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Blocco Mentale - Poa CD (album) cover


Blocco Mentale


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.87 | 104 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars It may seem controversial to some to rate such an obscure and seemingly pedestrian album 5 stars, but Blocco Mentale's ΠOA has always been one of my favorites and reveals it's true beauty over time. Like its Greek namesake "ΠOA" or "grass," Blocco Mentale plant lush and vibrant musical ground. The environmental/conservation theme may have seemed like hippie fodder at the time, but takes on new relevance now and doesn't feel dated. I would recommend this album to anyone interested in the lighter side of prog - think Delirium but far more interesting and way better.

"Capita" sounds kind of weird at first, you have this angular guitar riff matched with staccato sax stabs and no real sense of melody. But as the song develops, vocals and keyboards are added, bass joins the drums and the sixteenth-note riff is turned on its head and played in a major key. Then as everything coalesces about three minutes in, something very special happens: Acoustic piano and voice establish an uplifting, almost regal chord progression that draws you in and kind of makes you forget the somewhat mediocre start. This sense of joyous melody and strong songwriting will continue throughout, and is really the album's strong point. These guys aren't the greatest musicians or singers in the world, but what they lack in technical skill is made up for tenfold in composition and ensemble performance. Definitely a case of the sum being greater than its parts.

I'm a sucker for Mellotron. ΠOA has a ton of it. "Impressioni" starts with a wash of Mellotron and a very somber flute melody paired with minor-key acoustic guitar. This beautiful song starts off somewhat depressing, but changes to major key half way through like rays of sun peeking through the clouds. "Happy Prog" may seem like an oxymoron, but Blocco Mentale play Happy Prog. "Io e me" is like a campfire singalong with some friends - it just makes you feel good. My favorite feel-good moment is "La Nuova Forza," which sounds like a movie soundtrack to winning the big game or getting the girl or some other big movie moment.

There are three different versions of this album - The Vinyl Magic and Mellow CDs, both released in 1993; and the BTF/VM remaster from 2011. Both original CD issues appear to be direct from vinyl, the Vinyl Magic sounding better between the two. The Mellow features two bonus tracks and reproduces the die-cut cover of the original gatefold sleeve. Buy this album now, and thank me later.

coasterzombie | 5/5 |


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