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Mad Fellaz - Mad Fellaz III CD (album) cover


Mad Fellaz


Eclectic Prog

3.89 | 166 ratings

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4 stars Mad Fellaz is an Eclectic Prog band from Italy founded in 2010. The band has seen some changes in it's line up, but for the most part, remains the same. Currently, the regular line up consists of 8 members; Paolo Busatto (guitars), Marco Busatto (drums), Ruggero Burigo (guitar, sitar), Carlo Passuello (bass), Enrico Burnelli (keyboards), Rudy Zillio (flute, sax, synths, backing vocals), Lorenzo Todesco (percussion), and Luca Brighi (vocals).

Over the course of the past decade, the band has released 3 albums, the first one was all instrumental, and for the 2nd album, they added a lead singer (Anna Farranato). For this album, "Mad Fellaz III", they have a new vocalist in Luca Brighi. This album consists of seven tracks with a total run time of 43 minutes, with tracks lasting from under 2 minutes to over 10 minutes.

"Es/Frozen Side" starts off the album with the first part of the track acting as an introductory section. It is a powerful instrumental with complex rhythm, some great guitar and organ. The sound is somewhat heavy and every changing. It finally settles in to a simpler rhythm and vocals come in around 3 minutes. The vocalist is powerful and dynamic and has a good voice. The middle section gets dark and more pensive with spoken, whispery vocals. After this, there are several meter and tempo changes as the band shows off it's progressive side. This is a great opener.

"Leaf" begins on a more settled theme, quite a bit softer with a guest saxophonist. Even though it is softer, the melody still is more complex than the standard fare, and the musicians make sure you know they are in this for the progressiveness. The track moves from quasi-folk to heavy progressive, so there are a lot of styles in this one track, hence the Eclectic Prog designation. The sax solo in the middle is catchy and complex just like the track, but it stays clean and allows for the flute to come in also.

"Liquid Bliss" starts out immediately with a progressive riffs interspersed with soft responses, a sudden chaotic passage, and then settling to a main theme sounding like something from "Umphrey's McGee" with a lot of playfulness between the vocal melodies and the instruments. There is a progressive jazz fusion feel to this, and an amazing guitar solo that approaches the sound of "UK"s Alan Holdworth at one point.

There is a short 2 minute track up next with the instrumental "Fumes from the Ruins". This is a surprisingly stately track led of with keyboards and then a nice, heavier guitar theme. Just like the longer tracks, there are a lot of mood and musical changes throughout. Another relatively short track follows with "Under These Clouds". This one is led off with a single acoustic guitar and vocals, later joined by keys and flute. The vocalist's vulnerabilities stand out quite a bit on the softer track.

Turning back to longer tracks again, "Frost" has a bit more of a symphonic edge to it at first, but strengthens as the passionate vocals start in. After a few verses, we go right into a jazz style guitar solo on a mid tempo beat that later gets disrupted by a more experimental phase before the mellotron sweeps things up and then a really fast moving section takes us into a new vocal theme which flies along at a good clip. Progressiveness ensues with another complex instrumental break, much heavier this time. Continuing with constant change, things go pastoral before the vocals come back again.

The last track is the longest and is called "Sweet Silent Oblivion". This one features a small orchestra consisting of some strings, French horn, oboe and a 12 string acoustic guitar, all of these played by additional guests. After playing a somewhat pastoral lilt, the vocals start with a complex theme and very lyrical content. The music stays on the softer side as the small orchestra drive things forward. On the first instrumental break, the guitar gets to play a nice solo, then things get a bit more complex as the meter gets a bit tricky here. More vocals, then a real rousing guitar solo until the keys and synth take over for their own bit of showing off. This goes on for a while, then the music turns a bit psychedelic and experimental while the drums play a complex march rhythm, and what results from this when the guitars and the ensemble take over is excellent and results in a very impressive finale that you wish went on for at least another 5 minutes.

This band and this album is surprisingly good. The music is complex, yet mostly accessible, the musicians are quite impressive, the music is highly progressive, and the lyrics and vocals are all top notch. I have to say that I was not expecting anything near as good as this album was.

TCat | 4/5 |


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