Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Semiramis were one of the many bands of the Italian progressive scene of the early seventies. They came from Rome and the line-up featured Paolo Faenza (drums, percussion and vibraphone), Marcello Reddavide (bass), Giampiero Artegiani (classical and acoustic guitar, synthesizers), Michele Zarrillo (guitars, vocals) and his brother Maurizio Zarrillo (piano, keyboards). Their debut album “Dedicato a Frazz” (Dedicated to Frazz) was released in 1973. It’s a concept album about the dreams and the feelings of an imaginary, strange character, Frazz. Frazz is an acronym made with the initials of the members of the band... During the studio sessions Semiramis managed to shape a very mature sound, blending hard rock, progressive rock and classical influences. The quality of the recordings is not flawless and the music is perhaps not particularly original but the overall result is remarkable, especially if you consider that all the members of the band were very young then. The album was not successful but, as years passed by, it became a “cult album” among prog collectors, not only because of the quality of the music but because of the beautiful art cover as well.

The opener “La bottega del rigattiere” (The second hand dealer’s shop) is disquieting and dreamy. It depicts a strange, magical shop where, behind a two-sided window, fantastic harlequins, puppets and other objects can make you live their sinful odysseys and their sad memories... “Old ice-heartened merchant / You have wiped out all the fairy tales / In your shop I can find only lost hopes... My kite is getting lost in the sky / Dancing on the notes of a waltz by that failed musician / Regretted and dead now...”.

Luna Park” (Amusement park) describes another fantastic bittersweet dream. An innocent theatre allows you to dream an endless play where you can buy even the stars and throw them against the time that passes by... And when the dream is gone you are still searching on the ground for another coin to buy a couple of minutes to remember the lights of that dream...

Semiramis 1973

Uno zoo di vetro” (In a glass zoo) starts with acoustic guitar and percussion, then dark church-like organ notes followed by heavy electric guitar riffs invite you to climb up into the sky from where, in an idyllic, peaceful atmosphere you can look below and see insane breathless shadows, lacking air in a glass zoo...

The complex, agoraphobic “Per una strada affollata” (In a crowded street) features fiery synthesizer passages and a nice classical guitar solo. The lyrics draw the images of dummies looking at the crowd through the windows of the shops while fear flows in the veins of the passers by... “It’s fear that flows in the veins / But it falls over in front of the buildings / Closing the way / And knocking on the door of your home!”.

Next comes “Dietro una porta di carta” (Behind a door of paper), calm and reassuring... “And in the silence around me / I find again the simplicity, my personality, my boldness / I’m back from my sky / I’m alone in my room / I’m burning my tired ideals / In love with a paper / Left on a white box / From where a spider reluctantly goes out...”. The instrumental finale makes the tension take off again...

Frazz” features strummed acoustic guitar and a pastoral mood (every now and again this track reminds me of Felona e Sorona by Le Orme). It’s a reflection about the contrast between dreams and reality... “Sometime ago I was wondering about a winged horse / That used to take you to the moon, around the sky / To a frozen sun among golden clouds...You have many characters in a cartoon world / That smashes you down with its fake stories... In the end, why search for the truth?”.

The last melancholic track, “Clown”, concludes the album describing the thoughts of a jester after the show... “My comedy is coming to an end... About the love of a bearded old man / Who walks slowly with a stick / Resounding in a dark and empty street... Last spotlight on a jester / Alone, in the middle of himself...”.

On the whole a very good album. Well, now if you look at the beautiful inside cover, painted by Gordon Faggeter, an English artist based in Rome, probably you’ll recognize some images taken from the dreams described in the lyrics, like the spider escaping from the white box, the winged horse, the harlequin, the puppets, the glass zoo, the old man, the clown...

It’s very difficult to imagine that it’s really Michele Zarrillo the guitarist and singer of this band. Michele Zarrillo is today one of the best known Italian melodic pop singers while Giampiero Artegiani is a successful melodic song-writer and producer as well... What a waste of talent!

From Rock Progressivo Italiano: an introduction to Italian Progressive Rock

You can listen in streaming to the complete album HERE

By the, way, a reunion is coming soon...


Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Tangerine Stoned are a young band from Rimini that was formed in 2011 on the initiative of Chris Jei Gasperini and Alex Key Masti with the aim of recreating the sounds and atmospheres of late sixties and early seventies psychedelic rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Doors, Cream, Seeds or Jimi Hendrix Experience just to name but a few. The approach of the band to the song-writing is almost philological and the their sources of inspiration are apparent but they managed to add to their palette a pinch of colourful exoticism and a good deal of freshness and enthusiasm.

In 2013 Tangerine Stoned released an eponymous debut album on the independent label Moonlight Records featuring six tracks for more than 33 minutes length where from the very first notes you can perceive the ghost of Jim Morrison freely riding all around. “Venice”, “Clean Window”, “Blues In Door”, “Dirty Ceiling” and “Nave da bar” (Pub ship) are all sung in English (even if the last has an Italian title) and flow lightly away one after the other opening the doors of nostalgia. Of course, the music here does not shine for its originality, nonetheless it's a pleasant listening.

However, the last one, “L'urlo della strega” (The scream of the witch), in my opinion is by far the best one. It's a long instrumental track that begins softly with a strange oriental flavour, then the rhythm rises taking you on a mystical, cosmic trip through the unconscious... On the whole an interesting debut although I'm sure that Tangerine Stoned can do better in the future. By the way, soon after the album was released the keyboardist left the band and now the current line up features Chris Jei Gasperini (lead vocals, harp, bass), Danièl Gasperini (bass, guitar), Francis J. Bartowski (guitars, backing vocals), Alex Key Masti (guitars) and Vince Vincenti (drums, percussion).

You can listen to the complete album in streaming HERE

Tangerine Stoned: Tangerine Stoned (2013). Other opinions:
Jack Gillen: Tangerine Stoned have made a bluesy, psychedelic album on par with some of the best from the height of the genre, circa 1967. And yes, at times, this album is very much a Doors-ian trip. Young Doors, though, not bloated, alkie, bearded-to-hide-the-double-chin Morrison Doors... (read the complete review HERE)

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Sunday, 6 July 2014


Lineateorica come from Rome and their roots date back to the early nineties when Daniele Lausdei and Alessandro Milza formed a band called Praetermittel to play original compositions along with covers of bands such as Jethro Tull or Marillion. Later they changed their name into Lineateorica and in 2005 recorded a first demo, Adesso. In 2014, with a renewed line up, they finally self-released an eponymous official debut EP featuring four properly re-recorded tracks from their old repertoire. The current line up features Daniele Lausdei (bass), Andrea Giuliani (guitars), Simone Serra (guitars), Roberto Ciai (drums) and Nello D'Agostino (vocals) plus Luca De Marchis on flute as a special guest. Although there are no keyboardists involved in this project, the band successfully managed to weave a fine musical fabric with a perfect interaction between all the instruments blending prog, folk and melody. This promising EP sounds fresh, rich in ideas and it is really worth listening to...

The opener “L'ipocrita” (The hypocrite) features a brilliant drumming and sudden changes in rhythm and atmosphere. The music and lyrics describe the inner struggle of a cynical man who conceals his goals. In some way he wears a mask of hypocrisy that can blot out his feelings but now he needs to get rid of it. The price to pay is high but his reward is freedom...

The following “B-friend” describes another inner struggle. Every day you have to make some choices but you can't stop growing up even when you realize that you can't change the world... Then comes “Non c'è più veleno” (There's no more poison), a track full of energy that tells of a broken friendship and of the therapeutic role of forgiveness, of faded photographs, timeless memories, doubts and obsessions, sounds and colours... “Set your words free from resentment / There's no more reason that can push you back again...”.

album cover

The complex “Un'altra avventura di Kohn” (Another adventure of Kohn) concludes this interesting work. It's a beautiful piece featuring hermetic lyrics about hope. There are no liner notes to explain who Kohn is but he seems a man in trouble who gets help from a woman called Anna, a kind of angel, maybe a nurse who can speak to his heart... “Every time you try to go further / You know there's Anna / Who takes you by the hand...”.

On the whole, a really good work!

You can listen in streaming to the complete album HERE

Linateorica: Lineateorica (2014). Other opinions:
Michael “Aussie-Byrd-Brother”: Lineateorica should be very proud of what they've delivered here. It's a shorter album full of charismatic vocals, melodic tunes, exciting playing and dangerous instrumental passages, that you just want to keep playing over and over. The possibilities of what the band could achieve on a proper long-play album is very promising and exciting... (read the complete review HERE)

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Friday, 4 July 2014


Anabasi Road are a young band from Reggio Emilia that came to life in 2009 with the aim of blending prog, hard rock and blues with a touch of freshness and a great passion for vintage sounds. The name of the band refers to the Ancient Greek and evokes a hard march uphill. After a good live activity on the local scene, in 2014 they self-released an interesting eponymous album with a line up featuring Andrea Giberti (vocals, harmonica, keyboards), Massimiliano Braglia (guitar, drums), Alessio Gambarelli (guitar), Riccardo Vecchi (bass), Luca Orlandini (keyboards, organ, piano) and Nicholas Corradini (drums, guitar). Although they can't be considered the most original band on the rich current Italian prog scene, Anabasi Road are a talented bunch of musicians and on their debut album they showcase a good potential. If you like bands such as Wicked Minds or Psycho Praxis I'm sure you will appreciate this work as well.

Anabasi Road 2014

The opener “Pleasure In Me” starts by nervous electric guitar riffs and dark organ waves. The music and lyrics describe a haunting presence and an insane, dangerous passion that rises like dust on the road while a strange, silent feeling sets hope and time on fire. The following “Clashing Stars” is a kind of wild prayer to the sky for a new life and tells about a desperate, merciless need for vendetta in an endless war where there's no room for respect and pity.

Next comes the disquieting “Dreaming For You” where the music and lyrics describe a strange experience: a restless dream, a fall into a windy grave, a lapse of reason with blind lies whirling inside your mind... It leads to the long psychedelic blues “Say Man”, haunted by the ghost of Jim Morrison.

Guerra Mondiale” (World War) is the only track sung in Italian on the album and I think that it's a real pity that the band didn't exploit more their native language. It begins by a delicate piano pattern, then the music and lyrics describe the feelings of a soldier in a dark, wet night before the battle... There's blood on the ground and on the hearts, you can hear cries and shouts, marching men and bombs falling all around... A great track!

album cover

The following “Maybe Tomorrow” is full of rebellious energy and invites you to fight against the people who try to manipulate your conscience and your mind. It leads to the long, dark “I Walk Alone” that depicts in deep red colours a man possessed by a haunting vision who looks at him through a shining glass. Filled with pain and rage, with no hope nor God, now he walks toward his new dark Lord... The bluesy “Requiem” concludes the album with no prayers, no cries and no shouts but a great electric guitar solo.

On the whole, a good album for classic rock lovers.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

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