms and everpopping solos, but the general taste is more than positive, material with an unmet virtuosity and even some flavor from the theatrical side of Prog Rock.

Extremely talented band.Great instrumental work and marvelous vocals all the way.I think that consistency is the matter of discussion for the future of this group.Still a pretty amazing debut by this bunch of Italian youngsters, one of those groups deserving a really close look.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Io Sono Murple by MURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 113 ratings

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Io Sono Murple
Murple Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars `Io Sono Murple' is the title of the 1974 debut from Italian progressive group Murple, or as I like to refer to it (mostly because I can never remember the title) `That Penguin album'! Yes, said animal is right there on the front of that charming and colourful cover, and the album itself is a concept piece about the creature as well. Containing two extended and continuous suites of music, with plenty of instrumental variety, romantic voices and strong melodies seamlessly flowing together, there's plenty of that classical drama and passionate flair so often associated with the vintage Italian progressive releases throughout.

Unusually, the band decide to open the album in a very sedate, slowly unfolding manner instead of blasting the listener with energetic intent! After a slowly morphing ambient synth drone, the album kicks to life with rollicking guitars, leaping upfront bass, trickles of Hammond organ and take-charge drumming. After some spectral organ, spiralling synth and devilish Hammond attacks, the piece settles into a delicate piano and vocal melody. Synths raise the piece in victory, little moments taking off in a brisk regal organ fanfare prance. Transitioning into a reflective classical piano break with a mournful choir, punchy guitar blasts over wavering spacey keyboard bubbles and Le Orme-styled organ pomp, leading straight to a buoyant up-tempo Genesis-like call-to-arms, almost resembling the early Eloy albums like `The Power and the Passion' as well.

Mario Garbarino's thick bass is the absolute standout throughout the entire flip-side, and all of the instrumental interplay between the musicians and the different flowing compositions from here on are just as memorable as anything offered from many of the higher profile Italian progressive groups of the time. Calming but gently melancholic piano announces this second side and dazzles with classical sophistication, moving into a swooning and loving ballad with murmuring bass and a heroic guitar theme over soothing synth washes. Out of nowhere, the band rip into a loopy and frantic instrumental run over the top of a pulsing beat and aggressive thrashing drums. Mellow vocal moments and whimsical interludes with a manic soaring and energetic finale follow, before the band close on a stirring low-key violin outro.

Is this a classic of the vintage RPI works? Perhaps not, but while there may be plenty more important, challenging and daring albums in the sub-genre, this one is sure to be a personal favourite in many collections. The group seemed destined to fall to the `one and done' curse that befell many Italian acts from the vintage Seventies period, this album being their sole release until they returned in 2008 with `Quadri Di Un'Esposizione' and more recently with 2014's `Il Viaggio'. But this is the first highlight from the band listeners should explore, a very special and much loved little album, and `Io Sono Murple' ticks all the right boxes that you'd want to find on an Italian progressive work from the era. It's also perfectly enjoyable for both established Italian prog connoisseurs and newcomers investigating the genre for the first time.

Four stars.

 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.17 | 163 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Yayamimi

5 stars I had the chance to see Unreal City last gig in Rotterdam and iI was surprised by several things. First they are really very young, but their performance was very professional and mature. Secondly I liked very much how they gave us the live version of their last album, 'il paese del tramonto'. Their first album was a surprise indeed, a fresh music in a classic word like the Italian Progressive rock. Well this second album is more mature and achieve a great level. the music is for sure synphonic prog, with a sense of majesty and power, given by the extensive use of vintage instruments, like mellotron and moog. Tarasconi is a key wizard at the highest level. The classic origin is very evident and fantastic in the great acustic piano solos . The guitarist Zanetta has a great Giilmour touch and some solos are very emotional. The rithmic part is superb both in the bass ans the drum. Il paese del tramonto is a concept album that follow a trip in the deep soul of an assassin. The murder and the final judge through a mistic and honiric expirience. The texts are fantastic like the music is. I feel sorry wher i think that many foreigners will judge only the music.... A fantastic album that largely merits 5 stars...
 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.30 | 623 ratings

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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Much like Gentle Giant who were an inspiration, the Italian group BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO (Bank Of Mutual Rescue) was founded by musical brothers, in this case Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi. In the early 70s at the peak of the first golden age of progressive rock but unlike many contemporaries who needed an album or two to get their feet wet, these guys hit a major home run on their eponymous debut album in 1972, which has become one of the most revered albums in all of progressive rock and for good reason. This album is absolutely BRILLIANT!!!

Although they had already formed in 1969 they found no reason to revisit the psychedelic 60s and instead channeled their energies into a highly artful form of symphonic prog that not only borrowed some of the lightness from Genesis, but also included energetic keyboard outbursts like ELP as well as the folk inspired sounds from their homeland inspired by Jethro Tull as heard on clarinet and a kind of trumpet called the clarino. BANCO adeptly blended acoustic and electric instruments with daring vocals in Italian and mastered the art of lulling you into an addictive melody that simultaneously hooked you in while stunning with sophisticated musical wizardry. This album delivers the absolute perfect ratchet effect and never lets me drift away for a second.

This is a highly complex album delivering classically derived compositions put entirely into a rock context. Massive sprawling tracks like "Metamorfosi" and "Il Giardino Del Mago" are so stuffed with musical ideas that they never let the listener's attention stray from their path. While BANCO does let loose on occasion and really rock out, they are much more adept at spending long periods of time with subtleties and delicate passages that take their time to make the journey an interesting one before coming to a conclusion.

This era of Italian prog is notorious for poor production and i highly advise getting one of the newer remastered versions of this release, for even on these it is not perfect but a huge improvement over some of the weaknesses of the original, however it is the music that overpowers any production complaints. This is one of those few touched-by-God albums where unearthly energies conspired to make something magnanimous beyond the sum of the parts. I have tried and failed to find any flaws in this music. It is a timeless as a Mozart symphony, as daring as "Dark Side Of The Moon" in a totally different way and although many a prog band would borrow from this style, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO was revolutionary when it was released easily separating itself from contemporaries like PFM.

Wending from sophisticated piano runs to complex guitar runs, BANCO delivered an outstanding debut album that is one of those albums i can really put on replay and never tire of. If you're new to this band, this is the perfect place to start but don't expect to be able to take this in quickly because the true beauty of this album is how it unfolds slowly and demands that you put it on again and again. Don't waste your time on all those fraudulent derivatives and mortgage scams, put your money in an investment of greatness that delivers musical satisfaction time and time again.

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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
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
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
IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI Italy
SOPHYA BACCINI Italy
IL BACIO DELLA MEDUSA 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
FRANCO BATTIATO Italy
PIERPAOLO BIBBO Italy
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO Italy
BLOCCO MENTALE Italy
BONDAGE 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
GINO D'ELISO Italy
GIANNI D'ERRICO Italy
DALLAGLIO Italy
DALTON Italy
DE DE LIND Italy
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