AREA — 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano! (review)

AREA — 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano! album cover Album · 1978 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
The bizarre musical outfit known as AREA who was one of the most unique entities to emerge from the avant-prog and jazz-fusion scene in Italy continued their string of challenging and eclectic releases with their fifth studio album 1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO which translates into “The gods depart and the angry ones remain!” This album immediately sounds like AREA but it also feels different than the previous four and there are legit reasons. Firstly Paolo Tofani had left as guitarist and there is less guitar as a result. Bassist Ares Tavolazzi picks up any needed guitar parts on this which mostly shine through as acoustic. They are now a quartet and there also lacks the ensemble of guest musicians who helped out previously. Demetrio Stratos also contributes as a composer on GLI DEI... something he had not done before.

The feel of this album is totally different. Many of the songs seem to be more accessible. There are plenty of avant-jazz passages and frenzied instrumental “noodling” to be found but the tracks are primarily composed of catchier melodies more akin to “Crac” than the other albums but even more so by incorporating funky disco and poppy fol and even some Mothers inspired doowop. The tempo is slower on this one with fewer blitzkrieg fusion attacks but not totally devoid of them either.

AREA is one of my faves because I really love their uniqueness and fearless approach but I have to admit that on this album it starts to feel like they are beginning to recycle many of their ideas and that they are one album away from becoming a total parody of themselves. Thankfully that doesn't happen here as there are plenty of fresh influences to keep this album interesting from beginning to start. Although I don't understand Italian fluently I don't mind the spoken parts as the vocal style is so emotive as to convey the mood of what's being said.

Sadly this would be the last album with Demetrio Stratos before he died from complications caused by a severe case of aplastic anemia at the age of 34. It is so sad that such a talent was taken from the world but at the very least the band was wise enough not to try to replace the irreplaceable and decided to call it quits keeping the legacy from falling into mediocrity like many innovative bands from the 70s did. This album, while not their best, is still an excellent addition to any avant-prog lover's collection but I do recommend skipping the horrible all instrumental album “Tic & Tac” that several members released under the AREA name a few years later.
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