Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Although Arpia have been active since 1984, their debut album “Liberazione” (Liberation) wasn’t released until 1995 thanks to the independent label Pick Up Records with a line-up featuring Leonardo Bonetti (bass, synthesizers, vocals), Fabio Brait (guitar) and Aldo Orazi (drums). “Liberazione” is subtitled “Anthem for a dream that has become a Republic” and, according to the band, “it is a concept album about the idea of a journey into the historical memory of Italy”. The aim of this concept is rather bold: to express “the need to regain a collective history through individual stories[1].


The album is divided into two parts. The first one, “La Resistenza” (The Resistance), is about the struggle against Fascism before and during World War II. The liner notes and the images in the booklet are an integral part of this work since the band tries to describe also in the images and words the atmospheres and the stories that inspired the music and lyrics... The opener “Ragazzo Rosso” (Red Boy) is a powerful instrumental dedicated to a 16 year old student who was arrested in 1927 for having handed out some leaflets against the Fascist Party. The mood of the track is dark, featuring haunting bass lines and heavy guitars...

This is a good introduction to the following “La Roscia”, a long, complex track about a red haired woman executed in 1943 in the Apennines by the Nazi-fascists for having sheltered a partisan. The song is partially sung in dialect and alternates different rhythms to express the different feelings described by the lyrics: mercy, love, fear, rage... “There’s sweat and silence over those charming bodies / Far out there distant glows and lightning...”.

The title track “Liberazione” is set in Modena in 1945 and tries to catch the feelings of a farmer who, while staring at the partisans entering the city, is worried about his property and wonders about the future fearing expropriations by communists... “Look Christ, what you have to endure from your cross! / Bitter offspring of soldiers, deserters and strikers who think that this is a revolution!...”. 

“Piazzale Loreto” is set in Milan in 1945 and is about the feelings of a peasant who stares at the body of Mussolini, hanged head down by the partisans... The music flows steadily trying to express hate, rage and dismay with raw electric guitar riffs... “Take my spits, dux!... Take them like the baptism of the innocents...”.

In the second part, “Il terrore” (Terror), the band tries to evoke the atmosphere and the mood of the Seventies, “the years of lead”. “Strage!” (Slaughter) is about a bomb attack in Milan on December 12, 1969... “It’s a bomb, it’s a bomb!... Mother, mother, it’s an endless massacre!...”.

“La ragazza Carla” (The girl Carla) is set in Piazza della Loggia in Brescia on May 28, 1974 and tries to express the feelings of a girl who is going to a meeting with her boyfriend in the square where a bomb is going to blow up... “The girl Carla wears naive shoes / As if they were poetry...”.

“16 marzo 1978” (March 16, 1978) is about the feelings of a 78 year old retired man, an old political activist, who, while walking in Rome, stumbles on the aftermath of the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, leader of the Democratic Christian Party, then executed by the terrorists of the Red Brigades...

Bologna” is about the bomb attack at the Railway Station on August 2, 1980... The lyrics evoke the dialogues and thoughts of some innocent passengers on the trains approaching or leaving the railway station of Bologna before the explosion... “The railway station now is moving, faster and faster / Look! Now it leaves us...”. 

The final track “Coprofagia” (Coprophagy) is about the result of the elections on March 28, 1994... The music is heavy, with cutting vocals, bass and electric guitars in the forefront that try to suggest anguish and fear, rage and indignation, anger and disdain...

In my opinion, sometimes the style of Arpia seems closer to Hard-Rock and Dark-Metal than to Neo-prog or the “Italianprog” giants of the Seventies as Le Orme, BMS or PFM. Nevertheless “Liberazione” is a good album with a really interesting concept and it’s worth listening to... 

(From the book Rock Progressivo Italiano: an introduction to Italian Progressive Rock)

In Italy every year on April the 25th they celebrate the Anniversary of the Liberation from Nazi-Fascism.

More info about Arpia:

[1] From the official website of the band

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