Born in 1972 in Lecco, in northern Italy, from the ashes of Gee and Mako Sharks, Un Biglietto per l'Inferno are still regarded as one of the most influential italian prog bands, despite a single LP release, their magnificent eponymous album from 1974. The band had an intense live activity, that took to a very powerful sound driven by the twin keyboards of Banfi and Cossa and the lead guitar of Mainetti, with flute intermissions by singer Claudio Canali.
The album is a masterpiece, its hard-rock based sound being perfectly enriched by keyboards and flute, and the lyrics are strong and effective.The five long tracks are all very nice, and the album is worth its high price. Two tracks, Una strana regina and Confessione were also released as a single, the latter in an instrumental-only version, with the same cover design as the album, the classic picture of jumping singer Claudio Canali, taken by Caesar Monti.
A second album was recorded and ready to release under the production of Eugenio Finardi, as was a single taken from it, and the band was even in touch with Klaus Schulze, but the Trident label's end brought Biglietto per l'Inferno to split after some concerts in Italy and Switzerland at the end of 1975. The album had a limited circulation among fans as a bootleg tape, and only gained an official issue in 1992 on the Mellow label.
Of all the band members only keyboardist Baffo Banfi had a relevant solo career (as J.B.Banfi) with three solo albums in a cosmic vein between 1978 and 1981 (the last two of these came on Klaus Schulze's IC label), while drummer Gnecchi has played in jazz groups and collaborated with PFM guitarist Franco Mussida in his first solo album Racconti dalla tenda rossa, from 1991. Singer Claudio Canali has become a friar, unusual choice after the strong dialogue with a priest in the lyrics of Confessione.
The long-awaited 30th anniversary box set has finally been released in early 2004, and it's a welcome release for anyone who's loved this group or wants to know it. A pleasure for the eyes amd the ears, the set includes CD remastered versions of both official albums, a third CD with a live recording from 1974 and a bonus DVD including some video tracks of band members, interviews and audio cuts. Furthermore, a nice book with pictures, lyrics and interviews. A great product, and the first box set ever released to celebrate an italian prog group!The live CD included in the box set has been put on sale separately, this time with a better mini-LP gatefold cover.
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