[Neo Era Prog #1] Il Castello Di Atlante

The band was born in 1974 in Vercelli with the name Hydra, based on an idea by Paolo Ferrarotti (Drums, Keyboards and Voice) and Dino Fiore (Bass), they were joined soon by Massimo Di Lauro (Violin) and Giampiero Marchiori (Flute). With the entry of Aldo Bergamini (Guitars and Voice) the quintet finds its stability, changed name first in Stato di Allarme and then in Il Castello di Atlante. The name is taken from Canto XII of Orlando Furioso written by Ludovico Ariosto, in fact the group has a marked epic imprint in the texts. A promotional cassette was recorded with the title “La Guerra dei Topi” followed by an intense live activity which lasted until 1982 with the occasional addition of some guests. In that year, Marchiori left the band as a musician to continue to follow them as a sound engineer. The remaining four recorded a demo “Semplice… Ma Non Troppo” and a 45 rpm private pressing, where Roberto Giordano appears on the keyboards. Throughout the 80s the musical activity continues only at a lower level, due to work commitments and only three members carry on the project: Bergamini, Fiore and Ferrarotti. In 1986 a third private tape was recorded “Passo Di Danza” and until the early 90s the band was not very active. But in 1993 thanks to Beppe Crovella, keyboardist of Arti e Mestieri and the record company Vinyl Magic, there was the re-Birth of Il Castello di Atlante, which has the opportunity to record the first album “Sono Io Il Signore Delle Terre A Nord“. The recording highlights an excellent musical preparation, as well technique in the arrangement and execution. the songs are of considerable duration mixing sounds of the traditional Italian 70s Prog with a Neo-Prog and the use of the violin give a particular impression to their sound. The mixture works very well end the work had an excellent feedback and allows the band to publish a second one the following year with titled “Passo Dopo Passo“. In reality is an archive of unpublished recordings both live and both in studio, unfortunately had a minor impact on the public, despite is very valid it is not at the level of the previous one. Two years later, they returns to the studio and they published “L’Ippogrifo“, the third album that confirms the quality of the first, perhaps with a slightly more symphonic touch. The live activity of the band continues without however publishing anything until 2000 when they record “Come il Seguitare Delle Stagioni“, an excellent album, the first to be printed on double support both CD and vinyl. The feedback from the public and critics is the best, but the fans has to wait another four years before they going out with “Quintessenza“, once again demonstrating the high level of compositions. Since 2005 they have begun an intense live activity which sees them involved in the following years in various Prog festivals and tours around the world. On 13 January 2006, they took part an the Novara Art Rock Acoustic Festival, thus recording “Concerto Acustico,” an acoustic reworking of some of their famous songs, where Di Lauro‘s violin is the master. Hand in hand with the live activity, the band returns to the studio in 2008 and gives birth to “Cap.7: Tra Le Antiche Mura“, a work that keeps its promises and confirms what has been done so far by the italian band. In the same year, in addition to regularly participating in many of national Prog festivals, different dates are also organized abroad, this intense live activity culminates with a tour in the land of the rising sun. Precisely from this experience in Japan, a DVD entitled “Una Sera A Tokyo“, containing the footage of a date of the 2008 tour, was published in 2011. From 2009 to 2011 the band will delight European audiences as well as countless Italian dates , with dates in the Netherlands, France and Lithuania until 2012 and 2013 in Indonesia, USA and Canada. Their live performances allow the band to confirm themselves as one of the best in the Italian scene and in 2014, following a tour in Mexico, they released “Cap. 8: Live“. The album is produced on CD + DVD for the Mexican label Azafran Media, proving to be very popular even outside of Italy and Europe. For the duration of the following year, Tony Pagliuca, a historic Italian Prog keyboardist, member and founder of Le Orme, joins the band. From 2015 to 2018 the live activity is incessant with dates in Italy, Holland and a new tour in Canada. After eight years away del comeback in the recording studios and in 2016 they produced a new studio album: Arx Atlantis” to celebrate its forty years of activity, their last album. Two years later, to celebrate 25 years since the release of their first work, they publish a re-recorded version of it with one unreleased bonus track. Also worth mentioning is the participation, with three unreleased tracks, to as many projects produced for the finnish magazine Colossus, projects that bring together different bands of Prog with a piece each, to then form rock works with literary themes. The first “Kalevala: A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic” in 2003, with the track “Ilmarinen Forges The Sampo“, the second, of 2008, “Dante’s Divine Comedie Rock Project pt. 1“, with the track “Malebolge” and in 2016, “Decameron pt. 3“, with the track “Ghino e L’Abate di Clignì“. They are considered longest-lived italian band of the genre in activity, just think of their beginning back in 1974, as well as one of the most active in the live scene, having touched Europe, Asia and America. Their sound is an excellent blend of traditional Italian Prog sound with a modern Neo-Prog touch. The tracks are all of medium-long duration, often exceeding 5 minutes,very well arranged and with different sound possibilities given by the presence of guitar, keyboards and violin. The bands to which they are most similar are the first Pfm and Quella Vecchia Locanda, even if their style is very original in the sound and in the choice to write epic texts, the only drawback is perhaps the vocal part not always up to the excellent musical quality. Curiosity: given their notoriety abroad, the internal booklets were written both in italian and in english, to translate the texts above all and thus be more understandable by the public all over the world. I conclude with a message written in the notes of their latest studio album “Arx Atlantis“: “This album celebrates the 40th anniversary of our band. It all started in 74 and, after 40 years, we are still playing our music. If Il Castello Di Atlante had never existed, we would have had a different story and we would have been different men.”

Discography

Album
(1992) Sono io il signore delle terre a nord [Vinyl Magic]
(1994) Passo dopo passo, brani inediti studio e dal vivo [Vinyl Magic]
(1994) L’ippogrifo [Vinyl Magic]
(2001) Come il seguitare delle stagioni [Electromantic Music]
(2004) Quintessenza [Electromantic Music]
(2006) Concerto acustico (Acoustic Live) [Electromantic Music]
(2008) Capitolo 7 – Tra Le Antiche Mura [Electromantic Music]
(2011) Una sera a Tokyo, DVD [Ænima Recordings]
(2014) Cap. 8 Live, CD e DVD [Azafran Media]
(2016) Arx Atlantis [Ænima Recordings]
(2018) Siamo Noi i Signori delle Terre a Nord [Ænima Recordings]

Singles
(1983) Tirando le somme / Semplice… ma non troppo

Compilation / Various Artists
(2003) Kalevala: A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic
(2008) Dante’s Divine Comedie Rock Project pt. 1
(2016) Decameron: Ten Days in 100 Novellas – part III

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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