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La Batteria - La Batteria CD (album) cover

LA BATTERIA

La Batteria

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.96 | 4 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars La Batteria are a new Italian instrumental band who's starting point are the horror soundtrack legends Goblin, but perhaps in part to the four musicians who make up the group all coming from a wide variety of music backgrounds, they work in a bunch of modern styles on top of the Seventies-flavoured horror movie style themes on their self-titled 2015 debut. But unusually for this sort of band, their eerie pieces are fairly compact and frequently up-tempo, full of heavy grooves that might go on to include traces of dance music, electronic, alternative rock and synth-pop. In some ways they're similar to bands such as Zoltan, Zombi, Anima Morte and Morte Macabre, but those groups are much more interested in building atmosphere and lengthy drawn-out moods, whereas La Batteria prefer energetic shorter bursts and having a lot of fun while they're doing it!

One thing that instantly stands out warmly and richly are the instruments the band play with, Stefano Vicarelli's army of vintage synths that are plied all over the disc being especially lovely. It gives the disc a sweet retro flavour, but to dismiss the group as some mere recreation of the Sixties and Seventies would be completely wrong, as the group mix in a wonderfully eclectic variety of modern sounds. At heart, most every single piece here holds some similarity to the classic Goblin albums, but it's where the group take their all-original compositions from there that makes things really interesting!

Classy album opener `Chimera' will instantly remind of the classic Italian horror band, a dreamy and haunting theme of chiming romantic acoustic guitars and doomed scratchy Mellotron. The funky `Vigilante' works in Emanuele Bultrini's snarling guitar grunt over bristling Hammond organ and Davide Nerattini's head-bobbing drumbeat, `Scenario' fuses lurking electric- piano footsteps with Sixties psychedelic coolness, and `Formula' crosses Seventies horror synth eeriness with a spy-like theme, slinking dance beats and runaway Fender Rhodes soloing. `Vice Versa' shimmers with wah-wah guitars, a sauntering beat and Paolo Pecorelli's mud-thick bass, and `Manifesto' is a gorgeous Morricone-esque soundtrack complete with a whistling melody, sighing female cries and dusty acoustic strums with an unexpected up-tempo momentum.

`Dilemna' bristles with creaky Mellotron, acoustic guitar ripples and devilish bass mischievously darting in and out, but there's a lively and cheeky energy to the piece that Goblin fans will go nuts for. Sure enough, `Expresso' bounces with perky groovy vibes and plentiful floating synths, the evocative accordion from guest player Feliciano Zacchia and constant organ of `Incognito' bring a little more atmosphere, and `Scenario 2' reprises an earlier theme with spikier guitar work and is dominated by thick fluid bass. `Zero' is a break-neck heavier blast with a spectral female voice, and album closer `Persona Non Grata' works in harpisichord-like keys, ghostly church organ and ethereal choir Mellotron in the classic Goblin manner.

It's definitely a stretch to place La Batteria under the RPI tag, but they take many elements from Goblin and several of the darker bands such as L'Albero del Veleno that are filed under that banner, just expanding them in new and fresh directions, although for some Italian prog purists that will likely not be enough. Admittedly perhaps twelve tracks and even a forty-six minute running time here is a little excessive, as some of the pieces don't have a lot in the way of depth to offer, the group instead preferring great sounding surface thrills, however there's no denying the skill of the players and just what a terrific sounding album they've delivered - perhaps it's best to think of them as the equivalent of a `Goblin party band'?! But `La Batteria' is still a very addictive and effortlessly cool little album from a band with immense promise and impeccable skills, that have the potential to find a strong crossover appeal that could easily even catch the ear of listeners who have no interest or knowledge in prog-rock at all.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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