Area
Maledetti


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (260 Reviews)
May 17th, 2023 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another great album from Area. It’s more funky, experimental and avant-garde than “Crac!

“Maledetti” is the fourth studio album of Area that was released in 1976. The line up on the album is Demetrio Stratos, Ares Tavolazzi, Giampaolo Tofani, Patrizio Fariselli and Giulio Capiozzo. The album had also the participation of an amount of other musicians.


Area began their musical adventure at the end of 1972, bringing together musicians from different backgrounds, that ranges from pop, free jazz, electronic and contemporary experimentation, with the common point to overcome the individual artistic experiences to arrive at a “total music”, from jazz to progressive rock music through the vanguard. With all their works, Area proved to be among the bravest and original bands of the Italian progressive rock scene. But, to turn their mark complete was also, and above all, the incredible and unique voice of their singer, Demetrio Stratos.

Due to the dead of Stratos, Area had a relatively short career. In 1973 they released their debut “Arbeit Macht Frei” that is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of Italian progressive rock scene. It’s probably their best work too. In 1974, Area released their sophomore album “Caution Radiation Area”, where the total experimentation predominates, producing paranoid songs on the verge of chaos and resistance. It’s their most experimental work. In 1975 they released “Crac!”, a more conventional and melodic work expressing better their music expression, the fusion between pop and avant-garde music. In 1976 they released “Maledetti”, an album in the same vein of their previous works.

So, the forth studio album of Area “Maledetti” released in 1976 can be considered a kind of a conceptual album. The story occurs during the XX century, where an imaginary bank loses data from the XV century, causing people forgetting how to govern the world (“Evaporazione”). Some new hypothesis are formulated such as power to old people (“Gerontocrazia”), power to women (“Scum”) and power to children (“Giro, Giro, Tondo”). So, this is Area, indeed.

“Maledetti” is a progressive album where the band bridges many genres, including jazz and avant-garde. The free jazz influences of this recording is made clearly evident by the appearance of two of the genre’s most powerful practitioners, Steve Lacy and Paul Lytton (two of the guest musicians invited by the band), whose contributions put this album in more of an experimental/avant-garde mode than the previous ones. So, the stylistic direction of the album is a mix of complex avant-prog, jazz-rock fusion and some wicked experimentation, in the special and unique style of Area.

“Maledetti” has seven tracks. “Evaporazione” is short and where we can hear someone running, whistling and talking. It’s an introduction where Stratos tells there’s something important to communicate. “Diforisma Urbano” is a fantastic upbeat funk jazz/fusion track. Here we have a great example of a song where Stratos “plays” with his voice as an instrument. It adds a nice, strange and special touch. “Gerontocrazia” starts with a cradle song in ancient Greek. During it we can hear a txalaparta, a Basque percussion instrument. It demonstrates their interest in the ethnical music. Here we can see the influence of Gentle Giant’s music. “Gerontocrazia” and “Diforisma Urbano” are the masterpieces of the album. “Scum” takes a free jazz/fusion direction where Fariselli’s piano takes the front with a strange tonal style. It has some electronic effects and Stratos does some speech about the women rights. This is the most jazz oriented piece on the album. “Il Massacro Di Brandeburgo Numero Tre In Sol Maggiore” is a fragment of the classical piece for a string quartet from Bach’s “Brandenburg Concert number 3 in G major”. It’s a deconstruction to symbolize the demolition of the music corporatism. It doesn’t sounds out of place and doesn’t erase the charm of Bach’s music. “Giro, Giro, Tondo” is an experimental track and represents a return to a more familiar Area’s territory. It’s an avant-garde jazz/fusion track with emotional vocals dominated by the piano performance with a peculiar ending. It has also Gentle Giant’s influence. “Caos (Parte Seconda)” is an avant-garde track. It’s the lengthiest track and it’s strange and chaotic, with electronic sounds, noises, voices and it’s full of experimentations. It’s one of the strangest and difficult pieces I’ve ever heard.


Conclusion: “Maledetti” is much more experimental than their previous album “Crac!”. Its music is equally chaotic and we can hear on it several musical influences like traditional Greek music, Arabian music, avant-garde music, free jazz, jazz rock/fusion, funk, Mediterranean music and even classical music. Despite “Maledetti” isn’t as good as “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “Crac!”, I think it’s better than “Caution Radiation Area”. It’s more balanced and is less dark, more modern, and especially, it has two of their greatest masterpieces “Diforisma Urbano” and “Gerontocrazia”. This is one of their finest musical works that put Area, probably, as the most creative of all Italian progressive bands and one of the most original and innovative prog band’s from the 70’s. If you are ready for a totally different adventure, this is for you.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (35)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
May 17th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Area is one of the best Italian prog acts, the most original of all, a unique band. They released five amazing works, their first five studio albums, the albums with Demetrio Stratos, before he passed away. They were able to fuse the jazz and the avant-garde music to the popular music with the unique voice o Demetrio serving their political lyrics.

"Maledetti" is my third favourite album of Area, one of their best works made in the same tradition of their previous three albums.

CugnoBrasso
May 17th 2023


2817 Comments


Never had the chance to give this record a spin, but I used to love this band as a teenager.
Great band and great review!

Jethro42
May 17th 2023


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice, informative review. I hope some tourney's contestants will take a look at it.

e210013
May 18th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Cugno. If you liked the previous ones, I'm sure you'll like this too. It's a kind of a cross between "Cation Radiation Area" and "Crac!", which means that is less experimental/avant-garde and most "popular", if you see what I want to mean.

e210013
May 18th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Jethro. I hope the same too.

Jethro42
May 18th 2023


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That Demetrio tremolo is impressive. The only other place I've heard it was in Screaming Headless Torsos. It takes great singers to do that. ''Caos'' is the only song I don't like, but Demetrio's tremolo somewhat gives it flavour.

e210013
May 18th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's true my friend. Demetrio had a unique and truly impressive voice. He was a student of the application of the voice in the chant. His studies about the recognition of the voice as a musical instrument is considered today as very important in the progression of experimental and novel vocal techniques. If you listen very attentively you can see that in many songs of Area. Sometimes you can be confused if you are listening a musical instrument or his voice. But usually it's his voice. This was one of the things that impressed me most on Area, besides of course their musicanship. I think they were advanced in time.

About "Caos" I agree with you. It's the only thing that avoid me to give 4.5 to the album. But you know, this is Area.

Jethro42
May 18th 2023


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2mRQx-b_OE



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDjK_p64zdc&list=PL96A31DD12D925A9E



In the second link he's doing that. Listen to the first link to. Awesome song. I have other tremolo vocals in other of their songs.

Jethro42
May 18th 2023


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the information. Really interesting. Rare are the singers who serve their vocals as an instrument.

e210013
May 18th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's simply amazing. Thanks for share it. It was a pity he passed away with only 35 years old due to a cancer. Somehow it was also fatal for Area. If you take a look to his solo career you can see that. Of course it isn't for every moments.

Anyway, I think he was the best Italian vocalist ever, with his incredible vocal range, plus his fantastic voice intensity. Perhaps he is also one of the single most interesting and unique personalities to come out of the entire 70's prog rock scene.

e210013
May 18th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And another very interesting thing. Demetrio wasn't properly Italian. He was Greek and he was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He was linked with Italy because he went to Milan to study Architecture. His origins became very important to the music of Area when we can see deply influences from the Greek and Arabian music, besides the Mediterranean music and of course the jazz, including the free jazz.

Jethro42
May 18th 2023


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

35 yo, it's pretty young ouf. So he sang in Italian?

e210013
May 18th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah. Don't forget that he went to Italy very young to study.

Jethro42
May 18th 2023


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He had huge music culture. He was meant to be a great singer. I will take a look to his solo career.

Helentroy
May 19th 2023


68 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice informative review. Nice work.

e210013
May 19th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Helen. I'm glad that you read my review and that it was useful for you know better the band and album, despite you have already rated it wit 4.5. Even better than me. Lol.

TheIntruder
May 19th 2023


784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Since very young I am a huge fan of Area due to my father. It was very useful for me your great informative review about them. Pos.

e210013
May 19th 2023


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That is really great pal. This is a band that needs more love even in the prog circles. Unfortunately it seems to me a bit unknown and misunderstood, even passed so many years.

Thanks.



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