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Campo Di Marte - Campo Di Marte CD (album) cover

CAMPO DI MARTE

Campo Di Marte

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 226 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars Just one of many Italian prog bands of the 70s that only existed for a couple years, left one album and then moved one, CAMPO DI MARTE was founded in Florence in 1971 and named after a neighborhood within the city. The band was led by guitarist Enrico Rosa (also contributed vocals and mellotron) who wrote and recorded the entire album. Along with Mauro Sarti (former drummer/flautist of Verde Season), with the Italian-American bassist Richard Ursillo, Carlo Marcovecchio (former drummer of I Califfi) and Alfredo Barducci ( wind instruments, piano, organ and voice), the band was active on the live circuit and even caught the attention of United Artists record label which guaranteed a release in not only Italy but the entirety of Latin America.

The MARTE part of the band's name refers to Mars, the mythological god of war with the album cover depicting ancient Turkish mercenary soldiers inflicting wounds upon themselves to demonstrate their bravery, an image used for their concert posters. The lyrics while totally in Italian reflect the band's anti-war and anti-militarist stance, a sentiment shared by many after the years of dictatorship in Italy's not so distant past. CAMPO DI MARTE was a unique sounding band that while delving into the same symphonic prog styles that most Italian bands adopted, implemented the use of Rosa's guitars and was heavier than the average Italian band more in the vein of early Il Rovescio della Medaglia but unlike that band was just as comfortable with dreamy acoustic guitar passages and the symphonic keyboard driven sounds that were popular.

The original album featured seven tracks at nearly 41 minutes and although many reissues have come to light since the album's initial release in 1973, no bonus tracks have so far been excavated from the vaults. CAMPO DI MARTE was a very talented band and delivered a set of extraordinarily complex tracks on this self-titled release and it's not an exaggeration to claim that they were in the same league as all of the greats including PFM, Banco and Museo Rosenbach. The compositions exude the same sophistication of varying motifs that range from orchestrated symphonic keyboard-driven segments to heavier guitar driven fuzzed out moments which during a few occasions steer into near chaos. The album was quite inventive and also was touted as a master of production and engineering.

The beauty of this album is in how diverse the tracks are as they wend and wind from Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar motifs to full-on symphonic prog bliss. The addition of the French horn at moments adds a touch of medieval folk glory and the entire thing comes off as epic as each numbered track of the same name pretty much feels like a cohesive whole as if it's really a concept album of some sort. It's also more impressive to learn that this album was primarily recorded in 1971 but was delayed for a couple years which makes it one of the more demanding Italian prog albums from that early year and if it were released the same year would surely have made more of an impact than it did in the prog saturated nation of Italy in 73. Unfortunately during the two years that it took to release the album the members lost interest and moved on leaving CAMPO DI MARTE a one album wonder.

This is primarily an instrumental prog workout album and although vocals do occur they are less prevalent than the operatic vocal domination of most Italian prog bands of the era. This is amazing album that effortlessly weaves a tapestry of fuzz-guitar, classical acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, flute and French horn in clever and inventive ways. It never ceases to amaze me how much raw talent emerged from the fertile prog scene of Italy in the 1970s and CAMPO DI MARTE is definitely somewhere closer to the top. An almost perfect mix of symphonic prog with medieval folk, heavy psych and occasional King Crimson eclecticism. This one is a bit more difficult to soak in than the average Italian prog album as the melodies are more abstract and the prog characteristics are turned up a few notches which may be too much for some to handle but in all honesty, CAMPO DI MARTE delivered a unique sound once you delve below the surface.

4.5 rounded up

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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