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Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno - In Rock CD (album) cover

IN ROCK

Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.04 | 6 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno have always been a band to slip a little under the radar of the more casual Italian progressive music followers, but they are truly deserving of far wider recognition! Their underrated debut `Per...un Mondo di Cristallo' from 1972 established them as an atmospheric band of note, and their long-belated follow-up almost forty years later, 2010's `Il Pittore Volante' was a hair-tearing, heavy monster of a disc that reminded that the `oldies' Italian bands truly set the standard in `comeback' albums of dramatic worth and artistic merit.

Fast forward to 2019, RRR have a very welcome surprise release courtesy of AMS Records for the annual Record Store Day event, in the form of a compact twenty-eight minute LP. `In Rock' offers an all-new eleven minute suite, a cover version and two earlier pieces that never appeared on the original vinyl release of their previous studio album. Vocalist Luciano Regoli and bassist/acoustic guitarist Nanni Civitenga remain from the original line-up, keyboardist Maurizio Pariotti and Alessandro Tomei on sax/flute have been involved in the band for a few years now, and contributions from renowned drummer John Macaluso and talented guitarist Lorenzo Milone fill out the group for this limited release, and it's going to prove to be a real treasure for RPI fans!

The three-part suite that adorns the first side is everything an Italian prog fan could want, an extended set loaded with heavy moods, classical bombast and grandiose gothic theatricality. The opening passage `Oscuramente' holds spectral piano, stark spoken words samples and Luciano's solemn rasp purring with dignity between the speakers. `Frammenti Di Vita' introduces ghostly droning synths and a disorientating collage of drifting voices, before `Il Momento Supremo's whips up a feral storm of thrashing violence by way of wailing electric guitars and wildly huffing sax. Macaluso's drumming really dominates here, an unceasing battery of pounding tension!

The flip side offers a cover version of Ozzy Osbourne's `Mr. Crowley', and while the English-sung tune remains very faithful to the 1980 original, RRR have spiced it up with plenty of flighty flute and colourful keyboard soloing in the fine vintage RPI tradition! Both `Raoul' and `La Spiaggia' originate from the CD version of `Il Pittore Volante', and for vinyl purists, this is the first time these two tracks have appeared on this format. `Raoul' begins as a cool Deep Purple-like bluesy swaggerer before lifting to emotional heavens, and the latter is an exquisite ballad with gorgeous acoustic sensibilities and a warm lead vocal.

Not a full-blown new album, a bit more than an EP, or perhaps something of a compilation?! Whatever it is, `In Rocks' offers a tantalizing tease of vital new material and worthy extra selections, and that it's housed in a luxurious gatefold cover with striking gothic artwork (painted by Luciano himself) makes it even more special. It's hardly essential, but an endlessly appreciated release all the same for Italian prog collectors!

Three and a half stars.

(NOTE: Hate to ask, but did anyone else find their copy of this LP had quite a murky A side, in comparison to the warm and full sounding B side?)

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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