Wicked Minds are an Italian outfit that started in 1987 as a thrash metal band with guitarist Lucio Calegari, drummer Andrea Concarotti and bass player Enrico Garilli. After some years of searching for the right sound Wicked Minds became a kind of heavy retro rock band trying to recreate the glory days of guitar rock from the seventies. It's obvious that their heroes are Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin.
You can regard Wicked Minds' latest album Visioni, Deliri E Illusioni as a tribute to the Italian progressive rock scene of the seventies. The musicians on this release are Monica Sardella (vocals), Lucio Calegari (guitars), Paulo 'Appolo' Negri (keyboards), Enrico Garilli (bass) and Ricky Lovotti (drums) supported by J.C. Cinel (vocals) and Andrea Concorotti (drums). Together they recorded twelve songs that originally were released by Italian bands in the golden age of progressive rock. What surprised me most was that many covered songs were totally unknown to me; a real surprise because I thought that I was rather familiar with the Italian music from that period. However, though unknown to me doesn't mean that it's not worth listening to; on the contrary! I was surprised by the high quality of the songs that also featured many musicians who performed on the original versions like Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Martin Grice (Delirium), Aldo Tagliapietra (Le Orme), Antonio Bartoccetti (Dietro Noi Deserto) and Stefano 'Lupo' Galifi (Museo Rosenbach).
In the seventies instruments like the Hammond organ, the Mellotron and the Moog-synthesizer were mainly responsible for the sound of most progressive rock bands. For that reason it was a delight to hear most of these instruments on this collection of songs. The sound of the seventies is insistently present throughout the album. Sometimes you really get the idea that you're listening to an album recorded in that era. Unfortunately I can't describe all the songs on this release separately, but I will at least mention a few. Figure Di Cartone from Le Orme features the original singer Aldo Tagliapietra, but also fantastic playing on the keyboards. The Mellotron and the Moog-synthesizer are very prominent here. The way P.F.M. performed La Carrozza Di Hans / Impressioni Di Settembre in the seventies was really stunning, but that can also be said about this version. It's slightly different but still very good.
Wicked Minds confirm their brilliant attitude to the seventies once again with this album. Sure, they are influenced by the aforementioned bands, but they show that they can brilliantly play the music of the Italian prog of the seventies as well! It was a real challenge for them to step into the time machine and perform all those beautiful songs that show how high-levelled prog music once was in Italy. The band kept the original essence of these songs intact. Asking the help of some of the original members was a token of appreciation to them who made such beautiful music at a time the members of Wicked Minds were children or not even born yet! Therefore Visioni, Deliri E Illusioni is highly recommended to lovers of Italian progressive rock music.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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