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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso picture
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso biography
Founded in Rome, Italy in 1969 - Between 1997-2018 active playing Live - Reformed in 2016

One of the most important progressive rock bands to come from Italy, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, along with LE ORME and PFM are regarded as the big three of the RPI genre. This is not only because of their longevity and the level of success they achieved in their own country, but also because each were able to make considerable inroads abroad, something which didn't happen for most of their contemporaries.

Despite not releasing their first album until 1972, the band actually formed in 1969, their sound centering around the virtuoso dual keyboard work of the Nocenzi brothers, Gianni and Vittorio. The early line-up fluctuated with various members coming and going before any recorded output was released, including drummers Franco Pontecorvi and Mario Achilli, bassist Fabrizio Falco and guitarists Gianfranco Coletta (ex CHETRO & CO) and Claudio Falco. This early incarnation of the band did, however, record some material but this wouldn't surface until 1989 (see the "Donna Plautilla" album).

Joining the Nocenzi brothers for a more stable line-up in time for their first album was ex-FIORI DI CAMPO guitarist Marcello Todaro and three members of LE ESPERIENZE, vocalist Francesco Di Giacomo, drummer Pier Luigi Calderoni and bassist Renato D'Angelo. Their eponymous first album was a remarkably mature piece of inventive symphonic progressive rock with classical influences, featuring excellent musicianship and the emotionally charged vocal delivery of Di Giacomo. This was quickly followed up by the equally highly regarded "Darwin" and "Io Sono Nato Libero," forming a trio of albums that are essential listening for anyone with even the most casual interest in the RPI genre.

A change of guitarist followed shortly after the recording of "Io Sono Nato Libero," when Todaro left and joined CRYSTALS and was replaced by Rodolfo Maltese, formerly of HOMO SAPIENS. Around this time the band attempted to make inroads outside their native Italy and released the English sung "Banco" on ELP'S Manticore label. In reality this was largely a compilation, as it consisted of re-recorded songs from their first three albums with the exception of one track. To promote this they toured the USA and UK with limited success. "Banco" was followed in 1976 by the film soundtrack album "Garofano Rosso," and in the same year two versions of the same album, one Italian and one English...
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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO discography


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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 994 ratings
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
1972
4.38 | 1300 ratings
Darwin!
1972
4.37 | 1190 ratings
Io Sono Nato Libero
1973
4.02 | 299 ratings
Banco
1975
3.47 | 194 ratings
Garofano Rosso
1976
4.03 | 302 ratings
Come In Un'Ultima Cena
1976
3.36 | 90 ratings
As in a Last Supper
1976
3.74 | 259 ratings
...Di Terra
1978
3.72 | 198 ratings
Canto Di Primavera
1979
1.76 | 69 ratings
Urgentissimo
1980
2.16 | 64 ratings
Buone Notizie
1981
1.94 | 70 ratings
Banco (1983)
1983
1.30 | 68 ratings
...E Via
1985
2.50 | 58 ratings
Donna Plautilla
1989
2.19 | 39 ratings
Non Mettere Le Dita Nel Naso
1989
3.41 | 66 ratings
B.M.S. (Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, 1991 version)
1991
3.45 | 100 ratings
Darwin (1991 version)
1991
2.46 | 54 ratings
Il 13
1994
3.78 | 169 ratings
Transiberiana
2019
4.06 | 74 ratings
Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore
2022

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.08 | 59 ratings
Capolinea
1979
2.07 | 9 ratings
Live
1993
2.27 | 18 ratings
Papagayo Club 1972
1994
3.79 | 51 ratings
Nudo
1997
3.44 | 9 ratings
Nudo - Live In Tokyo
1998
3.70 | 25 ratings
En Concierto, May 1999 - Mexico City.
1999
3.75 | 31 ratings
No Palco
2003
4.14 | 68 ratings
Seguendo Le Tracce
2005
3.69 | 13 ratings
Quaranta (Live Prog Exhibition 2010)
2012

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.30 | 27 ratings
In Concerto: Cio' Che Si Vede È
1992
3.79 | 14 ratings
Live 1980
2007

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.18 | 30 ratings
Da qui messere si domina la valle
1991
3.30 | 10 ratings
La Storia
1993
2.44 | 8 ratings
I Grandi Successi
1993
1.75 | 4 ratings
Banco d'accusa
1996
3.95 | 3 ratings
Le Origini
1996
2.07 | 5 ratings
Antologia
1996
1.00 | 2 ratings
Nudo (Japanese version)
1997
1.67 | 3 ratings
Musica più
1997
3.94 | 8 ratings
Gli Anni 70
1998
3.75 | 4 ratings
Made In Italy
2004
3.92 | 3 ratings
I Miti Musica
2005
4.67 | 3 ratings
Collezione Italiana
2006
3.50 | 2 ratings
D.O.C.
2006
2.50 | 4 ratings
Le Più Belle Canzoni Di... Il Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
2006
4.00 | 3 ratings
Il Ragno
2008
4.56 | 9 ratings
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - 40 anni (Debut album 40th anniversary Deluxe Edition)
2012
5.00 | 2 ratings
Essential
2012
5.00 | 8 ratings
Darwin!
2013
4.00 | 12 ratings
Un'idea che non puoi fermare
2014
4.80 | 5 ratings
Io sono nato libero 1973-2017 (Legasy Edition)
2017

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Non Mi Rompete
1973
4.00 | 3 ratings
Canto Di Primavera
1979
3.33 | 3 ratings
Niente
1979
2.67 | 3 ratings
Paolo Pa / Ma Che Idea
1980
3.00 | 2 ratings
Paolo Pa
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Il Ragno
1980
3.00 | 2 ratings
Baciami Alfredo
1981
3.00 | 3 ratings
Lontano Da (DJ - Special Mix)
1983
2.60 | 5 ratings
Moby Dick
1983
1.96 | 4 ratings
Grande Joe
1985
1.50 | 2 ratings
Vedo Il Telefono
1989

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.06 | 74 ratings

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Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars While indisputably one of the prog scene's greatest bands ever to emerge from 1970s Italy, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO better known as BANCO dominated the world of symphonic prog but like most proggers of the day totally derailed once musical tastes shifted and left the band struggling to adapt to the new world of punk, heavy metal and new wave. BANCO was not very good at watering its classic sophisti-prog down into the sugary realms of pop music and despite crafting some of the all time classics with albums like "Darwin," equally churned out some of the most nauseating attempts of a band of such caliber trying to fit in with the newer contemporary sounds. The 80s was not kind. After a final attempt to gain some momentum in the alternative 90s and even an ill-fated attempt to re-record "Darwin," BANCO fell silent presumably never to be heard from again.

This was made all the more so when legendary lead singer Francesco Di Giacomo perished in a car accident in 2014. Who in the world would have thought that this legendary band had any second life in them? BANCO shocked the prog world it was reformed by the only original member still standing, pianist and keyboardist Vittorio Nocenzi with a new cast of characters and released "Transiberiana" in 2019. The track record of forty year old prog bands reforming and recapturing the spirit of their original run isn't very good and although nobody initially thought anything of this comeback, BANCO exceeded expectations with a brilliant album that melded the soulful performances of decades ago with a new modern sheen that incorporated all the newer production techniques to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised for sure and now it's officially no one off fluke. BANCO are back with ORLANDO: LE FORME DELL'AMORE (The Shapes of Love), officially the band's 18th studio album.

Hard to believe that ORLANDO: LE FORME DELL'AMORE has arrived just in time for the band's 50th anniversary of the self-titled masterpiece and "Darwin" but a half of a century has elapsed making it so. Unbelievably BANCO sounds amazingly reinvigorated with the same music mojo that brought them to the world's stage so many decades ago. This is a concept album not based on the famous city in Florida but rather the 16th century poem "Orlando Furioso" written by Ludovico Ariosto which first appeared in 1516. ORLANDO was a Christian knight who fought in the war between the Charlemagne Christian paladins and the Saracen army that invaded Europe for the sake of overthrowing the Christian empire. The poem itself was divided into 46 cantos. The concept and complex nature of the poem lends to an amazing display of musical antics that accompany these themes.

ORLANDO, the album is like a double album from the classic prog era with 15 tracks and a running time of a whopping 79 minutes, quite a risky endeavor for a band some 50 years in existence but let's face it: this is BANCO in name only with only one original member. Despite the fact that Vittorio Nocenzi is the only original knight in this musical escapade though doesn't mean that this lineup of six hasn't successfully captured the essence of BANCO's classic sound. In fact ORLANDO is an even better album than "Transiberiana" which i rather liked quite a bit. Like any great Italian prog album, lyrics are exclusively in the Italian language and the diversity of sounds matches anything from the golden years. The new vocalist Tony D'Alessio performs the unthinkable task of replacing the late great Franceso Di Giacomo and while this may prove to be an insurmountable task, D'Alessio delivers stellar performances despite not being a young whippersnapper himself.

Paced like a traditional concept album from the classic prog years, ORLANDO opens with poetic prose and then breaks into a never ending series of melodic developments, strong composiitons and of course excellent musical deliveries. Although not original members, the five musicians sound like seasoned veterans in the prog field with the ability to craft pastoral intricate melodies or bombastic outbursts of prog excesses often within the same track. The track "Il Palidino" showcases some of the knottiest hefty workouts on the entire album. Lush ballads and adrenaline fueled heaviness more or less perfectly narrate the concept without the listener having any idea what the Italian lyrics are referencing. Most of all much effort was obviously put into the album's diversity of individual tracks which makes ORLANDO a most surprising comeback indeed.

Perhaps the biggest downfall of ORLANDO: LE FORME DELL'AMORE is its excessive playing time. I mean 79 minutes is a lot to ask for in our contemporary short attention span era. There's no way i would've even considered listening to this album if not for the fact it was BANCO! While BANCO's classic albums are in no danger of being outdone, this one is so much better than i could've possibly hoped for. The album basically builds on what what was presented on "Transiberiana" as the new BANCO and carried out to classic BANCO progginess. None of the guys in this lineup are youthful so don't expect any virtuosic performances on par with past glories but for a band of aging prog rockers you really couldn't expect anything better than what is presented on ORLANDO. The album could be shorter but even so there are really no substandard tracks, just too many of them! An excellent comeback for BANCO who appears to be on a roll with its second coming. Bravissimo!

 Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.06 | 74 ratings

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Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Hrvat

4 stars Over the past year I have really delved deep into Italian prog, something which had previously been a big blind spot for me. Very quickly Banco rose to the top and have cemented themselves as a top five 70s prog band for me. 'Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore' is the latest album from the current incarnation of the band. The prior album 'Transiberiana' from 2019 I thought was solid but nothing something that left much of a mark on me. So going in Orlando I was not expecting much and when I also saw it had a length of nearly 80 minutes, my hopes for the album dropped drastically.

But to my surprise Orlando is a big step up from its predecessor. This album is actually really good. I do think it is too long and could have done with some editing down. But having said that I do enjoy every song, so what I would actually cut out I am not entirely sure. The album has great instrumentation, with clear nods to their past but still firmly modern sounding. This is certainly no retro album. What grabbed me the most however is how catchy the album is, there are so many great melodies throughout. This element is a particular improvement over Transiberiana.

A big shout out needs to go to vocalist Tony D'Alessio who has one of the toughest tasks in prog, having to fill the massive shoes left by the late Francesco Di Giancomo who was one of the great prog vocalists. D'Alessio thankfully does not try to imitate the unique Di Giancomo (an impossible task), but he does deliver a great performance in his own right. He sings with great emotion that is worthy of Di Giancomo. Overall, this album has been a pleasant surprise. It is rare for veteran bands to deliver an album this good so late into their career.

 Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.06 | 74 ratings

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Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by lukretio

4 stars Banco del Mutuo Soccorso are a legend in the Italian progressive rock scene. Founded in 1970 by brothers Gianni and Vittorio Nocenzi, the band quickly gained popularity at home as well as internationally, thanks to their original take on progressive rock, mixing the influences of British bands like ELP and Gentle Giant with distinctively Mediterranean sensibilities harking back to the Italian "bel canto" tradition in opera. Iconic albums like Darwin! (1972) and Io Sono Nato Libero (1973) earned Banco a place among the "big three" of the Italian prog rock scene, together with Le Orme and PFM. Throughout the years, the band continued to release a steady stream of albums, but their career risked coming to an end after the tragic and untimely death in 2014 of their iconic lead singer, Francesco Di Giacomo. However, Vittorio Nocenzi found the strength to continue and recruited a new bunch of exceptional talents for his band (singer Tony D'Alessio behind the mic, Nicola Di Già on guitar, Marco Capozi on bass and Fabio Moresco on drums). After releasing their come-back record Transiberiana in 2019, Banco return this September with their 18th LP to date, Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore (Orlando: The Shapes of Love), an ambitious concept album centered around Ludovico Ariosto's XVI century epic poem Orlando Furioso (Raging Roland).

The album had a long gestation period, and some of the songs go even back to the years before Di Giacomo's death and have been reworked extensively since then. The time and effort Nocenzi and his bandmates put into the project definitely pays off, though. Orlando is probably one of the best progressive rock albums I had the pleasure to listen to in recent years. It combines the textural and compositional depth of classic prog rock with an incredible sense of melody, striking a remarkable balance between complexity and accessibility. It is no mean feat. The history of prog rock and metal is rife with albums that seem written exclusively for the pleasure of those playing them, where displays of technical prowess and compositional complexity come across as sterile means without an end. With Orlando, Banco show that virtuoso playing and intricate, multi-part arrangements can also be used to convey emotions and to tell engaging and relatable stories.

The way the album is arranged oozes class and sophistication. Each instrument is a voice in a colourful and ever-changing orchestra. Melodic lines get swapped between Nocenzi's keyboards and the guitars played by Di Già and Filippo Marchegianni. Capozi's bass is used both as a melodic and rhythmic instrument, depending on the needs of each song, while drummer Fabio Moresco is equally apt to switch from track to track between steady rock-tempo keeping and nimble playing. A vast array of compositional techniques is used, in a way that is always functional to the album's narrative. In "Non Serve Tremare", Angelica - one of the protagonists in Ariosto's poem ? runs away from the violence of war. The alternation between 3/4 and 7/8 and minor / major scales is a great expedient to create tension and release, capturing Angelica's ambivalent feelings of fear and hope. The use of chromatic elements in "La Maldicenza" perfectly convey the perversion of gossip and slander. Elsewhere, delicate acoustic arrangements allow the band to express the more romantic aspects of Ariosto's poem, whose themes of love and yearning are as important as the tales of heroism and war ("Serve Orlando Adesso", "L'Amore Accade"). But the beating heart of this album are the fantastic melodies that run through its 15 songs, making them so memorable and unique. There is something about the way the melodic lines are constructed that I find absolutely mesmerizing. It is not just that they are catchy and instantly accessible. They are also dramatic, interesting, and extremely rich in the spectrum of emotions and mindspaces they explore ? from melancholy, to epicness, to raging fury. A former Italian X-Factor contestant, Tony D'Alessio is an incredible talent, and his full, expressive voice is the ideal conduit for the album's melodic ideas. His heavy metal heritage (he played in a handful of minor Italian prog metal acts in the 1990s) allows him to be very convincing in chanting the rages of war ("La Pianura Rossa"), but his voice can also caress the ear in the mellowest passages. The singer's histrionic performance is certainly one of the highlights of the record.

Another thing that stood out for me is how current and relevant Banco's music sounds still today. It's fair to say that many classic prog rock bands that are still releasing albums today, have not aged terribly well (Yes, for instance). These bands' sound is firmly rooted in the 1970s and it's difficult to shake off the impression that the same musical ideas are being recycled over and over again. Banco do not allow their music to be fossilized in the 1970s, but experiment with new sounds and techniques, from the user of vocoder to samples and loops. As a result, Orlando sounds fresh and contemporary. The unnerving opening bars of "Non Serve Tremare" nearly catapult me into a Radiohead's album, while elsewhere the music incorporates the influence of contemporary Italian "musica leggera" (singer-songwriter / pop music) in its most sophisticated forms (Franco Battiato). Meanwhile, songs like "Serve Orlando Adesso" and "Non Mi Spaventa Piu' l'Amore" look beyond European musical traditions and are built around a milonga rhythm.

The music is brilliant, but I must say it's not fully supported by the sound production, which is a tad too light and weightless for my taste. The instrument separation is fairly extreme. While this helps in picking up the melodic and rhythmical figures played by each musician, it reduces somewhat the overall impact of the music. Moreover, the drum sound is pretty thin, which is a problem in the record's heaviest passages ("La Pianura Rossa"). I wish the production could have been fuller and "meatier" to give the album the bigger and deeper sound it needs. I also felt the LP is perhaps a bit too long for its own good (just over 76 minutes). It's actually not length per se that is the problem, but the way that the album's narrative seems to get a bit garbled towards the end. The record achieves its emotional peak with the beautiful ballad "L'Amore Accade" (sung by guest vocalist Viola Nocenzi, Vittorio's daughter) and one would expect things to wind down and conclude shortly afterwards. In fact, the song is followed by the quiet and meditative "Non Credere Alla Luna", whose cathartic bluesy coda feels just like the perfect place to end the record. Yet there are three more tracks and over 20 minutes of music left, including the mini-epic "Moon Suite" which alone lasts 11 minutes. While each of these songs is quite beautiful per se, they feel unnecessary in the context of the album, spoiling somewhat the emotional arc that the album's narrative had traced up to this point.

Orlando is nevertheless a stunning return for Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. The album possesses the timeless elegance and beauty of the best rock operas out there, masterfully combining melodic accessibility with the virtuoso playing and complex arrangements of prog. It is epic and romantic and it feels modern and relevant. As such, it can appeal to a host of different fans, from 1970s prog rock aficionados to younger metalheads who may have a soft spot for musicals and theatrical repertoires and artists (Trans-Siberian Orchestra; Arjen Anthony Lucassen ? especially his latest Ayreon's album Transitus). Highly recommended!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.31 | 994 ratings

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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ProgRockPrincess

5 stars 93/100

After much consideration, I realized that this is probably the best Banco album, even if just by a hair.

Moreover, this is pretty much as good as RPI gets. While there are parts that lose their energy, the payoff is always there. It really works as an album, and introduces and concludes itself with dignity, leaving the exciting parts in the middle.

RIP is a fantastic start that balances cheer and drama, and doesn't waste a note. It has a fantastic clean guitar solo that is rare even in prog. Immediately you can hear the power in the vocals and I probably would pick this for the best singer in the RPI scene, and one of the greatest in rock music in general.

Banco has a strange quality of having their guitar player occupy the position of doing the least work on each album, with guitar parts being a light touch on songs that are overflowing with keyboard, drums, and strong voice. It's almost like the guitar player is trying not to overshadow the bassist, but the keyboardist is playing circles around even Keith Emerson.

On the fourth and fifth tracks you'll hear some of the greatest music ever recorded, with sections that build up tension slowly and blow you away with a perfect resolution. While prog rock is full of songs that pass the ten minute or approach the twenty minute mark, these two are examples that have stood the test of time in every way. The conclusion of Il Giardano Del Mago is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written.

If I were introducing someone to RPI, hands down this is the album I would recommend. It hardly gets any better than this, all things considered.

 Donna Plautilla by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.50 | 58 ratings

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Donna Plautilla
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by AJ Junior

4 stars Donna Plautilla is often considered one of the less essential and masterful works of Banco, but I beg to differ. The album has an interesting early 70's prog/60s psych sound that I really enjoy. The keyboard work in particular is quite exquisite on many tracks, whether it be piano, Hammond, or another synth sound.

The album opens with the upbeat "Ed io Canto" which has an amazing opening riff. The vocal performance is not bad for it not being Francesco di Giacomo. It is my personal favorite track off the album also because of the Hammond in the song. The next song "Cantico" is not a particularly special acoustic piece but it is a little nice song. It is probably one of my least favorite tracks off the album. However, the follow-up "Piazza dell'oro (eh, eh)" is a great track off the album. The opening seconds show the piano riff with the great bass line. In my opinion, the song has a really full sound, especially with the vocals. The keyboard solo with piano and organ in the middle of the song is a really nice touch.

Mille Poesie is another highlight of the album. The slow start with the pickup, vocals, and then the guitar lick that takes it into a new section is just really great. The song includes amazing harmonies from the band that make it even better. After Mille Posesie is "Un giorno di sole." I think it is a really Beatles-Esque song that really does it for me. The piano and bass work is once again amazing. The beautiful vocals that fade out, really remind me of a late 60s psychedelic song by The Beatles or Beach Boys. Following Un giorno di sole, is Un uomo solo. It's another total Beatles/Beach Boys rip-off. The Beginning of the song is literally "Michelle" of Rubber Soul. Then it goes into this harmony that resembles something of Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys or Rubber Soul by the Beatles. I really love it though because the added Hammond makes it like a proggy version of those bands, which I already love on my own.

"Bla Bla Bla" is by far the weakest song on the album. Not because the material is necessarily bad, but it is too repetitive of the songs off the album before it. It opens with the closing riff from "Ed io Canto" and then does a slightly revamped version of "Un giorno di sole" for the rest of its run time. Its follow-up is probably the closest thing to their earlier work. It opens with haunting voices and Hammond chords, that lead into spectacular vocals. Then it takes a faster pace, with great piano, Hammond, woodwind, and percussion. Then for about a minute, the song goes into a keyboard solo that fades out, but then a short drum solo pulls the song into a jazzy little interlude that closes off the song, resembling something of Io Sono Nato Libero. The title track closer is actually very good. It has great piano and Hammond riffs along with a great bass line. It is total early 70s Hammond prog. Then the harmonized vocals come in in short interludes, and it's just amazing. The song continues at the same pace for a while with a short keyboard solo, then closes the album with the main riff.

Overall I love this album and think it's a great addition to anyone who is a fan of bands like The Beatles, Focus, The Beach Boys, and Early Banco music. I think it gets too much criticism because Francesco di Giacomo is not the vocalist. Although Francesco di Giacomo is way better than Vittorio Nocenzi, the musicianship and composition of the album make up for the inferior vocals (even though Vittorio's voice is far from bad, and has some great parts on the album). There are only 1 or 2 bad tracks in my opinion, so if you haven't check out the album!

 I Grandi Successi by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
2.44 | 8 ratings

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I Grandi Successi
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Uruk_hai

3 stars Review #193

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso wasn't Prog in the eighties, get over it, they drastically changed their musical style to a completely pop, catchy, and sometimes even disco kind of music, that was a spit in the face to Prog purists but for more open-minded people who are able to enjoy other musical styles besides Prog, this could be a very nice gift. The album includes a selection of themes from the albums "Urgentissimo" (1980), "Buone notizie" (1981), "Banco" (1983), and "...E via" (1985): the most hated albums by the regular Prog fans, honestly I am not a fan of this era of Banco and I would never buy any of those records because listening on their entireness is not my cup of tea (I don't consider them horrible records as other people do) but this compilation is something that I could totally get in my collection if I ever find it in a record store at a reasonable price. Not prog at all, but Banco also did very nice pop music, and this is the proof.

 Transiberiana by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.78 | 169 ratings

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Transiberiana
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Uruk_hai

3 stars Review #192

Francesco Di Giacomo died in 2014 and it was such a tragic loss for the whole Progressive Rock community; I was one of those people who thought that there couldn't and shouldn't exist an incarnation of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso after him so when "Transiberiana" was announced and I found out that not only it was BMS without Francesco, but BMS without any original member except for Vittorio Nocenzi, I was expecting it to be a total fiasco, but reading several positive opinions giving a warm welcome to this new line-up I got interested on it and decided to give it a try.

Something has to be clear from the very beginning: Tony D'Alessio doesn't sing at all similar to Francesco Di Giacomo; of course, Francesco's voice was a very iconic detail to the style of the band but a new singer doesn't have to be a forced copy of the original singer, D'Alessio sings in its own way, he's not trying to fill Francesco's huge shoes (even the live versions of "Metamorfosi" and "Il ragno" that were included as bonus tracks sound renewed with D'Alessio's vocals) and that's respectable but if you're looking for a BMS album that sounds similar to the days when Francesco used to be on the group, this is not for you.

Musically, you're not going to find almost anything similar to Banco early albums, not similar to "Darwin!", "Sono nato libero", "Canto di primavera" or "Come in un'ultima cena", the music played by this new line-up of young musicians is very original and fresh too. The songs present an intense almost Hard Rock with very scarce symphonic of folky moments, the energy of this bunch of kids have (sorry, I don't know them out of this, and to my knowledge, they're kids playing under the leadership of a legend such as Vittorio) is great, quite different to BMS' energy on the seventies but that's ok since this doesn't have to be the same.

I hope Vittorio Nocenzi lives for many many more years, I do not know if he and this new line-up of Banco are going to launch more records but I really hope that when he's not on this earth anymore or he just doesn't want to keep the Banco project going on, these kids don't keep launching albums using Banco's name on it as those impostors on Gong and Soft Machine did, this is Banco because of Vittorio.

 Canto Di Primavera by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.72 | 198 ratings

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Canto Di Primavera
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Uruk_hai

3 stars Review #191

"Canto di primavera" was the last album by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso in the seventies and I'd dare to say it was their last Progressive Rock album until "Transiberiana" came out forty years later (this is considering only the official studio albums). The album is filled with very sensual and calm melodies through which Francesco Di Giacomo goes singing with very calm energy but still with a lot of passion. Jazzy, symphonic, folky, and almost ambient is how I'd describe this record; the title track "Canto di Primavera" is also my favorite: it brings back the softness and delicacy of "Non mi rompete" but with more presence of keyboards, bass, and subtle percussions. Another nice track is "Sono la bestia" which includes great wind instrument ornaments and great rock patterns; however, the energetic rock is almost inexistent on this record, this is entirely a soft relaxing record with excellent acoustic passages here and there keeping the Mediterranean folky style they had. As a closing number to the Progressive Rock era of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, "Canto di primavera" worked as a mixture of the softness and more elegant elements they were developing through their entire discography until the launching of this record. This is probably not one of their greatest records, but it is absolutely a very nice and entertaining one.

SONG RATING: Ciclo, 3 Canto di primavera, 4 Sono la bestia, 4 Niente, 3 E mi viene da pensare, 3 Interno città, 4 Lungo il margine, 4 Circobanda, 4

AVERAGE: 3.63

PERCENTAGE: 72.5

ALBUM RATING: 3 stars

 ...Di Terra by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.74 | 259 ratings

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...Di Terra
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Uruk_hai

4 stars Review #190

Progressive Rock and Orchestral Music get along really well most of the time; "...di terra" was the second fully instrumental record by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. Unlike in "Garofano Rosso", Francesco Di Giacomo's absence wasn't a weak aspect, his absolutely majestic voice is not missed because no human voice is needed at all with these beautiful arrangements. The mixture of rhythms on this record is highly varied, it wasn't just a rock-orchestra ensemble: Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi's keyboards offered an extensive collection of jumpy and, sometimes futuristic and fuzzy ornaments that get in the exact moments they should. Rodolfo Maltese (guitar), Renato D'Angelo (bass), and Pier Luigi Calderoni (drums) gave their best in a very subtle manner that is not at all overwhelming rock, but a very exquisite accompaniment to the excellent clarinets, horns, and violins that created the melodies.

There is no doubt that the albums of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso with Francesco Di Giacomo are highly better than this, but here we can remember that he was not the only talented member of the band, in fact, each member of BMS was extremely talented in his own instrument and this album works as a remembering of that, sometimes such great singers overshadow the greatness of their coworkers. So, to sum up, my recommendation would be to listen to "...di terra" expecting to listen to something absolutely different to "Banco del Mutuo Soccorso", "Darwin!", "Io sono nato libero" or "Come in un'ultima cena", get ready for the instrumental orchestral Banco, this album is unique.

 Come In Un'Ultima Cena by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 302 ratings

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Come In Un'Ultima Cena
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Uruk_hai

5 stars Review #189

Only Banco del Mutuo Soccorso would write a conceptual album about Charles Darwin's theories and, four years later, another one about Jesus Christ's last days. The return of Francesco Di Giacomo after the instrumental "Garofano Rosso" and the Italian lyrics that hadn't been present since "Io sono nato libero" made this album one of the greatest recordings in BMS' discography, sadly, I feel this album is still very underrated.

The album opens with "...a cena, per essempio", with some Asian-influenced music that reminds some works by Vangelis, then it changes to become a great rock piece with excellent guitar and keyboard lines and an amazing opening to this conceptual work. "Il ragno" is great, the most famous song from this record and a favorite in BMS live shows, Nocenzi's keyboards are at their top. "È così buono Giovanni, ma" is a beautiful acoustic soft ballad, with some great horn ornaments here and there. "Slogan" works as a powerful rock track that reminds me to "Cento mani e cento occhi" in "Darwin!", but the instrumental section that comes after the sung part is absolutely superb and that gives the song a higher rate.

"Si dice che i delfini parlino" continues with the strong rock that "Slogan" brought, the violin takes a huge presence on this piece and gives a kind of a Gentle Giant vibe. "Voilà mida (Il guaritore)" is definitely the highest peak of the record: every instrument (including Francesco's voice) exploits as its maximum in this masterpiece that experiments with jazzy rhythms, classical arrangements, and strong rock patterns, also a lot of Gentle Giant on this track. "Quando la buona gente dice" is the shorter track on the album: the electric guitar is replaced with acoustic but the drums, bass, and keyboards don't let it become a soft piece, then the folky Mediterranean rhythm and the choruses appear.

"La notte è piena" is a calm piece based on violin, acoustic guitar, clarinet, and very subtle percussions, invariably accompanied by Vittorio Nocenzi's piano. The last track is "Fino alla mia porta" which includes one of the most recognizable keyboard riffs (that later would be renamed "Capolinea"), the whole instrumentation is an explosion of flavors while Francesco Di Giacomo sang in a very powerful but yet very sweet way. Every single song on this album is an absolute masterpiece, there is absolutely no weak point on this.

SONG RATING: ...a cena, per essempio, 5 Il ragno, 5 È così buono Giovanni, ma, 5 Slogan, 5 Si dice che i delfini parlino, 5 Voilà mida (Il guaritore), 5 Quando la buona gente dice, 5 La notte è piena, 5 Fino alla mia porta, 5

AVERAGE: 5

PERCENTAGE: 100

ALBUM RATING: 5 stars

I ranked this album #26 on my TOP 100 favorite Progressive Rock albums of all time.

Thanks to Todd for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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