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Metamorfosi Inferno album cover
4.06 | 295 ratings | 35 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Introduzione (7:51)
2. Porta dell'Inferno (1:20)
3. Caronte (1:19)
4. Spacciatore di droga (6:22)
5. Lussuriosi (3:15)
6. Avari (1:32)
7. Violenti (3:45)
8. Malebolge (1:32)
9. Sfruttatori (5:42)
10. Razzisti (3:25)
11. Lucifero (Politicanti) (2:32)
12. Conclusione (1:37)

Total Time 40:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Jimmy Spitaleri / lead vocals, flute
- Roberto Turbitosi / guitars, bass, vocals
- Enrico Olivieri / keyboards, synthesizer, vocals
- Gianluca Herygers / drums, percussions

Releases information

Artwork: Adelchi (Giulio Varricchio)

LP Vedette Records ‎- VPA 8162 (1973, Italy)
LP BTF ‎- VM LP 002-B (2013, Italy)

CD Vinyl Magic ‎- VM002CD (1989, Italy)
CD Vinyl Magic ‎- VMCD002 (2007, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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METAMORFOSI Inferno ratings distribution

(295 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

METAMORFOSI Inferno reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marcelo
5 stars One of the greatest classics of the best Italian prog. A conceptual gem, based on Dante's "La Divena Comedia". Davide Spitaleri's voice is emotive and fantastic, and melodies and instrumentation (great keyboards, specially organ) gives to the listener an unforgettable trip to hell. "Caronte", "Spacciatore Di Droga" and "Lucifero" are incredible highlights in this mandatory album. One of the most exquisite dishes in the amazing Italian prog table.
Review by loserboy
5 stars For any lover of classic 70's Italian Progressive rock you must get your chubby little fingers on this recording. Essentially "Inferno" is itself a metamorphosis featuring some simply breathtaking keyboard work... a moog lovers smorgasborg. "Inferno" is a stunning album length suite which must clearly remains a progressive rock benchmark in my opinion. Lyricist carries a deep and hearty voice which is also quite masculine and quite nice with all lyrics being sung in native Italian. At times the piano and hammond interludes traces hints of EMERSONian roadhouse styled impressionisms but do not worry this is not an ELP clone band. Songs are very well recorded and performed with great talent and a high degree of passion and expressionism.
Review by lor68
3 stars Well actually the righter score should be "3 stars and an half", but despite of being in the average, at that time in Italy the production was not at the top. Moreover the choice of such rock versions of the American and Soviet national anthems was not useful!! But the keyboard's work is remarkable, even though much in the vein of ELP, sometimes emulating the chops by EMERSON at his Hammond Organ. Besides the use of some dark tones is very interesting and the performance at the Moog as well. Out of the political contest this concept album is interesting from the beginning to the end still today; otherwise on the opposite, regardless of their lyrics, aligned to such dated political protest, the album nowadays looses its complete sense. It never minds anyway!!
Review by Proghead
5 stars Another in a long line of Italian prog albums, METAMORFOSI released two albums before disappearing. Their debut gets only a lukewarm response in comparison to "Inferno". The one thing that really threw me off about their music is vocalist Jimmy Spitaleri. If you thought BANCO's Francesco di Giacomo was overbearing and overdramatic, wait until you hear this guy! Without the presence of guitar, it's the Hammond organ, piano, and synthesizers that take center stage, with some great jams, experimental passages and more passages where the vocals take on a theatrical presence. All the lyrics are based on Dante's Divine Comedy. Somewhere amongst all this music is truly screwed up versions of the American and Soviet national anthems played on Moog (so if you're wondering about the talk of hearing the band playing national anthems, it's not quite GENTLE GIANT doing "God Save the Queen" here, just silly Moog renditions in between all the bizarre, experimental stuff). Musically, this is recommended if you like such bands as BANCO, L'UOVO DI COLOMBO, Paolo Rustichelli & Carlo Bordini, and CORTE DEI MIRACOLI. There's only one song I don't care much for, it's "Lussuriosi", which is a cheesy overblown ballad. The rest of it is top-rate Italian prog and recommended to all who like this kind of music.
Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Progressive rock's dirty roots aren't dug up too often; it's hard to say what directions the genre would have taken had different aspects been explored. The mid-to-late 60s/ early 70s saw a lot of crazy sonics come and go as the newly liberated musical minds tried to put sounds to the odd things going on in the world and in their heads. COMUS, for one, shows us a much different prog than we're accustomed to; METAMORFOSI takes us on a different path, but just as dark and dangerous.

Cathedral organ, fuzzy bass, operatic vocals and compressed-to-death drums are the rule here, a grand but murky feeling throughout. A lot of early studio production tricks and effects are applied to the instruments, sometimes with interesting results but more often a bit distracting (or downright annoying). Thick, dense,dark verby sounds- a lot of emphasis on the bass and low mids, but that may just be the analog recording. Every sound is saturated- not many people were distorting their drums on purpose back then, except for poor crazy Joe Meek. Production-wise, it seems more late-60s than 70s- I'm used to hearing more clear mixes from the 70s italian bands. I find myself wishing I could hear some things better (like the pianos in "Malebolge" and "Razzisti"), but overall it has a warm wooly tone which is sometimes nice, in a retro way, like the early MOODY BLUES recordings.

"Introduzione - Senza Oscura" very heavy and spooky, like a Hammer film soundtrack but more groovy- "Porta Dell'inferno" continues the gothic thread, and once again I have to make plans to learn italian because I really would like to know what he's singing. "Caronte" turns up the funky-psychedelic sound a bit, and "Spacciatore Di Droga" disappears into noises before returning with a bangin' piano section- that kid can play! Morose organ heralds the next segment, a pretty flute and (dulcimer? harpsichord?) arrangement that would not sound out of place on "Atom Heart Mother". More space synth effect and tinkling piano follows, which may start to take a toll on unwary ears. "Lussuriosi" plinks it's way into your heart and moans harmonically like an alien graveyard. "Avari" (is that italian or Tolkien?) has a big vocal and synth solo, and just fades out when it starts to get going. "Violenti" has a good frantic synth-based opening, and then gets strange and sparse under the vocal melody. The organ brings us back into song territory, which is basically more of the end of "Avari" that I had wished was longer. "Malebolge" is the most theatrical vocal yet (a tough competition) and the instruments skip and hop in a psychedelic fashion. "Sfruttatori" explores more aggresive territory, something like ELP's first album if it had been produced by Joe Meek. By the time it resolves into "Razzisti", most of the tender- eared will have deserted us. Too bad, because there's some cool keyboard moments along the way, and a freaky martial death-march section that lead straight to the devil: "Lucifero (Politicanti)", a sort of diablical fanfare sung seemingly with fists clenched. "Conclusione" finishes the cycle with more rolling drums and big organs and one wacky synth.

So what have we all learned? Well, it's a small few that will truly dig this album, man. Production impediments aside, the simplicity of the playing (for the most part) won't satisfy instrumental spotters, and the 'Dante-meets-Dracula A.D. 1972' goofy gothic feel will turn off many others. I like it; it's got the same ragged, adventurous naivete that characterizes many experimental psychedelic albums but a harder hitting (albeit limited) musical palette- if you picture IRON BUTTERFLY doing an italian opera, you're getting warm. It's more outstanding as a period piece than fun listening, and it's not likely to be cited as an influence for many people, so despite my positive attitude towards it I can only rationalize two stars at best.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars " Over the ruins of ancient cities, flowers grow with no colours, sad trees stretch out to sky, branches corroded by time..."

I have to be honest with you all, dear prog-friends: Divina Commedia (original title "Comedia") is on the top five of my favourite OPERA of all time!!! Dante Alighieri was an "illuster vir" of the medieval Florence (1265 - 1321) who took part to the then hard political fights between the two main factions of the famous city and was forever banned from the town. He was a great supporter of Sacred Roman Germanic empire against the temporal power of the pope. He asked the emperor to march towards Florence and write his appreciation to secular government through the Sacred Authority of the Christian Germanic Emperor (De Monarchia). He died in Rimini, never returning back to his loved Florence.

Inferno is the first opus he wrote, then it was up to Purgatory and next came Paradise (three is a mystic number for all Cristianity. Each opus is made of 33 chants. At the sixth chant of each opus he speaks about politics respectevely in Florence, Italy and in the the mystic number of Antichrist...politics is thought to be the most evil element in all the mankind!!

It is not a case that Metamorfosi talk refers to "Lucifero" as the politicians... the sad thing is that they use as intro the US' national hymn...why not their own one?

Great musicianship in the vein of the usually keyboard oriented italian progrock bands of the seventies, like, for example Le Orme. The band consist of four members: Jimmy Spitaleri (vocals and flute), Enrico Olivieri (keyboards and synthesizer), Roberto Turbitosi (guitar and bass), Gianluca Herygers (drums and percussions).

Great theatrical development:

Introduzione; Selva Oscura (Obscure Wood); Porta dell'Inferno (Inferno's Gate); Caronte (the mythic souls' ferrymen); Spacciatore di Droga (Drug Pusher); Terremoto (Earthquake); Limbo (the infernal place where lies the souls of the non christian is not a place of pain and suffering...but a place in which people sadly sigh...; Lussuriosi; Avari (Avaricious); Violenti; Malebolge (Circles of hell); Sfruttatori (Profiteers); Razzisti; Fossa dei Giganti (Giants' Pit); Lucifero - politicanti; Conclusione ("...and we exit from hell to see the stars...").

Remarkable arrangements, even if not so elaborated and complex as other bands of that time. Impressive pathos, though, and this is what I'm looking for! Another highly recommended album from the extraordinary italian prog-scene of the seventies!

I think the right valuation of the work should be 4.5, but I cannot round it up to five because of that intro of "Lucifero"...

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A descent to the Inferno of a man's soul. An ascent to the heaven of musical bliss.

This album is one of my favourite albums alongside other Italian masterpieces and overall progressive albums.

I don't want this rating to be taken lightly and as an obvious choice. It took me about 25-30 thorough listens to it in order to appreciate it fully, to grasp all the details and the sophisticated musical parts that seem to hide from you on initial listens. It grew on me slowly. With each listen I was taken by the magic of another song. What an amazing concept album. Its name promises a frightening journey to the depths of hell, but this is not the case. The music itself has some scary tones in it, contributing to the albums' atmosphere of descent to the underworld. But it is a delight to listen to it.

This album will please all keyboards enthusiastic, since it is literally, drenched with piano and synths playing. The guitar is present but it is pushed to the background and often the bass is more clearly heard than the guitar.

Some of the songs are connected and even when there is a pause between songs, it is not very noticeable since the whole album flows smoothly. The music fits a mans descent into his inner depths where his personal hell lies, which maybe what this whole album talks about (I don't speak Italian very well).

Instead of hell, you have here a paradise of music filled with beautiful melodies. It contains some of the most emotional and captivating tunes I have hear, especially on Introduzione, Selva Oscura and Lussuriosi. The vocalist has an amazing voice, in my opinion. The depth of his voiceis more than competent to deal with what is required here. He manages to express the terrible experience of a person condemned to go to hell (if that is even what he sings about). The keyboards are definitely the highlight of this album. They dominate the music, going from slow and emotional to faster, virtuosic and dynamic. All the while they conjure up images of the journey to the inferno with blazing balls of fire, evil smiling demons, rivers of lava and the rest of the atrocities along the way. Due to the low quality of production, the enjoyment from this album diminishes to a certain extent, though the music itself is so gorgeous, that I tend to disregard it. A brilliant piece of art! For PA rating - 4.75 stars. A note: the back cover of the cd issue states that there are 16 tracks but the cd itself shows only 12 tracks. This is due to the fact that on the cd, all the instrumental tracks were united with the preceding songs, thus shortening it to 12 songs.

Review by andrea
4 stars Metamorfosi's second album was a "concept" inspired by the first part of the famous Dante Alighieri's poem "La Divina Commedia" that describes an imaginary journey of the poet through the Hell where he meets the best known sinners of his time... Well, in their album "Inferno" (Hell) Metmorfosi do not try to merely transpose the poetry of Dante Alighieri in music. They try to tell their own imaginary journey through the hell describing with music and lyrics the pains of "modern sinners" like drug pushers, Mafiosi, exploiters, members of KKK etc...

In the opener "Introduzione" the sound of organ and the inspired vocals of Davide "Jimmy" Spitalieri draw a gloomy landscape. "Flowers without colour grow on the ruins of ancient cities / Sad trees stretch to the sky branches corroded by the time". Then a keyboards-driven "infernal tarantella" (that every now and again reminds me slightly of PFM's "E' festa") leads through a "Selva oscura" (Dark forest) to the "Porta dell'Inferno" (Hell's Gate) where organ and vocals warn you: "Leave all hopes, you who enter / Damned souls, you will suffer in hot and freeze!".

Then rhythm goes up again for the meeting with the wicked "Caronte" (Charon), the demon with "eyes of fire in the dark" and with the first damned, a drug pusher ("Spacciatore di droga") haunted by his victims. "Now that you swear because of anger and pain / You, drug pusher, are going to cry / You will serve time in the hardest darkness / Where you can't have the illusions that you use to give". "Extinguished eyes are looking for you in the void / Junkies of a world without reality / How many times they had suffered because of your greed! / But now it is not with money that you have to pay". Dramatic moods in all the tracks, bound together with great energy (though in this album there's no much room for guitars) and remarkable musicianship.

After the break of "Terremoto" (Earthquake), the rhythm calm down for the passage in the "Limbo", just before the meeting with the "lovers of vice and pleasure", the "Lussuriosi" (Luxurious). This track, that close side A, seem more ironic than dramatic and in my opinion this is the weakest point of the album.

Side B begins with "Avari" (Niggards), a short track about the meeting with a miser and greedy damned that musically reminds slightly of PFM's "Impressioni di settembre" with keyboards leading the instrumental refrain. "I have never prayed / Money was my God / And I will have to pay here". "How many times did you take pleasure seeing people fall down? / You were blind and you must pay".

The following and more complex "Violenti" (Violents) is about the meeting with a murderer in a "Mafia revenge". "Red the blood flows among the paths where life is fragile / It was a burning sunny day of August when his life vanished / He fell, shot down because he had betrayed you / He was found with a stone in his mouth in that field of orange trees / After two days the whole village followed the funeral / A crowd walks slowly following an altar of death / A woman cries, left to fight alone in the silence / Black is the veil on her face, covering two tears of pain"... One of the best moments of the album that melts in dark landscape of "Malebolge", the "Black jails of cry".

After the meeting with the "Sfruttatori" (Exploiters), condemned to sink in a sea of sweat because they took away the harvest of the peasants with the arms of the law, there's the meeting with the "Razzisti" (Racists), members of the Ku Klux Klan. "You have despised a man to make him your slave / On the cotton fields more bended is his back / Work nigger! Sweat! Cry! Die!... Masked men, sect of damned / Pinned to these crosses now you burn!". The music is powerful with many changes of rhythm, theatrical vocals and no room for boredom.

In the instrumental "Fossa dei Giganti" there is a little break when on a simple line of bass the keyboards just suggest the anthems of U.S.A. and of The Soviet Union. When the album was released it was the time of the "Cold war" and of the fear of the atomic bomb. For many people politicians seemed to be representatives of the Evil playing with the World, so it was normal to find them in Hell freezing forever into the sea. "Gentlemen presidents, with your politics you have woven every deceit and betrayed the ideal of man. And my blood freezes thinking to our Hell". The fear melts in the sweet and delicate conclusion that marks the end of the journey (or of the nightmare if you prefer). "And then we could see the stars again".

In the whole "Inferno" is definitely a good album though with some ingenuities.. Personally, sometimes I miss the sound of the guitar but there is a good interaction between the other instruments and the keyboards work is really outstanding. So, in my opinion, "Inferno" is an excellent addition to any prog collection and an album that it is really worth listen to.

Review by NJprogfan
4 stars Fantastic Italian Symphonic album marred by a few parts that smack of cheesiness. I'll start out by saying that if you're into ELPish keyboard prog, then this will be up your alley. Guitars are few, but the amount of different sounding keys will blow your mind. Now about the cheesiness...track four, "Caronte" has some sound affects that remind me of some of those bad sci-fi movies from the 60's. UGH! And to top it off, during the song, which at times isn't half bad, Olivieri will use synths that sound very dated. Sure, at the time it was cutting edge, but now it just sounds awful, it's like I'm waiting for a Theremin-sound to pop up. The next song, "Spacciatore Di Droga" has a trippy hippy sound with some backing vocals straight from the late 60's, kinda out of place to these ears. But things pick up dramatically after those two burps. The music speeds up, the keys are awesome and the melodies have a PFM, Le Orme, Banco feel to them. What sets this band apart from the bands just mentioned is the voice of Jimmy Spitaleri, deep and throaty. When he reaches towards the end of certain lines of words his voice never wavers. He has a bass sound to his voice that matches the very dark nature of the theme of the album, very dramatic and original. If you're a fan of Italian Symph prog, this will definately be one you should find. If you are just starting out, go for the more famous bands I mentioned before. A worthy addition nevertheless. 4 quality stars.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a concept album based on Dante's inferno.The vocals are in Italian though so the story is lost on me. The music though is a real find !

I can't get over how well this guy sings ! He has a fairly deep operatic style to his singing that really reminded me of the singer for BANCO. And it's kind of cool that this guys name is Jimmy. He also plays some nice flute as well. Besides the excellent vocalist the keyboardist is the co-star of this group. Often bringing to mind ELP, there is hardly a moment that you don't hear either Hammond organ or piano and moog is all over this album too. I like the way many of the songs blend together and I love the way the album starts with the beloved church organ.

This is one release that lived up to the expectations that were put upon it. I highly recommend this seventies Italian beauty. 4 solid stars.

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars A highlight of Italian prog.

This epic and seminal piece of the band Metamorfosi is lush, dark, and highly entertaining. I can only think of a small handful of Italian prog records that match up to the artistry and music found here. Keyboard lovers will surely enjoy this work, and while the playing is not super technical, the psychedelic and pulsating riffs and measures drive the piece and pack it full with emotion.

The Italian vocals are wonderful, operatic, loud and melodic. The highlights for me were the opening introduction, Caronte, and Lucifero. The storyline of the record should be fairly familiar to those in the literature field, as Dante's Inferno is a well-known and highly acclaimed piece. Lucifero is perhaps the simplest, but most breathtaking piece here, and the climax of the album with soaring vocal lines and a dark keyboard section. Unfortunately, a few spots in the record do become a little bit cheesy, but if you get past this, you will find yourself with one gem of a record that is lush and very moving.

Even though the production is weak, the album is wonderful. Complex without being overly complicated and there's hardly ever a melody which isn't inspiring in some form. If you are a fan of Italian prog, you must get this record. Highly recommended.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Second album from this Sicilian (now) quartet (having lost their non-existent guitarist and changed drummer), it is a concept album based on Dante's Divine Comedy. I usually am very wary of these ambitious historical concept albums, which usually fall flat on their face because of the musicians being unable to match the pretensions that the subject requires. In this regard, Inferno doesn't fare that bad, but it is far from being a success either, even if they dare to update it to the current era's modern- day "sinners". Again released on the small Vedette label, but graced with a much more impressive artwork this time (and an improved production as well, but this is still not good), the album is an improvement over their debut, but then again, this wasn't that hard.

Unlike their debut, this album is much more ELP/Egg-sounding, but this is not yet close as clearly Olivieri's virtuosity can't quite match up Emerson, Stewart or a lot of other keyboardists. And of course where it really hurts is that he has no one giving him a reply either, hence the too-often-made comparisons. Nevertheless the album presents a bit of interesting (even bold and daring) moments, but overall does not manage to avoid falling into a few traps. These traps are again more to do with their religious conception and cannot avoid the majorly cheesy "seven sins" and two national anthems. The two sidelong tracks (although they are not really visible, especially on the Vinyl Magic Cd reissue, where the instrumentals sections get shrunk into other tracks so the track listing is not correct, either) are cut into many smaller tracks where the Latin presence is often a bit overpowering. While I mentioned ELP, I should rather prefer talking of a cross between Le Orme and Banco, even if the music is not as refined/evolved (in then classical sense) as there remains a messy 60's psych rock ambiance pervading throughout the album, even when in the last quarter of the album, the music is allowed a bit more freedom, the jam is a bit too 60's-ish. Easily the group's better album, but I fail to understand why it is so lauded among progheads.

In the 90's two members recorded the second part of this "oeuvre" and called it Paradiso, while the last part apparently was supposed to be called. you guessed it Purgatorio. Haven't heard any of those two oeuvres, but on the basis of this Inferno (which is no doubt the more interesting chapter of Dante's works both conceptually and artistically), I'm not sure I'd want to either.

In any case, I simply don't find Metamorfosi's two albums standing up to the reputation they have, no matter how many listens you will give them. There is simply not that much to grasp as to take that much investigation, either as their music is more straightforward than some other reviewers are having you believe. Most likely a proper remastering and correct package might do this album a service, but I doubt it would still be that high-placed in my pantheon.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Sometimes the near or total lack of guitars and the dominance of keyboards on a disk is not a concern, but at other times, perhaps because of the uniformity of the sound, this becomes a problem. On Metamorfosi's oft regarded classic "Inferno", unfortunately we are overly attacked by menacing organs and a variety of synthesizers, not to mention somewhat diabolical vocals. Although guitars are credited to Roberto Turbitosi, it is one of those cases of the bass guitarist doing double duty, or not, and I am hard pressed to detect any. The effect is that of a B horror flick without the benefit of the scenes that might put the music in context.

In terms of influences, many cite ELP, but even the style of organ doesn't sound quite like Emerson to me. I hear more Italian contemporaries like Banco and Le Orme, and some forays that sound like Renaissance's early material, which would have preceded this effort by a year or so. As alluded above, much of what is here sounds cheesy to modern ears, and I could not recommend it to one starting out in the field, unless they wanted to hear vintage sounds and/or were taken with church organs as a youth. Nonetheless, taken for what it is, this all works pretty well. In particular, some of the shorter pieces, like "Porta Dell Inferno" and "Carranted" are as concise as you will ever hear, carrying more punch than a lot of suites. "Lussiorosi" seems to capture the easy going sing song nature of early Le Orme ballads. The best full length track is "Sfruttatori", with a gripping melody and suspenseful approach that reminds me of the "New Trolls" circa "Atomic System", and its moogs are pretty impressive too. "Sfruttatori" shows that the band can cook without using electric keyboards, as it features stellar piano work.

While the metamorphosis of modern culture has rendered this dated to say the least, I can think of many productions that should burn in an eternal fire before this one.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars See you in hell.

While not universally loved even by Italian fans "Inferno" is universally recognized as one of the notable titles from the Italian prog genre. This legendary group's sophomore album is considered a classic example of the heavy keyboard Italian album, guitars are present but pushed to the back behind an array of moog, organ, piano and harpsichord. Vocalist Davide Spitaleri is likewise considered to have one of the better deep, rich operatic voices and is sometimes compared to the Banco vocalist. Together they create a unique sound that could be described as baroque prog, very dramatic and grandiose sometimes to the point of cheesiness to some listeners. Lyrically I've heard the album is quite good although as an English speaker I can't confirm that. The subject matter has heavy religious overtones discussing Heaven and Hell, man's philosophical dilemmas, good and evil. Inspirations for the lyrical concepts are drawn from Dante, Poe, and Baudelaire as well as other literature. Metamorfosi gained a reputation as a strong live performance act during the many pop festivals of their day. Their concerts were very theatrical and dramatic playing off the subject matter of the album, this combined with the talent of the band left the audiences thrilled. I've said it before but I would gladly turn over my non-existent riches to have been able to witness the Italian festivals of the early 70s, they must have been incredible. "Spacciatore di Droga" is a highlight for me, especially the ultra melodic portion from 3:45 to 5:15 where the divine bass breaks through and soars, accented by the flute and harpsichord. That portion is the essence of the kind of romanticism the Italian bands, love em or hate em, could pull off so damn well.

I enjoy "Inferno" for the uniqueness of its sound more than the music itself. It may not be a 5-star masterpiece to me but it has a sound like few other albums. Dark and mysterious. An overwhelming presence of keyboards with a very stately and strangely disconcerting sound. You often feel trapped or like you are lost in some maze and that's probably the exact feeling they wanted you to have given the subject matter. Very tight drumming with a canned or confined sound contributes to this. Add this to the dramatic vocal pronouncements and low key guitar presence and you have the recipe for something different. Yeah it does sound somewhat dated at times but so do early Yes and Genesis sometimes. An essential title for fans of Italian prog and vintage keyboard crazies (you know who you are!) For the rest, I'm not sure how to advise. The mini-lp edition is a gatefold with the nice artwork and booklet with band history.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Metamorphosi got rid of their guitar player and the sound of this album is much more in the vein of ELP than their prior work (although guitar was very scarce in there).

One is really plunged into the ELP world as soon as the first notes of "Introduzione" are played. And this feeling will prevail almost throughout the album. Since it is a concept one, there are several short tracks or at least defined as such like "Porta Dell'Infernio", "Caronte" and a few more. But since all tracks are flowing nicely into one another it sounds more as if they were part of a bigger whole.

If you take "Spacciatore." for instance. This longer song features lots of theme changes: from dull jazzy stuff to magnificent and melodic prog. This one could also have been sliced into three-four distinctive parts, so I don't really understand most of the cuts between songs here.

Anyway, that's probably why I consider this work more as a one epic song than how it is represented. Some parts being of course superior to others. "Violenti" and its excellent moog solo to close is a good example of a good piece of music.

I have to say that I was expecting some more from this album, having seen so many high ratings I was expecting a masterpiece and IMHHO it is not. A good album seriously influenced by ELP. With some Italian flavour of course (just listen to the splendid "Lucifero").

Three stars.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Surely the point of this band's sound is bass guitar. I can't consider another point.

The most expectable Italian classic progressive rock band METAMORFOSI's second album (and of course their masterpiece) Inferno is full of heavyness and darkness. What made the heavy and dark sound as the core of the band? I do consider the key is bass guitar, noisy and exploded bass guitar, like Chris Squire's (Yes). And Davide-Jimmy's tenor vocal with Canzone-like flavour is also very important. His voice will get louder and more shouting as the songs go forward. Variable rhythm sections and avantgarde & psychedelic keyboard sound can hit and attack us with bass and vocal. All of instrumentals are well- balanced and I wanna say there is no useless sound at all! The songs of this album, IS ONE SUITE named INFERNO. Continuously and streamingly the suite can push and shake our heart and brain, then we should be absorbed into the METAMORFOSI world. At the last stage we can get chilled with the terrible ending...from start to end, we can't breathe enough, ha-haa!

Some expression I told but, to tell the truth, my expression should be absolutely useless.


Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Metamorfosi's Inferno is a remarkable record that sits somewhere in the middle between Italian pop, rock, opera and synth-dominated heavy prog. It is often called dark and sinister, an impression further enhanced by the bleak artwork, and it certainly is quite gothic from a 70s perspective. Of course, by today's standards it is fairly mild and friendly.

A common critique is the production, or rather the mix, which is rather blurry. The keyboards are very upfront and drown out much of the over-compressed rhythm section. Luckily, the keyboard work is very original and outstanding, a word of praise not often given by this reviewer, at least not to rock albums. A proper mix might have made the impact of the chilling synths and the creepy church organs much grander, but on the other hand, the production gives the album a very personal sound and atmosphere. As a reference, only VDGG's more sinister moments of Pawn Hearts come to mind. Besides, the mix is not so bad that it spoils the experience, just crank this one up and it works!

In true RPI fashion we get remarkable vocals: very dynamic, heavy and emotive. A sort of lower register version of Banco if you like. Also the music matches the high RPI standards, being very diverse and imaginative, sometimes lyrical and romantic, sometimes heavy, sometimes creepy and even avant. But everything blends together quite well. Only by exception do we get fragmented material such as the short Avari which has an abrupt tempo change before fading out prematurely. But that's a small price to pay for such original music.

Not everyone's taste for sure but that only makes it more interesting to investigate. A truly remarkable and excellent album.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars Keyboard and piano driven Italian prog which sports an enticingly obscure and meaningless cover. It's funny, back in the 70's there was a definite sound for each country producing prog. The Italians were lush and smooth with a band number that usually totaled 30. The Germans were rougher and hard with chip on their shoulder, usually comprising four guys, the French were usually keyboard dominated and goofy and the Brits sounded like a combination of all the above.

'Metamorfosi' is all a bit too ELP for my liking. Just as I'm about to get bored with this some nice flute appears followed by a really good tune in 'Spacciatore di droga' - don't ask me to translate - my Italian is rustier than my German...

Credit where credit's due... Inferno had a good strong vocalist in Jimmy Spitaleri. I have to say though, in 40 years I ain't ever heard of an Italian called Jimmy. What's the hell's going on there?

To my ears it's all a bit repetitive, but at least there's no guitars for a change. Not bad, a straight three stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars A concept album based, of course, on Dante's poetic vision of Hell, Inferno seems to draw a lot of comparisons to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, probably because of the presence of the odd snatch of classical music arranged for rock band here and there. But at the same time, I don't think they sound that much like ELP - they're just resorting to an approach which Keith Emerson popularised, but should probably be connected with The Nice rather than ELP. As a whole, I found the musicianship on this album entertaining enough but hardly as gripping as most of their Italian prog contemporaries; it's a pleasant listen, but not a great one.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars METAMORFOSI had formed all the way back in 1969 when lead vocalist Jimmy Spitaleri left Sicily and moved to Rome where he joined up with the musicians of the band I Frammenti which was just one of many beat groups of the era. Having a common interest in the burgeoning Italian prog scene, Spitaleri found promise in the virtuosic keyboard playing of Enrico Olivieri and METAMORFOSI was formed. It would take them three years to craft their debut "E Fu Il Sesto Giorno" which emerged in 1972 but the band was way behind the prog trends and still woefully weighed down by the 60s and found their rather uninspiring debut come and go without notice. Coming to the game at that late stage seemed like METAMORFOSI would be destined to go down as a mere footnote of the Italian bands that existed in the 70s but somehow they transmogrified into one of the most memorable bands of the 70s Italian scene with their sophomore release INFERNO.

Due to the lack of interest of the debut, there had been a lineup change. The three core members Jimmy Spitaleri continued as lead vocalist and flautist. Enrico Olivieri would continue as keyboardist and synthesizer abuser but gave up his role as second flautist. Roberto Turbitosi who only played bass on the debut continued to do so on INFERNO and picked up a secondary task as guitarist after the departure of guitarist Luciano Tamburro. Drummer Gianluca Herygers replaced Mario Natali and overall the quintet was whittled down to a quartet with more emphasis on the dynamic counterpoints of Spitaleri's dramatic operatic vocal style with Olivieri's virtuosic keyboard wizardry. While the guitar hadn't been completely removed, it had been practically silenced under the thundering roar of a more stellar percussive drive and keyboard prowess.

INFERNO (Hell in English) contained two side long suites that broke down into twelve tracks and conspired to create a darkened musical journey in the form of a rock opera that was based on Dantes "Divina Comedia (Divine Comedy)" which took the listener to the different levels of the afterlife, namely hell, purgatory and heaven. Dante's masterpiece has been a long lasting preeminent work of Italian literature created in the 1300s. METAMORFOSI takes some liberties in adapting the concept to modern days relating the concepts to the modern ills of society. Like most Italian prog bands of the 70s, all lyrics are sung in Italian where Jimmy Spitaleri proves he can play the big kids game with his impeccably perfect presentation on INFERNO with strong operatic bravado all the way through. The second star is the classically divine keyboard prowess of Olivieri who delivers some of prog's greatest keyboard runs on par with many of the greats of the day.

Through its album length run INFERNO gracefully wends and winds through many movements with creative feedback fueled uses of the Moog and seductive flute tag alongs to the exquisitely melodic developments that make INFERNO utterly addictive even upon first listen. While METAMORFOSI lacked the compositional technical workouts that more seasoned bands like PFM, Banco or Area could dish out in their sleep, METAMORFOSI focused instead on seductively melodic pop hooks and melded them into classically infused pieces of a larger puzzle. INFERNO runs as a single listening experience but each track holds up on its own with catchy melodic hooks that find all the extra creative layers conspire to unfold one of the 70s greatest Italian prog rock experiences with clever adaptations of the theme through the myriad percussive and synthesized sounds that spring forth from one passage to the next.

This one has been a slow burner for me. While the pop hooks are addictive, they almost seem too addictive as the album comes off as rather sugary sweet but once my gaze shifted from the irresistible melodies, the interesting dynamics and unfolding of the storyline come into play. It also may come down to how this album is experienced. I find it a masterpiece when played loud on my most recent remastered CD on the Belle Antique label however when i listen to this with the volume turned down or when i've heard it on YouTube, it seems to lose some of its magnificence. While considered a modern day classic, it wasn't exactly deemed so at the time of release like so many great gems of the past, however throughout the decades it has been agreed to be one of the greatest of the entire scene.

METAMORFOSI intended to release a sequel to INFERNO but while working on the followup, would disband and not return until 2004 when they at long last unleashed their next chapter of the tale in the form of "Paraiso." As good as INFERNO is, it seems that the lack of guitars makes it fall a little flat despite the majestic attempts to carry on without them. While the music is quite intricately interwoven with creative keyboard attacks, lyrical brilliance and an emanate vocal command, INFERNO falls a tad short of all the masterpiece tags i've seen heaped upon it. No doubt that it is an amazingly strong album that is lightyears beyond their debut, but it also falls short of the raised bar wizardry of the more technically gifted competition of the era. Had INFERNO emerged in 1971, this would have been one of the best albums of the year but coming out in 1973 at the very peak of the Italian scene, keeps it from excelling beyond the just excellent category. Still though, this is definitely one of the must have albums of the era.

Review by Menswear
5 stars Hell? More like Heaven to me!

Holy Chianti and Rigatoni this is good. Like 6 stars good. This record loses no time: right at the beginning big gong, church organ, harpsichord and wham! one tasty synth melody after the other. Keyboards firing right with toms rolls, bass punching with loud organ on my left with heavy rock drumming in the middle; of course, with a bit of reserve, Metamorfosi is pumping lots of ELP by moments, but I must stress the originality of their grooves.

Bang! Boom! Ka-Pow! Lots of energy flying around with abrupt time changes with more synths lines emerging in another mood change. Then another! From softly meditating to self pity to perhaps despair, the singer is fully committed at singing his trip to Hell. This skillful level of blending darkness and light has not been seen much these day. The album that gave me such goosebumps at first could be RDM's Contaminazione. Their approach is not too far from each other: balls to the wall rock intertwined with light, ethereal passages.

The cherry on top could be the ominous art cover straight outta Lucio Fulci's cinematography, straight scary. Imagining spending the eternity in that state is what 70's nightmares were made of. The really scary stuff: no gore, just the oppressing feeling of being trapped.

Frenzy, sad, desperate, beautiful, gentle and sometimes jazzy, this album is one trip to hell and back.

Stuff of Legends. Absolutely recommended.

Review by zeuhl1
4 stars A very solid example of the RPI sound, Metamorfosi took a quantum leap from their debut lp to create the mini masterpiece Inferno. Based on Dante's Inferno, the album is instrumentally adventurous, well recorded and a great introduction for newcomers to what the RPI sound is all about.

Opener Introduzione takes us through an ELP styled piano/organ/drums high tempo race. Here keyboardist Enrico Olivieri flashes his brilliance on an array of keyboards, but especially his synth lines are a stand out, (one of the better uses of moog in Italian rock), and this song is a strong representation of what you have in store for you. Vocalist Jimmy Spitaleri may be a problem for some, as his distinct operatic vocals seem at odds with the music underneath. Explosions lead us to another level of hell. Lussuriosi is harpsichord driven with falsetto chorale vocals that pulls a fade that seems indicate the end of side one, but it fades back for a quick Avari, which unleashes some powerful moog before quickly fading once again.

Side two weaves together seamlessly as a single song despite individual titles. It opens with Violenti, once again featuring the very distinct operatic vocals and builds in tempo for a PFM styled race to the finish line with the moog once again leading the way. This shifts instantly into Malebolge, an organ driven high tempo song again featuring strong vocals. Wakeman-esque synth lines weave on top of some complex ELP styled keyboard workouts (guitar is all but non existent on this record). For those who like keyboard heavy prog, this is a smorgasbord on display. It is a shame that some will never be able to get past the vocals, as he adds that nearly indefinable Italian touch to the proceedings. The instrumental intro to Razzisti has echoes of their former 60's era origins and is a fast piano workout over a blistering but catchy rhythm section. Lucifero (Politiciani) kicks off with a discordant synth run with snatches of La Marseillaise and the Soviet national anthem lead us to a deeper circle of hell, one reserved for politicians. A gentle falsetto chorale brings our journey to an end, (fading out on an unsettling moog warble), and it is a fairly wild ride well worth your time.

I feel like if you replaced Spitaleri with any UK second tier prog vocalist singing in English (which I'd never want to do) that many fans would be lauding this for decades and you'd see Metamorfosi t shirts at Yes concerts to this day. Many Italian bands resemble ELP in varying fashions, and this is another one, but with a richness to their sound that ELP lacked. Rustichelli and Bordini would also be a good reference point for the outstanding keyboard work and excellent and prominent use of moog. Highly recommended for both RPI and prog fans.

The reissue Lp is a stunning reproduction of the original release in matte cover with a distinctive surrealist cover. Beautiful package that enhances the whole experience. 4.5 stars

Latest members reviews

5 stars What can I say about this masterpiece. It delivers from start to finish, perfect instrumentation hand in hand with some of the most marvellous lyrics in any RPI album. As a Banco del Mutuo Soccorso diehard-fan, I noticed the strong influence it has on this record, both on the strong rythms and the v ... (read more)

Report this review (#2968741) | Posted by El_autista_Hans | Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best Italian prog albums. What I have to point out that Italian vocal not always fits into Rock (for me), but this is not the case. Quite the contrary? I cannot imagine anything else for this particular long prog suite inspired by immortal Dante's "Divine Comedy". Perhaps this is becaus ... (read more)

Report this review (#2304214) | Posted by toilet_doctor | Friday, January 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is very hot (pun definitely intended). An epic musical masterpiece revolving around Dante's Inferno (which is a classic masterpiece itself). This album is filled to the brim with organ and synthesizer sounds. For someone like me, this album is, to put it bluntly, droolworthy. I reco ... (read more)

Report this review (#207568) | Posted by AsiaticFox | Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love any album with an 'Inferno' concept... not being an Italian speaker myself, i'm not sure if this album is based on Dante's Inferno or if it's just a general theme of Hell. All i know is that this album is imbued with tartarean darkness, even without the words making sense. An ominous and m ... (read more)

Report this review (#206941) | Posted by AdamHearst | Friday, March 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Out of all the Italian progressive rock bands, I would find Metamorfosi to be one of the most obscure. Compared to the big 3 bands of Italian Prog Rock (Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi, and Le Orme), Metamorfosi always remained in the shadows. The group formed in 1969 and consis ... (read more)

Report this review (#180591) | Posted by Jozef | Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars super great album, introduzione is a super tune with hard some touch of keybord hard rock, all songs are great, it has a hard voice from mr Jimmy, it have some soft parts with synth and some church organ with the great voice of jimmy that will transport you to a gold era, then a explosion, its all ... (read more)

Report this review (#133636) | Posted by Iommi | Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Good album, but id does take 'til track 8 to really get going. That's when the vocals give way to music more. As per previous reviews, some parts do sound dated. At times there is a late 60s almost psych rock flavor to the arrangements. I do admit though, that this is an album that some will find ... (read more)

Report this review (#118066) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I started my Italian Symphonic Prog CD collection, that was a album I wasn't too sure about, should I buy it??? Thanks to the praise the album got in PA and also, thanks to the guy at my local progressive record shop who said very good thing about it, I brought it. My first two or three ... (read more)

Report this review (#85816) | Posted by Fido73 | Friday, August 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The second work released in 1972 "Inferno". The sound went forward on a wicked at a dash keyboard rock route. The theme of the work is Dante's The Divine Comedy. There is no approach like the contemporary music in harmony compared with IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO of a similar sound. There are a lot ... (read more)

Report this review (#72921) | Posted by braindamage | Friday, March 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This record is one of the most concept interesting whit symphonic, an acid style, whit spectacular keyboards and synth of ENRICO OLIVIERI, the amazing voice of JIMMY SPITALERI.The classic Metamorfosi shows Italian symphonic rock at its best, full of nuances and subtleties.This heavy progressiv ... (read more)

Report this review (#71367) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An extraordinary achievement, this album takes my breath away every time. So many incredible musical ideas, this album is similar to Emerson, Lake & Palmer with a touch of Genesis and Jethro Tull thrown in. A superb album from beginning to end, not a single boring moment. If you are a prog rock f ... (read more)

Report this review (#4835) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The album starts with the teathrical voice of Spitalieri, singing lyrics that to mother tongue italians seem a little bit embarassing. So a little disappointment at first, a disappointment that vanish immediately: the rest of the work is a majestic masterpiece, thanks especially to the keys of Olivi ... (read more)

Report this review (#4832) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Their much better second one.Very intence singing,great organ work and especially brilliant songs.Sometimes melodic with romantic and melancholic touches.Sometimes powerfull and heavier organ and guitar soloiing.An album we everyone go for it. ... (read more)

Report this review (#4838) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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