Zarathustra

SKU: 88875000442
Label:
Sony Music
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Simply one of the greatest Italian progressive rock albums of all time. Brilliant keyboard work in the grand tradition.  Really one of THE defining albums.  If you don't own this one you should feel embarassed and do something about it.  Seriously.

Product Review

[email protected]
Tue, 2010-06-08 09:53
Rate: 
0
Yet another Italian Symphonic Great! Except I wouldn't call it symphonic... Well, I believe that this album belongs more in the Art Rock genre rather than the Italian Symphonic Prog genre, but that doesn't matter much to this review. What DOES matter is that this is one of the freshest albums I've heard, and I actually find I prefer it Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's Darwin, Le Orme's Felona E Sorona, PFM's Storia Di Un Minuto... in fact, I prefer it to every other Italian Album I own. Certainly, if we assume that Museo Rosenbach actually were Italian Symphonic Prog, then we'll find that they are probably the best, at least for me, and I think there are several reasons I can point out as to why this is. First off, they have, among the albums I know, the ONLY epic in the classic prog style. This comprises the first 5 tracks, forming Zarathustra. Not only is this an epic that is right up with Supper's Ready, Close to the Edge, and the like, but it is also completely original. They capture their own unique sound here, combining hard rock that bursts with unbridled energy with mellotron overdoses (this is a GOOD thing), a dash of King Crimson and ELP, but without sounding like either, and the result is perfect. Maani (another reviewer) suggested, and I agree, that if Zarathustra had been better known, it would have been just as influential as Supper's Ready. Maani also correctly said, "the Zarathustra suite is every bit as creative and brilliant" in terms of musicianship as Supper's Ready, Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, and Tarkus (well, others, too), and that it deserves comparison. Well, in my mind, it deserves more than comparison. It deserves to be place up with those songs as one of the defining moments in prog history, as one of the epics that defines what prog is all about. Secondly, they have more energy than all the others I mentioned (and some I didn't mention), with the possible exception of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso. With Museo Rosenbach, they give their all to this album, and it shows. PFM and Le Orme had some amazing compositional skills that I greatly appreciate, but both (especially Le Orme) should've put more energy and enthusiasm into their songs. E' Festa and Impressioni Di Settembre aside for PFM and Equilibrio aside for Le Orme, they are fairly laid back, which doesn't hurt them except in the sense that it doesn't help them as it helps Banco and Museo Rosenbach. If I had to choose my favorite Italian Symphonic Prog BAND (not album), I'd be torn between Banco and Museo Rosenbach. BUT!, if I had to choose my favorite ALBUM in the Italian Symphonic Prog genre, it would definitely be Zarathustra. Musically, as I've said, this album blends hard rock with prog, with dashes of ELP and King Crimson here and there, and some wonderful mellotron. I honestly don't understand the lyrics, so I can't comment on their depth and meaningfulness, but I can say that they translate perfectly to music. Also, I find the choice of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra fascinating, although I'm sure that if I read the actual book itself, I wouldn't like it, as Nietzsche was a proto-white supremacist philosopher, and, in other works, talked of the White Man's Burden to "take care of" blacks in Africa. The vocals here, despite what other people on this site say, really carry the lyrics perfectly, and I prefer Museo Rosenbach's vocalist to Le Orme's and probably also PFM's (though I cannot deny that Banco got the best of the lot). And now, it is finally time for me to talk about the individual tracks and their merits. If you own sound editing software, I suggest you put the first 5 tracks together into one track, to really get the full "epic" effect of the Zarathustra Suite, without the breaks between tracks that may otherwise interrupt your listening of this masterpiece suite. The album opens with silence that becomes a wonderful drum roll into some symphonic-ish music that is dark and brooding. This goes away into silence, followed closely by some vocals that you can't really understand, but both they and the music build over time, still dark and brooding, until a mini-climax that really grabs you around 2:55 in, and that really ushers in the epic. This is followed by a section with to die for mellotron work and excellent and engaging drumming. The song is still dark and brooding, as it remains throughout. About 4 minutes in it switches to the next part of the song, which begins with some great mellotron, creating an almost spacy sound with a great atmosphere (dark of course). One thing I will say is that Museo Rosenbach really knew how to create atmospheres that make you feel within their music. Around six minutes in, the song starts building beautifully, up until about 7 minutes in when the next part of the epic comes and the whole song simply explodes into great energy and harsh but effective vocals. The drumming here is top notch, as is the mellotron work. Around 8:30 into the song, we get an excellent hard rock but still prog section that features excellent guitar. This becomes another section with great vocals, and, of course, unrivaled energy. These energetic hard rock sections continues until about 11:15 minutes in, when the fourth and shortest part of the song comes in. This part begins with some soft vocals, and then the music really starts coming in behind it in a majestic. There are some particularly good vocals, and then there is a very energetic section that is very short and fades out around the 12:45 mark. At this point, the final part of the song comes in, though it really consists of several sub-parts within it. It begins with an almost march-type section that builds on top of itself in a perfect way, ushering a hard rock section, but still hard rock in the prog fashion we know and love. The textures that come in the somewhat softer section that follows are simply overwhelming (this is most definitely GOOD). The drumming is, as always, particularly excellent, and really carries the epic the whole way through. This whole section that makes up the last eight minutes of Zarathustra truly has a life of its own that shines through and makes it perhaps the best section of the song. With about 3:45 left in the song, the second "sub-section" comes in, opening deceivingly softly, and then bursting out into full blown hard prog, with great drums guitar, and keyboards. A softer part follows, building slowly, and then its back into some vintage prog, almost Crimson-like (In the Court of the Crimson King era) but still completely original. This brings us to the end of the track, the end of a nearly perfect epic, just as good as any other epic you care to name, and easily my favorite, at least for the moment, song in Italian prog. Zarathustra truly deserves to be recognized as an epic that defines progressive rock in the same way that Tarkus, Close to the Edge, Supper's Ready, Thick as a Brick, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond do. The rest of the album isn't quite so good as Zarathustra, but it is still excellent. Degli Uomini opens atmospherically, and then in comes some excellent guitar and drumming to forge a top notch hard rock song. In amidst the hard rock of the song are some beautiful melodies that show themselves with time. The drumming and guitar shine here, but the mellotron does, of course, get its fair share of the attention, giving this song a prog feel it would otherwise lack. This song bursts with energy, more even than the epic (but not quite as focused musically). When the vocals come in near the end of the song, they are excellent in the same way as the others on the album, harsh but not grating. Some soft vocals follow, and the song fades out. Della Natura opens with some excellent keyboards and drumming. Some excellent vocals come in as the music that opened the song leaves. The drumming returns, followed by the rest of the instruments, building the song in perfect fashion. When the vocals end, a dueling keyboard and guitar section comes in that is pure heaven. The singer starts harmonizing with himself to great effect for a short bit, and then its a wonderful mellotron dominated section that really grabs me, followed by more self-harmonizing (these self-harmonizing sections are the best vocal sections on the album, and that's saying something). The only less than inspiring part of the album follows, with silly "ba-ba-ba-bas" that don't cut it with me. We then get some wonderful floating keyboards as in interlude, but then it's back into the "ba-ba-ba-bas." Again, though, the music that follows is wonderful, full of mellotron and full of energy. Some soft vocals follow on top of some floating music, before the song builds back up to what I would call "floating hard rock" (which sort of characterizes the whole album) and some wonderful aggressive vocals. Mellotron heaven follows, closing out the song in perfection. The one section in the middle does make this my least favorite song on the album (in relative terms, I still love it), as none of the others have these sorts of weak sections to them. Dell'eterno Ritorno opens softly, before opening up to some great drumming and guitar work, as well as some great vocals, just perfect hard rock. When the vocals leave, the guitar and keyboards start dueling again, and this time, it seems they're fighting the drums, too. More excellent vocals follow, and then a softer section full of almost beautiful sections. Until, of course, the build up to excellent hard rock passage you know will follow. After this are some vocals that are closest to beautiful you'll get with this singer, and then some beautiful hard rock with a symphonic feel, and then a powerful finish where everything really comes together perfectly, ending this album in perfection. If pressed, I would say that this is my favorite song on the album other than the opening epic. Overall, this album may be more hard rock (art rock) than symphonic prog. But it IS the very best album I've heard out of Italy, and this site classifies it as Italian Symphonic, so I'll stick with that, which allows me to claim that this is the defining work of Italian Progressive Rock, and Zarathustra is an epic worthy of Supper's Ready status that simply suffered from lack of exposure to the prog public. Well, it's time that ended. Museo Rosenbach were essentially a one shot band in the 70s, but they gave that one shot their all, and the result was a masterpiece. On Zarathustra, they shine when they're singing, they shine when they're rocking, suffice it to say, these guys simply shine, no matter what they do. The drum work is some of the most refreshing I've heard in an age where drumming, at least intelligent drumming, is virtually non-existent. The guitar and keyboards (mellotron included in keyboards) are simply to die for. This album easily deserves the rating masterpiece, and stands as probably one of my top 10 albums. Italian Prog is vastly underrated on this site, and there is no good reason for it. While the Brits had prog's first home, it definitely found its seaside resort in Italy. The whole genre is underrated, and you cannot go wrong with this one, which is Italy's finest. 5 STARS: ESSENTIAL, A MASTERPIECE OF PROGRESSIVE MUSIC (AND OF HARD ROCK).
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Product Review

[email protected]
Tue, 2010-06-08 09:53
Rate: 
0
Yet another Italian Symphonic Great! Except I wouldn't call it symphonic... Well, I believe that this album belongs more in the Art Rock genre rather than the Italian Symphonic Prog genre, but that doesn't matter much to this review. What DOES matter is that this is one of the freshest albums I've heard, and I actually find I prefer it Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's Darwin, Le Orme's Felona E Sorona, PFM's Storia Di Un Minuto... in fact, I prefer it to every other Italian Album I own. Certainly, if we assume that Museo Rosenbach actually were Italian Symphonic Prog, then we'll find that they are probably the best, at least for me, and I think there are several reasons I can point out as to why this is. First off, they have, among the albums I know, the ONLY epic in the classic prog style. This comprises the first 5 tracks, forming Zarathustra. Not only is this an epic that is right up with Supper's Ready, Close to the Edge, and the like, but it is also completely original. They capture their own unique sound here, combining hard rock that bursts with unbridled energy with mellotron overdoses (this is a GOOD thing), a dash of King Crimson and ELP, but without sounding like either, and the result is perfect. Maani (another reviewer) suggested, and I agree, that if Zarathustra had been better known, it would have been just as influential as Supper's Ready. Maani also correctly said, "the Zarathustra suite is every bit as creative and brilliant" in terms of musicianship as Supper's Ready, Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, and Tarkus (well, others, too), and that it deserves comparison. Well, in my mind, it deserves more than comparison. It deserves to be place up with those songs as one of the defining moments in prog history, as one of the epics that defines what prog is all about. Secondly, they have more energy than all the others I mentioned (and some I didn't mention), with the possible exception of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso. With Museo Rosenbach, they give their all to this album, and it shows. PFM and Le Orme had some amazing compositional skills that I greatly appreciate, but both (especially Le Orme) should've put more energy and enthusiasm into their songs. E' Festa and Impressioni Di Settembre aside for PFM and Equilibrio aside for Le Orme, they are fairly laid back, which doesn't hurt them except in the sense that it doesn't help them as it helps Banco and Museo Rosenbach. If I had to choose my favorite Italian Symphonic Prog BAND (not album), I'd be torn between Banco and Museo Rosenbach. BUT!, if I had to choose my favorite ALBUM in the Italian Symphonic Prog genre, it would definitely be Zarathustra. Musically, as I've said, this album blends hard rock with prog, with dashes of ELP and King Crimson here and there, and some wonderful mellotron. I honestly don't understand the lyrics, so I can't comment on their depth and meaningfulness, but I can say that they translate perfectly to music. Also, I find the choice of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra fascinating, although I'm sure that if I read the actual book itself, I wouldn't like it, as Nietzsche was a proto-white supremacist philosopher, and, in other works, talked of the White Man's Burden to "take care of" blacks in Africa. The vocals here, despite what other people on this site say, really carry the lyrics perfectly, and I prefer Museo Rosenbach's vocalist to Le Orme's and probably also PFM's (though I cannot deny that Banco got the best of the lot). And now, it is finally time for me to talk about the individual tracks and their merits. If you own sound editing software, I suggest you put the first 5 tracks together into one track, to really get the full "epic" effect of the Zarathustra Suite, without the breaks between tracks that may otherwise interrupt your listening of this masterpiece suite. The album opens with silence that becomes a wonderful drum roll into some symphonic-ish music that is dark and brooding. This goes away into silence, followed closely by some vocals that you can't really understand, but both they and the music build over time, still dark and brooding, until a mini-climax that really grabs you around 2:55 in, and that really ushers in the epic. This is followed by a section with to die for mellotron work and excellent and engaging drumming. The song is still dark and brooding, as it remains throughout. About 4 minutes in it switches to the next part of the song, which begins with some great mellotron, creating an almost spacy sound with a great atmosphere (dark of course). One thing I will say is that Museo Rosenbach really knew how to create atmospheres that make you feel within their music. Around six minutes in, the song starts building beautifully, up until about 7 minutes in when the next part of the epic comes and the whole song simply explodes into great energy and harsh but effective vocals. The drumming here is top notch, as is the mellotron work. Around 8:30 into the song, we get an excellent hard rock but still prog section that features excellent guitar. This becomes another section with great vocals, and, of course, unrivaled energy. These energetic hard rock sections continues until about 11:15 minutes in, when the fourth and shortest part of the song comes in. This part begins with some soft vocals, and then the music really starts coming in behind it in a majestic. There are some particularly good vocals, and then there is a very energetic section that is very short and fades out around the 12:45 mark. At this point, the final part of the song comes in, though it really consists of several sub-parts within it. It begins with an almost march-type section that builds on top of itself in a perfect way, ushering a hard rock section, but still hard rock in the prog fashion we know and love. The textures that come in the somewhat softer section that follows are simply overwhelming (this is most definitely GOOD). The drumming is, as always, particularly excellent, and really carries the epic the whole way through. This whole section that makes up the last eight minutes of Zarathustra truly has a life of its own that shines through and makes it perhaps the best section of the song. With about 3:45 left in the song, the second "sub-section" comes in, opening deceivingly softly, and then bursting out into full blown hard prog, with great drums guitar, and keyboards. A softer part follows, building slowly, and then its back into some vintage prog, almost Crimson-like (In the Court of the Crimson King era) but still completely original. This brings us to the end of the track, the end of a nearly perfect epic, just as good as any other epic you care to name, and easily my favorite, at least for the moment, song in Italian prog. Zarathustra truly deserves to be recognized as an epic that defines progressive rock in the same way that Tarkus, Close to the Edge, Supper's Ready, Thick as a Brick, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond do. The rest of the album isn't quite so good as Zarathustra, but it is still excellent. Degli Uomini opens atmospherically, and then in comes some excellent guitar and drumming to forge a top notch hard rock song. In amidst the hard rock of the song are some beautiful melodies that show themselves with time. The drumming and guitar shine here, but the mellotron does, of course, get its fair share of the attention, giving this song a prog feel it would otherwise lack. This song bursts with energy, more even than the epic (but not quite as focused musically). When the vocals come in near the end of the song, they are excellent in the same way as the others on the album, harsh but not grating. Some soft vocals follow, and the song fades out. Della Natura opens with some excellent keyboards and drumming. Some excellent vocals come in as the music that opened the song leaves. The drumming returns, followed by the rest of the instruments, building the song in perfect fashion. When the vocals end, a dueling keyboard and guitar section comes in that is pure heaven. The singer starts harmonizing with himself to great effect for a short bit, and then its a wonderful mellotron dominated section that really grabs me, followed by more self-harmonizing (these self-harmonizing sections are the best vocal sections on the album, and that's saying something). The only less than inspiring part of the album follows, with silly "ba-ba-ba-bas" that don't cut it with me. We then get some wonderful floating keyboards as in interlude, but then it's back into the "ba-ba-ba-bas." Again, though, the music that follows is wonderful, full of mellotron and full of energy. Some soft vocals follow on top of some floating music, before the song builds back up to what I would call "floating hard rock" (which sort of characterizes the whole album) and some wonderful aggressive vocals. Mellotron heaven follows, closing out the song in perfection. The one section in the middle does make this my least favorite song on the album (in relative terms, I still love it), as none of the others have these sorts of weak sections to them. Dell'eterno Ritorno opens softly, before opening up to some great drumming and guitar work, as well as some great vocals, just perfect hard rock. When the vocals leave, the guitar and keyboards start dueling again, and this time, it seems they're fighting the drums, too. More excellent vocals follow, and then a softer section full of almost beautiful sections. Until, of course, the build up to excellent hard rock passage you know will follow. After this are some vocals that are closest to beautiful you'll get with this singer, and then some beautiful hard rock with a symphonic feel, and then a powerful finish where everything really comes together perfectly, ending this album in perfection. If pressed, I would say that this is my favorite song on the album other than the opening epic. Overall, this album may be more hard rock (art rock) than symphonic prog. But it IS the very best album I've heard out of Italy, and this site classifies it as Italian Symphonic, so I'll stick with that, which allows me to claim that this is the defining work of Italian Progressive Rock, and Zarathustra is an epic worthy of Supper's Ready status that simply suffered from lack of exposure to the prog public. Well, it's time that ended. Museo Rosenbach were essentially a one shot band in the 70s, but they gave that one shot their all, and the result was a masterpiece. On Zarathustra, they shine when they're singing, they shine when they're rocking, suffice it to say, these guys simply shine, no matter what they do. The drum work is some of the most refreshing I've heard in an age where drumming, at least intelligent drumming, is virtually non-existent. The guitar and keyboards (mellotron included in keyboards) are simply to die for. This album easily deserves the rating masterpiece, and stands as probably one of my top 10 albums. Italian Prog is vastly underrated on this site, and there is no good reason for it. While the Brits had prog's first home, it definitely found its seaside resort in Italy. The whole genre is underrated, and you cannot go wrong with this one, which is Italy's finest. 5 STARS: ESSENTIAL, A MASTERPIECE OF PROGRESSIVE MUSIC (AND OF HARD ROCK).
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  • At War With Self - sounds more like a psychological diagnosis than a band! This new group is an instrumental power prog trio leaping onto the progressive scene. The project is the brainchild of guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar. Torn Between Dimensions, the band's debut recording, features Snelwar on guitar, mandolin, and keyboards; Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow; and Fates Warning's Mark Zonder on drums and percussion. Zonders solidly tasty drumming firmly anchors the trio along with the melodically propulsive bass work of Manring, all wonderfully adorned by Snelwars fierce playing. The band serves up intense, emotional pieces in a wide variety of musical styles. Snelwars intention is to open doors to listeners who may be unfamiliar with progressive rock, classical guitar or metal. At War With Self have an equal passion for such diverse types of music as progressive and metal bands like King Crimson, Voivod and Pink Floyd; classical composers such as Bartok and Villa Lobos; as well as bluegrass and jazz. Torn Between Dimensions takes these influences and combines them into something undeniably progressive and strikingly original. The end result is a dense wall of sound, with different textures and feels within each number, one song flowing seamlessly into the next.Guitarist Glenn Snelwar is perhaps best known for his contributions to Gordian Knots eponymous debut, a project led by Chapman Stick player Sean Malone that featured guest performances by Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Sean Reinert (Cynic) & John Myung (Dream Theater). Snelwar helped co-write three of the songs for Gordian Knot, as well as contributing guitar work. Since his involvement with Gordian Knot, Snelwar has been incorporating mandolin, keyboard and string section programming into a foundation of classical, steel string and electric guitar arrangements to great effect. Michael Manring is a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated bassist who has appeared on over 100 studio projects, including recording and performing with Michael Hedges and Attention Deficit Disorder (with former Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander). Michaels fretless bass parts play a vital role on Torn Between Dimensions, melodic but never overwhelming. For over 15 years, Mark Zonder occupied the drum stool for progressive metal legends Fates Warning. As Zonders fans would expect, he continues to push new boundaries on Torn Between Dimensions. Marks playing on the disc covers a lot of territory - from double bass drumming and odd time signatures, to jazz and Middle Eastern flavors. Snelwar describes Torn Between Dimensions as a concept album, but not in the strict sense of the word. I wanted to create a collection of songs where each would stand on its own, but exist as part of a greater whole. I strived to create something that would impact the listener, and incorporate many stylistic influences. Torn Between Dimensions is a tour de force of powerful, fluid prog rock that should appeal to progheads and rock fanatics alike! Torn Between Dimensions is housed in a digipak and features stunning artwork from noted surrealist Travis Smith.
    $5.00
  • "After  the success of the DVDs EPOK 1-2-3-4, published in 2006 and 2007, the Triton again welcomed Magma in June 2011. This was for a  nine concerts cycle to complete the DVD series "Myths & Legends ".EPOK 5 not only includes pieces from 1971, 1977 and 1978   but also Félicité Thösz , the latest MAGMA release, heard here in a version prior to the recording of the album. There are, in addition, 20 minutes of unpublished music.A dynamic and extremely musical edit enables the listener to enjoy the band at the height of its powers, showcasing the intensity of each composition and the technical prowess of the musicians. The exceptional sound quality was captured as usual by Francis Linon who knows, better than anyone, how to record the power and musicality of MAGMA."ATTAHK(Rétrovision)-RÏAH SAHÏLTAAHK-DONDAÏ-FELICITE THOSZ-SLAG TANZ-MAAHNT
    $30.00
  • Second album from this Norwegian band finds them climbing the ladder of melancholy prog bands. Short on complexity but long on atmosphere and melody, Airbag's new one packs an emotional wallop. The album has just enough spacey keyboards to draw comparisons to Pink Floyd and older Porcupine Tree. The album builds up to the 17 minute "Homesick I - III" which has enough references to Wish You Were Here that you'll be plowing through your Floyd collection afterwards. Lethal atmospheric prog that will annihilate the minds of any Anathema or Riverside fan. Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Upstart Finnish label Svart Records has undergone a licensing program with the legendary Love Records label for an ongoing series of vinyl releases.  Many prog reissues are on the horizon.Tabula Rasa cut two albums for Love and this is their second.  Strong Camel influence - guitarist Heikki Silvernnoinen sounds quite a bit like Andy Latimer in tone. The use of electric piano, string synthesizer reminds me of Mirage.  While it doesn't quite hit the heights of their debut its a very nice slice of mainstream prog.This is a limited edition of 300 copies on black vinyl.
    $28.00
  • The Journey Continues!"To Travel For Evermore," the second album from the Danish metal band Wuthering Heights, is the sequel to their celebrated debut "Within". This second part of a projected musical trilogy finds the band with a new and stronger lineup. Main composer/guitarist Erik Ravn is reunited with ex-Tad Morose vocalist Kristen Andren but the lineup now also includes Time Machine bassist Lorenzo Deho and guitarist Henrik Flymann of Zool. With twin lead guitars the band has expanded their musical vision to encompass neoclassical metal as well as symphonic speed metal. Wuthering Heights will appeal to fans of Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, Angra and Yngwie Malmsteen. The album was produced by Tommy Hansen who cut his teeth producing Helloween, Pretty Maids, and Iron Fire.
    $5.00
  • Long defunct but quite good German melodic metal band with progressive touches.
    $13.00
  • Domestic release. One of two new albums released by Edguy's Tobias Sammet under the Avantasia moniker. Similar to what Arjen Lucassen does with his Ayreon projecdts, Sammet brings together some of the best vocalists and musicians from the metal world to create an over the top symphonic power metal concept album. Featured vocalists include Russell Allen (Symphony X), Jorn Lande (Masterplan), Michael Kiske (Helloween), Tim Owens , Klaus Meine (Scorpions), Andre Matos, Bob Catley and others. Featured performers include Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer (Kiss), Oliver Hartmann, Alex Holzwarth. Curiously, the second volume is called Angel Of Babylon and is not yet scheduled for a US release. We hope to have the import in stock soon.
    $13.00