BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO Review
The debut by Biglietto Per L'Inferno is one of the most consistent albums of progressive rock that I've ever heard. Although it does not have the high peaks of my top favorite prog albums (Roller, Cherry Five, Zarusthra, Animals, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Red, Court of the Crimson King, Larks Tongues in Aspic, Drama, Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, Minstrel in the Gallery, There's the Rub), most true progressive rock albums--partially because of their daring nature--have some material that doesn't work. Yes occasionally gets a bit too "fa-la-la" happy, King Crimson sometimes loses me with their exploratory improvisations and I never want to eat Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast or go to San Tropez...and Yes, Crimson and Floyd are three of my all time favorite bands. On Biglietto Per L'Inferno's remarkable debut, I count about four (4) minutes of losing the thread/below par ideas, all of which are contained in one song, track 3, Una Strana Regina. Other than that stuff---and some singing that seems a bit shy of the pitch---this album casts a spell for its duration. That is rare.
The song Confessione is quite stunning symphonic/heavy prog, and probably the highlight, with lots of parts--loud and gentle--that all flow together, and it's reprise is very welcome at the end of the album, but the tune that really struck me the most was the lengthy L'Amico Suicida. An argument could be made that this is one of the most "progressive" songs ever, though of course that depends upon how you define progressive. The song progresses from one ending to the next, refusing to give up, in an almost comical manner at times, it shifts and turns and reinvents itself. There are about fifteen sections that could be the ending for this song, BUT owing the aforementioned consistency of BPL's musical material, it somehow works...even though many of these part have wild instrumentation shifts or huge tonal changes or both. Not a suite of mini-songs strung together (like 2112 or Supper's Ready), but a long, amazing and confounding run on sentence of a song, L'Amico Suicida is a marvel that refuses punctuation. Bravo.
Fans of Floyd's Atom Heart Mother, Banco (esp. their debut), and PFM (who never made an album that I like as much as this one) are encouraged to seek out Biglietto Per L'Inferno, and listeners who enjoy heavier, more rockin' things things like Thick as Brick and Salisbury will also get into this. This is top notch RPI, perhaps only bested by Roller, Cherry Five and Zarathustra.