Fabio Zuffanti
La Quarta Vittima


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (167 Reviews)
April 26th, 2021 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the best modern Italian prog works. Zuffanti’s legend doesn’t stop growing.

“La Quarta Vittima” is the fourth studio album of Fabio Zuffanti and was released in 2014. The line up on the album is Fabio Zuffanti, Laura Marsano, Emanuele Tarasconi, Alberto Tafuri, Rossano “Rox” Villa, Fabio Biale, Gian Marco “Pantera” Pietrasanta, Luca Scherani, Agostino Macor, Riccardo Barbera, Carlo Carnevalli, Simona Angioloni, Saverino Malaspina, Paolo Tixi and Enzo Zirilli.


Zuffanti is an Italian prog rock musician from Genoa. He is a name well known in the Italian progressive rock scene. He began his musical career in 1994 and since then he has been involved in the creation of over forty albums, as a soloist and with bands such as Finisterre, La Maschera Di Cera, Höstsonaten, Rohmer, laZona, Aries, La Curva Di Lesmo, L’Ombra Della Sera, Quadraphonic, R.u.g.h.e., besides many other participations in some other musical projects. But, Zuffanti is also a very well know and respected prog artist besides his home country. Due to be a prolific artist he is often compared to Steven Wilson, Roine Stolt, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Neal Morse, Clive Nolan and Mike Portnoy.

In 2014, Zuffanti created a modern prog rock work destined to bring the name of the Italian prog scene to the attention of audiences around the world, “La Quarta Vittima”. “La Quarta Vittima” is Zuffanti’s fourth studio album and is also his first solo work entirely focused on prog. In 2014 the twentieth year of activity of the Genoese artist also falled, who for the occasion conceived a work that is a bit the sum of the numerous experiences that have seen him as protagonist.

“La Quarta Vittima” is a conceptual album inspired by Michael Ende’s book, “Der Spiegel Im Spiegel”. The different stories apparently seem to have nothing in common. But, in a more careful reading is easy to find some subtle fil rouge combining the different stories. The same happens with the album, whose passages aren’t formally linked, but present details that unite them. The album has very different musical styles which include symphonic, jazz, hard, electronic, psychedelic elements and much more in a unique, powerful, labyrinthine musical kaleidoscope. The most suitable term to describe the character of both works is precisely labyrinthine, pervaded by an overwhelming and tormented anguish.

This album is delicate, with flutes and rich keyboard and Mellotron passages, searing guitar parts and dramatic shifts of mood and tempo. The bass is an essential component of the whole sensory experience, one moment driving frenzied rhythms, the next providing subtle and melodic waves of low end ecstasy. It’s also terrifyingly powerful with excellent drumming. Added to the concoction are male and female vocal parts which perfectly complement the beauty and majesty of the music. This album is almost bipolar in a way and I mean that in a good way. In one moment will be quiet, surreal, and full of vertigo. And then, the next moment it can be a soulful work, possibly very powerful and bombastic.

The album opens with the vibrant “Non Posso Parlare Più Forte” that features powerful jazz-rock guitars, rich keyboards and engaging flute melodies and improvisations, creating some laid back darker and surreal moments. “La Certezza Impossibile” takes the listener into epic territory with delightful moments of bass and sax that lead to dramatic vocals and a glorious mix of Mellotron and guitars. “L’Interno Di Un Volto” presents a great mix of male and female vocals as well as saxophone solos. The keyboards, especially Mellotron passages along with the vocals, are great and epic with a grand finale worthy of the finest prog bands. The title track heads in a jazzier direction with lively keyboard, brass, flute and guitar improvisations. “Sotto Un Cielo Nero” has a dreamy feel. The magical keyboards, vocals and drums are clearly from the great Italian school of the classic prog rock. There are moments of jazz-rock improvisation, as well as straight ahead jazz combo segments. The composition ends with an outstanding violin solo surrounded by great Mellotron work. “Il Circo Brucia” brings the album to high intensity with a mix of jazz-rock and edgy symphonic rock plus an exquisite section of funk prog. The album concludes with “Una Sera D’Inverno”, a beautiful melancholic piano and soaring violin intro that leads into a mesmeric slow tempo and an epic guitar work, ending the album nicely.


Conclusion: “La Quarta Vittima” is a dark album seeming to have lack of connection. But this is for a good reason, because it’s based on the book of Ende. The story is bewildering, confusing, and full of loneliness and cycles of time and space. Most appropriately, Fabio has constructed a blackened, sorrowful album full of tarnished beauty, longing and loss. It’s incredible in the quiet contemplative moments, and mesmerizing in the louder, excited passages, a labyrinthine album. Every friend of Italian prog should check it, as it holds just about anything you can dream from the Italian school of prog. You get lavish soundscapes with beautiful guitar themes, you get complex time signature prog compostions, you get jazzy sequences and you get a load of great musicians. It’s an exciting album that grows on you.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (3)
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To finish, at the moment, my short journey through the modern Italian prog, nothing better than to close with a Fabio Zuffanti work, one of the most prolific musicians of our time, involved in may musical projects. He is a very well know artist in his home country but also in the international prog circles, especially due to his project La Maschera Di Cera. However, and despite the diversity of his projects, all are good and deserve be checked.

Of all those works of his projects, today I decided to bring here an album signed with his own name, "La Quarta Vittima". "La Quarta Vittima" is the fifth of his six albums of his own solo career and is considered the best. I really hope you like it. It would be nice to have some comments and especially more ratings about it, since this is an album that unfortunately, practically went totally unnoticed here on Sputnick, what is really a shame. Anyway, in the future, I intend to bring here more works of his projects.

Digging: Ingranaggi Della Valle - In Hoc Signo

e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Jethro, it seams you guessed the subject of my next review. It was not really hard to guess, since you put it also in your two prog lists and from what I told you than. Anyway, it was time to have a review of it here. I know that it will please you very much because you love the album. Besides, if I'm not wrong, you had already mentioned have thought to choose it for one of the last two Friday's prog tournaments, at that time. So, maybe it's time to you chose it for the next one. Why not?

Jethro42
April 26th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ah, my friend, you make me enjoy myself with this one, indeed. I'm happy to have guessed the right album of yours. It's a matter of instinct lol. It's true, this is a dark album enhanced with enthusiastic moments like the jazzy sections and up-tempos. I wish there were more mellotron or played longer when they've been used, like at the end of the 3rd song, I wish it would last much longer. I'm liking every songs as you can see my rating, still higher than yours ;)

Glad to see this one reviewed, and just like you, I hope there will be more ratings.



Good review, will read again more deeply soon.

e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's true. Somehow, it was you that made me feel very curious about this album. And this is really a great album. In the beginning I was more interested in some other projects of Zuffanti, especially La Maschera Di Cera. Still I'm very glad to check it. So, consider my review a kind of a personal present to you, since it was you that made me discover another great facet of Zuffanti's work.

Jethro42
April 26th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the review's dedication.

Yes, La Maschera di Cera is probably his best collaboration, along with Finisterre. As for his solo career, it's not that good nor consistent. La Quarta Vittima is by far his best. He pretty much added too much pop elsewhere, and visibly, he's not good at it. I've probably already chosen my knight for the tournament. Not 100% sure. I still have time to change my mind.

e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm very curious about your choice. But, I know it's always great. I'll see it in time.

TheIntruder
April 26th 2021


515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am very curious about this album. I read great things about the projects of Zuffanti. I will read your review later. Thanks to call my attention to it.

e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Zuffanti is an amazing, creative and complete prog artist. He is what we can call a workaholic guy. Check the album and tell me what you think about it. It would be a nice choice for Friday's tournament, if you are going to participate and don't have a good one already.

TheIntruder
April 26th 2021


515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am sure it is. Probably I am going to participate and I have already one in my mind.

e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great. The tournament is very close. So, we'll see it at the time.

Jethro42
April 26th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

e21, I'm pretty sure about your knight. I can say it's an album you've rated much higher than I did, isn't it? You don't have to answer right away. Will see ;)

e210013
April 26th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man, are you a wizard guy? Yes, it's true. I'm not going to tell you who is it, but I can tell you a thing. It has a review already made by me. But I'm not going to tell you if I published it already or not. Besides, you know that I always had a review published or prepared of my knight. But, as you said, we'll see it in time.

Jethro42
April 26th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

hmm

Jethro42
April 28th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not many users reviews these days...You're still high in the rank.

God I love the second track on here. It's probably the least progressive of the bunch, yet except for the mellotron. The haunting guitar, the sax, the punchy drums, the complaintive vocals, light piano, mellotron that gives a prog image, but it's only to give a charm to the song.

e210013
April 28th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Not many users reviews these days...You're still high in the rank."

Yeah, it's unfortunately true. Probably because we are talking about an Italian prog album. People on this site tend to be more interested in the usual anglo-saxon material, and tend to skip others, especially when they aren't spoken in English. What is really sad, especially with the Italian prog, which has, in my humble opinion, some of the best prog made in these days.

However, I expect to have a rating of Intruder, as is usual.

Jethro42
April 28th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I agree with you 100% regarding your opinion, my friend, Italians make it better ;) Progheads are a rarity on Sput nowadays. It's for a reason that I think it's gonna be hard to find 16 contestants for the tourney. But I have to tell you; what I meant is that your review will be in the front page for a long time, because there are not a lot of new reviews that are bumping yours.

e210013
April 28th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm afraid that you're right. Patience. We'll see.

Jethro42
April 28th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Unlike you, I'm not familiar with Pendragon, but they released a brand new album - Love Over Fear - and you haven't rated it yet. I was wondering if it's a good album.

e210013
April 29th 2021


3281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's true, I know very well almost all their studio career and I even saw them live once when they were in Portugal supporting one of the live tours I saw of Dream Theater. Their only albums I never checked are their last two, the only two studio albums from them I don't own. So, I cannot tell you my opinion about "Love And Fear". Anyway, according to Progarchives, it seams to be great. It has 25 reviews, 340 ratings and 4.13. Curiously, it's their studio album with a higher rating on that site. So, it seams to me that it deserves to be checked, what I intend to do when it was possible.

Jethro42
April 29th 2021


16398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

At first glance, it sounds great. Yet I have to give to it a full spin. In the past, I've tried to dig these guys without any success. Love And Fear contains great compositions. I'm now open minded with the band. Lucky you for the show you've seen of DT.



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