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Cervello Melos album cover
4.11 | 250 ratings | 29 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Canto Del Capro (6:30)
2. Trittico (7:14)
3. Euterpe (4:27)
4. Scinsione (T.R.M) (5:39)
5. Melos (4:55)
6. Galassia (5:45)
7. Affresco (1:11)

Total Time 35:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Gianluigi Di Franco / lead vocals, flute, small percussion
- Corrado Rustici / lead guitar, recorder, flute, vibraphone, vocals
- Giulio D'Ambrosio / electric saxophone (contralto & tenor), flute, vocals
- Antonio Spagnolo / bass, 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, pedals, recorder, vocals
- Remigio Esposito / drums, vibraphone

Releases information

Artwork: Cesare Monti

LP Ricordi ‎- SMRL 6119 (1973, Italy)
LP Sony Music ‎- 88985365531 (2017, Europe) Remastered 192kHz

CD Crime ‎- K32Y 2145 (1988, Japan)
CD BMG ‎- 74321984442 (2003, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CERVELLO Melos ratings distribution

(250 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CERVELLO Melos reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
3 stars It seems to me that the word "masterpiece" is being thrown around far too broadly on this site. While albums can be "great," even "exceptional," that does not necessarily make them "masterpieces." And, no, not all masterpieces of prog are by the "seminal" groups; there are - occasionally - masterpieces by neo-prog groups. This is not one of them. That said, this is an extremely good album (it deserves another half star), one that is probably also "important" in as much as it is a relatively "early" entry: it is contemporaneous with such masterpieces as Dark Side, Selling England, Close to the Edge, and Larks Tongues, among others. The influences are hard to discern, though the cheerful dissonance of King Crimson (esp. the "quieter" version on Wake, Islands and Lizard) and the playful insanity of Gentle Giant (Glass House and Octopus came out the same year) make appearances. It is also worth noting that this album is simultaneous with Henry Cow's debut album, and given some noticeable similarities, it may be that each influenced the other. In any event, some of this is pretty "heady" for its time, compositionally. The main quibble I have is the same one I had with Carpe Diem's "En Regardent Passer le Temps" - that the creativity does not always show clear direction or inner logic; some sections sound as though they were strung together because they "could" be, rather than because they made any particular sense. That aside, there is no question that this is a very creative album, with fine musicianship, and deserves a place in any serious collection of prog-rock.
Review by Proghead
5 stars Nothing short of an incredible, but little known gem of Italian prog. If you like the sound of OSANNA's "Palepoli", then you need this album. In fact, CERVELLO featured guitarist Corrado Rustici, still in his teens at that time, who was the brother of OSANNA guitarist Danilo Rustici, so the OSANNA comparisons can't be avoided. And like OSANNA, CERVELLO consisted of saxes, flutes, bass, drums, and of course, vocals. The saxes and flutes are tamer (none of the flutes here are TULL-like, unlike OSANNA). Corrado Rustici's guitar work is in the vein of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA's John McLaughlin (which should come as no surprise as McLaughlin was one of Corrado's guitar heroes).

The original LP comes with a gimmick cover on the Ricordi label, in which Si-Wan Records in Korea nicely replecated to CD size when they reissued it on CD (I believe the current CD reissue on BMG/Ricordi is packaged the same way as Si-Wan).

Regardless, this is an absolute must for those who enjoy Italian prog.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

Based on a Greek mythology concept , Cervello's only album came with a gimmick artwork sleeve with a cut out in the front gatefold showing a surprising content of what appears to be canned tomatoes. I fail to grasp the concept but clearly this album has its roots in VDGG's first period with complete sections being about as chaotic as the Generator could make it. This is so very evident in the three-part Trittico although they still manage to make it sound personal. Although the link to the other KC and VDGG influenced band, Osanna was not yet realized (the guitarist/vocalist Rustici will join Osanna later and will also end up in Uno) , it is clear that every proghead will put this album right next to Osanna's Palepoli (easily their best) album in their collection. There are many good moments on this album , but the music tends to stay a bit too wisely conventional (even with their impressive influences) to really arouse you to excitement, but always keeping your attention on the luscious ambiances from crazy saxes and calmer flutes.

A worthy album (even above average as far as I am concerned), but by no means essential (because it is a little too derivative at times) unless Italian prog is your forte. The Korean label Si-Wan re-issued this album in a mini-Lp sleeve with the original artwork faithfully reproduced, but too bad for the ugly back cover!

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh how I was looking forward to this album being a huge Osanna fan. Cervello was a band from Naples like Osanna, and each band had a brother in it. Corrado Rustici played with Cervello (later with Osanna as well) and his older brother, Danilo played for Osanna. I had read of the comparisions between the two and first listened to this with eager anticipation.

This album unlike Palepoli consists of more traditonal, in a prog sense, song structure. Songs are a nice length. Not too long or too short. The vocals are standard for me. Nothing that really stood out outside of the first song, yet nothing that left you cringing either. This album is also not as 'heavy' for lack lack of a better word as Palepoli. The album begins with Canto Del Capro with it's flighty flutes and chanted vocals during an extended intro. The song really hits a peak with the loud distorted vocals jarring you out of the stupor you may have been in. Very effective arrangement, came out of nowhere and just grabs your attention. The next song, Trittico is a mini epic of sorts in 3 distinct parts. The first part features some nice vibraphone work and some lovely flute, whic is a hallmark of the album. The first section ends with a high energy drums and sax section right out of Osanna. The second section is memorable for a nice flute and accoustic guitar melody with some high pitched vocal harmonies. The third section brings back the sax and the e-guitar before fading out in a chorus of la-la's. Very nice piece of music. Euterpe features a nice flute/accoustic melody over a a simple quarter note bass pattern, then the tempo picks up with a sax solo then a fiery yet tasteful guitar solo.

Scinsicne features a nice descending guitar pattern joined by the flute before the drums kick in and your toes have a life of their own and are tapping away hahah. I thought to end of this song was rather crafty, with almost metallic guitar figures that hint of yet in the end only tease you of all out guitar shredding. The title track Melos comes next. A nice cymbal and vibraphone intro is followed by warm inviting vocals. A nice flute break with a harmonized flute section that was unexpected and very catchy. The hamronized trick is pulled out later with the saxophone which again is unexpected and welcome. Galassia an interesting intro with cymbals and guitars panning across the channels. The vocals are a nice change, sounding a bit distant as if recorded in another room. Nice high energy bass and drums part during a final guitar break. The last song is Affresco is a nice close to the album led by some flighty sounding flute.

This album, I must admit disappointed me at first. I expected and was looking for another visceral masterpiece like Palepoli. I would have given this album 3 stars based on that, however this album has really grown on me plus the realization that Cervello were on their own path.. not meerly being an Osanna clone. This album while not as complex as Palepoli is in a way... a more thoughtfully considered album. For that I decided to give it another star.

4 stars, an excellent album to add to your Italian collection... but only after you have the essential Italian masterworks.

Michael (aka micky)

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Challenging music from that most sublime of genres.

One of the most elegantly complex and fully realized of the "difficult" Italian classics, Melos is for fans of the Osanna, Balletto di Bronzi, RRR, and Semiramis styles. I have a hunch that fans of Crimson, VDGG, and Gentle Giant will also approve. It will probably be less appreciated by fans of the gentler and more accessible bands like Celeste and Locanda delle Fate. The musical approach and the sound are very sophisticated and unique. A combination of primarily guitars, flutes and saxes are tightly woven into a very dense, often dark, unsettling, and just plain eerie feel. Some sources say there are no (or very little) keyboards used to create this sound palette which is certainly unusual. Sometimes I think I hear some but I can't be sure the way the other instruments are employed. It took me many plays to really get past the rather exhausting outer shell and discover the melodies hiding inside and now I just cannot get enough of this excellent material. This band from Naples was related to the Osanna band via the Rustici brothers, the younger one in Cervello was another example of how the very young were leaders in the Italian scene back then. Corrado Rustici was but a teenager when the band recorded Melos in Milan back in 1973. While Osanna's big album "Palepoli" generally gets the most attention my personal view is that "Melos" is a better album. While not as trippy as the wildly freaky "Palepoli" I feel that Melos is more overtly musical and more genuinely satisfying in the long run.

Juan at ItalianProg describes the Cervello sound like this: "There is great deal of excellent acoustic guitar work and mellotron-like sounds created by the saxophones. The vocals coupled with the acoustic guitar and flutes hypnotize the listener into a technical yet fluid atmosphere so the music then breaks into a frenzy full of sax and adventurous guitar playing. The tempo and mood change from calm and melodic to violent and bizarre (interweaving between scales). No keyboards present, but they are not needed due to the "cerebral" arrangements these musicians have created for us on this album."[Juan Carlos Lopez] In another great review Warren Nelson sums up the sound perfectly: ".with soaring and complex melodies, compelling and angular instrumental passages culminating in some aggressive individual performances, all weaved together in a tapestry of beautiful and emotional musical syncopation. One of the few Italian prog releases without a prominent keyboard arsenal, the rich sound of this band is achieved with powerful drumming, multiple woodwinds, and intelligent scaler runs on guitar. But not least of all are the typically emotionally powerful vocals. Dynamic change-ups and exquisite group interaction complete another example of one of the finest Italian progressive albums you will ever hear."[Warren Nelson]

My own take on the specific tracks: "Canto Del Capro" begins with layers of flutes over what sounds like a foghorn and cymbal splashes moving left to right in the stereo spectrum. Soon an acoustic guitar precedes delightfully freaky operatic style vocals like only the Italians can do. A thrilling opening. Suddenly the drums kick in and you think it might be "normal" for a bit but soon these ungodly compressed vocals rattle your eardrums. Strange acoustic and electric guitar flares round out the rest of this unsettling start. "Trittico" is an enchanting initially with sentimental flute melody, acoustic and vocal. Eventually a crazy sax and percussion crash the party for a bit before the soft opening style returns with additional guitar noodlings. After a brief fade the end section is a bizarre cacophony of choral voices. My one complaint is wishing the bass were a bit more clear and upfront, sometimes it is distant and muddy but it's a minor nitpick. "Euterpe" begins with acoustic and flutes again in a warm and inviting mood. This eventually leads into the full band jamming with a real e-guitar and saxophone workout. "Scinsicne" begins with guitar that sounds like it came from an outtake of "Astronomy Domine!" In comes great flute and bass interplay and then vocals which are another strong point on this album. As the band comes on full the saxes jump into the fray and the sound gets brutal. At 3:48 is one of my favorite parts of the album, these mutant bizarre sounds and drums that mimic some sinister funeral dirge. This is followed by a maniacal e-guitar solo. "Melos" features great flute and sax workouts again with another Rustici axe thrashing at the end. "Galassia" is a feast of inventive vocal interludes over beautifully played acoustic guitars. Dabbles of flute precede a full blown e-guitar freakout challenged by pursuing sax and percussion attacks. You'll need a shower after this track. "Affresco" is a rather traditional sounding closer piece, very short and there just to bring you gently back to Earth after your cerebral pummeling.

I guess the reason I light up the magic star 5 would be this: Even when listening to most good albums it is evident that I am doing just that. I'm listening to a collection of songs that are just too structured and I know what is coming. They might light up my pleasure center and my brain says "oh that's a good song, let me listen to more of the same!" Melos does not allow me to stagnate. It's more like eavesdropping on someone's thoughts (presented musically) than listening to the next "killer song, dude." Their thoughts or perhaps their nightmares in this case with everything being so strange, the album starts and it's like this bizarre trip occurs. Even some of my favorite albums are relatively predictable but not Melos. With each play I still wonder what the hell is going on. It still pushes my buttons and challenges me, my definition of a genuinely progressive album. That's not the only way an album can get 5 stars from me but it is one way.

This is one of the Italian albums you hear people describe as "harsh" and you might hate it the first several times you listen. Don't get discouraged. Put it away and spin it every other many of the best prog albums you may end up loving it a year from now. That's how it was for me-a real grower. But while many of us are thrilled by this album it is not universally loved in the way that PFM is. It's rather confrontational sonic style does have its detractors so read plenty of reviews before you take the plunge. In my book this is essential for Italian fans and recommended for fans of stuff like "Red" era Crimson. Try to find the Japanese mini-lp sleeve edition which features decent sound and a high quality reproduction of the cool artwork. I love the cover of this album..fantastic stuff!

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars Please let me say Melos is exactly CALCULATED MAD EXPERIMENT!

I guess it's absolutely rare that an artist (Cervello) might push the madness with their only one product, and the madness looks to have affected most of fans. Weird, eccentric, and theoretically-broken or sensibly-broken (but heavily Italian-flavourful) sound should make us broken thoroughly.

First track Canto Del Capro gives solemn whisper and then noisy voice and instrumentals. Trittico hits us exploded and crazy sound and shout. Euterpe throws both softness and strongness like Goddess. The album's highlight is of course Scinsicne (T.R.M) surely! For the first time of this album, there's no-broken and steady tune on Melos. This point is very interesting for me(^_^). Again weird and fearful wave attacks on the next song Galassia. Last Affresco goes calmly and leaves listeners uncomfortable feeling. :P


5 stars, beyond any doubts.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The culture of Naples might have the part that other other people do not easily understand with the unique culture exactly. The very arbitrary lyrics might difficultly give us the charm simultaneously.

Osanna after 1974 derived the form with the member and announced a lot of bands the masterpiece. The music character of this Cervello and the idea might have originality and the composition not to be able to mimic in nobody in some the deriving sects.

It is said that they positively take the element of the image and the play excluding music and aimed at the overall art. They exactly challenged various cultures with an original element. It might surely have walked in a form independent of the flow of Osanna.

The creation of Corrado Rustici is splendidly expressed by this album. An expression of a pastoral wind instrument and a violent part have splendidly expressed man's feelings. It might developed an enchantment a few elements from Osanna. If the fact to which Danilo Rustici did this album in produce is considered, it might be able to be said the band to which this band also draws the flow of Osanna to some degree. It is guessed that this Cervello is a chemical reaction in the culture of Naples by music if legitimate is considered at the same time as one of Prog Rock of valuable Italy though Nova and Luna worked from another angle to music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars CERVELLO are a band people tend to associate with OSANNA, and for good reason since the guitarists for both bands are brothers. "Melos" is especially compared with "Palepoli" although I find the latter more difficult to digest yet it is probably the better album. Interesting that three of the members are listed as playing flute (they play other instruments too).

"Canto Del Capro" opens with fuzz as flute joins in. Lots of atmosphere here. Vocals are spoken 1 1/2 minutes in then vocal melodies come in. The song kicks in after 3 minutes. I like the guitar. Vocals follow. The bass is relentless as flute returns. Vocals come in fairly quickly in this laid back intro for "Trittico". Flute before a minute. The man can sing i'll tell you that. It kicks in after 3 minutes,sax too. It settles back 4 1/2 minutes in with flute and acoustic guitar again. Vocals too. "Euterpe" is led by flute, acoustic guitar and vocals early. It's fuller sounding after 1 1/2 minutes as the drums become more prominant. Sax joins in.The guitar is lighting it up before 3 minutes.

"Scinsione (T.R.M.)" opens with some interesting sounding guitar. Vocals after a minute as flute and bass help out. It kicks in before 2 minutes with fuzz. An all out assault here. Vocals are back. It settles 3 1/2 minutes in as fuzz comes and goes. Cool.The guitar starts to solo late. Reserved vocals come in fairly quickly on the next track "Melos". Drums and flute follow. A gorgeous sound. Vocal melodies after 2 minutes. Guitar as vocals return then the guitar starts to light it up before 3 1/2 minutes. "Galassia" opens with lots of atmosphere. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Lots of flute here. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. More guitar and some heaviness 4 minutes in. Drums end it. "Affresco" is just over a minute of light vocals and flute. A must for RPI fans.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have to admit that this album confounds me. It has the reputation of being one of the essentials of the RPI canon, but try as I might I just can't get into it. I can appreciate that Melos is a bold and challenging work; it's certainly brimming with complex musical strands, but it's just a bit too ''difficult'' for my taste. I'm not saying that I only like simple song structures, but the music here is constantly changing which makes it quite confusing; or should that be confused? It's like musical sleepwalking; there is certainly variety, but themes appear then disappear with little thematic development and variation. The band appears to have used a cut and paste approach, with no apparent link to different parts within songs.

The other side to this argument is that Melos is a genuinely singular work. Paragraphs of sound are built from short phrases and it all seems very spontaneous, as if the band were in stream-of-consciousness mode. As I alluded to above, song structures are very loose and the music is characterized by a marked volatility of mood. Broadly speaking, most of the tracks move from mellow and acoustic to harsh and aggressive. For example, the opening section of Euterpe has recorders and acoustic guitar, while the closing part features the electric commotion of squeaking sax and piercing guitar. Instruments are used imaginatively to create a unique sound world, with winds and vibes employed to compensate for the absence of keyboards. Galassia features what sounds like a Mellotron but is in fact an electric saxophone, whereas Scinsione (T.R.M.) features some odd guitar that sound like sci-fi effects. Variety of timbre and texture are important components of the album's sound-scape as vibes and pure toned flutes and recorders alternate with the electric instruments. Vocals range from ritual incantation and treated voice on the otherworldly sounding Canto Del Capro to light and lyrical on Trittico, which in my opinion has the most aesthetically pleasing melody on the album.

For anyone building a comprehensive RPI collection, this is an essential addition to that collection. However I would personally only rate this album as, at best, good i.e. 3 stars. Benchmark albums are Osanna's Palepoli and Il Balletto Di Bronzo's Ys; I would place Melos between these two in terms of both quality and accessibility, with my recommendation going to Palepoli. Another album that I would recommend is Biglietto Per l'inferno, which has a stronger sense of melody than Melos. One final thought on the album sleeve of Melos. The album is seemingly a concept album based on Greek mythology, although the front cover features a picture of a tin of tomatoes being opened. Stranger yet are the peas on the back cover photo. Can anyone explain that please?

Review by andrea
5 stars Cervello were formed in Naples in 1970 on the initiative of guitarist Corrado Rustici, brother of Osanna's guitarist Danilo. In 1973, after a good live activity and thanks to the help of Danilo Rustici, they could release a debut album for the label Ricordi, "Melos". The line up featured Corrado Rustici (guitar, flute, vibraphone, vocals), Gianluigi Di Franco (lead vocals, flute, percussion), Giulio D'Ambrosio (sax, flute, vocals), Antonio Spagnolo (bass, acoustic guitar, flute, vocals) and Remigio Esposito (drums, vibraphone). Cervello's overall sound is absolutely original: no keyboards but bass pedals set through the Binson Echorec and many flutes, guitars and harmony vocals to weave a fabric where Mediterranean roots are perfectly intertwined with other influences ranging from British progressive rock bands like Genesis and Gentle Giant to the West Coast sound and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The main source of inspiration for the lyrics was ancient Greek Tragedy and Mythology. Well, all in all Naples was founded by the ancient Greeks with the name of Neapolis...

The opener "Canto del capro" (Goat song) describes a rite in honour of Dionysus where Satyrs and Maenads dance and drink a magical substance while blood spills out from a ritually slaughtered goat. The music starts softly, the atmosphere is mysterious and dark then solemn music, dance and wine transform the anxiety of the faithful into a "mystical eruption". In some way a rituality that today is missing... "Scream, perhaps the faith will come back!".

The long and complex "Trittico" (Triptych) is melancholic and nostalgic. Here the souvenirs of ancient rites celebrating joy and pain disappear in a foggy past... "Everyone will try to tell his story in vain / The temple will crumble / My voice will never come back to life again / Anger crushes me / I would like to find a peace / That perhaps I never enjoyed...". The anxiety of freedom rides away in the wind. A new deal is coming, a new society where falsity and cruelty rule... "I feel hope in life fall down... I'm powerless / That's why I sing into the silence...".

The atmosphere of "Euterpe" is lighter. This track begins with cheerful flutes and beautiful melodic lines. In Greek mythology Euterpe was the muse of music and was called the "giver of delight", here she's a young girl who's growing up giving birth to a charming music that can bring to life again on the notes of a fiery electric guitar solo... "Clear illusion of healthy moments / Where sincerity reflects herself...". On "Scinsione (T.R.M.)" beautiful harmony vocals contrast with sudden jazzy bursts and changes of rhythm and mood. It's an experimental track where music and words are meant to underline efforts of mimic representations (Tentativi di Rappresentazione Mimica), depicting in a sequence looks, sobs, hallucinated looks, irresolution, disdain, ambiguity, joy, ecstasy... "Fantasy, candid visions / Sea, endless coast / Coral shapes are wondering... Drops of songs / Sacredness...".

The title track is melodic and dreamy. Melos is a Greek word that defines the melodic side of a song. Here soaring vocals take you up and your mind starts wondering in the sky... "Masks of bone are kissing each other / A silent moon turns back and begins to paint the air again...".

"Galassia" (Galaxy) is an introspective track inviting you to an inner quest. Look for your ego as a way to explore infinite worlds... Shadows and lights, flights of comets and new suns. "Joy soars and glides clear / Into a white and endless foam...".

The short and calm "Affresco" (Fresco) concludes this beautiful album in a "celestial way". Karma becomes wind and a divine light begins to shine... "Total splitting of the body from the mind / The infinite nothingness, the peace...".

On the whole "Melos" is an excellent album that would have deserved a better chance at the time. The work went almost completely unnoticed and the band split up in 1974. Anyway, as years passed by, it reached an authentic "cult status" among Italianprog lovers...

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Cervello is one of those RPI bands that shone as short and bright as a supernova. Seemingly coming from out of nowhere and hitting hard with a unique masterpiece before fading into oblivion again. For many RPI tifosi this album ranks as a masterpiece, and going by the quality, originality and artistic honesty this is largely deserved.

This sort of album is entirely unique and not easily compared to any UK bands. Within the RPI scene there's the obvious relation with the wild sound of Osanna, Il Balletto Di Bronzo and Semiramis, but that doesn't mean anything to anyone but the few people familiar with the scene. And those in the know obviously have the Cervello album already.

So let's name one UK band, one that was possibly more popular in Italy then in their homeland, Van Der Graaf Generator. Cervello inherited the bewildering song development of Pawn Hearts, and even within a 5 minute format their songs are an adventure, complete with delirious sidesteps and controlled chaos. The use of flutes and sax help to extend the comparison, but Cervello has the guitars prominent in the sound and doesn't use organs.

Also the vocals are very different, they may be equally passionate, imaginative and creative but the voice of the lead vocalist is very different from Hammill's, more nasal, or 'trumpet-y' as I call it, and possibly an aspect of the sound that might be a bit difficult to get into, unless you are already a convinced fan of the style from the other RPI bands mentioned above.

A masterpiece of RPI but a very difficult one where I have to force myself to listen to, even though each listen is an enjoyable discovery. 4.5 stars for sure, maybe more within a few years.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Cervello is another one-off band from Italy in the '70s, and the music on "Melos", their only album, is noisier than most RPI albums I've heard. Noisy and at times some avant-garde elements are present, but definitely not as much as Area. The music here ranges from soft and beautiful to quite harsh. As "Canto del Capro" starts the album off with some odd avant sounding flute and bizarre psuedo-choir, I wasn't sure what to expect. Initially my expectations were another purely beautiful RPI album. This album is quite a bit racier in pace, and is usually very rocky with strange touches. There even some passages that makes me think of various Zeuhl bands. I think tracks like "Trittico", "Euterpe", "Melos", and "Affresco" stand out because of the healthy combination of avant or heavy passages and beautiful passages, with more emphasis on the beautiful passages.

This is a very entertaining album, and it feels much different from most RPI that I've heard. "Melos" would definitely not be an album to serve as an introduction for RPI, but if you're already a fan and are looking for something on the wild side then you should track this one down.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another Italian group with a short life,Cervello came from Napoli and performed in early- to mid-70's with Giulio D'Ambrosio on sax/flutes, Remigio Esposito on drums,but the driving forces of the band were singer/flutist Gianluigi Di Franco, guitarist Corrado Rustici and multi- instrumentalist Antonio Spagnolo.Corrado was the younger brother of Osanna's guitarist Danilo Rustici.The sole album of the band ''Melos'' was released in 1973 on the Ricordi label,with several re-issues following in the future.

Often compared to OSANNA,the sound of Cervello is less hard but somewhat more diverse,throwing influences from Heavy Rock,Psych,Jazz,Classical and Mediterrenean Music into the mix.Unlike many other Italian bands of the time,the style of the band is nor symphonic neither jazzy,it is actually a very Fusion-like style of Progressive Rock with Lizard-era KING CRIMSON, GNIDROLOG or even Swiss band CIRCUS being the most suitable refrence points.The arrangements are quite complex with a great number of breaks, featuring plenty of saxes and flutes and swinging from energetic electric prog to mellow folkish rock with acoustic passages and a very psychedelic atmosphere.Vocals are great from romantic lines to more Avant-Garde choirs.Much-based also on atmosphere,the mood of the album leaves its dreamy pastoral face to jump on really dark and complicated themes.The musicianship overall has a strong theatrical vibe (OFFICINA MECCANICA spring to mind),but it is not always consistent on the whole,particularly due to the many different styles presented.

The band split up a year after the release of the album,with Corrado Rustici participating in Osanna's album ''Landscape of life'' and later being a member of Jazz-Rock act Nova together with his brother Danilo.Singer Gianluigi Di Franco remained also within the music industry as well,until his death in 2005.

''Melos'' is a nice and quite different release from the usual Italian Prog vibes of the 70's with a much personal sound and a great discovery for those into dramatic,complex and intricate Progressive Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Short lived one-album wonders Cervello had family connections to Osanna via Corrado Rustici, so comparisions between their sole album and the Osanna's Palepoli period may be inevitable, though there's something earthier and folkier about Melos, with its gentle pastoral passages balanced with more rowdy and rough about the edges moments, helped in particular by boisterous vocalist Gianluigi Di Franco. It's not the most consistent of albums, and at points the band seem to be meandering a little in search of their sound; in truth, they don't really seem to have hit on a coherent sound for the band yet, and I wonder whether their inability to carve out a distinct identity for themselves might have contributed a little to their disbanding in the following year. Still, it's decent enough stuff and whilst I wouldn't make it my first recommendation for a prog tour of Italy, it's worth a listen if you've already covered the basics of the Italian prog scene.
Review by Guldbamsen
5 stars Melos translates into flour-smog in Danish(Mel-os) I think that says something about something quite vague which has never been successfully transcribed nor understood before this very moment.

I vividly remember reading Jim's(Finnforest) extraordinary review of Melos from back before I joined this site. Now whereas the surreal art work depicting a psychedelic can of tomatoes in the process of being opened already inevitably had drawn my attention, it was the review of the music standing next to it that made me purchase the album in a heartbeat. So first and foremost a great big thank you goes to Jim for introducing me to this music. Wow, looking back now, I can hardly imagine having lived the last 5 years without Cervello's Melos in my life. It means so much to an invisible brother.

To start out on the wrong foot musically though, I'd like to point out the obscure and completely unrelated fact, that this record sounds remarkably close to an Italian version of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe. Yup, I know..... Who the feck is Burnin' Red Ivanhoe? Still, comparing obscure bands to equally obscure bands is something I genuinely adore. BRI are a Danish band with one particular Karsten Vogel behind the saxophone. Their brand of psychedelic jazz rock is one that I haven't heard reproduced anywhere other than on Melos. Cervello are however from Italy, and you certainly get a whiff of the ol Mediterranean seaboard in the cheeky vocals, the constant flirtations with acoustic folk elements and perhaps even more so in the general warm vibe that permeates this gem.

That vibe comes from the lack of synths, or at least I certainly think so. Instead of focusing on the more luscious and creamy character of the symphonic school of melodies, Melos feeds off the natural and slightly breezy sway of jazz rock. Though most notably associated with the musical equivalent of all chops and no sauce, the fusion offered up on this baby is beyond melodic. It's like a harmonious bird convention with added tumultuous rock. Through simple quirky reed sections with a mere 3 chords, this album soars into unknown heights of sonic bliss. Similarly to the aforementioned Danes, these guys have a way with melody that is second to none, and then with a charming crooked smile on their lips, like had the cheese just slit off their crackers, and a youthful nonchalance about em, Cervello then wraps up the remaining room of the album in a wild and adventurous strain of rock, that I have come to love so dearly.

There are moments on here where I get short out of the blue chills and feel the urge to spread my arms out and leap into the air. The ending pirouette rock of Euterpe with the sax and guitar lapping up against each other in the most ingenious manner conceivable, - the teenager inflicted anxiousness of the vocals that mixed with a nasal quality to them appear bittersweet and poetic throughout the record, - the inspiring windswept flute melody of Trittico, - the colourful spacey twang of the guitar in Scinsicne - all of these are highlights on a release that seems to be immune to any low points or meandering musical riff raff. I hoover them up tenaciously with my ears and feel invigorated and ready to explode, like had I just licked the surface of a small star.

If you decide to dive into this album on account of its rather peculiar take on RPI or just find yourself intrigued by the enigmatic cover, the one thing that truly matters is that you're diving into it - plowing yourself through one of the most original sounding records from the Italian scene. And if anything, Melos continues to show itself as a timeless piece of art each and every time you return to it. Cervello hit a nerve back when they recorded this thing, that's for damn sure, and as a consequence of that we're now able to tap into the mainline whenever we feel the urge for an electric jolt of genius.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Eclectic, exotic, experimental, unusual, and definitely interesting. Introducing to the world 17-year old guitar phenom, Corrado Rustici. This album is one of the best recorded and mixed albums from this classical Rock Progressivo Italiano scene--especially in the drums department. Also, all chord presentations coming from the guitars are so harmonically unusual when thrown into the rest of the melodic key structure. Truly an innovative and experimental adventure in music making.

1. "Canto del Capro" (6:29) opens with three minutes of weird, creepy psychedelia before establishing a fairly fast- paced psych rock song. The musicians are performing very tightly, at a very high level of competency. The dissonant flutes, guitar plucks, and reverse electric guitar over long, steady Mellotron chord progression are so fresh and creative. An odd but brilliantly inventive song. Brave youths! (9.5/10)

2. "Trittico" (7:19) opens with strong vocal sung over electric guitar arpeggi, trading the lead with flutes and vibes. Again, such an unusual and inventive foundational sound and construct! Guitar harmonics takes the lead in the third minute before vocal effects project the singers' voices to be in several places in the sound. Then, suddenly, at 3:06 the band kicks into high gear with rapid fire lead guitar licks, drum flourishes, sax, bass, and vocal stepping into the oddly-timed pace. Everything drops back into pastoral pace at 4:20--though lead guitar is playing his arpeggi at a much faster (William Tell Overture) speed. These guitarists are so talented--moving in and out of time signatures, in and out of acoustic and electric sections, in and out of strumming and picking. The song has a very odd fade-in and fade out closing of "la-la-la" drunk men's vocal chorus. Amazing song! (9.5/10)

3. "Euterpe" (4:32) opens with acoustic guitars and recorders before vocalist. I love the vocals of Gianluigi di Franco because they feel so common and relaxed, not forced or operatic or melodramatic. This song is John McLaughlin- inspired Corrado Rustici's breakout song--the one that lets us know just how fiery his lead style is. And yet, the fact that he has held back (or been held back) over the first 14-minutes of this very adventurous, very experimental album, just let's me know how band-oriented and non-ego driven this young man was. (9.5/10)

4. "Scinsione (T.R.M.)" (5:43) Probably the weakest song on the album, but still exploratory and innovative, not straightforward at all, it just doesn't have the beauty, surprise- or wow-factors of the previous songs. The sustained, almost-droning synth occupying the background throughout (and then climbing to the fore in the final minute) is absolutely brilliant--as is the multi-tracks of Corrado dueling with himself at the end. (9/10)

5. "Melos" (4:58) Vibes, slow acoustic guitar picking, gentle voice is soon joined by Pete Giles-like drumming, flutes to make for a gorgeous if slightly King Crimson-like song. The interplay of multiple vocalists in the second minute is cool. The two-guitar interplay that follows with singing over the top is a little awkward, but the cacophonous buildup that follows with Corrado's blistering, bluesy guitar soloing over thick mix of saxes and Mellotrons is awesome. (9.5/10)

6. "Galassia" (5:48) opens with cymbal play soon joined by distant flutes, guitar picking and voices. By the time the one minute mark arrives the soundscape had moved more forward--except for the vocals that soon ensue--which remain in the far background. Drums, guitars, flutes, even Mellotron are all forward of the voice. Vibes and electric guitar take turns soloing over the acoustic guitar pretty picking--until voice and Mellotron jump in to declare their messages. At 3:25 everything drops out for a brief vocal section before a heavy, frenetically paced instrumental section comes crashing in. This insistent, crazed weave seems to creep steadily forward even till the end. (9/10)

7. "Affresco (1:11) is an adventure into space and effects with vocal, flutes, and picked guitars weaving together over the top--the most forward presentation of sound on the album! Surprise and flawless. (9/10)

A true masterpiece of progressive rock music and one of my favorite albums from the classic period of RPI.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars CERVELLO was one of countless bands from the early 70s Italian prog scene that only managed to squeak out one album before disappearing as quickly as they emerged on the scene, but like many others who contributed to the rich and diverse tapestry of sounds that constituted the jazzy symphonic soundscapes, managed to incorporate a local flavor into their musical mix. CERVELLO (Italian for 'brain') emerged from Naples and is closely related to Osanna as multi-instrumentalist and band leader Corrado Rustici was the younger brother of Osanna's Danilo Rustici and much like the music of Osanna, the music deftly fortifies their complex punctilious prog arrangements with clever uses of local Neopolitan folk flavorings, jazzy touches and heavy outbursts of rock bombast. The band formed in 1970 and went through a few lineup changes before their ultimate demise in 1974.

The one and only album MELOS (released in 1973) is an English word borrowed from Greek that means a succession of tones that constitute a melody which signifies the overall emphasis on the seven tracks that could not be mistaken for anything but early 70s Italian prog with the romantic operatic vocal style of Gianluigi Di Franco, pastoral acoustic passages that sooth the soul accompanied by airy flute sounds, the jazzy touches of vibraphones and sax and an extraordinary vocal and instrumental interplay at which the Italian scene excelled. Despite the Osanna connection, CERVELLO is noticeably less rock oriented and the majority of MELOS is a light, airy musical journey on Mediterranean zephyrs with only occasional bursts into guitar oriented rock that clearly finds inspiration from early King Crimson in their incessantly intricate and complex time signature workouts.

One of the defining characteristics of CERVELLO was the complete absence of keyboards which was almost unheard of in the Italian prog scene. While related Osanna eschewed the predominant use of keys, they still implemented their atmospheric prowess for certain effects. Minus the keys, the atmospheric generating power of MELOS is derived from a heavy use of four flutes (played by three members), vibraphones and acoustic guitars. Bass pedals were implemented through a Binson Echorec which produced strange distorted cello effects which also give MELOS its own distinct flavor. Sizzling saxophone solos also point to a Van Der Graaf Generator connection, a band whose early years found them spending more time in Italy than their native UK because it was the Italians first and foremost connected to their ambitious eclectic sound before the rest of the world caught on.

MELOS is really one of the more complex albums i've heard from the Italian scene and despite the word implying 'melody' which it does supply an ample supply of, much of the music is fortified in university level musical complexity that implements the full power of jazz to offer bizarre counterpoints and jittery time signature workouts. While Robert Fripp seems to have provided the blueprint for angular guitar riffs, Mahavishnu Orchestra type soloing a la John McLaughlin joins in during the most aggressive moments of MELOS. Much of the album however is heavy in atmospheric drifting via flute, vibes, acoustic guitar and Di Franco's charismatic and operatic vocal style. MELOS is truly a musical journey, a summary of an entire career squeezed into a mere 36 minute experience but one that has been mastered and executed in relative perfection. The album excels at an unpredictably zigzagging between various styles whether they be the sensual romantic softer sides or the jarring bombast and freneticism of the heavier rock segments.

MELOS is cited by many as being one of the pinnacles of the entire Italian prog scene and deemed a veritable masterpiece by many. This is not one of those instant warm and fuzzy albums much like the more pop infused albums that bands like Il Balletto Di Bronzo or Metamorphosi dished out, but rather a heavily fortified prog powerhouse reserved for only the big kids in the club. Such was the case with my own experience regarding CERVELLO's solo releasea, while initially expecting something more in the lines of Osanna's classic 'Palepoli,' what i got was a unique amalgamation of various prog styles which ultimately once experienced and fully digested, provides a quite satisfying experience and unique stamp within the greater realms of Italian prog. However, something about MELOS seems unfulfilling. Despite the excellence and technical workouts on par with the greats of PFM and Banco, somehow MELOS seems scattered and random in all its eccentricities and misses the mark at taking that final step into ultimate cohesion. Nevertheless, although not a top tier album of the Italian prog scene in my book, is a fastidious work of art that is guaranteed to please the truly adventurous proggers of the world.

Review by Menswear
2 stars Tough to get into.

Cervello is not letting you easily into their world of craziness: no real hooks, lots of time changes, hard-to-see-through atmosphere, disjointed sax, woodwind frenzyness and lots more. This album is categorized as « not easy », and it's definitely a left field release, even in the prog world. It's that schizo feeling that got me first, and then drew me away after a spin. Cervello is indeed a good word describing them (cervello meaning brain), because your frontal cortex will hurt after a few minutes. Nose bleeds and all.

I'm pretty sure it's a rewarding record after like 6 years of daily playing, but life's too short to try to « get » them so I'll pass.

For those seeking a real challenge, if Balletto di Bronzo wasn't schizophrenic enough for you.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nș 551

For whatever reason, Italy has been a country with a great tradition in the music. The transalpine country likes dramas, operas and operettas. From the chaotic south to the north, this is something common and accepted in Italian daily and cultural life. This is certainly the main reason why that so many prog bands appeared in Italy, since its heydays to our days. Someone once even said that there are probably more prog bands in Italy than fans. Many of those bands only were able to release a single album despite the usual high quality of their works. And this is also the case of Cervello.

Cervello was an Italian prog rock band based in Naples. They initially came to attention due to the presence of guitarist Corrado Rustici, the younger brother of Osanna's Danilo Rustici. Their unique album "Melos" is vastly an ambitious conceptual album based on Greek mythology, and thoroughly infused with the traditions of the Mediterranean folk. The presence of various separate flautists in the line up also brought a stunningly original dimension to the band's sound. Sadly, Melos broke up in late 1973. In the following year, Corrado had joined to his brother in Osanna and appeared on the fourth studio album of Osanna, "Landscape Of Life" released in 1974, as a guest. Later, he has moved on to Nova.

"Melos" is an impressive work of art. The band came out of nowhere, released an excellent album with great quality. It's dark, mysterious and rich with Mediterranean rhythms, lyrics about ancient Greek myths and much more. If there is any comparison with other bands in Italy, I would probably indicate primarily Osanna, which isn't really in fact a true strange thing, indeed. Much like the music of Osanna, the music of Cervello deftly fortifies complex punctilious prog arrangements with clever uses of local Neopolitan folk flavorings, jazzy touches and heavy outbursts of rock bombast. And like Osanna's line up, Cervello's line up consists of saxophones, flutes, bass, guitar, drums and of course, vocals.

"Melos" isn't an immediate or an easy album to get into. It takes some time and several listens to get on it. One of the defining characteristics of Cervello was the complete absence of keyboards which was almost unheard of in the Italian progressive rock scene. While related Osanna eschewed the predominant use of keys, they still implemented their atmospheric prowess for certain effects. Minus the keys, the atmospheric generating power of "Melos" is derived from a heavy use of four flutes (played by three members), vibraphones and acoustic guitars. Bass pedals were implemented through a Binson Echorec which produced strange distorted cello effects which also give to "Melos" its own distinct flavor. Sizzling saxophone solos also point to a Van Der Graaf Generator connection, a band whose early years found them spending more time in Italy than in their native country UK, because were the Italians the main fans of the band.

All songs on "Melos" are, with the exception of the short closer "Affresco", very complex and progressive. "Canto Del Capro" starts quite loosely and dark with massing, spoken vocals that quickly turns into harmonies of a much more joyful and lighter kind before the track goes into a heavy and bluesy but still quite weird riff with distorted vocals on top. "Trittico" features some of the finest melodies on the album giving to the listener a sense of melancholy and nostalgia. The band makes a somewhat unusual and very inventive musical construction. The recorder gives a slight medieval feel to the opening of "Euterpe" through guitar and flute in beautiful melodic lines. "Scinsicne (T.R.M.)" has a gloomy instrumental passage with some distorted sounds that is quite hard to figure out what really is, considering that the band claimed to use no keyboards. The title track shows a serene and beautiful start, vibraphones, acoustic guitar, soft voice and a medium speed drum input. The flute also puts a rich layer on the melody of the song. The dramatic "Galassia" turns into a sax-driven cacophony based in a disharmonic riff at the end. It invites the listener to an inner search. "Affresco", just over a minute long, is a short and very calm track that concludes the album in a heavenly way.

Conclusion: "Melos" is cited by many as one of the pinnacles of the Italian prog rock scene. "Melos" is intriguing and a unique Italian progressive rock worth hearing if you're into this particular music style. It's an album made from self-confidence and youth, an intriguing and unique album in the Italian prog scene. It's impressive for a number of reasons, where one of the main ones is that while it can look a bit "rough", it has a pastoral feel. The almost total absence of keyboards is brilliantly supplemented by lines of saxophone and guitar arrangements and winds that give the work an air of madness while the compositional delicacy of some passages is undeniable. It's an album of contrasts in which it's necessary to deepen to get all the juice. I think they did something in prol of the progressive rock, beyond the three big names of the genre in Italy, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco Del Muttuo Soccorso and Le Orme. It's a pity at the time to have gone virtually unnoticed and with that the band had to separate the year following the release of the album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

5 stars What a marvelous album! In my quest through Italian progressive music lately this perhaps might be my most rewarding find. It's that good. But not immediately. Melos (the song) I found mind-blowing the first time I heard it, but all the rest really had to grow on me. But that's only good, bec ... (read more)

Report this review (#1151873) | Posted by jeromach | Friday, March 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Neapolitan society is very particular, full of paradoxes. Wonderful places, a lot of art, a cultured population that lives within many crimes. In particular the music scene is full of creativity. I'm Italian, but only recently I have discovered that there is even a Neapolitan Scale!!! In ... (read more)

Report this review (#1104795) | Posted by Utnapishtim | Wednesday, January 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first time I heard Melos, I hated it. Superficially, it is a discordant mess, seemingly random, and obnoxious. It sounds like nothing, and nothing sounds like it. And now some ten years later, that's exactly why I love it so much. It would be impossible to sum up in a few paragraphs what Cer ... (read more)

Report this review (#491515) | Posted by coasterzombie | Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This band is another one of these Italian one-hit wonders. I am not particular knowledgable about the Italian scene. That is why this review is the only review here in PA where you will not find Osanna as a reference to this album. The reason is that I have yet to hear anything from Osanna. ... (read more)

Report this review (#250120) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The only album released in 1973 "Melos". The sound is progressive sublime rock. It is a concept album of rare that redoubtable imagination invents. The meaning of the title is a melody. The performance is energetic. It is a brutal performance. A dangerous charm has been shot. The image of danc ... (read more)

Report this review (#68393) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Cervellos is an album with some merit but far (and i mean FAR) away from being a 'masterpiece'. Not enough originality and quite pedestrian compositions. The musicianship also leaves a lot to desire. For completist of the 70's italian prog scene but not a great listen at all! ... (read more)

Report this review (#35872) | Posted by | Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have no problem what so ever at granting Melos by Cervello a 5 star rating. This is the PINNACLE of Italian Prog IMHO. From the opening "Canto del Capro" with its spacey moogs and VCS3's the album nevers lets up in quality. The first track strikes one as a kind of Italian Magma at first with its d ... (read more)

Report this review (#19327) | Posted by mandrake2 | Sunday, January 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my favorite italian prog album and certainly one of the best from the seventies. It is a little rough sometimes, it's true, but the quality of the music and of the musicians are really stunning. Beautiful lyrics, great compositions. A real masterwork. ... (read more)

Report this review (#19326) | Posted by Melos | Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first time I listened to Melos, I was amazed by the distorted sonority and complicated lyrics. I also studied greek mythes to find out waht the lyrics was about. Every time I listen to Melos, I found it more interesting. This album brings you in another dimension, where an excellent music ... (read more)

Report this review (#19325) | Posted by ProgRex | Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A stunning masterpiece, really. They seem like a meteor: came out of nowhere, left an incredible gem, and the disappeared. Dark and misterious, rich of mediterranean rhytms, lyrics about the ancient greek mythes. A no miss ... (read more)

Report this review (#19321) | Posted by | Monday, December 22, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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