A black, white and red cover of this album shows a drawing of the poison tree, L’Albero del Veleno. This is the debut album Le Radici del Male (The Roots of Evil) of this Italian band. L’Albero del Veleno started out as a duo, with Claudio Miniati on drums and Nadin Petricelle on piano and keyboards. They were aiming to create instrumentals inspired by horror movie soundtracks of the ’60s and ’70s. To make this work, they recorded some soundtracks that were never released by the Italian director Lucio Fulci. For this, they formed a band with 5 members. Later, they added a sixth and started recording their own music.
Next to the two founders, the band is formed by Lorenzo Picchi (guitar), Andrea Andreucetti (bass), Franseco Catoni (violin) and Marco Brenzini (flute). Not a typical rock ensemble, but one that fits the music of this band – movie soundtracks with an occasional hint of classical music. This 6-piece is responsible for the contenst of Le Radici del Male.
Dove Danzano le Streghe (Where the witches dance) is the opening track of the album. It starts with dark synthesizer sounds accompanied by a flute. They are joined briefly by the violin, leading into a wild witches dance. The support of heavy guitar, pumping bass and pounding drums makes the witches swirl. When things calms down, the keyboards and drums lead us out of the forest, with the violin singing softly.
After this comes …e Resta il Respire (The breath remains). This starts with a keyboard piece in 6/8 accompanied by the flute and violin. A soon as the drums and guitar join, the beat changes and the music becomes dark and haunting. After a slower part in the middle (keys and drums only) it speeds up again into a piece that is equally dark as the witches dance, but very different in nature.
In contrast, Prezenze dal Passato, the third track on the album, is almost a sweet song. Almost classical piece, with only melancholic keyboards and violin.
After this come two much heavier and far from melancholic tracks. Un Altro Giorno die Terrore is nearly metal, with the guitar in charge instead of the keyboards or violin. The combination of flute, violin and guitar on this track works quite well. For this piece, a bonus video is included, in the form of a short horror movie. The music and video fit together nicely, but may give an initial online listener (the video is on Youtube) a wrong impression of the band. When I had a friend listen to it, she immediately thought this was a metal band.
The second of the two heavy tracks is Due Anima Nella Notte (Two Souls in the Night), that starts with a staccato bass notes, and then slowly builds up into a dragging, haunting piece – with the staccato opening rhythm as a recurring theme.
The climax of the album is entitled Al di La’ Del Sogno… L’Incubo Riaffora. Online material on the band and the album clarifies that this 12 minute piece actually consists of four pieces based of music from movies. All of these by the bands favourite director Lucio Fulci, in cooperation with the composer Fabio Frizzi. This is a real horror movie soundtrack as the band’s founders had in mind, I recommend not playing this on headphones with the lights out on a dark stormy night…
This album needed some time to sink in, but my daily car routes helped in that – I just played it for a week and found the click. For prog fans who love soundtrack like music with a classic edge, or those who like dark, symphonic Italian prog this album is worth checking out.