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Osanna’s opus, Palepoli, is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of Italian progressive rock out there. Like Il Balleto Di Bronzo’s YS, it is also fairly abrasive and inaccessible, which could disappoint many listeners looking for a good introduction to that prog hotbed. Both albums have a hard rock edge, and where Il Balleto based much of it’s sound on keyboard pyrotechnics, Palepoli uses tons of saxophone and flute, though still mining much of the same sort of dissonant and experimental territory.

I hear healthy doses of two of my favorite bands in Osanna’s music, Van Der Graaf Generator and Jethro Tull, as well as a significant King Crimson influence. This makes for an extremely chaotic and heavy blend, with wailing saxes and driving guitars, as well as a significant portion of ripping flute melodies over a solid hard rock foundation. Occasionally, the music lapses into quiet melodic moments reminiscent of Genesis circa Nursery Cryme or Trespass. A major problem with the album is the fairly horrendous sound quality, and many of the more chaotic moments, which could be absolutely mind blowing, end up sounding like a jumbled mess of screechy saxophone and drum parts. This album truly needs a remastering job before I can enjoy it on the same level as many of the other Italian classics.

The album is basically two songs spread out over what were originally the two LP sides, with a sort interlude at the end of side 1. The main song on side 1, “Ora Caldo” is excellent and is definitely able to hold my interest over the entire track. The song definitely recalls the best of early Tull and Van Der Graaf, but infected with their own distinctive style. The vocals are also quite good and though the poor sound quality takes away from it, it doesn’t obstruct the music that much. The side 2 track is not quite as strong, being much more experimental and not as cohesive. By this point my attention would start to wander and the muddled sound quality definitely started to grate on my nerves. I don’t know if there is a remaster of this album coming out any time soon, but if there is, wait for it. Otherwise this is a fairly solid Italian release, and they are definitely a number of absolutely incredible moments on the album.

-Greg Northrup

Osanna-PALEPOLI (1973)


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