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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 | 1223 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.38 | 968 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.39 | 769 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.37 | 831 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.29 | 614 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.29 | 629 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.30 | 463 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.26 | 690 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.27 | 620 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.23 | 532 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.25 | 287 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.23 | 328 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.21 | 425 ratings
YS
Balletto di Bronzo, Il
4.25 | 271 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.22 | 237 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.20 | 260 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.22 | 222 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.30 | 115 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM: THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte e Miele
4.16 | 229 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.16 | 207 ratings
PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO
Celeste
4.09 | 403 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.25 | 122 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.09 | 301 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PIÙ
Locanda delle Fate
4.08 | 340 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.18 | 143 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.09 | 245 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.18 | 136 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.09 | 235 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.14 | 154 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.08 | 236 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.07 | 239 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.09 | 185 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.07 | 204 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.15 | 126 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.06 | 202 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.15 | 124 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.02 | 299 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.05 | 207 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.25 | 78 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.01 | 277 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.17 | 98 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate di San Martino, L'
4.05 | 176 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.14 | 102 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
4.10 | 112 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI
Jumbo
3.96 | 266 ratings
SUMMEREVE
Hostsonaten
4.05 | 137 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
3.94 | 353 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.00 | 168 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi della Valle
3.99 | 178 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
4.01 | 147 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.04 | 121 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
Hostsonaten
4.00 | 146 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
4.25 | 55 ratings
STRIGMA
Taproban
3.96 | 181 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.05 | 101 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
4.01 | 126 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.10 | 80 ratings
CAPITOLO 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.11 | 76 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
3.92 | 189 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
4.11 | 71 ratings
DELIRIUM III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
3.98 | 120 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
3.94 | 153 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
4.01 | 103 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.05 | 83 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
4.12 | 62 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
3.92 | 143 ratings
SENSITIVITÀ
Coscienza di Zeno, La
3.99 | 93 ratings
AUTUMN SYMPHONY
Hostsonaten
3.95 | 115 ratings
1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO
Area
4.11 | 58 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
3.95 | 105 ratings
PFM IN CLASSIC: DA MOZART A CELEBRATION
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
3.93 | 115 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi
4.00 | 79 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO, THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
3.93 | 113 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte e Miele
3.90 | 128 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
3.90 | 115 ratings
IO SONO MURPLE
Murple
3.99 | 74 ratings
ULISSE: L'ALFIERE NERO
Progenesi
4.00 | 71 ratings
DEDALO E ICARO
Cerchio d'Oro, Il
3.82 | 220 ratings
COLLAGE
Orme, Le
4.24 | 36 ratings
STEMS
Conqueror
3.90 | 110 ratings
ESSERE O NON ESSERE?
Volo, Il
3.98 | 73 ratings
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
3.89 | 112 ratings
PROFONDO ROSSO O.S.T.
Goblin
3.89 | 109 ratings
ELEMENTI
Orme, Le
3.90 | 101 ratings
DI CARNE, DI ANIMA
Gran Turismo Veloce
4.15 | 41 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
3.83 | 158 ratings
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - CHAPTER ONE
Hostsonaten
4.01 | 60 ratings
L'ISOLAMENTO DEI NUMERI PARI
Astrolabio / Elettrosmog
4.19 | 37 ratings
HYSTERO DEMONOPATHY
Antonius Rex
3.91 | 88 ratings
DNA
Jumbo
3.96 | 70 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band
3.93 | 79 ratings
ODYSSÉAS
Syndone
4.04 | 50 ratings
VOCI
Basso, Luciano
4.05 | 48 ratings
THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY CIRCLE
Three Monks
4.06 | 47 ratings
NOUS
Nodo Gordiano
4.09 | 42 ratings
FRONTIERA
Procession
4.11 | 40 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
3.89 | 83 ratings
ARIA
Sorrenti, Alan
4.13 | 38 ratings
E TUTTO COMINCIÒ COSÌ...
Sensitiva Immagine
3.95 | 63 ratings
LA TORRE DELL'ALCHIMISTA
Torre Dell Alchimista, La
4.01 | 51 ratings
LE PORTE DEL SILENZIO
Malibran

Rock Progressivo Italiano overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
SEI LACRIME D'AMBRA
NotaBene
LA DIVINA COMMEDIA
Giro Strano, Il

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Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Goblin Rebirth by GOBLIN REBIRTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Goblin Rebirth
Goblin Rebirth Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars What an interesting time it is to be a Goblin fan! 2015 currently has no less than four Goblin-related projects active - Claudio Simonetti's Goblin which utilizes his Daemonia team-mates, a reactivated Cherry Five (the pre-Goblin band), a reworked version of the original Goblin, and here we have Goblin Rebirth. Two players from various Goblin albums from the vintage Seventies period of the band, Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Agostino Marangolo (drums), are joined by guitarist Giacomo Anselmi and keyboard players Aidan Zammit and Danilo Cherni, and this all new band carries on in the fine tradition of Goblin past and present...but wait, there's more! Despite not being a soundtrack work like so many previous Goblin works, `Goblin Rebirth' contains all the usual gothic atmospheres, cinematic sophistication and dark prog-rock flavours, but there's plenty of refreshingly interesting new ideas that gives this Goblin its own exciting identity.

The tip-toeing chimes, ghostly piano, whispered voices and booming symphonic organ of opener `Requiem for X' assure everything is in its right place for this Goblin, and like many of the pieces to come, the track dramatically jumps back and forth in tempo effortlessly. But even better is the up-tempo and groovy `Back in '74', powered by the Fabio's relentless chunky Chris Squire-like bass, little classy Mellotron veils, electronic glitch breakdowns and Agostino's snappy drumming, with a gorgeous classical piano break in the middle and tasty Moog runs popping in and out, all making it one of the coolest tracks to ever appear on a Goblin album! Giacomo's brooding guitar soloing burns through both `Book of Skulls' alongside slinking purring bass and spacey keyboards, and `Mysterum' with its eerie Mellotron choirs and sweeping grand symphonic synths.

More galloping Squire-esque bass brings a subtle funkiness to `Evil in the Machine', a wicked and sleek mix of cool electronics and aggressive heavy grinding guitars over slithering spoken whispers. `Forest' is a real standout, an initially ambient diversion of solemn church organ, ethereal female voices and dramatic synths orchestrations that even reminds of 70's Genesis in a few fleeting moments, and an epic soaring guitar solo over soulful sighing harmonies instantly calling to mind Pink Floyd. `Dark Bolero' is just that, an evocative gothic mix of dark acoustic guitar, groaning cello and sweeping violin that eventually picks up in tempo and bristles with danger thanks to slippery bass weaving like a hissing serpent, and the male/female chanting voices bring the band closer to fellow dark Italian prog group Il Segno del Comando. Instrumental closer `Rebirth' brings all the styles of the album together, its prickly acoustic guitars dancing around murmuring bass, looping electronics and orchestral synths that rise in rapture.

A complete rebirth of the Goblin sound may be a bit of an exaggeration, but `Goblin Rebirth' still sees this version of the band very inspired and determined to impress, and they've succeeded in creating a very confident and distinctive work. It ticks all the right boxes and will easily please faithful Goblin fans, but there's a lavish symphonic prog sound in general, with a gutsy modern edge that already shows Goblin Rebith forging their own unique dark identity. They not only compliment the other currently active Goblin bands, but they also stand apart on their own merits, and it's a triumph for lovers of the darker side of Italian prog and instrumental prog in general.

`Goblin Rebirth' deserves an easy four stars, and is a must-buy for Goblin fans worldwide, be they prog-rock or horror movie buffs!

 Metafora di un Viaggio by SEZIONE FRENANTE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.42 | 7 ratings

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Metafora di un Viaggio
Sezione Frenante Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Hailing from the province of Venice, Sezione Frenante began life in the early seventies under the name Le Nuove Dimensioni, later changed into the current name. During the seventies they hadn't the chance to record an album and split up in 1978, when the interest for progressive rock was fading. In 2006 the band reformed on the initiative of three founder members and in 2014 Sezione Frenante finally released a debut album on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records with a line up featuring Alessandro Casagrande (drums, percussion), Sandro Bellemo (bass), Doriano Mestriner (gutars, vocals), Mirco De Marchi (keyboards, vocals) and Francesco Nardo (lead vocals) plus the guest Antonio Zullo (acoustic guitar). This long awaited album is entitled Metafora di un viaggio - Arditi voli di cervelli attenti and is a conceptual work, vaguely inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, that describes in music and words a cathartic journey from darkness to light, from despair to hope... The overall sound draws on vintage atmospheres and could recall bands such as Le Orme, Metamorfosi, Procession or Alphataurus but the musicians managed to put into the mix all their passion, their experience and their personality with excellent results and the album is really worth listening to.

The opener "La quiete in un attimo" (Peace in a while) starts by pulsing bass lines and dreamy passages that seem to mark the transition into an hypnotic state of unconsciousness. The music and lyrics evoke a moment of quiet where you can think and get lost into your dreams. Now you're almost floating on the current of your thoughts, between life and death... The dark organ surge of the following "La meta non trovata" (The unfounded destination) announces a dangerous journey through a realm of shadows where you're surrounded by shapeless things and faded visions. Eventually, your aimless wandering takes you in front of a high white door that blocks your way... Then a surreal calm comes down and "La meta non trovata (curiosit' di essere)" (The unfounded destination - Curiosity of being) describes curiosity and fear seizing your throat. Your brain doesn't work, you can't think anymore...

Next comes "Attesa" (Waiting), a short instrumental that describes the time you pass in doubt, waiting in front of the white door while the following "Passaggio" (Passage) is another short instrumental describing the moment of the crossing of that strange threshold. It leads to "Viscido ambiente" (Slimy place) that describes a gloomy world inhabited by icy shadows without brain, a world where there's no peace. You can feel a sense of void spreading all around you and even inside your heart, there's nothing but hate here, you have to feed on it... The following "Pace immaginata" (Fancied peace) describes the crossing of this bleak world with its threatening panoramas. Every now and again some flames break through the darkness and shapeless beings disappear into the void, swallowed by black waves. You can perceive unknown shadows sucking your blood like parasites, driving you insane... At last you see a corridor and something pushes you in the right direction, towards the light at the end of the tunnel, towards a shelter...

At the sound of a bell, "Quattro stelle" (Four stars) welcomes you to a very different world of ethereal lights and sapphire skies. The four stars of the title refer to the four cardinal virtues that now show your way: prudence, justice, temperance and courage. Then a church-like organ passage drives you on the footsteps of a Love song while delicate melodies blow away the shadows of hell and their gloomy omens. A new hope is beating in your chest, you can see around you sinners who repent and start climbing a steep hill leading to a better dream...

Next comes "Nota stonata" (Discordant note) that describes in music and words a kind of Garden of Eden where you can find a perfect harmony. But someone is singing out of tune in the angelic choir, there's a soul down below that, pushed by human virtue, seeks for something that is not perfect at all. This soul is looking for the unknown, for great passions inspired by pagan muses, for never ending adventures and strong emotions...

The long, complex closer "Svegiati luce" (Wake up light) conjures up apocalyptic visions of exiled souls that have been waiting for a thousand years on the banks of the river Lethe. They're still waiting for boarding on the divine wooden ship that would take them across the river. It's a long, silent queue of uncertain spirits looking for a guide to lead them to a place where peace rules, a kingdom of light that will melt the shadows and dry the tears, where the sun rises like a blade of fire spreading its thaumaturgical strength all over creation...

On the whole, this is a very interesting album. Of course, seventies influences loom large over this work and it might not shine for originality but its mystical lyricism and its powerful and engaging musical colours make of it a real treat for Italianprog lovers. So, if you like modern progressive rock that's based on classic Italian prog, you really have to check this band out.

 Il fiume by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.49 | 66 ratings

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Il fiume
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I first encountered Le Orme's comeback album through the band's 1997 Prog Fest performance (the CD document and not, alas, the actual concert), which included a show-stopping medley of newer material, easily a highlight of the weekend event. The studio version of the same music, released one year earlier, was equally exciting in a welcome, retrograde sort of way, especially when considered alongside the truly awful soft rock the band had been playing over the previous decade.

Rarely has a musical group been in such a hurry to make amends for lost time. Orme's nose-dive from grace in the '80s was precipitous, and their return to form almost fifteen years later was equally sudden (but a more pleasant surprise). This was the sound of a band falling in love with its muse all over again, while retracing its steps to a place that almost looked like home.

The harder RPI edge of classic Orme was deliberately muted. But the album restored much of the romantic grace and melodic appeal of their better efforts from the 1970s, and with a likewise familiar respect for thematic unity. As suggested by its title, the album follows a winding musical river from source to sea, buoyed on the acoustic piano of newcomer Francesco Sartori: the star instrument here, and the perfect vehicle for depicting the ebb and flow of a meandering stream.

Don't expect any whitewater rapids, however. The piano sets a warmer and more relaxed mood than the ubiquitous synths that once tarred the band as the Italian ELP. And Aldo Tagliapietra's renewed fascination with the sitar was used to even gentler effect, in the song "Madre Mia" and elsewhere. My only gripe is with the overloud, artificial boom-thud of Michi Dei Rossi's drum kit, a sign of the times I suppose but totally out of sync with the rest of the album.

In retrospect the abbreviated live set on the Prog Fest disc culled the best material from the studio album, condensing it to a more digestible 16-minute sampler. It also played better without the album's occasional mild touch of boilerplate pomposity, like the additional gospel choir augmenting the song "Grande Acqua"...an indication of recharged ambition, or of self-conscious Neo-Prog overkill?

Maybe a little rust should have been expected, after so many years in pop music purgatory. In the end the album was a more than respectable three-star achievement, but with four-star implications. If Le Orme could find redemption in their bygone Progressive Rock past, there's hope for all of us.

 La Relazioni Pericolose by BADGE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.22 | 18 ratings

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La Relazioni Pericolose
The Badge Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Music By Mail

1 stars What an awful discovery! Nearly everything here is wrong, faulty, uninspiring, showing an extreme bad taste in musical choices and I don't say this to be smart! This is the first recording of musicians who have been there since the late 60's and God ... how I understand that nothing was contracted if the music back then was like the one heard here. Honestly, this should never have been released and I doubt there will be a following! I will not comment track by track but if you happen to buy this record, here are things you will face, provided you have a good ear!

1. intonations problems with singing, a few times decidedly false! 2. guitar at the limit og being out of tune (especially on track 1) 3. an amalgam of musical clichés 4. unstable tempi, speeding up and unable to keep it tight. Awful drum rolls, neither always in place 5. a bag of musical styles that you can throw out randomly, without any thinking, some of it being for ex. pure rock 'n' roll having nothing to do with retro-prog flood but put together with the worst taste possible. 6. A total lack of understanding transitions in a piece, and glueing a part with another on the spot ... a weird effect!

It seems like those guys tried to make a catalog of what they like but they don't have the creativity, the chops, the flame and so on ...

The only positive thing I could pull from this cheesy bag are the sounds of the various keyboards but you have heard those vintage instruments so many times before that also THIS works like a repetition of "déjà vu" and it has nothing to do with the playing, it's just programmed!

I wonder how Beppe Crovella could accept working on .... this! A huge (SIGH) herefrom ... it has been a very long time since I heard something of such a low artistic level. Not even for completionists (the one star grading).

 ESM#40 by ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO, L' album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 6 ratings

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ESM#40
L' Estate di San Martino Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by freddy59

4 stars A brief introduction; it still makes sense in 2015 to label the music, that is to want at all costs to differentiate kinds; maybe not and a clear example is the record that we examine which blends different genres to reach an attractive "fusion". This is the year in which "L'Estate di San Martino", the historic group of progressive Umbrian (but young in terms of record because their first album "Alder" was published only in 2006 thanks to renewed interest towards a "kind" which the progressive), celebrates the milestone of 40 years of career and does resumed his game once again; In fact, back in the market with an operation that could certainly seem risky, reread your last job (Talsete of Marsantino, ingenious anagram of the name of the group), according to an unusual pattern noise; I personally witnessed the growth of the product, from the presentation about 18 months ago in concert in a small and pleasant city, until the release of the album in question), and say that he does not "purely and simply", but by a deep change in the arrangements , favoring winds (also thanks to the invaluable contribution of Maestro Francesco Santucci, all-round musician who has managed to give a soul "jazzy" to work, and the introduction of other instruments (delicious percussion and accordion), the disc re-read thus becomes a project to be discovered again and opens the horizon for future work of the band); Talsete, published in 2012, is a work that certainly has its roots in the teachings of some leader of the international prog (Genesis of the first period after Gabriel in the first place), despite a personal search of originality as topics covered including its musical as well as texts, and we appreciate the work of the group that gradually grew to reach an effective executive level; we are pleased to recall in this regard that the group has so embraced the acoustic dimension to start the performance of Stefano Tofi who juggles very well the piano (as already observed in some tests concert), no longer immersed in the many electronic keyboards, but the whole group (Marco Pentiricci, guitars, vocals, woodwinds and harp Celtic, Sergio Servadio on drums, Massimo Baracchi on bass and Riccardo Regi on guitar) and offers a mature test showing that this could be the new path of the "ESM""; of course we must not forget that courtesy of the widow there is once again possible to listen to the wonderful voice in a couple of cameos of the late Francesco Di Giacomo who had already enriched the first version of "Talsete"; happy birthday "ESM", we hope that the future will bring even your new jobs to bring prestige to Italian prog but overall to delight the ears and if about ten years have produced four works of the group wait with confidence the new productions.

 Orme by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1990
1.39 | 33 ratings

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Orme
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Nobody here (I hope) really enjoys writing negative reviews, especially about a favorite band fallen on hard times. Nevertheless I feel obliged, strictly as a public service, to warn fans away from (Le) Orme's self-titled career nadir, released at the tail end of the anti-Prog 1980s.

Without wanting to repeat my belated tirade against their 1982 studio sell-out "Venerdi", I'll just say the music here makes the worst compromises of '80s YES and GENESIS sound downright avant-garde by comparison. If morbid curiosity, stubborn fanboy loyalty, or some form of insidious retroactive masochism should bring you within earshot of the album, expect a lot of schmaltzy, radio-friendly ballads, all bathed in a coagulating syrup of synthetic strings and passive rhythms, lacking even the tepid New Wave energy of its predecessor.

Years later, talking about the youthful Progressive idealism of the band's earliest efforts, frontman Aldo Tagliapietra would say, "What we wanted to do was change the world, change the music, and change society" (quoting from Will Romano's book "Mountains in the Sky: the Illustrated History of Progressive Rock"). In the end the opposite happened: the world, and society, changed them. But the less said about this unfortunate phase of Le Orme's career, the better.

So, enough already.

 Vola by MOSAICO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Vola
Mosaico Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mosaico come from Grosseto and their roots date back to 2000 when the first nucleus of the band was formed on the initiative of singer and lyricist Enrico Nesi and percussionist Simone Batignani with the aim of blending the tradition of Italian canzone d'autore from the seventies with other genres and influences. After some demos and line up changes, in 2009 the musical direction of the band turned to Italian progressive rock with a renewed repertoire. In 2014 they finally recorded and self-released an interesting debut album entitled Vola with a line up featuring Enrico Nesi (vocals), Cristian Dima (bass), Nicola Cambri (synth, Hammond, Mellotron, Rhodes, accordion), Alessandro Capanni (drums), Simone Batignani (congas, bongos, udu, jamblocks, cymbals, shaker) and Fabrizio Biscontri (electric and acoustic guitars). It's an excellent album of "prog cantautorale" with a great emphasis on lyrics, almost a collection of poems dressed up in progressive rock with influences ranging from Van der Graaf Generator and King Crimson to Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Premiata Forneria Marconi. This is not a concept album but in some way all the tracks have a common thread that is depicted in the art cover by Mario Bambagini, "Grande apertura" (Big opening), that symbolizes the need to find a way through a dark corridor to see the light.

The opener "Vola" (Fly), features a surreal, mystic atmosphere. It's a reflective piece where life is compared to a light leaf sailing on a river that flows from the mountains to the sea. The leaf can fall or soar like a butterfly but it can float and fly only when pushed by water and wind. The river carries everyone on its waters towards the sea, where all the waters get mixed, where life ends and there's no more pain...

The dark "Il bivio" (The crossroad) is a kind of psychedelic waltz that draws visionary, apocalyptic sceneries and invites you to wake up and make up your mind: the world is changing, the time of playing is over and your road has come to a crossroad... Law and justice are at odds, will you continue to accept passively what you are told or will you stand up and fight against your fate, shooting at the sky?

"Il critico, il profano e l'artista" (The critic, the profane and the artist) recalls Fabrizio De Andrè and is a melancholic reflection about the role that art plays in a man's life. There's no rule to capture its spirit, no way to invent a method to brew emotions, you have to heed the call of your heart and forget everything else. We might be equals in front of the law, but art make us different, special beings...

"Il nuovo potere" (The new power) is an amazing track that starts by church like organ waves and marching beats. It conjures up the images of a war that is in the meantime metaphorical and real. The power of media is overwhelming but your mind begins to wake up and you're experiencing new emotions, what you are told is not what you feel and tonight your war has begun...

"Questa santa umanità" (This holy humanity) is a caustic ballad with a nice Mediterranean flavour that starts by accordion and strummed acoustic guitar. It's a song against false honesty and the mirages conjured up by a holy humanity made of hypocrites and charlatans, against people who resemble to a herd of empty idealists wasting their breath...

"Materia e vita" (Matter and life) is an excellent track full of energy and irony that thunders words against materialism and consumerism with a particular poetical strength. Open your heart and you will attend a bold search for space that can even stop the hands of a clock and make time stand still...

"Lenti passi" (Slow steps) features the female backing vocals of the guest Lorenza Baudo and deals with the madness of war. Imagine the sound of leaves under marching boots, the slow steps of an army on its way to the front, then shimmering lights on the horizon and the thunder of a hundred cannons... Look at what a man can do! Old preachers, merchants of souls and politicians, listen to the families broken by hunger and pain... What we really need in this world is nothing but love!

The swinging "Sopravvivere" (To survive) is lighter and features another guest, Aldo Milani, on sax. It ends the album inviting you to open the gates of your heart leaving the shelters you metaphorically built to protect yourself from the outside world...

On the whole, this is an interesting album from a very promising band. You can listen to the complete album on bandcamp... So, have a try and judge by yourselves!

 Trasparenze by MALIBRAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 26 ratings

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Trasparenze
Malibran Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Trasparenze is the fifth studio album by Malibran, a band from Catania whose roots date back to 1987. It was released in 2009 on the independent label Electromantic, more than seven years after its predecessor Oltre l'ignoto. Although it was originally conceived as a solo project of the leader and multi-instrumentalist Giuseppe Scaravilli, later other members of the band joined him during the recording sessions and eventually this excellent work was released under the name Malibran with a line up featuring Giuseppe Scaravilli (vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, flute, bass, keyboards), Jerry Litrico (guitar) and Alessio Scaravilli (drums) plus the guests Giancarlo Cutuli (sax) and Toni Granata (violin). Of course, here composer and lyricist Giuseppe Scaravilli does the lion's share playing almost all the instruments but the result is in perfect continuity with the band sound. In the booklet you can find extended liner notes that explain the genesis of each track while the art cover is taken from a painting by Karl Friedrich Schinkel that in some way describes the spirit of this work...

The opener is the title track, "Trasparenze" (Transparencies), a complex suite with many changes in rhythm and mood featuring some passages that could recall Genesis or Jethro Tull. It's about the passing of time... All along your life there's something or someone that attracts you and shows you the way you have to follow with its perfumes and its fire. You have to go on and on as your age flows away like a short poem, between dreams and reality, led by your will and by the flames of that fire...

Next comes the dreamy "In un attimo" (In a while). It starts with strummed guitar and flute, then the music and lyrics conjure up a long awaited, timeless moment of peace. You have in front of you a white canvas that your are going to fill with the colours of your dreams... You are painting a magic landscape and your soul is flying over there. Your troubles are left behind and you can smile, forgetting for a moment all the problems of everyday life, your mind is already over there...

"Vento d'Oriente" (Wind from the East) features a mysterious, exotic flavour. Heavy electric guitar riffs are mixed with Mediterranean influences while the music and lyrics evoke distant deserts and ancient sands, lost identities and empty realities. Listen to the voice of the wind blowing from the East, it carries echoes of ancient songs and whispers mysterious charms...

"Presagio" (Omen) alternates calm, pastoral sections to heavy riffs and Latin rock passages. It tells of obscure presages looming on the horizon like the thundering sound of the rapids ahead while you are swimming on the calm waters of a river, cradled by the current. Well, you've better keep calm and fight against all the adversities of life without fear...

"Pioggia di maggio" (Rain of May) is a beautiful, dreamy instrumental track full of soaring, delicate melodies. It leads to "La marea" (The tide) that tells in music and words of the contrast between the need to go away searching for a better way of life and the responsibilities that prevent you from leaving, keeping you tightly bound to your routine. You know you have to stay but you feel a strange emptiness growing inside you, maybe one day or another you'll turn your glance back and you'll start running after an idea, following dreams and ideals, drifting with the tide towards new horizons...

"Nel Ricordo" (In the memory) is about the power of fate. Your future turns around you like a dark shadow from whom you can't escape, you'll soon forget who you are because you're already changing and moving forward, you can't help it! The days and the nights you spent are like circles in the water that soon will fade away, the past is going to melt in your memory, you can't cheat on destiny...

"Volo Magico" (Magic flight) is a short instrumental track that conveys a strange sense of mystery. You can hear the sound of the bumblebees around you as you're flying from flower to flower under the charm of exotic perfumes and colourful landscapes... It leads to the nocturnal atmospheres of "Promesse vane" (Vain promises), a piece about a man who feels like an eternal boy and finds difficult to accept his everyday life and the burden of time passing by. Where are the promises of his childhood, what is left of his old dreams? He's burning out and nothing but his fantasy and imagination can set him free from the metaphorical chains of reality and make him happy, at least for a while...

The short, dreamy "Gioco di specchi" (Game of mirrors) is a nice instrumental track that introduces the wonderful suite that closes the album, "Pensieri fragili" (Fragile thoughts), a long, complex piece that every now and again recalls Arti & Mestieri and begins by the sound of a pouring rain... Here the music and lyrics take you back in time to World War I, in a trench along the front between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Under the rain the thoughts of a young infantry soldier unfurl while the water washes away a desperate night of waiting. Around the soldier there is nothing but mud and fog but he dreams of enchanted valleys and smiling faces that now seem just faded memories... A thousands eyes observe the human fragility from the sky, the soldier feels that the real enemy is inside him, he wants to give up not because of cowardice but because he feels that this war is not his own business. He doesn't care about honour and glory and in the fog he gets stealthily out of his shelter and runs for his life, disappearing in the rain...

On the whole, I think that this is a wonderful album without weak moments that will not disappoint Italianprog fans...

 Vola by MOSAICO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Vola
Mosaico Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars Combining a strong mix of canzone d'autore (singer-songwriter) tradition with lush vintage RPI qualities, Italian band Mosaico deliver their debut album fourteen years after forming back in 2000. Driven by Enrico Nesi's charismatic voice delivering beautifully poetic words and an ocean of dreamy vintage keyboards that will make many listeners recall Italian symphonic proggers Murple, `Vola' is one of the most special recent Italian progressive albums. Everything from folk, gothic, classical and Mediterranean touches are woven through so many seamless direction changes, yet this album always remains focused and melodic, and a prominent use of accordion adds a lavish sophistication to the results.

With Nicola Cambri's glistening electric piano, whirring Moog, enticing hand-percussion, seductively murmuring thick bass and Enrico's melancholic croon, the opening title track races through tempo changes back and forth with energetic purpose. The more brisk moments of P.F.M-like bursts bristle with danger, while some rollicking guitar passages come across like a more controlled Biglietto per L'Inferno. `Il Bivio' is driven by gothic church organ prances and very mellow, dreamy Moog runs, `Il Critico, Il Profano, I'Artista' is a melancholic folk ballad where Nicola's accordion weaves between gentle acoustic guitar and delicate Mellotron veils, and the frantic `Il Nuovo Potere' pirouettes through an exhausting variety of dizzying instrumental displays fuelled by Alessandro Capanni's snappy drumming, snarling bass and spirited guitar behind Enrico's rapid-fire vocal deliveries.

`Questa Sunta Umanitá' is a Mediterranean flavoured folk ballad with acoustic guitar, joyous accordion and Simone Batignani's tabla-like percussion that still manages a sprightly energy, and some foot-tapping darker grooves infiltrate `Materia e Vita' through devilish organ runs and Fabrizio Biscontri's wilder guitar outbursts for a touch more gothic malevolence. `Lenti Passi' is a warm accessible tune with a stirring male/female chorus over Cristian Dima's purring slinking bass, and there's even the lightest of sly reggae flavours to the verses! Album closer `Sopravvivere' will prove a little more divisive, a jaunty and bouncier little funky jazz/pop finale, Aldo Milani's sultry but dirty wafting sax playing with a Gong-like darker mischief.

While some of `Vola's more swooning moments will appeal to lovers of Locanda delle Fate's debut album due to the similar romantic vocals and uplifting, magical instrumental qualities, there's a welcome hint of Biglietto per L'Inferno-like danger permeating many of the compositions. Yet despite the couple of influences mentioned here, and plenty of characteristics that align the band with classic vintage Italian prog, the band don't sound like any other RPI band and have their own unique personality. The balance between singer-songwriter passages and rich instrumental elegance from this group of talented musicians means `Vola' is one of the most strikingly exotic and exceptionally confident modern RPI releases, and it also sets an impossibly high standard for a debut album than many other Italian progressive groups should take note of!

Four stars - well done Mosaico!

 Venerdi by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.66 | 32 ratings

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Venerdi
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars The title of (Le) Orme's 1982 pop sellout album doesn't translate to English as "Love Beach", but it's close enough. The ace Italian proggers obviously weren't the only musical group caught in a lemming-like rush toward commercial suicide at the start of the decade. But not many bands made the same leap so blindly, or hit the ground with such an immediate thud.

For most Progressive Rockers the transition was gradual, and spread out over several albums. Orme achieved the same inglorious results in the first notes of a single song. The melodic tuned percussion at the start of the album opener "Biancaneve" was promising, but when drummer Michi Dei Rossi slammed into that big '80s down-beat it was like a drain plug being suddenly pulled, sucking one of the most distinctive ensembles in the entire RPI pantheon down into a cheap mercantile sewer.

A belated knee-jerk reaction from an unreformed Prog Snob? Well, not entirely. The album wouldn't have sounded quite so mercenary if the songwriting had any merit. But when the group lost their ambition they also misplaced all their melodic hooks, along with every shred of musical taste and sensitivity. Earlier, lightweight Prog-Pop efforts like "Smogmagica" at least had genuine character, and legitimate Italian flavor. Unlike the strictly derivative, totally anonymous synth-pop collected here.

Part of the blame can be assigned to producer Roberto Colombo, recently of PFM and an eclectic jazz-rocker in his spare time. Otherwise lovely songs like "Rubacuori" might have been salvaged by more sympathetic handling, but sledgehammers and gelignite were the studio tools of choice at the time. The album's only saving grace is the familiar lilt of Aldo Tagliapietra's singing, conspicuously out of place in such an artificial setting.

The album's title, by the way, actually translates as "Friday". And the band's name, as any fan can tell you, means something like "Footsteps". But where the Orme style was previously light on its toes, here it affected a shallow plod leaving no imprint whatsoever, all the more disappointing after the delicate neo-classical refinement of "Florian" and "Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape". Sadder yet: even worse was yet to come...

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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
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
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
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