Sunday, 14 February 2010

Universal Totem Orchestra - Rituale Alieno (1999)

In my opinion "Universal Totem Orchestra" ( an offshoot of "Runaway Totem" ) are one of, if not THE best progressive / zeuhl bands of our time. This there first album is a masterwork and although not quite as classic as there recent masterpiece "The Magus", which is more firmly zeuhl styled, this is still quite brilliant!!

With superb operatic vocals, both male and female, here we have an incredible display of twists and turns where the vocals are enchanting one minute and devilish the next. Metal guitars , cello, pulsing bass / loud synth and weird vocal chants soar into at times an unholy medeaevil and out of this world experience which leaves one utterly enthralled after every listen. Indeed this is the kind of challenging music which definitely deserves repeated listens to catch all the nuances. My only qualm is that the second track is not quite as well recorded as the other tracks and is a tad too long.

A fantastic album and ESSENTIAL to Zeuhl devotees.

Rituale Alieno

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. Pane Astrale (4:33) 
2. Saturno (21:38) 
3. Il viaggio di Elric (13:06) 
4. Ipernatura del tempo centrale (9:16) 
5. Antichi occhi ciechi (8:53) 
6. Meccanica superiore (9:10) 

Line-up / Musicians
- Ann Torres Fraile / vocals

- UTO Giorgio Golin / drums
- Dauno Giuseppe Buttiglione / basses
- Marco Zanfei / keyboards

Additional musicians:
- Marco Mauro / lead guitar (2 to 5)
- Marcello De Angelis / lead guitar (6)
- Giuseppe Saiani / guitars (2 to 4, 6)
- Giuliano Eccher / guitars, viola (3)
- Francesco Ciech / violoncello (1)
- Antonio Fedeli / saxophone (2 & 4)
- Gianni Nicolini / tabla (3 & 4)
- Giacomo Plotegher / keyboards (2 & 6)
+ 7 additional vocalists: Francesco Festi, Marco Festi, Simone Albino, Lucio Zandonati, Pietro Maini, Enzo Battisti, Giuliano Lott

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