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Fiaba (Italy) - 2001 - "Lo Sgabello del Rospo"
(38 min, 'RCI')

TRACK LIST:                             
1.  Scene-1 5:35
2.  Scene-2 3:23
3.  Scene-3 2:21 
4.  Scene-4 2:39
5.  Scene-5 2:47
6.  Scene-6 6:33
7.  Scene-7 3:08
8.  Scene-8 8:06

All music: by Rubino. Arrangements: Fiaba.
Libretto: Rubino & Brancato.


Giuseppe Brancato - vocals 
Bruno Rubino - drums
Massimo Catena - guitar
Carlo Bonfiglio - guitar
Giuseppe Capodieci - bass 


Ega - female vocals
Slavio Fichera - narration 

Prolusion. FIABA is the Italian band led, grotesquely speaking:-), by the drumming composer Bruno Rubino and the singing poet Giuseppe Brancato. At the moment, there are the DVD "I Sogni di Marzia" and three CDs in their discography: "XII L'appiccato", "Il Capello a Tre Punte" and "Lo Sgabello del Rospo", both of the latter of which were released by Lizard Records. The hero of this review is the latter, and although all the contents of the CD booklet are in Italian, it's understandable that this is a concept album-story with several characters in the play.

Synopsis. There are two main heroes, Pauro & Gebbia, and several additional personages in this eight-scene story. A guest female vocalist Ega plays the role of Gebbia, although she takes the lead on par with Giuseppe only in two Scenes, both of which, 2 & 6, are the only tracks here that are free of any heaviness and are about a blend of guitar Art-Rock and Opera. Giuseppe is Pauro, but not only. Just a fantastically gifted operatic chameleon-singer with a huge voice diapason, he performs all the male parts, sole and polyphonic, too, such as the choir of "crepuscular guardians" (the latter being repeatedly overdubbed, of course), equally at ease taking the high and low notes, being very convincing when singing tragically or comically or any other way either, depending on the personage. Generally, this album is an opera above all and is a real opera despite the fact that the instrumental arrangements are from another story altogether and, excluding those on the aforementioned two tracks, represent a rather harsh Prog-Metal with elements of guitar Art-Rock and some folk music. Just like in the case of Nightwish's latest >album, this music is of a moderate complexity on average, but all the tracks, without exception, are original and have no relation to neo, not in the least. Most of the songs begin with slow passages of semi-acoustic guitar, while the further arrangements are almost exclusively intricate and intensive. Nevertheless, the amazing Giuseppe is the main hero in this show and is the central moving force in it. His multifaceted vocals are exceptionally impressive and always remain warm and heartfelt, regardless of the character he sings for at the moment. I'll even dare to say that this singer does many of the most significant soloing parts on the album. In other words, I understand that I will hardly be able to properly clue you up about the most specific and curious aspects of this work. You have to hear it to comprehend how the music, which is predominantly vocal-based, can be both highly attractive and progressive.

Conclusion. Since the participation of a female singer on Fiaba's "Lo Sgabello del Rospo" is insignificant rather than vice versa, I feel free to say that this is one of the best one-man Prog-Metal operas that I've ever heard, and for example, I like it much better than any of those (four in all) by Savatage. Recommended like most of the CDs I have reviewed for this update.

VM: October 18, 2004

Related Links:

Lizard Records
Mylodon Records


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