Eddie Lascu 10-June-2007 Terramare + Liberazione

Ask anybody that is still well connected to what's happening on today's progressive rock scene which country continues to carry the flag more so than others and the answer will probably be Italy. Arpia is yet another band that hails from Italy and "Terramare" is their second album, following their debut from 1995 called "Liberazione". Why is it that the band waited 9 years to release new material, you may ask. Well, even the band's website is mum on the reason, so we'll leave this question unanswered for the time being. While the band kept its core intact all these years (Leonardo Bonetti - voice, bass and keyboards, Fabio Brait - guitars and Aldo Orazi - drums), there are two additional musicians invited to contribute on "Terramare": Paole Feraiorni - vocals and Tonino De Sisinno - drums. Paola's voice, in particular, has a great impact on the tracks on which she sings.

The band was formed in 1984 in Rome and recorded a few demos, while developing their music in regional concerts. It took them almost 11 years to polish and release their first album. "Liberazione" is a conceptual album, inspired by a retrospective of 50 years of Italy's history, dating back to the liberation from the Nazi regime. As the band proclaims, the album is not necessarily a political stance. Stylistically, the music is a melodic power metal, greatly enriched by all sorts of textures created on keyboards. Unfortunately, these texture will be dropped on "Terramare". The vocals are very solid, in the great Italian tradition.

Fast forward 9 years and Arpia releases new material, the "Terramare" album, in 2006. The band's website explains that its conceptual core revolves around the "erotic experience of the world". The keyboards are less present on "Terramare", a decision that makes the band to sound rawer. They are reduced to background landscapes, such as on the very Porcupine Tree-like "Rosa", the second track of the album, where a spacey intro brought back "Sky Moves Sideways" memories. The guitars are the dominant force on this album, Arpia placing itself deeper into the realm of power metal. I find the band's sound to be very refreshing, nervy and well anchored in our times. Although I can hear influences of all the great Italian progressive bands from the past, I have no doubt that Arpia has found its own identity.

Two albums quite different, justified maybe by the big gap between their releases, but a strong testimony that Italy was, is and will continue to be a never ending source of good music.

Links for further information