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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 | 1225 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.38 | 974 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.39 | 765 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.37 | 831 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.29 | 612 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.29 | 625 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.30 | 467 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.28 | 617 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.26 | 693 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.23 | 535 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.25 | 291 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.23 | 330 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.21 | 429 ratings
YS
Balletto di Bronzo, Il
4.23 | 264 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.22 | 263 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.22 | 241 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.22 | 225 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.30 | 117 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM: THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte e Miele
4.17 | 211 ratings
PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO
Celeste
4.09 | 409 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.15 | 231 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.26 | 125 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.09 | 331 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.10 | 304 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PIÙ
Locanda delle Fate
4.20 | 143 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.19 | 140 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.10 | 248 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.10 | 237 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.15 | 156 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.08 | 240 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.09 | 209 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.07 | 243 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.09 | 190 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.15 | 129 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.15 | 126 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.02 | 301 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.06 | 196 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.25 | 81 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.05 | 209 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.01 | 278 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.18 | 99 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate di San Martino, L'
4.05 | 178 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.15 | 104 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
4.11 | 114 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI
Jumbo
3.97 | 263 ratings
SUMMEREVE
Hostsonaten
4.05 | 137 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
3.94 | 356 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.01 | 170 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi della Valle
3.99 | 181 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
4.02 | 148 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.06 | 114 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
Hostsonaten
4.07 | 109 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.24 | 58 ratings
STRIGMA
Taproban
4.00 | 147 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
3.96 | 182 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.01 | 127 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.10 | 81 ratings
CAPITOLO 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.11 | 77 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
4.06 | 92 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
4.20 | 57 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
4.12 | 72 ratings
DELIRIUM III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
3.93 | 190 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
3.94 | 154 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
3.98 | 120 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.05 | 86 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
3.95 | 116 ratings
1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO
Area
3.92 | 143 ratings
SENSITIVITÀ
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.00 | 90 ratings
AUTUMN SYMPHONY
Hostsonaten
3.96 | 105 ratings
PFM IN CLASSIC: DA MOZART A CELEBRATION
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.02 | 76 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO, THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
3.93 | 115 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi
3.93 | 114 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte e Miele
3.90 | 130 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
4.20 | 41 ratings
HYSTERO DEMONOPATHY
Antonius Rex
4.13 | 49 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
4.18 | 43 ratings
STEMS
Conqueror
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
3.90 | 111 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
3.83 | 158 ratings
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - CHAPTER ONE
Hostsonaten
3.92 | 89 ratings
DNA
Jumbo
4.16 | 39 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
3.99 | 63 ratings
L'ISOLAMENTO DEI NUMERI PARI
Astrolabio / Elettrosmog
3.96 | 70 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band
3.93 | 79 ratings
ODYSSÉAS
Syndone
4.04 | 50 ratings
VOCI
Basso, Luciano
4.13 | 40 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
4.05 | 48 ratings
THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY CIRCLE
Three Monks
4.04 | 48 ratings
NOUS
Nodo Gordiano
4.09 | 42 ratings
FRONTIERA
Procession
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
3.81 | 138 ratings
CAMPO DI MARTE
Campo di Marte

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

GLI OCCHI DI UN BAMBINO
Torquati, Toto
CAMPO DI MARTE
Campo di Marte
IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI
Paese dei Balocchi, Il
LA FOLLIA DEL MIMO DI FUOCO
Officina Meccanica

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Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Respiri Lunghi 1000 Miglia by PLENILUNIO album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Respiri Lunghi 1000 Miglia
Plenilunio Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Plenilunio come from Acqui Terme, a small town in the province of Alessandria and in 2012 released an interesting debut album with a line up featuring Roberto Maggiotto (vocals), Valter Camparo (keyboards), Fabrizio Genta (guitars), Fabio Zorgno (drums) and Roberto Camparo (bass). It was entitled Respiri lunghi 1000 miglia and was released on the digital label Battitorumore/Believe Digital (so far, unfortunately, there is no physical copy available I'm aware of). Although the love of the musicians involved in this project for bands such as Premiata Forneria Marconi or Locanda delle Fate is apparent, their main influences seem to come from classic rock and Italian canzone d'autore with a strong leaning for melody. The songwriting is not particularly challenging, there are no long suites or extended solos but the final result is pleasant and never banal. According to the band, their pieces should be considered as small pictures on the walls of the feelings with gleaming frames to enhance their content, every single note is meant as a chisel for the lyrics that capture the meaning of emotions lost in winter mists and troubled hearts lightened by a full moon on a sleeping plain...

The opener "Giugno '78" (June '78) takes you back in time on a journey on the wings of nostalgia. Sitting in an armchair with a cat at your feet, watching at an old photo-book with a smell of white glue, you listen to an old vinyl album... The first notes take off like bats drawing mysterious trajectories in your room and conjure up the images of a trip to Zurich in the seventies, a solid friendship, hopes and dreams. Now your memories are like lightnings escaping from the clouds of Time...

The title track "Respiri lunghi 1000 miglia" (1000 miles long breaths) tells of old split ups and painful separations, ships sailing across infinite, metaphorical oceans, people and lovers that you can't forget, moonless nights without love, timeless vigils and unexpected come backs after years of absence... The following "Il blu" (Blue) depicts in music and words a magical dawn and all you have to do is close your eyes and imagine a dreamy landscape with woods and hills all around: you would like to pick up a piece of blue sky and put it in a canister saving it for the grey days...

Next comes the melodic "Pioggia" (Rain) that describes an autumnal day with rain drops falling on the windows like tears from the sky and dancing leaves in the air swept by the wind. You can see the bolts on the horizon tearing apart the sky like knives while romantic memories are still lingering in your head... "Il finestrino" (The window) takes you for a while on the dark side of the moon and depicts a train running fast across hills and plains. The thoughts of a commuter on his way back home unfolds while the panorama changes outside the window...

"Sogno" (Dream) is lighter and depicts a man who is living a kind of musical fairy tale, a daydreamer strolling around the city and feeling like a child in an amusement park. It leads to the suggestive "Inconfessabile" (Unconfessable) that tells about the meeting of two lovers in the city, on a windy winter day lightened by desire and passion. Then it's the turn of the calm, reflective "Le paure" (Fears) that evokes old fears, haunting memories and icy dreams melting in an autumnal day, swept away by the inner light of a new awareness.

"Arrivi tu" (You come) recalls Lucio Battisti and is light and melodic. On an autumnal day the image of a charming, smiling woman comes out of the blue and makes your heart beat fast... Next comes the bitter-sweet "Lettera al paradiso" (Letter to Paradise), about the relationship between a father and his son. "Sui gradini" (On the steps) is a romantic piece that tells of emotional alchemies that set your eyes on fire while your reason get lost on the rocks of your senses. It leads to closer "Pleni", a short instrumental with an ethereal, baroque atmosphere...

On the whole, this is a nice album with strong melodies and some good ideas but I'm sure that this band can do better. At the moment they are recording a new album with a renewed line up and I'm looking forward to listen to it...

By the way, you can listen to the complete album in streaming on deezer or spotify: have a try!

 Limiti All'Eguaglianza Della Parte Con Il Tutto by HOMUNCULUS RES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 13 ratings

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Limiti All'Eguaglianza Della Parte Con Il Tutto
Homunculus Res Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. HOMUNCULUS RES are an Italian band who have created a Canterbury album which was greatly influenced by fellow Italians PICCHIO DAL POZZO. We get 18 tracks over the 48 minutes of running time. This is light and melodic and it's sure to put a smile on your face. There are some crazy long song titles including the title of the album which again is almost a tradition when we're talking about Canterbury music. It's cool to see Ske(YUGEN etc.) helping out as a guest on several keyboard related instruments.

"Culturismo Ballo Organizzare" is by far the longest track at just under 6 minutes. It reminds me early on of ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS and the vocals arrive quickly. Catchy stuff. Lots of piano and drums on this one including some intricate guitar before 2 minutes. "Delta U" is light and catchy with laid back vocals. The tempo really picks up after a minute which is a cool section. "DJ Psicosi" is a feel good tune with vocals. It's fairly uptempo at times as the tempo shifts gears throughout. The keyboards and drums lead the way and we get some trumpet as well after 2 minutes which is a welcomed new element.

"Preparazione Bomba H" is a top four and actually my favourite song on here. Water sounds and wind to start as the piano joins in. This has vocal melodies and a catchy sound. Can a song possibly make me feel any better than this one does? "Sintagma" is a short electronic sounding piece. "Jessicalaura" opens with relaxed piano as bass, drums and guitar join in followed by vocals and backing vocals. This sounds more like an RPI tune and it's gorgeous. Some flute here as well. "(Che Ne Sai Tu Di Un)Cerchio Nel Grano" is a top four for me. We get beautiful vocal sounds, flute and a beat. I like when it picks up, it reminds me of SOFT MACHINE for some reason with the fuzz. This song transports me.

"Rifondazione Unghie" is drum and flute driven as other sounds join in. A catchy uptempo tune that sounds so good when the synths lead after 2 1/2 minutes to the end. "La Ballata Dell'amore Stocastico" is led by piano and reserved vocals. It's laid back early on but it does turn fuller as contrasts continue. "Chi Phi" is another excellent tune led by vocals, piano, drums and synths. "Nabucco Chiappe D'oro" is another top four song for me. Man this sounds amazing and I love the piano and intricate sounds. Also we get mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Il Papa Buono" is uptempo with pulsating organ and drums standing out. A spacey calm arrives before a minute with mellotron, synths and more, then it kicks back in after 1 1/2 minutes. "Accidenti" is a very short 23 second tune that honours the Canterbury greats.

"Centoquarantaduemilazttocentocinquantasette" is actually the title of this track, is it even a word? Piano and drums lead the way as the music starts and stops which i'm not a fan of. It then starts to flow beautifully after that though. "Profiterol" is led by percussion early on as the guitar and more join in. This is so uplifting. Synths also arrive and lead. "Estate 216 Solstz" features vocal melodies and breezy instrumental work. Another feel good tune. "Puk 10" is my final top four. This is all about the mellotron and buzzing synths. "Il Contrario Di Tutto" ends the album and we get reserved vocals and a mellow sound.

I'm such a sucker for that Canterbury sound and these Italians certainly have impressed me big time with their own special take on that beloved sub-genre. A must for Canterbury fans.

 Grande Joe by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Grande Joe
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars The first time that I listened to BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO was to their very good "...di terra" album from 1978 which was lent to me in 1985 by a friend and musician who was one of the keyboard players in a band in which I was playing then, called "Argos" (of course, it is not the same band which is included now in the Prog Archives database, as I realized a few days ago). The band on which I was playing the drums then had eight members!

Also in 1985, one saturday evening I was watching TV, and in one of the channels of the Mexican TV there was the broadcasting of the "Sanremo Music Festival 1985". I watched to the TV programme for some minutes, not really being a fan of this kind of music festivals. But I was very surprised when BANCO appeared in the TV screen playing live, or more likely doing a playback, to a very Pop Rock song, which after doing some research in Wikipedia and in youtube, thirty years later, now I know it was called "Grande Joe", the song which is in this single. I was very surprised to see BANCO on TV in 1985 playing this song after liking a lot their "...di terra" album.

After finding it now and listening to this song several times in youtube and watching to a video of them doing a playback of this song in front of an audience (maybe it is an official video for this song, or maybe the scenes, with some edits and added visual effects, were also recorded at the Sanremo Music Festival, but I can`t remember very clearly now if they are the same scenes that I watched on TV then...maybe not...I watched to them on TV thirty years ago!) now I know the reason I was so surprised by this song. This "Grande Joe" song is a very Pop Rock song in the very typical style of the eighties: programmed drums, electronic drums, very typical eighties keyboard sounds (maybe also some programmed keyboards), the use of some reverb,...

The song is not bad. In fact It is a good Italian Pop Rock song, with good vocals by the late Francesco Di Giacomo. But the change of musical style (in comparison to their musical style of the seventies) was very drastic for me in 1985, and it still is today. As I don`t speak, read and write in the Italian language, I can`t understand the content of the lyrics. Who is "Grande Joe"? I don`t know. I also don`t know if this song was a Hit Single for the band in Italy or in other countries.

It seems that the eighties was a time for change in musical style for a lot of the Prog Rock bands of the seventies . It also happened to some Italian Prog Rock bands, like BANCO, P.F.M. and LE ORME.

For collectors and fans only.

 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 263 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 2

In my humble opinion, Area is with Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme, the four best bands from Rock Progressivo Italiano, in the 70's. Area was the first group, with whom I had contact, on this genre of music. "Crac!" is their third studio album and was released in 1975 and it represents my first contact with the group. With this album, the group gained more popularity all over the world and confirmed finally the great value of them.

I was very surprised when I listened to this album for the first time. Its strong musical compositions, between Jazz Rock/Fusion and Rock Progressivo Italiano, with their left-wing lyrics and the unique and spectacular voice of Demetrio Stratos, something that I never heard before and which is completely inimitable, amazed me completely. The Demetrio's voice needs to be listened to be believed. His avant-garde vocal techniques and the agility with cuts between genres and motifs are absolutely astonishing. Sincerely, I can't compare Area with any other group. They are a completely different and truly original band. I strongly recommend this band to everyone who likes Jazz Rock/Fusion with Progressive Experimental Rock and likes to listen to something wild, new and different.

"Crac!" was one of my first vinyl albums. For me, "Crac!" is their best studio album, with theatrical vocals and an experimental, exotic and robust sound. The energy contained on this album is really and truly incredible, and it's full of abundant humour. "Crac!" is an avant-garde album and represented a breath of fresh air in the progressive rock scene.

"Crac!" has seven tracks. The first track "L'Elefante Bianco" is a song with ethnic sounds and is essentially an instrumental track with variations all over the same theme. It's a track full of energy with clearly Oriental musical influences and some nuances of the southern Mediterranean music. The second track "La Mela Di Odessa" is a song that starts with an instrumental part and continues with great musical works by the entire band, with Demetrio's vocals accompanying perfectly the music and giving a more melody to the song. This is a very complex track that begins with some experimental sounds and a drum solo. It's a typical jazz rock fusion track with symphonic tendencies. The third track "Megalopoli" is the longest song on the album. It's a superb instrumental track with Demetrio's vocals performed as a musical instrument. This is a very intricate song full of energy and clearly influenced by the usual concepts of the jazz rock fusion style. The fourth track "Nervi Scoperti" is another instrumental track with nice guitar and keyboard solos. It's a vibrant and tense piece of music where the drumming is the star here. It begins with Fariselli assuming the leading role with his truly amazing piano work, preparing the ground to Tofani flourish and complemented perfectly by the Capiozzo work. The fifth track "Gioia I Rivoluzione" is a song where stands out more the powerful voice of Demetrio. It's an acoustic and peaceful song. It has a very unusual introduction that features some acoustic guitars and powerful melodic lines. This is clearly a song that shows a tendency towards a more conventional tunes and a less intricate and complicated sound, in contrast with the more experimental forms, such as "Implosion" or "Area 5". It became as one of the best Area's songs. The sixth track "Implosion" is a free instrumental and experimental track where each member of the band plays an instrument improvising in their one way. It begins very calm and soon develops with some sudden musical changes of mood and rhythm. This is a track that contrasts perfectly well with everything else which was made before. The seventh track "Area 5" is a very weird experimental track full of improvisations and with some solos and noises. It's the smallest track on the album, a truly contemporary classical piece of music. This is a very bizarre track that originally concludes this great album.

Conclusion: "Crac!" is one of the best progressive albums from the group and represents a mark in the Italian progressive music. It has also some of the best popular and known songs from the band, like "L'Elefante Bianco", "La Mela Di Odessa" and "Gioia I Rivoluzione". They quickly became some of the songs most performed live by the band, keeping the long instrumental parts that have become as one of the mainly characteristics of the group. To finish my review, I must say one more thing. The band describes themselves as an International POPular group. Sincerely, they take it very seriously. Why? Because Area, defines them as a POPular group, which means that they are a band that creates music for the people and for the masses because they don't create music for the elites. Area is a very special band and "Crac!" is a very special album. It's definitely one of the most influential albums of the 70's in the Italian progressive scene. This is a classic album in its genre, and it's for those who love to listen to something different, fresh and new. Sincerely, this album should be part of every progressive musical collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Biglietto Per L'Inferno by BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.09 | 209 ratings

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Biglietto Per L'Inferno
Biglietto Per L'Inferno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars In the sea of progressive rock that flooded the world in the early 70s, no country seems to surprise me more than the musical Renaissance that was sweeping Italy. While other European countries like England, France and Germany were finding some of their progressive acts successful abroad, it was Italy that had one of the most fertile home grown movements and included amongst the bigger names like PFM, Banco and Area was a tidal wave of one-shot wonders that poured out from the Italian prog scene with one outstanding example after another of unique and progressive takes on the burgeoning movement. BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO (Ticket To Hell) is just one of many such bands that joins the ranks of Museo Rosenbach, Maxophone, Semiramis, Alphataurus, Alusa Fallax, E.A. Poe, Flea and Locada Delle Fate amongst others who released only one classic release in the 70s before disbanding. This band emerged in 1972 in Lecco, the Lombardy region in Italy from two dance-hall cover bands (Gee and Mako Sharks) and once together wasted no time in garnering a significant following resulting from their reputation of putting on outstanding live performances. This caught the attention of Maurizio Salvatori, owner of Trident Records and finally in 1974 the band released their debut eponymous album.

While barely making a blip on the radar of the musical world in general at the time the debut album was released, BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO has passed the tests of time and since then has become one of the classics of 70s Rock Progressive Italiano. While the band utilizes all available Italian influences such as PFM, Banco and other symphonic prog influences, the band equally embraced the more straight forward hard rocking techniques of bands that embraced the most luscious melodic developments and ran away with them. While comparisons to Deep Purple can come to mind for the hard driving guitar riffs mixed with keyboards, i would say that BIGLIETTO's sound is probably more reminiscent of Osanna for their own melodic hard rock that expanded the progressive tendencies more through the thematic developments and trade-offs rather than a barrage of complex time sigs, nonrepetition of themes or just taking things on a bizarre trip to Planet X. The results of this mix of hard rock and progressive themes makes this a much easier sound to digest upon first listen unlike behemoths of complexity that may take several listens to take in. Despite their influences on board, BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO successful created a new formula of delivery of instantly addictive hooks while taking you on a wild ride of originality.

Part of the band's original sound comes from two keyboardists both named Giuseppe (Banfi and Cossa) and they really display an impressive command of the music. Generally speaking one keyboardist delves out some classical inspired runs while the other handles atmospheric duties. They always complement each other quite well and there is no sense of competition at all. As with much of Italian prog of the 70s, BIGLIETTO does indeed alternate between soft tender passages and harder edged rock guitar. Marco Mainetti handles guitar duties and he is clearly a major player of the day. He delivers some of the heaviest riffs in prog much less this type of symphonic variety. He is equally capable of delivering some scorching solos that add a definitive edge over the contemporaries. The rhythm section of Fausto Branchini (bass) and Mauro Gnecchi (drums) is equally compelling and able to shift gears at the drop of a hat but one of the most notable members of this musical cast is vocalist and flautist Claudio Canali who just tears it up vocally and dishes out some of the most virtuosic flute runs i've ever heard in rock music making Ian Anderson seem tame in comparison! There are times where it feels like a Jethro Tull meets Van Der Graaf Generator scene. Canali is also the mastermind behind the lyrical content and although my Italian isn't proficient enough to understand every single word, the title of the band should give it away regarding the content. Ticket To Hell is the theme indeed where Canali explores the ills of Italian society including murder, suicide and social decay. While the lyrics tend to be dark and brooding, the music is lively and quite exhilarating.

As with many others i have been flip-flopping over whether to award this beautiful music 4, 4.5 or 5 stars. It is true that is derivative in many key ways of other bands who came before and despite seamlessly incorporating these styles, BIGLIETTO is with no doubt riding the crest of the great progressive tidal wave that would soon crash against the shores of a changing musical reality. However, despite it all there is more than enough originality woven into every track on this epic album and it flows perfectly from beginning to end like one large ever expanding track. There are no weaknesses for my tastes and every musician dynamically blends his talents into a satisfying whole. While the complexity is not up to the heights as other bands of the day, the energizing effect is quite effective. The music is simply brilliant on many levels and is gratifying time and time again. Due to all of the positives that this beautiful creation resonates i will have to go with 5 for despite it all, it was riding the crest of that wave at the moment when this kind of sophisticated music was at its peak.

 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 48 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NODO GORDIANO are from Italy and they began life in the mid-nineties doing covers of songs from bands like KING CRIMSON, GENESIS and PINK FLOYD. The influence of each of these bands can be heard on this their latest album called "Nous". I first became aware of this band through their previous album "Flektogon" which really impressed me, so when I heard about this latest offering I picked it up as soon as I could. It's hard to believe this is a trio because they create so much sound. Effects and synths certainly help with that as they conjure up a lot of atmosphere at times.

"Portonovo" opens in a spacey manner with strummed guitar as reserved vocals join in around a minute in. This is all so laid back and we get percussion helping out as well. A change before 4 minutes as flute-like sounds join in and then it picks up before turning fuller with some aggressive guitar coming and going. A curious choice for the opening number I must say. "Aion" is a very FLOYD-like track circa "The Wall". Atmosphere and guitar brings PINK FLOYD and RIVERSIDE to mind. It kicks into gear after a minute followed by some prominant bass. Another atmospheric calm follows before 3 minutes then the guitar starts to make some noise as it builds. Another calm after 6 minutes but this is very spacey right to the end.

"Apologia Del Nolano" is a top three track for me. A dark beauty with out-front bass as the guitar comes in followed by these deep male vocals that have character. I really enjoy the drumming here. Glockenpiel to the fore after 2 minutes then a calm arrives before 4 minutes with laid back vocals. It stays this way until it ends although we get some organ late. "Nous" is another top three tune. A spacey intro goes on for some time then the guitar starts to solo and it all turns fuller before 3 minutes. I like how dark and powerful this becomes and check out the Hendrix-like guitar that echoes sort of like on "All Along The Watchtower'", a very similar tone. Love this stuff. A calm arrives 6 1/2 minutes in as it becomes atmospheric and dark. It then starts to build until it breaks out with power. "Officina" is my other top three and after a spacey opening with the guitar soloing over top it changes 3 minutes in to a GENESIS-like sound, especially with the pulsating organ but there's more to it than that. This ends before 5 minutes when it returns to a similar sound they started with on this track.

"Arthriana" opens with the sounds of birds which are replaced by glockenspiel and more then it turns powerful just before a minute. The guitar is crying out over top. A calm with more glockenspiel and bass before it builds. Boy this one changes moods a lot. It turns dark with bass before 4 minutes as the drums impress. Some nice guitar expressions as well. Samples after 6 minutes of horses and also people talking. More glockenspiel then it builds. Dark and powerful but restrained is how i'd describe the conclusion which is uplifting. "Stella Mary" opens with the sounds of waves rolling in as piano joins in reminding me of CHROMA KEY. Guitar expressions help out then there's a change before 2 minutes as it picks up. A dark calm before 3 1/2 minutes along with water sounds. The female vocal melodies before 5 minutes are a nice touch as this continues to the end.

Another solid 4 star album from these Italians who continue to impress the heck out of me.

 La Crudeltà Di Aprile by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.23 | 264 ratings

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La Crudeltà Di Aprile
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is UNREAL CITY's debut album released in 2013 and it certainly created a buzz back when it came out. I really like the cover art as well as the picture of the band in the liner notes. Unfortunately all of the written notes are in Italian so I can't relay any information from there. I really like the fact that I can hear some of the classic RPI bands at times when listening to this album but there's also a modern flavour in the Neo vein at times. So while i'm very impressed with this recording i'm also not blown away by any means. Great singer here singing in Italian and lots of mellotron which I appreciate. Some guest violin on a couple of tracks as well.

"Dell'Innocenza Perduta" opens with piano as outbursts of power come and go. They then get in this groove until it settles back before 2 minutes then the laid back vocals arrive. Mellotron follows and it will come and go. Some nice guitar after 3 1/2 minutes then it all picks up 5 minutes in sounding like classic RPI with the drums and organ out front. Violin 6 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Atlantis(Conferendis Pecuniis" starts with mellotron as synths, piano and drums join in. The guitar starts to solo slowly over top. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles back but then it quickly turns more powerful. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in with the vocals and mellotron shining bright. A cool instrumental section follows then vocals are back after 5 minutes. Lots of synths and vocals in the second half of this song. "Catabasi(Descensio Ad Inferos)" features lots of organ and drums to start as vocals and mellotron join in. It kicks in at 3 minutes with the violin over top. Passionate vocals follow with a heavy sound. A calm before 5 1/2 minutes as the mood changes completely with fragile vocals and a lighter sound. I like the guitar after 7 minutes as it reminds me of Conny Veit's playing.

"Dove La Luce E Piu Intensa" is uptempo at first with lots going on. It settles with mellotron a minute in as vocals follow. It picks up again at 3 minutes but this is different from the beginning of this track. Another change after 4 minutes, vocals too. It picks up again with vocals a minute later. "Ecate(Walpurgisnacht)" opens with some gorgeous mellotron as piano and drums join in. It starts to pick up, guitar too. Vocals after 2 1/2 minutes as it has settled back some. Mellotron too, as we get a light and catchy sound. An interesting soundscape after 5 minutes as it turns dramatic then it picks up again around 7 minutes with vocals. A heavy ending to this one. "Horror Vacui" is the almost 18 minute closer. Synths and a fairly heavy sound a minute in as the mellotron rolls in. Catchy stuff. I like the piano/mellotron combo that comes and goes. Some aggressive guitar before 4 1/2 minutes followed by vocals as it settles, lots of synths too. There's an excellent pastoral section from around 10 1/2 minutes to 14 minutes when the guitar, drums and mellotron spice things up.

Without question this is one of the better modern RPI bands out there and this their debut is a very solid 4 stars in my opinion.

 Goblin Rebirth by GOBLIN REBIRTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 11 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.

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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
CRYSTALS Italy
GINO D'ELISO Italy
GIANNI D'ERRICO Italy
DALLAGLIO Italy
DALTON Italy
DE DE LIND Italy
DELIRIUM Italy
MAURIZIO DI TOLLO Italy
I DIK DIK Italy
DISTILLERIE DI MALTO Italy
DIVAE Italy
DUEMILA12 Italy
ECLISSE Italy
EDERA Italy
EDGAR ALLAN POE Italy
EGO Italy
EGONON Italy
EMPIRE Italy
ENEIDE Italy
ENIMA Italy
ENTITY Italy
EQUIPE 84 Italy
ERA DI ACQUARIO Italy
ERIS PLUVIA Italy
ERRATA CORRIGE Italy
L' ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO Italy
EUTHYMIA Italy
EXPLOIT Italy
FABIO CELI E GLI INFERMIERI Italy
FALENA Italy
FEM PROG BAND Italy
FESTA MOBILE Italy
FILARMONICA MUNICIPALE LACRISI Italy
FILORITMIA Italy
FINISTERRE Italy
FLEA Italy
FLOATING STATE Italy
RICCARDO FOGLI Italy
FOGLIE DI VETRO Italy
FORMULA 3 Italy
FABIO FRIZZI Italy
CLAUDIO FUCCI Italy
GARYBALDI Italy
GENCO PURO & CO. Italy
GENFUOCO Italy
GERMINALE Italy
FRANCO MARIA GIANNINI Italy
GIARDINI D'AUTUNNO Italy
GIARDINO DELLE DELIZIE Italy
I GIGANTI Italy
GIGI PASCAL E LA POP COMPAGNIA MECCANICA Italy
IL GIRO STRANO Italy
GLEEMEN Italy
GOBLIN Italy
GOBLIN REBIRTH Italy
GRAN TURISMO VELOCE Italy
GREENWALL Italy
GRIMALKIN Italy
GRUPPO 2001 Italy
GUERCIA Italy
H2O Italy
HOMUNCULUS RES Italy
HOPO Italy
HORUS Italy
HOSTSONATEN Italy
HUNKA MUNKA Italy
IANVA Italy
IBIS Italy
IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS Italy
INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE Italy
J.E.T. Italy
JACULA Italy
JANUS Italy
JESTER'S JOKE Italy
JET LAG Italy
JUMBO Italy
KUNDALINI SHAKTI DEVI Italy
LABIRINTO DI SPECCHI Italy
LAGARTIJA Italy
LASER Italy
LATTE E MIELE Italy
LUCIANO LAURINI Italy
LEO NERO Italy
I LEONI Italy
LETHE Italy
LIBRA Italy
LINEATEORICA Italy
LOCANDA DELLE FATE Italy
EMILIO LOCURCIO Italy
LOCUS AMOENUS Italy
LOGOS Italy
LOST TALES Italy
LOTHLORIEN Italy
MACROSCREAM Italy
MAD CRAYON Italy
MAD FELLAZ Italy
MADRUGADA Italy
MAGNOLIA Italy
MALAAVIA Italy
MALIBRAN Italy
MALLEUS Italy
MANGALA VALLIS Italy
LE MANI Italy
MARCHESI SCAMORZA Italy
LA MASCHERA DI CERA Italy
MAURY E I PRONOMI / AQUAEL Italy
MAXOPHONE Italy
MEDITERRANEA Italy
MELLONTA TAUTA Italy
MESSAGGIO 73 Italy
METAMORFOSI Italy
MINDFLOWER Italy
MINSTREL Italy
MIRAGE Italy
MO.DO. Italy
LORENZO MONNI Italy
MONTEFELTRO Italy
MOSAICO Italy
IL MUCCHIO Italy
MURPLE Italy
MUSEO ROSENBACH Italy
FRANCO MUSSIDA Italy
MYROS Italy
LA N.A.V.E. Italy
NARROW PASS Italy
NASCITA DELLA SFERA Italy
NEW TROLLS Italy
NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM Italy
NICOSIA & C. INDUSTRIA MUSICALE Italy
NODO GORDIANO Italy
NOTABENE Italy
I NUMI Italy
NUOVA ERA Italy
NUOVA IDEA Italy
OBSCURA Italy
THE ODEJA Italy
ODISSEA Italy
OFFICINA MECCANICA Italy
L' OMBRA DELLA SERA Italy
OMBRALUCE Italy
LE ORME Italy
ORNITHOS Italy
OSAGE TRIBE Italy
OSANNA Italy
IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI Italy
MAURO PAGANI Italy
PANDORA Italy
PANE Italy
PANGEA Italy
PANNA FREDDA Italy
MARIO PANSERI Italy
PARADISO A BASSO PREZZO Italy
MAURO PELOSI Italy
I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Italy
LA PENTOLA DI PAPIN Italy
PERDIO Italy
PERIFERIA DEL MONDO Italy
PERSIMFANS Italy
PHAEDRA Italy
PHOLAS DACTYLUS Italy
GIAN PIERETTI Italy
PIERO E I COTTONFIELDS Italy
PIERO EZIO E TINO Italy
PLANETARIUM Italy
PLENILUNIO Italy
PLURIMA MUNDI Italy
LE PORTE NON APERTE Italy
PREGHIERA DI SASSO Italy
PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Italy
PRESENCE Italy
PROCESSION Italy
PROGENESI Italy
PROPHEXY Italy
PROWLERS Italy
PSYCHO PRAXIS Italy
QIRSH Italy
QUARTO VUOTO Italy
QUASAR LUX SYMPHONIAE Italy
QUEL GIORNO DI UVE ROSSE Italy
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA Italy
RACCOMANDATA RICEVUTA RITORNO Italy
I RAMINGHI Italy
RANDONE Italy
RANESTRANE Italy
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA Italy
RICORDI D'INFANZIA Italy
CLAUDIO ROCCHI Italy
ROCKY'S FILJ Italy
IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Italy
IL RUMORE BIANCO Italy
IL RUSCELLO Italy
RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI Italy
SACKA Italy
SALIS Italy
SAMADHI Italy
SAMSARA Italy
TITO JR. SCHIPA Italy
LA SECONDA GENESI Italy
SECRET TALES Italy
IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Italy
SEMIRAMIS Italy
LE SENSAZIONI Italy
SENSITIVA IMMAGINE Italy
SENZA NOME Italy
SEZIONE FRENANTE Italy
SHOWMEN 2 Italy
PAOLO SIANI & FRIENDS FEAT. NUOVA IDEA Italy
SIDE C Italy
IL SISTEMA Italy
SITHONIA Italy
SLOGANS Italy
LA SORGENTE Italy
ALAN SORRENTI Italy
ST.-TROPEZ Italy
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Italy
STRANAFONIA Italy
DEMETRIO STRATOS Italy
SUBMARINE SILENCE Italy
SUNSCAPE Italy
SYNDÉRESI Italy
SYNDONE Italy
TACITA INTESA Italy
TAPROBAN Italy
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE Italy
TENEBRAE Italy
I TEOREMI Italy
STEFANO TESTA Italy
THEGENERATION Italy
THREE MONKS Italy
TILION Italy
TOTO TORQUATI Italy
LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA Italy
TRIADE Italy
THE TRIP Italy
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI Italy
TUGS Italy
UBI MAIOR Italy
ULTIMA SPIAGGIA Italy
UNA VOLTA ERAVAMO IN SETTE Italy
UNO Italy
UNREAL CITY Italy
L' UOVO DI COLOMBO Italy
VEDDA TRIBE Italy
VIEUX CARRE Italy
VITTORIO DE SCALZI - LA STORIA DEI NEW TROLLS Italy
IL VOLO DI ICARO Italy
IL VOLO Italy
RICCARDO ZAPPA Italy
ZAUM Italy

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