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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)
rdtprog (Louis)




Additional information:
Italian Prog - A dedicated RPI site
http://www.italianprog.com

Italian Prog Map - A superb blog by RPI writer Andrea Parentin
http://italianprogmap.blogspot.com/

Andrea Parentin's history of RPI (essential reading)
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=33377&PID=2345095#2345095

Andrea Parentin's contemporary Italian prog (newer bands)
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=62150&FID=58

Movimenti Prog
http://www.movimentiprog.net

Centro Studi per il Progressive Italiano
http://www.centrostudiprogitaliano.it

John's Classic RPI blog - Another good blog on the "classic" era
http://classikrock.blogspot.com/

Arlequins - A prog rock webzine with much RPI content
http://www.arlequins.it/gb/index.asp


Where to buy Italian prog
Syn-phonic (USA) - http://www.synphonicmusic.com
Doug Larson (USA) - http://www.douglarsonimports.com
Kinesis (USA) - http://www.kinesiscd.com/index.html
Wayside (USA) - http://www.waysidemusic.com/
Mellow Records (Italy) - http://www.mellowrecords.com
BTF (Italy) - http://www.btf.it
Black Widow Records (Italy) - http://www.blackwidow.it
Camelot Music Store (Italy) - http://www.semanticweb.it/camelotstore/
Discogs - www.discogs.com

Rock Progressivo Italiano Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Rock Progressivo Italiano | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.40 | 1671 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.37 | 1140 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.37 | 1051 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.33 | 1326 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.31 | 866 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.28 | 869 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.28 | 649 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.24 | 933 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.27 | 469 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.23 | 847 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.23 | 571 ratings
YS
Balletto Di Bronzo, Il
4.21 | 673 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.25 | 360 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.24 | 398 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.23 | 319 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.18 | 327 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.19 | 295 ratings
CELESTE [AKA: PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO]
Celeste
4.17 | 312 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.14 | 365 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.14 | 336 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.19 | 212 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.10 | 396 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PIÙ
Locanda Delle Fate
4.11 | 351 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.12 | 325 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.20 | 180 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.09 | 410 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.17 | 186 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.11 | 278 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.04 | 524 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.24 | 118 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.13 | 180 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.12 | 185 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM - THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte E Miele
4.06 | 291 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.09 | 213 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza Di Zeno, La
4.07 | 259 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi Della Valle
4.07 | 250 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.07 | 226 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza Di Zeno, La
4.02 | 369 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.02 | 301 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.12 | 148 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI ?
Jumbo
4.04 | 253 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
4.00 | 367 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.00 | 358 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio Delle Clessidre, Il
4.03 | 245 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.08 | 159 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.10 | 143 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
4.04 | 192 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
4.04 | 198 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
3.99 | 254 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.03 | 189 ratings
WARM SPACED BLUE
Ingranaggi Della Valle
4.06 | 147 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
Höstsonaten
4.09 | 120 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
3.94 | 457 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.06 | 140 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate Di San Martino, L'
4.04 | 157 ratings
AVENOTH
Bocca Della Verità, La
3.99 | 201 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio Delle Clessidre, Il
4.09 | 107 ratings
III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
3.96 | 254 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
3.94 | 302 ratings
SUMMEREVE
Höstsonaten
4.02 | 147 ratings
MYSOGINIA
Syndone
4.00 | 161 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.00 | 150 ratings
1984 - L'ULTIMO UOMO D'EUROPA
Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto, La
4.05 | 113 ratings
CAP. 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.14 | 76 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
4.01 | 130 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
3.98 | 153 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.23 | 55 ratings
LA BELLA È LA BESTIA
Syndone
4.05 | 100 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO - THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
3.92 | 213 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
3.93 | 175 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
4.03 | 97 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
3.92 | 192 ratings
SENSITIVITÀ
Coscienza Di Zeno, La
4.05 | 87 ratings
TALE OF A DARK FATE
Albero Del Veleno, L'
3.97 | 127 ratings
AUTUMNSYMPHONY
Höstsonaten
3.99 | 114 ratings
STRIGMA
Taproban
3.87 | 303 ratings
COLLAGE
Orme, Le
4.02 | 89 ratings
NOUS
Nodo Gordiano
3.92 | 160 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte E Miele
3.98 | 106 ratings
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
3.99 | 100 ratings
ULISSE - L'ALFIERE NERO
Progenesi
3.96 | 120 ratings
DI CARNE, DI ANIMA
Gran Turismo Veloce
4.11 | 60 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
3.92 | 141 ratings
ODYSSÉAS
Syndone
3.92 | 151 ratings
PROFONDO ROSSO [AKA: DEEP RED] (OST)
Goblin
4.11 | 58 ratings
E TUTTO COMINCIÒ COSÌ ...
Sensitiva Immagine
4.10 | 60 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
3.90 | 152 ratings
IO SONO MURPLE
Murple
3.93 | 118 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band / Forza Elettromotrice
3.94 | 113 ratings
DEDALO E ICARO
Cerchio D'Oro, Il
4.08 | 62 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
4.04 | 71 ratings
NEO
Torre Dell'Alchimista, La
3.89 | 155 ratings
1978 - GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO!
Area
3.87 | 185 ratings
CAMPO DI MARTE
Campo Di Marte
3.90 | 144 ratings
ESSERE O NON ESSERE ?
Volo, Il
3.88 | 159 ratings
PFM IN CLASSIC - DA MOZART A CELEBRATION
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.02 | 74 ratings
LE PORTE DEL SILENZIO
Malibran
3.87 | 179 ratings
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - CHAPTER ONE
Höstsonaten
4.00 | 77 ratings
A SPACE ODYSSEY, PART ONE - MONOLITH
RanestRane
3.96 | 93 ratings
NOI AL DIR DI NOI
Promenade
3.87 | 168 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi

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

TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
TARDO PEDE IN MAGIAM VERSUS
Jacula
NOSTOS
Ubi Maior
STORIA MAI SCRITTA
Capuano, Enzo

Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 In fondo vedo il niente assoluto by ATTI PUBBLICI IN LUOGO OSCENO album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
In fondo vedo il niente assoluto
Atti Pubblici In Luogo Osceno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Atti Pubblici in Luogo Osceno came to life in 2014 in Bagheria, a little town in the province of Palermo, Sicily, on the initiative of Gioacchino D'Amico and Sergio Giuliana. After some personnel changes and a good live activity on the local scene where they played original stuff and some covers of bands such as Queen and Pink Floyd, in 2018 the band self- released an interesting debut album entitled In fondo vedo il nulla assoluto (At the bottom I see the absolute void) with a line up featuring Antonio Tralongo (vocals), Alessandro Siragusa (keyboards, vocals), Gioacchino D'Amico (guitar, vocals), Gabriele Lo Iacono (bass) and Giuseppe D'Amico (drums). In my opinion the hard work of the band to refine their original compositions paid off and the result is a nice mix of vintage sounds, hard rock and melody that is absolutely worth listening to. Although the sound quality might not be perfect it is better than that of many albums recorded in the seventies and the capacity to convey emotions of the musicians is apparent.

The opener 'La boutique degli inermi' (The shop of the helpless people) is an introspective track about regret and lost chances. There's a vein of melancholy in the surreal, dreamy atmosphere as music and words conjure up images of Christmas lights and old books while a pendulum clock beats the time swinging between boredom and agony. A bunch of doubts are your only company as you enter an old shop at the end of the road where a gipsy shows you all the time you lost looking through the window, in search for answers you never found' Standing still, looking at the bricks in the wall we are all the same, dummies and clones adrift on the ocean. At every step you can hear the sound of creaking wood follow the weightless, crumbling body of a lost fool dancing on the shores of Ys...

The following 'Sal' starts with a funky incipit, then in turns the music reminds me of Max Gazz', Il Balletto di Bronzo and Deep Purple' It's a sarcastic piece against consumerism and the false ethical values of an obscene world where it doesn't matter if you steal or commit a crime provided that you do it with class. The title refers to Sal' or the 120 Days of Sodom, a 1975 Italian-French horror art film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini that is a loose adaptation of the novel The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade reset during WWII. The film explores the themes of political corruption, murder, abuse of power, sadism, perversion, sexuality and fascism and here the band express all their disdain for the lack of moral values in our society...

The bitter-sweet 'Quando ' gi' finito' (When it's already over) is an impressionist piece drenched in melody and nostalgia where music and words have the colours of a Claude Monet's tableau. It tells of the end of a romance... A girl has left Sicily and his sweetheart for the city of Bologna and the fogs of the Padan Plain...

The long, complex 'Venivo da sinistra' (I was coming from the left) ends the album blending hard rock, jazz rock and dreamy melodic passages. The caustic lyrics, interpreted with a strong theatrical approach, tell of defeatism and indifference in of a world on the wane, of crazy dreams melting at dawn and of the loneliness and pain of a man going in the wrong direction who feels lost in a world he can't accept...

On the whole, a very promising debut work!

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.28 | 649 ratings

BUY
Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars And here's to you the Area's debut album.

The Lp has an avowedly politicized cover in fact Area are not only a rock band but an icon of the Italian student youth movement of the Seventies, and carry on, together with the editor of their discographyc house Gianni Sassi (alias Frankestein), author of the texts, a Marxist revolutionary discourse.

1. Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero) (4:27). Area's epochal debut starts with a woman's voice reciting very musical verses in Arabic. Then the operatic vocals by Stratos fill our ears, and finally the guitar (Tofani) draws an arabesque but also medieval melody (worthy of Branduardi, minstrel and Italian violinist who only in 1975 will release his first album). The medieval nursery rhyme melody is then doubled by another electric guitar then starts a moment of jazzy cacophony, noise, with avant-garde sounds, then restarts the melody. It will remain the only melodic and captivating, catchy piece on the album. The lyrics talks about the palestinian drama. Masterpiece. Rating 9.

2. Arbeit Macht Frei (7:56). The piece begins with a free-jazz improvisation with the percussion (Capiozzo) in the foreground, then sound effects arrive, electronic sounds that increase more and more, accompanied by the powerful bass by Djivas until, around two minutes and forty, a blues drumming explodes and finally around four minutes a bass riff takes shape which becomes the rhythmic axis of the song, in fact a blues. The singing of Stratos arrives at four and a half minutes from the beginning, the duration of the previous song. Together with the singing and the blues rhythm, the sax played by virtuoso musician Busnello continues with its jazz improvisations, then the music stops, the rhythm changes and the guitar solo of Tofani starts, which then gives way again to Stratos' powerful voice, who sings for a short while before the sudden ending arrives. Masterpiece. Rating 9+.

3. Consapevolezza (6:06). Fariselli, author of all the music, and synths player, brushes a very progressive instrumental intro, full of changes of rhythm and very atmospheric, which after a minute and a half gives space to the energetic voice of Stratos that has no equal in approach, and creates a sense of alienation with the jazz rock music of the group. After two verses, a jazz improvisation led by Busnello's sax, which reveals himself as the album's main soloist, starts. Under the sax, in the background, Capiozzo makes great jokes on the drums. The song despite having a strong blues riff as the first has at least a more relaxed air than the previous two, which were a real tour de force. But towards the end, when Stratos' voice returns, the song explodes. Great song but in comparison with the firsts two is more ordinary. Rating 8+.

End of wonderful A-side.

4. Le Labbra Del Tempo (6:00). Jazz-rock music with the bass in evidence, Strato's voice is not in the foreground, and neither is the drums, in a very jazzy style. Then towards 2'15'' the virtuosic jazz instrumental piece (bass and keyoboards in evidence) starts and ends with a cacophonic piece, then, towards 4 minutes the music stops, Strato's voice returns, making virtuoso vocalizations and then there is an orchestral orgasmic ending. After the first song it is the most sung one of the record. Rating 8.5/9.

5. 240 Chilometri Da Smirne (5:10). Instrumental jazz-rock song, with the sax in evidence, which deepens into an orgiastic virtuoso solo up to two minutes, accompanied by a very jazzy drums. Then a bass solo starts, then the drums come back, Tofani on the guitar plays his solo and then the saxophone and the organ start to draw their lines again. Rating 8.

6. L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin (6:45). We got to the last piece of the album, the most arduous, cryptic, avant- garde. Slow start with sound effects, then starts a cacophonous piece where Tofani and Fariselli play at high volume, and the bass of Djivas, a real gem, embellishes the sound, while Capiozzo focuses more on the dishes than on the snare. Stratos' vocalizations create onomatopoeic sounds that blend with the lyrics in Italian, the sax this time is in the background and is prodigious in dissonant sounds almost in the style of Van der Graaf, and with a suspended atmosphere, true avant-garde, we hear a disaffected music, atonal, until the cacophony explodes again. It's an extreme song, which is more like or be detested. I like it, especially as the conclusion of this album. Of course, if it was all six like this, we would have lost a lot in sound content, but as a forward epitaph it's great. Rating 8,5.

Area created with this record what they called international-pop and which was instead a jazz-rock / avant-garde / fusion prog-rock, an absolute masterpiece where the instrumental part was predominant on the singing of Stratos, which was completely alien to rock and melodic music, it was an emphatic and solemn singing, much sought after, sometimes recitative, sometimes tending to the singing of the opera. The musical part is very strong and innovative. This album has nothing to do with Italian progressive rock and is actually a case also internationally. Difficult to catalog, I would include it in the jazz-rock/fusion genre but also in the avant-garde. Area, however, is not limited to writing a music never heard, without genre, and to prodigious in great instrumental and vocal performances, they manage to forge a music rich in suggestions and innovations, that is, they make history. We are facing, in my opinion, one of the greatest masterpieces of prog - and contemporary music.

Medium quality of the songs: 8,67. Absolute masterpiece. Rating 9,75. Five stars (six, If I could).

 AttosecondO by ALPHATAURUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.01 | 130 ratings

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AttosecondO
Alphataurus Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

5 stars My biggest regret is not buying Attosecondo when it came out but I can hardly blame myself as I tend to regard these reunion albums with suspicion and for good reason, because so many of them give us such embarrassing and substandard material. You can tell their hearts aren't into it, or clueless what listeners want or they're not into the kind of music they were playing some 40 years ago. Alphataurus avoided all those pitfalls and create what has to be one of the finest releases of 2012. True only two of the members from their '70s incarnation are present but here it didn't hurt them. While not a clone of their 1973 classic this one very much stands on it's own. Tons of wonderful keyboards with the occasional Emerson-like organ moves and great use of Moog, with amazing creative and complex passages. On the opening cut "Progressivo-Mente" it sounded like there's a couple passages where they borrowed from Canadian prog artist Robert Connolly with his 1978 album Plateau but it could be coincidence. But what really amazed me about the album is the high quality musicianship throughout. This is the kind of prog I've been looking for, and when it comes for too many more recent releases quality has been sorely lacking. If a classic prog band from the '70s should reunite they should learn from Alphataurus. Not your typical reunion effort, this is an amazing album and one of the best from the 2010s.
 Il Velo Dei Riflessi by QUEL CHE DISSE IL TUONO album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Il Velo Dei Riflessi
Quel Che Disse Il Tuono Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM"

This Italian formation was founded early 2019 in Milan by four young musicians: Francesca Zanetta on guitars and additional vintage keyboards (she was the founder of Unreal City), Niccol' Gallani on keyboards, flute and additional vocals (he is an active member of Cellar Noise), Roberto "Berna" Bernasconi" on bass and lead vocals, and Alessio Del Ben on drums, and additional keyboards and vocals. Quel Che Disse Il Tuono (which means 'What The Thunder Said') is a band, and not a side project. The five songs were (according to the band) 'composed from totally new material, without any pre-existent idea being used, during 2019 Quel Che Disse Il Tuono worked a lot to compose songs that could define, speaking about both mood, playing and composition, a very distinctive sound and direction' The biggest influence is symphonic progressive rock from the early 70s, especially Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Camel and Pink Floyd. But all members also like the prolific Italian prog. All of these bands had a deep impact on their musical backgrounds.

1. Il Paradigma Dello Specchio (Primo Specchio) (9:13) : After the sound of thunder (inspired by the band name) the band delivers wonderful and dynamic, vintage keyboard drenched Seventies symphonic rock with hints from Camel, early Genesis and Le Orme. The one moment it's dreamy with flute, Mellotron and sensitive guitar, the other moment bombastic with powerful guitar and drums. This is topped by an omnipresent Hammond, along awesome Mellotron and Minimoog sounds, wow! The warm Italian vocals add a pleasant flavour to the music.

2. Figlio Dell'Uomo (Secondo Specchio) (9:23) : This alternating composition contains even more Vintage Keyboard Extravaganza featuring soaring Mellotron violins, majestic Mellotron choirs, tender Fender piano runs, flashy pitchbend driven Minimoog flights and bombastic Hammond runs (evoking Le Orme, first album). Other strong points are the varied guitar work (from moving to powerful riffs and fiery runs) and the emotional vocals, always a big bonus if Italian bands use their own language.

3. Chi Ti Cammina Accanto? (Terzo Specchio) (5:43) : This is a beautiful ballad, very tastefully coloured with fragile guitar play, the distinctive string-ensemble, intense Mellotron violins (reminding me of Museo Rosenbach and the Skandinavian prog), melancholical Grand piano, delicate flute, and topped with strong and emotional vocals. To me the music sounds like a happy marriage between early UK prog (Camel and Genesis) and Classic Italian prog. The final part is a Stairway To Prog Heaven faturing intense Mellotron violin, bombastic Minimoog, sensitive electric guitar and Mellotron choir, in the end tender Grand piano, slowly fading away, simply wonderful.

4. Il Bastone e Il Serpente (Quarto Specchio) (10:36) : The first part evokes to me the sound of early Landberk with raw rock guitar, blended with vintage keyboards (Mellotron Hammond and Minimoog). Then lots of shifting moods, from dreamy with flute to dynamic with rock guitar and Hammond. The contrast between the powerful electric guitar and soaring Mellotron (reminding me of Museo Rosenbach) creates a lot of tension in the music. The final part delivers a strong build-up and climax with a tight rhythm-section, moving electric guitar, awesome Mellotron choir and Minimoog. This is an exciting blend of Seventies UK symphonic rock and Classic Italian prog.

5. Loro Sono Me (Catarsi) (13:45) : This album ends with the longest epic, it sounds very bombastic and dynamic in a 24-carat symphonic rock tradition. I notice hints from King Crimson and Anekdoten (compelling, dark, fiery guitar and intense Mellotron), ELP and Le Orme (bombastic Hammond) and Il Balletto Di Bronzo (bombastic, agressive drums and majestic Mellotron). The music contains a lot of strong musical ideas, like the interplay between Mellotron brass and harpsichord, then Spanish guitar (part of Asturias) with rock guitar, 'classic meets prog'. Or the final part: after a Mellotron violins interlude and slow drums (evoking early Genesis), a rock guitar joins, the music builds to a grand finale featuring strong vocals, again an awesome Mellotron choir sound, varied guitar work (from subtle distorted to very moving) and lush Hammond, in the end again (like in the first song) the sound of thunder, wow, this is the band in its full splendor, very well done!

Highly recommended!

 Arrivederci Sogni by DOTTRINA DEGLI OPPOSTI, LA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.95 | 63 ratings

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Arrivederci Sogni
La Dottrina Degli Opposti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars La Dottrina degli Opposti is the brainchild of Genoese composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrea Lotti, former member of La Coscienza di Zeno. The first fruit of this project is entitled Arrivederci sogni (Goodbye dreams) and was released in 2018 on the independent label Fading Records. It was recorded by Andrea Lotti (piano, keyboards, guitar, mandolin, accordion) with the help of Gabriele Guidi Colombi (former member of La Coscienza di Zeno and Il Tempio delle Clessidre) on bass, Paolo Tixi (former member of Il Tempio delle Clessidre) on drums while Francesco Ciapica (current member of Il Tempio delle Clessidre) took charge of the vocal parts. Along with them there's the orchestra of the conservatory Giorgio Federico Ghedini from Cuneo that provided a classical touch to the arrangements in tradition of Italian symphonic prog. The music draws on seventies influences with an updated sound and in my opinion fans of bands such as Premiata Forneria Marconi will surely enjoy this album, a conceptual work dealing with the transition from adolescence to adulthood, enchantment and disenchantment, dreams and reality...

The delicate, short opener 'Dove Dio dipinge le nuvole' (Where God paints the clouds) is a beautiful instrumental track that sets the atmosphere perfectly blending piano and synthesizers with the sound of the orchestra. It leads to the complex 'Nero, grigio e tu' (Black, grey and you) that describes in music and words a new dawn and the beginning of another dull working day. Night dreams get drown and melt away in a cup of coffee while in the streets people start to move following their usual routine like faceless, tearless shadows. You try to act like them but you can't, you miss the freedom of your childhood and set your fantasy free, now the desire to take off and fly away in the sky is overwhelming... In my opinion, here some musical passages have been deliberately composed to pay a tribute to PFM and other sources of inspiration like Lucio Battisti but the piece is excellent despite a faint sense of déjà vu.

'Equilibrio' (Balance) is an ethereal, short interlude with the orchestra in the forefront and the following 'Sulla via del ritorno' (On the way back) is another good instrumental piece with strong PFM influences. Then it's the turn of 'La riconquista della posizione eretta' (The reconquest of the upright position) that depicts in music and words strange soaring forms, new identities floating in the air, between sky and earth, light bodies flying among the clouds, running one after each other trying to feed their soul with colours and hopes...

'Quiete' (Stillness) is another short instrumental interlude that introduces the last track, the long, articulate 'Fra le dita' (Between the fingers) that tells of a meeting in a caf' between a young man and a woman. The young man is a shy student, a dreamer that can't find the right words to express his feelings... Well, the art cover by Eloisa Giacosa in some way depicts this meeting better than my words and fits the music very well giving an idea of void and melancholy in a world where too often dreams clash against reality.

All in all, Ithink that this is a very good album and that it is really worth listening to.

 Felona E Sorona by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.24 | 933 ratings

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Felona E Sorona
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Le Orme is considered to be a major '70 symphonic prog group from Italy. The band uses almost every keyboard sound from the ELP pallet. Yet, Le Orme ends up sounding more authentic because of the cultured Italian footprint that relies less on virtuosity, but on beauty and sensitivity. The airy vocals by Aldo Tagliapietra are among the best of the Italian prog genre and the band uses the short song-burst to great effect between the electronic & symphonic interludes. Though there are some folky bits with acoustic guitar, the band mostly uses organ, synths, bass guitar and drums. On this album the band uses more electronics then usual, sometimes adding a spacey layer to the music. Whilst the atmospheres change between dark and melancholic to optimistic and energetic, most of the album is actually quite dark - which I like. 'Felona E Serona' is a concept album mostly made up of shorter songs. It does however sound more like a single multi-part epic, also because of the short running time of 34 minutes. In Italian progressive music I usually get bothered by the slightly out of tune synths and 'Felona E serona' isn't an exception. Otherwise, this would have been a masterpiece - for it clearly has that memorable edge to it.

The remastered Universal vinyl reprint has a nice warm sound to it. I couldn't find any of the problems with the production sound that others have described in such detail.

 Destinazioni by MELTING CLOCK album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.08 | 6 ratings

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Destinazioni
Melting Clock Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MELTING CLOCK is an Italian prog band originating from the early 2000's. Their debut album Destinazioni was finally released last winter by the Black Widow label. The CD version is 61 minutes long; the 2LP edition contains a 16-minute medley of the material of King Crimson's debut In the Court of the Crimson King as a bonus (I haven't heard it). The band page is packed with information, so I'll concentrate on the music. The album has some conceptualism, dealing of a journey or something. Both Italian and English words are printed, but all singing is in Italian.

A good female vocalist definitely isn't too common in RPI. Emanuela Vedana has a nice, clean voice and her expression is elegant, free of over-dramatization but not without emotion. She would suit in a lyrically oriented vocal music as well. The band sound is also pretty sophisticated and mellow, featuring elements from classical music and folk. Keyboardist and additional vocalist Sandro Amadei and guitarist Simone Caffè are the main composers, and neither of them is pushing their playing in the centre of attention in a virtuotic manner. All the musicians in the group are technically good, they just aren't head over heels to show it off. Does this polite democracy and the lack of more notable soloing result as a mild degree of progressive rock flavour? Well, perhaps a little on some songs, but if you want to listen to intense, ELP-influenced RPI, there are myriads of bands in that style. Melting Clock is a fresh exception, closer to being a cross between Renaissance and the most artistic Dire Straits than edgier prog such as King Crimson that they have covered. Moreover, I think the majority of recent Italian prog bands with a female vocalist have more or less been oriented to hard rock, which is very minimal here. Yes, the electric guitar occasionally speeds up, but the acoustic guitar is often more essential in the sound.

The melodic style is a relatively accessible combination of vocal oriented, calm pop rock and 70's inspired symphonic rock. Even the least proggy songs are enjoyable, and none of them actually is following the verse/chorus structure. Album highlights include 'Antares', which is one of the tracks to feature beautiful vocalise singing, and the three-part title piece which is clearly the proggiest track. This is a band worth keeping an eye on!

 Elisir D'Ambrosia by ELISIR D'AMBROSIA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.95 | 2 ratings

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Elisir D'Ambrosia
Elisir D'Ambrosia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Elisir d'Ambrosia come from Venice and were formed in 2013 on the initiative of guitarist and composer Marco Causin and drummer and music teacher Simone Sossai. Their aim was to play original music inspired by the historic prog bands of the seventies but adding a touch of modernity and their own sensitivity, so they looked for other musicians who would share their project. After some personnel changes and a hard work, in 2018 the band self-released an eponymous debut album with a line up featuring Marco Causin (electric and acoustic guitar), Alessio Uliana (keyboards), Riccardo Brun (bass), Andrea Stevanato (vocals) and Simone Sossai (drums) and the help of some guests such as Quanah Parker's leader Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Paolo Ongaro (percussion) and Enrico Callegari (bass). In some way, the album cover by Simone Faggian describes its musical content and its dark evocative colours... In my opinion it's a very nice work full of passion and vintage sounds that should be of real interest for Italian prog lovers.

The opener "Ambrosia" is a good instrumental track built up with electric pink bricks and dark vintage keyboards. Although every now and again the music could recall Pink Floyd and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso there's ample room for the band's own creativity... Then comes "Cenere" (Ash), a long track that evokes the cathartic power of dawn. The light of a new day sweeps away the ashes of a nightmarish, restless sleep crowded by opaque spectres and cannibal gods, disturbing memories and broken hearts. Here the vocals and some hard guitar riff could recall Jumbo or Biglietto per l'Inferno... Not bad at all!

"Cardiologia" (Cardiology) starts by a nervous electric guitar arpeggio, then heartfelt vocals depict in music and words the doubts and the inner struggle of a vain musician whose heart is burning like an old firewood. He plays his concerto over and over again and his music is compared to the arrogant image of his mirrored ego... There is a nice central passage that could recall Santana, then a sparkling keyboards solo ends the piece.

The following "Dimensione deserto" (Dimension desert) is the shortest track on the album. It's a curious mix of melancholic atmospheres and Latin rock, a strange musical path that ends with the voice of a barker that invites you to enter another dimension where you can find all the time you need, but beware! You have to leave behind flesh and bones... It's a perfect introduction to the long, complex "Libero di volare nel vento" (Free to fly in the wind), a beautiful piece that describes in music and words a transcendental, esoteric experience and every now and again could recall Il Bacio della Medusa and Il Biglietto per l'Inferno. There are strong poetical images and a surreal sense of absurd, here the Grim Reaper has a laughing, mocking face and plays a white guitar as the protagonist leaves his memories as a pilgrim leaves behind his possessions to take off in a dark sky, without chains and finally free to fly in the wind and to melt into a timeless immensity... A great track!

The melancholic, relaxed "Piano piano" (Slowly) conjures up the image of a man slowly floating on the sea, carried away by the waves, crossing the currents and waiting for better days, trying not to drown while escaping from the raging storms of everyday life... Then comes the dreamy "Luna" (Moon), a kind of lay prayer to the moon, the astronomical body that has always illuminated the heart of poets and filled them with hope. The ashes of our burnt dreams can't cover its timeless light, pure and inviolate...

The last track "Tenebra" (Darkness) is a committed complaint against the obscure games of power of the political and economical world. It depicts a smothering fog falling down, obscuring the mind of the protagonist and driving him mad. He tries to escape but nightmares as tentacles of a mysterious entity try to capture him and draw him back into the darkness where godless gods push humanity into a primordial chaos stirring irrational fears. There are unscrupulous madmen in charge of our destiny who think to be immortal and their overwhelming greediness risk to bring humanity on the brink of extinction... A very good piece to end a very interesting work!

 Archimede by PARDINI, NICOLA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.95 | 2 ratings

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Archimede
Nicola Pardini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nicola Pardini is a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer from Pisa who in 2016 self-released a very interesting debut album entitled Archimede, featuring the precious collaboration of vocalist and lyricist Stefano Simoncini. On the album Nicola Pardini plays all the instruments showcasing not only a great musicianship but also a songwriting full of inventiveness and an extraordinary sense of rhythm while the vocals and poetry of Stefano Simoncini add colours and visionary images, strange melodies and exotic flavours. You can hear here influences ranging from jazz rock to prog, from classical music to folk and more, all mixed with gusto and freshness...

The long opener "Pietra e sasso" (Rock and stone) is a magnificent epic about the mystery of life and the origin of the universe seen through the eyes of a child. It begins by the description of a spectral landscape and the threatening images of a wild nature on a primordial plante, the atmosphere is dark, the rhythm pounding and tight. There are eruptions and thunders, you can see shapes of broken rocks swept by the wind under a heavy black sky while you're slowly dragged into a nightmarish world, towards new borders, new mysteries, new certainties, new passages, new tides, new entities, new currents, new horizons... Now new stars shine over you and in the depth of the earth you can perceive a hellish power without humanity stirring under your feet as the whole universe dances following the rhythm of the gravity force... Then the atmosphere becomes more relaxed and a new image appears: there's a little boy under a tree in front of a mountain, he takes a stone from the ground and observes it, the stone seems able to speak and he asks the stone from where it comes from... The stone answers, it's like in a dream, there's magic in the air as the music runs through a jazzy area before coming back to the starting point with a reprise of the first part. A wonderful track that every now and again could recall Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Area!

The dreamy "Bilbo Song", inspired by a J.R.R. Tolkien's character, tells in music and words of an endless journey through dark, timeless woods, where you can walk by light steps upon fallen leaves, touching softly invisible shadows, following the notes of a spring song carried by the wind with joy in your heart and hope in the future... Over the clouds there's a silver ship, come on board!

The following "Baffoman" tells of a music that is able to melt Time as you try to escape from bad memories, running away from carved smiles and greediness. The music flows halfway between enthusiasm and nostalgia as you are hiding away, trying to break through the walls of a busy city where you can never find a quiet moment. Then comes "Nostalgico" (Nostalgic), a piece where the lyrics evoke the memory of a smile that can give birth to melancholic shivers and powerful emotions pushing you to seek for new musical dreams...

The title track, "Archimede", was inspired by the character of Archimedes of Syracuse, a famous Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer. The music is rich in ideas, changes of rhythm, games of balance and other delicious intricacies while the lyrics evoke a spectacular sundown and the weight of dreams. Here ideas and concepts are compared to precious treasures to discover, imagination is what can really lead to a better future following an abstract path that will surprise you!

"Hoima" is a piece that conjures up exotic sceneries and the rhythms of Africa. The title refers to a city in Uganda, near the Lake Albert, and the lyrics describe a landscape of incredible beauty, full of positive energy. The following "Solitario" (Solitary) is another colourful track with strong ethnic flavours that could drive you from Africa to Jamaica and back to Europe in a while, almost making of distance an empty word...

The closer "Memo" is a calm, reflective track that tells about lost chances and disappointments that you can cure thanks to the healing power of music. There's always a gap between dreams and reality that you have to fill during your life. Sometimes let the music drive your way and take it easy: with a new awareness you can really look at the world under a different point of view!

On the whole, this a very interesting album and if you like bands such as Deus Ex Machina or D.F.A. I'm sure you'll love it!

 Voices by MANGALA VALLIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.06 | 9 ratings

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Voices
Mangala Vallis Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by alainPP

3 stars MANGALA VALLIS releases his 4th album at the beginning of the year for a renewed sound, pop rock atmospheres a little used that made the happiness of our radio stations some time ago. They enjoy composing in harmony with sounds that seem to please them. "The Centre of Life" opens the album with a warm title, almost rocky voice and pop-prog-FM air, synth well present for an energetic rock with bass emphasis, then a well-placed solo that defines the sound well. "No Reason" continues with a more FM radio tune, both in tone and rhythm; the English voice is so pleasant to hear that there are no markers on Italian origin; after a few gentle choruses, the second part is very gradual with development around the synth and guitar solo also rhythmic, its well in the atmosphere of the 90's, catchy title. "Get It While You Can" follows with a warm piano and guitar arpeggio, all surrounded by Roberto's sensual and deep voice; alternating FM moments languorous style ballad and breaks more incisive with percussion well in place allows to give an airy and less intimate dimension, the guitar solo of Niky and the synth base of Gianfranco turning the ball in a beautiful way until the piano returns. "The Voice Inside" also begins with a piano and drum rhythm, and a high voice, reminiscent of what was done in the 80's and 90's, good but without any real novelty; here again, it's the guitar that saves the composition a little with notes that tear the air and make a little go in three times; FM solo par excellence , then return of the agreed chorus. "An End to an End" pushes the nail even further with this title pulling on new wave sounds with synths giving electronic rhythm; one is limited here on a pop-rock ballad to listen to in car and open windows or convertible, the air slide guitar limit country giving a little more in the genre with a battery of a shot highlighted, the end with an orchestral break almost symphonic . "Demon" arrives, energetic with synths again forward, it reminds from afar of the constructions of SAGA where synth turned the ball with the guitar during a verse; it's energetic, a bit of the GENESIS of the 80's or the MARILLION in fact, but without the voice here too garish, too acute; fortunately as since the beginning of the album, the title starts on a different tune, a second drawer in the middle of the course giving more sensitivity, more warmth to the development of the title well rock in fact with his guitar solo well placed; the last drawer returns squarely to a rock FM sound of the 80's with the invasive voice on a last solo. "Sour" for the 7th and final track of this short album for the romantic ballad centered on the beautiful voice of Roberto, impeccable English; it's sweet, languorous, not melancholy, just the ideal slow a little out of phase at the beginning of 2020; the guitar solo is there purely enjoyable, we imagine the lighters light up at the end of the concert (yes before the laptops, it was lighter!) MANGALA VALLIS has finally released an album, far from the sounds of the start, far from the neo-prog that characterized it, in a more modern and rock musical framework, but not metal, not jazzy as is often customary for some time. This album is at the crossroads of the 80's whether in the neo movement or in the new wave, more in fm rock. "Voices" is supposed to represent what is inside us, our voices and our thoughts about our advancing age and which actually requires synthesising the music we love. Hence the idea of freeing themselves from their roots and their reference groups from the start; the flaw because there is lack is the lack of imagination of this album that would be perfect in 1980, pleasant during the 90's, but which here is sorely lacking constructive energy and progressive clean. In fact, despite the touching voice and well-ordered sounds, it lacks the momentum of madness that characterizes the musical creations of the moment; a good album certainly, especially for this magic guitar during solos, but an album too common in fact, and that perhaps goes too far off the beaten track.
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Rock Progressivo Italiano bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
A PIEDI NUDI Italy
A.S.T.R.A Italy
ABISSI INFINITI Italy
ABSENTHIA Italy
ACQUA FRAGILE Italy
AD MAIORA Italy
ADHARMA Italy
AELEMENTI Italy
STEFANO AGNINI Italy
AINUR Italy
AKRON Italy
L' ALBERO DEL VELENO Italy
ALGEBRA Italy
ALIANTE Italy
ALESSANDRO ALISCIONI Italy
ALLEGRI LEPROTTI Italy
GLI ALLUMINOGENI Italy
ALPHATAURUS Italy
ALTARE THOTEMICO Italy
ALUSA FALLAX Italy
AMMINISTRAZIONE CAOS POPOLARE Italy
ANACONDIA Italy
ANCESTRY Italy
ANCIENT VEIL Italy
ANTONIUS REX Italy
GLI APOSTHOLI Italy
APOTEOSI Italy
APRYL Italy
ARCAMIRI 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
ATTI PUBBLICI IN LUOGO OSCENO Italy
ATTO IV Italy
AUDIO Italy
AURORA LUNARE Italy
AVALON LEGEND Italy
B-RAIN Italy
IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI Italy
SOPHYA BACCINI Italy
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