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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Semiramis - Dedicato A Frazz

When you have a minor band from the Italian Rock scene, with only one album to come in handy, you might want to consider this lost gem. Semiramis recorded this album at a very young age, Leader, Vocalist, and guitarist, Michele Zarillo, who was 16 years old when he made this album, and the other band members were a different age from Michele. When you listen to Dedicato A Frazz, originally released in 1973, there is not a single bad track on this album from start to finish. The band was an opening band in Villa Pamphilli at the Open Air Festival for another Italian Prog band, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, they soon took notice and got a record contract from the Italian label, Trident Records.

The Album is very weird, classical, and very representative of Frank Zappa meets Gentle Giant in an Italian way. Most of the time, the band do a lot of weird time signatures , but that doesn’t stop the band creating a wonderful magnetic album. It’s like it was recorded for an epic TV series, for mature audiences, yet breathtaking. For starters who are getting into this album, you really have to fasten your seat belts, because the roller coaster ride has just begun for you.

At 36 minutes, it’s almost like a mad scientist working on his material, but a magnificent one. Beginning with La Bottega Del Rigattiere, it has a carousel rock sound and is very driven to be a prog classic as you are expecting to hear with its guitar driven nature, the keyboard sounding like an accordion, and heavy drum work as well while the complex structures of Luna Park manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with its baroque classical heavy metal sound to add the structures of Italian dance music that is giving the Tango the middle finger. Amazingly, it’s followed by one of the most twisted tracks that makes it a perfect vibe for Halloween. Un Zoo Di Vetro, which features a haunting keyboard section and disturbing King Crimson-like guitar sound to stir up the drama and tension of a view of the post-apocalyptic world of hell that goes up like a volcanic eruption that remains in the world of Avant-Garde Rock.

The track is very frightening that makes it perfect for the usage to scare the shit out of frat boys in a Horror flick alongside with Per Una Strada Affollata, a pastoral flourished tempo as Michele’s brother Maurizio goes for an homage to Keith Emerson rather than Rick Wakeman while guitarist Giampiero Artegiani does a majestic renaissance classical guitar sound to soothe the calmness for Maurizio as he takes a break and then BAM! The band comes back in for another free-for-all as an homage to the Vaudeville scene of the ‘20s that is militant and in your face prog attitude. As if to say ‘Let’s go out with a bang!’ to give the listener goose bumps, Dietro Una Porta Di Carta, takes the Zarrillo brothers and the band into an ambient dreamland moodiness, with wild moog sounds, heavy bass lines, Gilmour-esque Guitar licks, and calm-like drum sounds before going apeshit for the last two minutes of the number that represents the Pawn Hearts-era of Van Der Graaf Generator.

Frazz is back to the fast-sped time changes and this is probably one of the band’s amazing yet breathtaking tracks on Dedicato A Frazz. It sounds like a pre-Ottmar Liebert number that has been recorded on the studio boat and he’s teamed up with the Peter Gabriel-era of Genesis and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and would be a cult hit among the underground scene for a sheer dramatic sonic sound and get you to ready to be into a strict assembly. While they are going crazy and mad for more insane music, the closing Clown takes Zarrillo with it’s Gentle Giant predecessor with a sinister video game rock sound that could have been the score for Castlevania if it was released in the early ‘70s and bone-chilling shrieking keyboard and guitar driven magnitude bringing the drums and Marcello Reddavide bass to a run to the finish to a calm after the storm done by Giampiero’s acoustic finale.

Dedicato A Frazz to the process, is a wild and crazy album that knows their chops in the Progressive Rock scene and takes the explosives in a Pastoral and Dangerous adventure. Whether you love or hate the music genre, this is a must have for Italian Prog lovers to ascend. You might want to turn it up a notch

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