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Sunday, July 31, 2011

High Tide - Sea Shanties / High Tide

There’s a lot of debate to decide where to start with the birth of Heavy Metal and who was the first band that started the wagon rolling. They think of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Kinks, or the Who to be more precise, but one of the most obscure bands to come out of the woodwork was High Tide, an unknown proto hard-rock band that had an eerie and dark flavor with some sneering guitar work and fierce violin playing that really would set the tone for the stories of Edgar Allen Poe.

Featuring Tony Hill of the garage rock band, The Misunderstood and Simon House who would later join the Space rock cadets Hawkwind, High Tide started off as a backing band when they played on Denny Gerrard’s album, Sinister Morning, Gerrard who was so impressed with the band, produced the band’s first album, Sea Shanties released in 1969 on the Liberty label. When Sea Shanties was released it was received an unanimous review from the Melody Maker, but it’s now stood the test of time and has remained one of the most obscure gems that almost gave birth to hard rock and progressive metal.

The album itself has a fierce feedback noise sound between Tony Hill and Simon House as they duel it out. Sometimes it’s raunchy, calm, evil, and loud at the same time. Almost as if The 13th Floor Elevators have gone heavy metal on our asses with a mighty punch with Pushed, But Not Forgotten and homage to the Doors Soft Parade-era on Walkin’ Down Their Outlook but then the noise goes up to a high voltage as Hill and House duke it out with guitar and violin on the 9-minute instrumental epic, Death Warmed Up and the fierce volcanic eruption opening rocker, Futlist’s Lament still scares the shit out of listeners.

Sea Shanties is a disturbing album, but sometimes un-fucking-believable. Then comes the second sole self-titled debut album released in 1970. It may have mixed feelings and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the band decided that it was time move away from the hard rock sound and move into the acid folk sound with a psych-prog flavor taste to it. However, they show their true colors on the three tracks including the psych wah-wah fantasy opener guitar/violin duel, Blankman Cries Again.

Then they go into a jazz rock sound in the realms of the soaring mournful organ beauty of The Joke while the 14-minute composition, Saneonimous sounds like an early incarnation of Luv Machine meets Catapilla with an attitude. It’s not the greatest album that they made, nor an okay album, but it’s definitely worth checking out. The two albums which have been originally reissued on the defunct Eclectic Discs, is reissued from Esoteric that features rare bonus tracks and its worth checking out.

Now you might ask, what is the most obscure album worth seeking? Check out Sea Shanties and see what you think.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Slow Motion Rider - Slow Motion Rider

Coming from the Orange County area of Los Angeles, this psych-proto hard rock trio, Slow Motion Rider certainly brings the sound of early hard rock and psychedelic music to the center of core. Since you can buy the album online either on their MySpace page or on Facebook, the band shows how important the sounds of the garage rock sounds and the early beginnings of heavy metal sound mixed with some early Floyd can be a real magic carpet ride to take an amazing adventure that you’ve never dreamed of.

Amazingly, these 4-track debut compositions sounds like it could have been used for a Roger Corman film or as an alternate soundtrack to the British Horror Hammer Films of the early ‘60s, this would have definitely been a huge cup of tea to drink over from start to finish, but with an attitude. With fuzz tone guitar sounds, sneering organ sounds, fuzz bass lines, and powerful drums that realms Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, there’s a lot of potential electricity for Slow Motion Rider.

There might be some criticism to think they are a rip off of the psych-hard rock scene, but they’re not and here on this album, it brings a powerful force that springs the listener to a wonderful boundary of a magic potion. The trio touches the obscure prog sound and the early heavy metal sound as well like the homage of a feedback yet soaring space metal touch on the opening track, Hold Your Hand Out to the Sun, featuring the vocals in a double-track sound that is almost straight through a leslie speaker and with a strumming rhythm section to fill the scenery straight out of Black Sabbath’s sole self-titled debut album.

Interestingly, the haunting psych-prog touches of Mighty Baby’s music comes in handy with the wah-wah section and moody atmosphere on I Like The Way You Look while Kids Ain’t Got No Soul combines the Nuggets-era with leaps of the spooky organ sound and raunchy guitar and powerful kicks of the drums that would have you spellbound. The two tracks have a sinister and kick in the gut feel like its 1970 all over again, but Wondered Why is a fierce yet energetic upbeat tempo that closes the album with the organ and guitar dueting while the bass comes in with some heavy duty fierce lines with a fuzzy attitude.

The inventive beauty of this debut album is almost well produced and it really
carries a mighty and heavy pound kick like no other. It’s kind of hard to say about this album, but with a sound of High Tide meets Black Sabbath meets The Doors Strange Days-era and when you listen to it, it sounds like the Psych-Prog sound is back from the dead and there is absolutely no stop sign for it to slow down.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The best of 2011...So far!

Well since we are not at the end of the year for 2011, I think it's time to take a look at what were the best albums of 2011 so far at the moment for the top 10 albums at this moment so far are:

1. William D. Drake - The Rising of the Lights [Onomatopeia]

2. Van Der Graaf Generator - A Grounding in Numbers [Esoteric]

3. Phideaux - Snowtorch [Bloodfish]

4. Pallas - XXV [Mascot]

5. Rick Ray Band - Can't Lie Hard Enough [Neurosis]

6. Blood Ceremony - Living With The Ancients [Rise Above Records]

7. Odin of London - The London Tapes [Self-Released]

8. The Fierce & The Dead - If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe [Self-Released]

9. Dotma - Sleep Paralyses [Scarlet]

10. Within Temptation - The Unforgiving [Roadrunner]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Acqua Fragile - Mass-Media Stars

Formed out of the ashes of Gli Immortali and approval from a little help by Italian Prog pioneers Premiata Forneria Marconi, Acqua Fragile was a band that could have made the big time, but was short-lived. However like Flash featuring Peter Banks of Yes, they were also a five piece band that paid homage to what was going on in the UK. One of the most underrated vocalist was Bernardo Lanzetti who would later join PFM on Chocolate Kings, his vocals sound familiar in the realms of Derek Shulman, Roger Chapman, and Peter Gabriel and would have fans sort of blown away to realize what the hell was that?! This is fucking great!

While the band’s sole self-titled debut album had English lyrics which was unheard and interesting for Italian bands to reach the boundaries to sing in a different language, their next and last album Mass Media Stars would explain why they were ahead of their time and giving the Prog pioneers a stamp of approval to give them the green lights, but they certainly remain one of the most see-them-before-they leave-them bands of the Italian Prog genre. Starting with the spacey 7-minute Cosmic Mind Affair, combines with quiet harmonies and Yes-like vocals with a lot of spiritual flows throughout each of the instruments to embark on a mesmerizing adventure that you’ll never dream of.

Acqua Fragile were way ahead of their time and bring a huge resemblance of Gentle Giant’s first four albums that would have your jaws dropping. You can hear the influences on the time changing improvisations of the title track and Opening Act, which has classical boundaries, bass lines flourished, and providing the surrounding Italian structures to fit the pictures inside the exhibition to have the grooves dance-like.

Swooshing down like an Eagle soaring 30 miles per hour on Professor, a fierce energetic power house rocker that shows they can give a lot of the arranging and composition pieces a real kick in the gut from the reminders of Nektar’s concept story line and soar to the quirky fuzz tone organ sounds and bass structures of an homage to sci-fi story structures in the realms of Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury to come in mind. The lukewarm prog folk crisp of Coffee Song which closes the album brings the symphonic beauty sounds of Family’s Music in a Doll’s House-era with classical guitar beauty, keyboards mourning and a mellotron like sound makes the piece very orchestral and some touching early Genesis sound.

While people may cringe to Acqua Fragile and have mixed opinions about the albums and the band and have a wonderful sound on Mass Media Stars, you couldn’t just deny them, this is an album that stood the test of time and has finally almost deserves the respect it needs well and accepted.

La Seconda Genesi - Tutto Deve Finire

Already a collector’s item, thanks to the vinyl reissue and giving it a second chance, there is a lot of hope for an unearthed band that never saw the light of day and this Italian band would have made Lee Dorrian’s feet tickled for joy. La Seconda Genesi’s Tutto Deve Finire was originally released on the small indie Italian label Picci in 1972 and this album almost sounds like an early beginning of Italian progressive metal renaissance of Jethro Tull meets The Jimi Hendrix Experience with a mighty punch plus adding jazz, classical, and the sounds of the Avant-Garde sounds of the 20th century, it could be viewed as an obscure Italian gem.

Like a breath of fresh air on what would have made them the darker version of the Italian Rock scene, it’s not your typical symphonic and glorified enjoying pleasures than what Yes and ELP were doing at that time period. There’s a haunting introduction of a jazz-psych freakout with the opening track Ascoltarsi Nascere where the sax pays tribute to David Jackson and Lox Coxhill while it goes through various moods while L’urlo paints a reminiscent picture of an earlier beginning of the Omar Rodriguez Lopez quintet where you can hear parts of the composition on Boiling Death Request a Body to Rest Its Head On.

Then we come to the spooky and haunting melodies on Se Ne Va Con Noi. You could hear the influences on King Crimson’s Lizard with its mourning organ and pounding drum section as if its telling the story on how death is waiting to approach us whereas Vedo Un Altro Mondo is a roaring guitar, flute, and organ fierce structure that will have your socks blown out of your feet. Not to mention the flute pays tribute to the Stand Up-era of Jethro Tull meets Flied Egg’s Goodbye. Mind-blowing and somewhat breathtaking on that if you have a craving of the early beginnings of Progressive Metal.

The militant sinister rocker, Dimmi Padre has more of the various improvisations to combine a structure of Symphonic Metal’s early days where you have a pounding bass line, sneering and flourish organ sound, and not to mention the drums and flute going at it like they’re in the battlefield fighting for their lives and not to die as a punk. Breve Dialogo is a 1-minute classical guitar instrumental where this and the organ set up a beautiful scenery like almost as if you are walking in the forest waiting for the sunrise to come up for a wonderful and beautiful day in a glorified way.

Then it goes into a hard rock shuffle mode on Giovane Uomo that chills the groove and gives it a dance feel where you can see them dance to this composition not to mention they would dance straight to the time changes as the finale, Un’infanzia Mai Vissuta starts off a calm-like finger picking Spanish guitar as it goes up and down the frets as if the piece is to let the listener know that everything’s okay while the electric guitar, organ and the flute come up with some emotional melodic structures to set the tone of the piece.

An unsung gem, that is worth to spend your hard earned cash on and something to look and listen to from start to finish.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maxophone - Maxophone

The influences of the English version on Maxophone’s 1975 sole self-titled debut album drew influences from PFM, Greg Lake, Triumvirat, and Gentle Giant, however they were carrying a baggage of the symphonic structures and owed more of a tribute to the British Prog scene like a breath of fresh air. Formed in Milan at the golden-era of the ‘70s, this six piece band could have been become the biggest booming sound of the Progressive Rock movement in Italy, but they didn’t get the attention they deserved and they led their only debut album with their roots as students in music class.

It’s a classical folk atmosphere for them with keyboards, bass guitar, saxes, French horn, and background vocals that provide the influences of the Shulman brothers and what really makes this lost and hidden prog gem, a real special treat. Great time changes of moody scenery’s makes a wave of unbelievable movement’s that sets the tone of the album and you can hear the eerie quiet turned emotional balladry on When We Were Young.

However on the opener, Life Can Be Like Music, it’s like an opening to the Olympics with an attitude where the classical piano and organ are through the stadium giving a warmth fanfare as it goes through melodic vocal arrangement while the ending has a dramatic orchestral rock sounding that will send a chill down your spine. Thunderstorms and lighting flashes through this album like no other to have a nice pasta dish on Six Against One goes through a dooming organ introduction before going into a jazz-like fusion improvisation that could have surprised audiences with creative complexes to set the music a wonderful experience.

Fase is filled with a dramatic guitar introduction before going into the Jazz Fusion sound and then into a Gentle Giant improve with the vibraphone and you can hear the influences of their music on this track while the last track that really could have given PFM a stamp of approval for them with a classical guitar, French horn, folksy vocalization, strong and powerful organ sound before getting into a booming prog explosion and not to mention a sinister guitar solo that is almost the Italian Midas touch for all prog fans to have their mouths watered over this composition.

The writing almost could have been done by Pete Sinfield and could have gotten them into the cult status and international audiences to approve and appreciate the work they have done though the album had never saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a shame they were in a huge competition to see who the best Italian Prog band was and Maxophone never got attention, they were almost the mysterious prog rock band of 1975. Sad they never received attention, but here on this album, you can tell how damn good they really were and the result is here in the pudding.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Le Orme - Live Orme

Although they were almost the kings of the Prog trio, Italian giants Le Orme proved they can give a mighty push towards their music and definitely get away with it. That and their 2-CD reissue released on the Black Widow label, Live Orme sees the band giving a thunderous live performance in different parts of Italy recorded between 1975 and 1977 at the time they were promoting Smogmagica, Verita Nascoste, and Storia O Leggenda.

They were completely ahead of their time and were sort of the dark-like material and following in the footsteps of Van Der Graaf Generator and of course, King Crimson in which they really pay tribute to the prog heroes and show how obscure, mind-blowing, evil, and sinister they can really go for that makes these rare live recordings very special and very humble. If they had donee a film score to one of Giallo films for the Horror genre of the late ‘70s, it would be something like this.

From the dazzling title track opener to the mass hysteria 11-minute thumping heart beat rocker of futuristic post-apocalyptic worlds on Truck of Fire and the spookiness with Preludio A Frutto Acerbo in which they pay a huge resemblance of ELP, the band are one on fire when you hear them. You can hear the crowd spell-bounded and jaw dropped when they would see the band create an experiment by mixing some sneering keyboard sounds, time changing signatures that would fly off the wall, and road-running bass lines that Aldo would do to give the crowd the royal approval they deserved.

Throughout the double CD set, the band go through three centerpieces that worth the ticket price and worth your money to listen to. The heartfelt flourish turned hard rock counterpoint of Regina Al Troubador filled with guitarist Germano Serafin’s sizzling guitar work with a mighty cry, Michi Dei Rossi’s jazz representation on the drums, Antonio Pagliuca’s pastoral and vicious keyboard touches, and Aldo’s romantic turned rockin’ voice will make the harmonic and melodic cultures combine into one that is straight out of a science-fiction short story.

More dramatic is the four-part melody of Cermento, Armato, Era Inverno, La Porta Chiusa, and Collage as it features Antonio Pagliuca’s moment to shine on the keyboards as he goes into full throttle on them as it goes through experimentations, church-like mourning, and then into a vicious attack mode before going into the fanfare fourth melodic finale which has become a fan favorite among the crowd as it pays tribute to ELP’s first album. The band decided that it was time to give him the torch to the Olympics as he goes to give the audience a mind-blowing experience they’ll never forget.

Yet the most dangerous and one of the best momentum’s of Live Orme is the 28-minute suite of the Sci-Fi Rock Opera excerpt of Felona E Sorona. Yet with a tension-like momentum that gives the band a chance to improvise their instruments to pieces that would have the audiences jaw dropping with a lot of gasoline to go blazing, it’s one of those moments that you would take your breath away and probably clap the rhythm and tap your toes to the beat.

Not to mention Michi’s thunderous drum solo on I Due Pianeti. The sound quality is very raw and energetic, but with a grade to give it a B+, which you could hear tape hisses in the live album, it makes this a perfect opportunity to know that they were the band that reminded us there’s a far more gratitude than Lewis Carroll. The best of Italian Prog is that you never know what might happen and give you a lot of tons of steel to roar and shout out for joy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Buon Vecchio Charlie - Buon Vecchio Charlie

The obscurity of Prog’s hidden treasures or the great lost albums of the prog/psych period (a little homage to Lee Dorrian), has become quite a special treat for music lovers to find the album at a huge price for $1,200. One of those bands was a little and unknown band from Rome that released only one album, but never got released and was shelved. Buon Vecchio Charlie was founded in 1970 as a five-piece band and owned more to ELP, Locomotive, and bits and pieces of the early days of VDGG.

Unlike PFM and Banco, the five-piece considers; lead vocalist Richard Benson, guitarist Luigi Calabro, saxophonist Sandro Cesaroni, keyboardist Sandro Centofanti, bassist Paolo Damiani, and drummer Rino Sangiorgio. You have to admit they really pay tribute to the British Prog Rock sound like a real kick in the gut and show their true colors on this unreleased treasure that was finally given the green light back in 1999 when reissue label Akrama finally decided it was time to give the credit it deserves.

For this album, the self-titled debut is avant-garde, electronic, classical, folk, and experimental art rock like never before which possibly could have made it sound like it was recorded in a gothic cathedral to show how music is made and not showing off. The 12-minute instrumental rompous turned sing-along beauty rocker Venite Giu Ai Fiume, which pays tribute to Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King in small excerpts. At first it has a mind-blowing time changing experiment, then it goes into a jazz fusion flute freak out session in a psychedelic style while it becomes a mourning song and then back into the last 5-minutes in a mind-boggling adventure as the classical piece comes into the picture to close the dance to a sudden and dramatic ending.

Evivva La Contea Di Lane pays tribute to Biglietto Per L’Inferno’s Confessione meets King Crimson’s Lady of the Dancing Water and adds the organ to a soul sound in the realms of the Stax sound and keeping the heavenly clouds occupied and keep their hearts held high in the soaring sky with the sneering sax solo at the very end while it all comes down to the 5-part 15-minute epic All’uomo Che Raccogile I Cartoni. It starts off with a Mason Williams classical guitar opening composition as the flute comes in to set the mood on what’s about to come.

Then the heavy guitar, organ, and sax comes in with some mind-boggling predicament with another jazz-orientated Canterbury sound as the tempo calms down at the 5-minute mark as it becomes a haunting passage with a spooky guitar, organ, and flute orientated beauty while the sax sets the tone of arrangement as it goes into a proto hard-rock mode and then it becomes futuristic with the moog as the vocals calms down while the last 5-minutes becomes a roller-coaster ride you’ll never forget with Miles Davis Silent Way passages into a thunderstorm finale with the moog closing the piece up and giving the heart beating 156.

The only and one debut album from a band who never saw the light at the end of the tunnel, could have gotten bigger than PFM and Le Orme, but this is a real treat for Prog fans to sink their cash into. Is it worth listening to? Yep, if you are a lover of Italian Prog, this is the key ingredient to look into your heart and soul.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Locanda Delle Fate - Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Piu

By 1977, Punk was emerging like a boiling tea kettle as Prog was under attack by the French revolutionaries and soon became a thing of the past while it was now known as “Dinosaur Rock” from the so-called 5-minute fame pigs of the bands. There was this band decided to give the genre a real farewell and redefined symphonic rock through all of the Italian glory. Locanda Delle Fate’s redefined the genre like the last hurrah and soon became an unheard band as the Prog movement was sliding down the cliff.

Though they had a short-lived career, Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Piu is somewhat a very high and mesmerizing classical orchestrated rock album with a lot of guitars and keyboards to define the Italian Prog’s golden-era very well. A Volte Un Istante Di Quete is at first a lushful flow of keyboard, guitar, and bass passages before the last 3-minutes of the piece becomes a tribute to the finale of Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond and back into the classical mix to close it off. They really know their British Prog music very well and make’s the music a very touching tribute finale to the movement that was the yellow brick road for the bands and for this one as well.

While they go for the softer and emotional boundaries on the title track with touching piano and moog-like atmospheres, Profumo Di Colla Bianca has a reminiscent of the Wind & Wuthering-era with its melodic touches while Cercando Un Nuovo Confineis the most romantic pieces that the band wrote. Its bass lines, flute, and keyboard movements give them a chance to wield into a classical ballet dance to fill the theaters at the Royal Festival Hall.

Sogno Di Estunno is a thunderous yet dynamic piece that could have been written for the Giallo cinema as Non Chiudere A Chiave Le Stelle starts off as a fingerpicking layered guitar sound in the realms of the Canterbury-era before it segues into a lukewarm and moody yet haunting melody in the realms of 15th century folk music. If you think that’s over, well think again. Vendesi Saggezza is a very time changing momentum. With a mixture of classical music, dark passages, and haunting elements of the PG-era of Genesis of the Nursery Cryme-era, this track closes the album to a T and gives the listener a chance to understand why this band were completely ahead of the ball game.

The last track, New York, which was released as a single, has an early 1980s sound as it has an early reminiscent of the New Wave of British Prog with guitar virtuosity, atmospheric keyboard sounds, and angelic vocals filling the film score, will remind Genesis fans as an almost sequel to Afterglow. If this album makes you want to collect more obscure prog gems and Italian music from the ‘70s and have a love-lust of it, then this shows where the building lego’s could have fit on top of the spotlight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Special introduction to....Opensight

This band really knows the Progressive Metal scene very well and let me say that after reviewing them last year, they've really come a long way and the music video for Only When shows that they are really going strong.

Cervello - Melos

The eerie and twisted sounds of an unknown prog band from Naples in where the same place where Osanna was formed, Cervello had comparisons between Van Der Graaf Generator and the early days of King Crimson, but in 1973 they released one of the most weird and mad scientist albums that would ever come across a bag of groceries for a dosage of Italian Progressive Rock. Like a trampoline filled with Jazz, Avant-Garde experimental music, and Spooky Halloween Music, Melos is one of those albums that will have some listeners scratch their heads and wonder what the hell is going on.

Released on the Italian label Ricordi in 1973, the band’s only debut album is bizarre, sneering, beautiful, and strange. While there aren’t any keyboards on the album, it’s a guitar virtuosity that would have you taken by surprise providing the time signatures to go flying off the wall and it’s almost like a dystopian sci-fi story line in the realms of Alejandro Jodorowsky set to weird and twilight zone music that provides the complex and thunderous achievements through a great unearthed gem.

Filled with mind-boggling Fripp-sque guitar layered sounds and freak out acid jazz sessions, pieces like the spacey atmosphere haunting roar of Scinsione (T.R.M.) and the droning sinister introduction with Canto Del Capro could have scared trick or treaters by running to their houses and not coming out while the rumbling sax comes in full swing on the beautiful thunderstorm of Euterpe. Now mind you, this band could have opened for King Crimson and PFM, and they would have been completely blown away from what they have heard in terms of changes in the music, vicious guitar sounds that almost sounded like a razor blade, and all of the ingredients that is all art and experimental music of the ‘70s and would have given Terry Riley and Pierre Henry a huge field day for them.

Now again with Palepoli, Melos is not an easy album to listen to from start to finish, yet the dangerous sounds of experimentations would have given you a lot of wake-up calls. The music can be very odd and weird for prog geeks to sink their teeth into, but after playing it for about 12 times they would understand why this album was completely ahead of its time. Now it’s almost a collector’s item and given here the touch of wild arrangements and temperatures rising that is shown evidential here on Melos.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Osanna - Palepoli

If you are looking to sink your teeth into weird combinations of King Crimson meets Jethro Tull meets the Pawn Hearts-era of Van Der Graaf Generator for all of the Italian structures of twisted time-changes, weird music, and bizarre beauty, look no further. Italian Prog maestros Osanna have been giving us a taste of theatrical rock that has taken the listener to boundaries that we’ve never seen before and shown us a new way to give the Peter Gabriel-era of Genesis a run for their money with Art Rock like no other.

Formed in Naples in the late ‘60s, the band considers guitarist Danilo Rustici, lead vocalist and keyboardist Lino Vairetti, saxophonist Elio D’Anna, drummer Massimo Guarino, and bassist Lello Brandi. The band already had two albums including a soundtrack to Milano Calibro 9 in 1972. While L’uomo might have been the big straw and push for them, it wasn’t until their third album, Palepoli in 1973 that shows their music in a made and twisted way.

Palepoli is not an easy album to listen to, but it’s a combination of Avant-Garde freak out sessions, middle-eastern fusion scenery, and the Mediterranean atmospheric background. With D’Anna going batshit crazy on the sax as if he’s David Jackson, Lino Vairetti is more like an Italian version of Peter Hammill with his story-telling and mythical settings fitting the album like a gem. One of the structures in Progressive Rock’s unearthed gems is to see why this album was ahead of its time and chewing it huge amount of bite, making the Jazz sound into unbelievable settings not to mention on Stanza Citta, they pay homage to the Beatles Revolution 9 from the White Album with the tape going backwards into haywire mode.

With only three tracks, you have to wonder if VDGG were enjoying this and thinking to themselves, “They really did one helluva job with this? I wish we could have put this on Pawn Hearts.” If the two bands had worked together along with Crimso, it would have been a perfect match made in heaven, then they would have made Palepoli one amazing twist, but this really takes the cake with some creativity and interesting roars that would jump you out of nowhere. Most of its futuristic like Pre-Mars Volta on the last 21-minute epic, Animale Senza Respiro while Oro Caldo becomes a soft calm Egyptian raga turned into a Crimson haunting sneering beauty.

From shocking to mind-blowing experimentations like a Mad Scientist ready to cook something out of the lab, Palepoli proves to be that it doesn’t just have to be a Progressive Rock album. Still 39 years later, the album desperately needs a lot of attention and recognition from avid prog fans to wake up and realize this was an album that stood the test of time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Trolls - Atomic System

Released in 1973 on the Magma label, the avoiding confusion between band members must have been a very difficult time period for the Italian band. So why was there avoiding and disagreements with this? Well let’s set a little background, after the release of UT was successful in 1972, there was tension between Vittorio De Scalzi and Nico Di Palo. Soon there was a lawsuit between the two of them to decide who owns the rights to the name of New Trolls and De Scazli won his battle and even though Vittorio wanted to avoid confusion, the new incarnation from him with New Trolls Atomic System already sounds like a futuristic rock beauty that seemed that was at the wrong place at the wrong time due to the court case, it’s a perfect antidote of this unearthed classic.

Vittorio’s version of New Trolls throughout 1973, is quite breathtaking and Atomic System is quite beautiful of the influences of classical music, jazz, and folk that influenced the Italian Prog sound from a band who moved away from the first five albums into unbelievable uncharted territories that still sounds fresh and very impressive since the album was made during that time period and let’s just say that while the legal name was still going on, you can hear the pain and anger in this album from start to finish.

From the sounds of Symphonic Jazz Rock, you’d hear influences raging from ELP, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, and Dick Heckstall-Smith with much more horn sections you can hear on Quando L’Erba Vestiva La Terra with an acid freakout jazz section as the operatic opening prog free-for-all keyboard twister sound of La Nuova Predica Di Padre O’Brien, makes it an attempt to follow into the Aqualung-era meets In a Glass House-era while the mellowing Ho Visto Poi is quite a dreamland adventure into wonderland with its atmospheric sound of guitar and keyboards filling the scenery. After that, it comes to the soaring yet adventurous overtone reminiscent of Triumvirat on the 8-minute Tornare A Credere, but their take of Mussorgsky’s haunting classical composition, Night on Bald Mountain (Una Notte Sul Monte Calvo) which was a single for them, sounded like it was recorded in 1982 and could have been used for the opening credits of Dario Argento’s Tenebre.

Veering into the Goblin sound of the Roller-era, Ibernazione, a fusion-sque roar of moog’s going haywire is quite evidential that provides female background vocals, militant drumming from the haunting gothic sounds that provides the groove flavor to it as they bring the English song styles back into the core on Butterfly which closes the album into late ‘60s psych-folk sound that reminisces Led Zeppelin’s Thank You with heavy acoustic guitar rhythm section and some amazing percussion sounds that would make you think how amazing this track could have been an opening fanfare for the soldiers to come back home after a long day fighting a brutal war.

In retrospect, it doesn’t matter about the court case, this is a must have for Italian Prog or Prog lovers to sink into, which has been a collector’s item to buy online. By the way, the music is plain brilliant and top notch that would pop the cork out of the champagne and celebrate.