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Mad Fellaz - Mad Fellaz CD (album) cover

MAD FELLAZ

Mad Fellaz

 

Eclectic Prog

4.18 | 60 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have shown remarkable patience in trying to acquire this album, as previous reviews and a progstreaming audition had sealed the deal. Furthermore any recommendation by Aussie-Byrd-Brother has my stamp of approval unconditionally. My Oz mate has never steered me wrong. The debut album from Italian proggers Mad Fellaz is another fine example of what an instrumental prog-rock album should look, sound and feel like, the focus entirely on how the listener will perceive the music in both technical and inspirational terms. Fellow Italian instrumentalists Progenesi now have a partner in crime, as the talent displayed here is beyond the stars. With two guitarists on board, there will always be a fret board-centric appreciation, a mother lode of screeching strings, bending, weaving, caressing and exalting with unlimited zeal. Both Paolo Busatto and Emanuele Pasin know how to mesh together and also break off formation when required, agile axe pilots who are fueled by rapt exhilaration and heady adventure. They use a wide variety of tonal colorations, at times densely jazzy and at others, directly infused by the blues. Contributions from fabulous keyboardist Enrico Brunelli and flutist Rudy Zilo (who also wields that mighty Italian icon, the clarinet) simply add depth, melancholia and constant creativity to the mix, showcasing the piano one moment and the organ next, a dash of riffling flute to brighten the mood. Finally, a tight rhythm section that muscles the onslaught forward, as both bassist Carlo Passuello and drummer Marco Busatto show refined chops.

In terms of influences, one can easily cite Pink Floyd due to the bluesy approach, as well as mellower pieces by Wishbone Ash or even Robin Trower, a more progressive Eric Clapton (hey, that's a lot of lofty praise there but well warranted!) , a hint of Jethro Tull, some jazz improvisations, as well as some obvious PFM winks. Yet, one has the concrete impression of solid vision throughout, a clear and concise methodology with only one aim= prog heaven.

Two monsters jams start this debut off , "Il Colpevole" (The Guilty) has a Part 1 that focuses more on mood and atmosphere , while Part 2 is a colossal raunch-fest, a massive soloing platform that showcases the sheer talent on display, each musician getting the green light to flash, grind, sizzle and explode. Just like with Progenesi, the ever-evolving music offers such a huge variety of contrasts, twists, turns, loops, cascades that one has the impression of driving a sonic Ferrari down the German autobahn, no holds barred. These two leviathans will blow away any doubts that may be had by the musician-fans out there but also by the passive listener, as every second is wholly and completely unpredictable, even after multiple listens. Some may find this approach a tad show-offy but I beg to differ, you want a lot of exhilaration when the vocals (and its story line) are not there to guide you.

A couple of intermezzo cuts then make their entrance, the playfully rollicking "Banda Scajevoni" which has this retro 60's sound, the Hammond organ way in front, the flute weaving and the guitar jangling, sort of like bands Sugarloaf or Booker T and the MGs, which explains the James Bond/Our Man Flint atmosphere. "White Widow" has a similar TV music feel, again very period as if some time machine had taken them back to some studio in New York or LA. Loads of colliding moods here from brash and colorful to creepy and urban, a magical flute cruising down the avenue, ticki-tacka drums and utterly seductive groove.

But truth must be said, Mad Fellaz excel at the epic composition, as if such a wide berth inspires the players to even greater heights. They thus finish off this glorious album with 14+ minutes of "La Giunglia" (that should be easy, the Jungle), a lush expanse of massive rhythmic trees, luxuriant instrumental underbrush, fluttering flute mosquitoes, a missionary purpose and a need to slice through with musical machetes to find some aerate clearing ahead. Jungle jangle on piano and guitars provide this canopy of branches, swinging Tarzan-like from one shrub to another, a dense foliage that simply invigorates the by now not-too casual listener. The incredible guitars forge head-first into sandstorm Arabic guitar recon leads, screeching loudly all the way, battered by speckled winds yet determined to survive. The synths howl, the drums brutalize and the piano notes show only that hope will keep them going, relentless in the quest.

A remarkable piece of work, a sensational debut to slide between the afore-mentioned Progenesi and the recent Phoenix Again instrumental masterpieces from the Italian progressive rock fortress. Tremendous appeal to any prog fan. Not a single misplaced note, a magnificent cover, this is the real deal.

5 Angry mobsters

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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