Exposé Online banner

Il Balletto di Bronzo — Ys
(Polydor 523 693-2, 1972/1994, CD)

Il Balletto di Bronzo — Ys English Versions
(Mellow MMP 112, 1972/1992, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2016-02-25:

Ys Cover artYs English Versions Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

In the early 90s when Vinyl Magic was exploding onto the reissue market, there were still a number of Italian albums that weren't in that wave and had an almost mythical or legendary status. You know that look that some of the older collectors get when you ask them about one of these items, they get all hushed and they're like "OMG MONSTER DUDE." This was one of them. It wasn't described as a great album so much as it was described as the best progressive rock album of all time, I mean the hype was absolutely beyond belief on this one. I managed to dig up a Japanese copy of the CD through a local store who managed to source a lot of weird stuff and took that home and lit candles, laid out precious offerings, drew a circle with salt, genuflected several times, and then hit play on my CD player. Ahhhh ahhhh aahhhhhh sounded the vocals and then the thing started to build and build and got more and more intense and I stopped feeling guilty for however much I spent on the thing by the time the guitar solo lets loose about midway. I don't think I even remembered what the second side sounded like for years after this, it was like waking up amidst scorched earth after the first. In fact I'm not even sure I even fairly count the second side in my grade, the first side is so good. Later on I was pretty lucky to spend some time talking with Gianni Leone about this album and the years surrounding it, or lets be fair, I said about 20 words and the rest was Gianni.


by Mike McLatchey, 1996-08-01:

Ys is certainly one of the more controversial progressive rock albums. Many people will tell you not only that it is a classic, but it's often quoted as being the very best of the 70s progressives. Others, usually those into the more accessible and conventional side, tend to think it's overrated. Obviously anything like this is well worth a listen by anyone – I personally fall well within the former opinion and consider Ys one of the ultimate classics. Il Balletto di Bronzo's second release is a dark album of incredible dexterity and dynamics, an absolutely phenomenal statement of innovative and talented progressive rock. Full of unusual dissonances, wailing spooky voices, and intense passion, it's no doubt it would scare some listeners off. It certainly is an overwhelming experience; yet a truly brilliant album. The Mellow CD reissue contains a bonus single that pales considerably, thankfully it's tacked on the end.

The English versions are from 1971 and make up what is a very expensive mini CD (about 18 minutes), being priced the same as the majority of the catalog. The English lyrics are quite amusing and not very effective, but are worth a listen from a historical perspective considering the album's legendary status. For most, it wouldn't be worth the bother. Regardless, the original Ys is essential in every sense of the word; it is one of the most groundbreaking musical statements of the 70s.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 10 , 1994 releases, 1972 releases, 1992 releases, 1972 releases

Related artist(s): Il Balletto di Bronzo

More info

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ded Ringer - Ded Ahead – Life in the past lane. Call it retro, but rock music like this just isn't made anymore. On their fifth full-length disc this Bay Area trio dishes it up with enough credibility and authenticity to...  (2007) » Read more

Qoph - Pyrola – It’s been entirely too long since this Swedish band’s 1998 debut. Since that time, the band has formed their own label and started singing in English. Their basic sound is intact, however,...  (2005) » Read more

Hans Christian - Phantoms – Unlike Sebastian Hardie, Hans Christian is not a band, it's a person. Actually, sort of a one-man band: Christian plays almost all the instruments, though he has a bit of outside help from...  (1994) » Read more

Fonya - Earth Shaper – Fonya is Chris Fournier, a multi-instrumentalist adept at making instrumental symphonic progressive rock in a variety of moods. The album is primarily keyboard-based, using modern keyboard sounds as...  (1996) » Read more

Devil Doll - Dies Irae – I suppose it was inevitable that before long this band would find a concept such as this too good to pass up. Given the countless readings of this medieval concept in classical music, though, I'd...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues