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The classic Italian scene was so very rich. Certainly by 1974 the sky was the limit and things had become so infused with creative energy that the artists were often outdoing their contemporaries in Europe and Britain. It was as if Italy’s grand musical tradition had quietly and briefly been reborn in a bunch of longhairs, and it’s a pity the smaller groups never really made it across the pond. Thank goodness we live in a time when bygone prog has inexplicably been rediscovered by the world and embraced by a minority determined to revive the bounty of that period. This record was a part of that bounty and though not as edgy as Osanna or polished as Banco, Biglietto per L’Inferno held their own in an arena of giants. There are some dated hard rock moments and a few uncomfortably theatrical vocals, but seems to me that’s par for the course when were talking RPI.

‘Ansia’ establishes a clear prog identity with beautifully antiqued space-age synths from Banfi and Cossa, Mauro Gnecchi’s crack army snare flurries keeping things moving. Slightly awkward ‘Confessine’ involves a Rooster, a dash of Pepper, some Purple coloring and shows a tiny Bit of Finger but still has some grandeur, a very cool prog break, and by the end it actually comes through and finishes well. Dirge ‘Una Strana Regina’ kicks ass moving between teary-eyed pining and tough Hammond-grinding fleshed out with a surprise pseudoclassical bop, and is followed by the soulful waltz of ‘Il Nevare’ that peaks-out with a most invigorating vocal phrase repeated by Claudio Canali. Finale ‘L’Amico Suicida’ proves to be one of the more cutting pieces and bubbles over with power on numerous occasions showing admirable group playing, heavy piano/guitar assaults, light synth accents and weird electronic distractions, and is the emotional and compositinal high point of the album at thirteen minutes.

Enough surprises to make this one worth it and a few moments that make it nearly essential, BpI’s debut is like hanging out with an old friend. Recommended.

-Atavachron, progarchives.com

DOWNLOAD:
Biglietto Per L’inferno-BIGLIETTO PER L’INFERNO (1974)
320kbps

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