This Italian five piece formation is rooted in the late Seventies, when the band started working on a rock opera entitled La Bestia Umana. In the Eighties Sfaratthons dissolved, but in 2011 decided to give it another try with a new line-up, and a guest musician on flute. The result is a vintage prog inspired CD, in an amazing package featuring a 35 page booklet, what a treat!
The album starts with the alternating epic title track, close to 10 minutes. First a dreamy intro with sounds of nature and keyboards, then soaring flute and a bombastic eruption with Mellotron choirs and synthesizer flights. The climate returns to dreamy with flute, synthesizer flights and piano, then again a bombastic eruption featuring sparkling piano and Mellotron choir, supported by powerful drums, and embellished with pleasant Mini Moog runs. Halfway sensitive electric guitar with howling runs in slow rhythm, gradually a more heavy sound. In the final part a catchy beat with a swirling flute solo (between Jethro Tull and Camel), subtle electric piano. To me this music sounds like a warm tribute to the Seventies symphonic rock.
The other 7 compositions are shorter (between 4 and 7 minutes), and deliver more variety in styles and instrumentation.
From dreamy to a catchy beat with nice work on flute, guitar and Mini Moog, and finally a moving guitar solo in slow rhythm in Vela.
Lots of variety in Cielo Nero: from a slow rhythm with Hammond organ, flute and sensitive guitar (“blues meets prog”) and a cheerful mid-tempo with pleasant keyboards to dreamy with emotional, a bit fragile Italian vocals, melancholy undertone and a bombastic eruption with howling guitar and soaring flute and strings. To me it sounds strongly inspired by the Seventies Italian prog.
A dreamy atmosphere, halfway Hammond and passionate vocals in a slow and compelling rhythm in Notte.
A swinging rhythm with fat synthesizer drops, English vocals (emotional with an obvious accent), coloured by a wide range of instruments (from piano and swirling flute to wonderful strings), finally a moving guitar solo, powerful Hammond and flute in Your War, Our War.
A cheerful flute and mellow synthesizer runs, warm Italian vocals in a slow rhythm, finally a genuine choir joins in Ne Journe, N'Anne.
This track starts with a swinging rhythm and a funky bass, the vocals are in decent English. Halfway the distinctive sound of military drums, with spoken words, in a bombastic climate in With All the Strength of My Voice.
First a slow rhythm featuring bombastic keyboards, heavy guitar runs and melancholy vocals, and halfway a delicate synthesizer solo in Vaije.
And finally the song Trust. First a bombastic eruption with fat Mini Moog sound and raw English vocals, then dynamic mid-tempo with Mini Moog and a powerful rhythm-section (early Marillion and Pallas climate), ending with heavy guitar and sumptuous keyboards, again evoking the early Neo-Prog era, embellished with a blistering guitar solo and flashy Minimoog, and driven by a tight beat.
The tracks are simply structured, but very pleasantly coloured, and the musicians sound inspired and passionate, for me this album is a warm tribute to the Classic Prog and Seventies Italian Prog.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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