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ProgMetalZone: “Penis Barbecue”

Okay let’s get this outta the way – yes this debut album by this rather quirky Italian avant-garde metal band IS called Penis Barbecue which, if you give a listen to the title track song, you’ll quickly discover that it’s a piece about a musician freeing himself from the clutches of a rather disturbed witch. We’ll leave it at that and figure that having an album title like that is probably more for shock value and just let you know that Give Us Barraba is one hell of a cool band that adroitly straddles the line between angular metal, avant-garde RIO progressive rock done with an oft-times humorous flair. We were alerted to this debut by the band’s keyboardist Osvaldo Indriolo from the excellent prog metal band Wood Of Light whose debut album in 2012, Feelikescaping was one of our favorite albums from that year (you can read our review of it HERE.) Yeah, the music on this debut is pretty off the wall and rather disjointed at times but is always interesting and actually a lot of fun. The musicians are all from different genres – Andrea Tiengo (guitar) and Ivan Squarcina (bass) play in mostly Hard and Southern Rock bands, Alexander Numa (vocals, saxophone and sitar) plays in Crossover and Reggae bands, Jerome Bennnic (drums) plays Numetal and only Indriolo and Wood Of Light guitarist Micro Brunello come from the progressive side of things. So, yeah this is one hell of a wild brew of an album that somehow keeps its shit together to create one of the decidedly unique albums from this year.

The album is eight songs over 40 minutes (which doesn’t sound that long but hell, wasn’t that the limit of vinyl back in the day?) and every song has a unique structure and sometimes doesn’t sound like it’s from the same band. The opener, My Band Sax (a humorous riff on “sax” versus “sucks”) has a darkly intense jazzy feel to it in the vocals and a some nice sax work that leads into a song named after and dedicated to Canadian metal legend Devin Townsend (it’s a pretty nice homage to that madman too.) Happy is next and, keeping with the band’s ethos is anything but a happy song – it’s got a wild manic metallic feel and some seriously insane vocals along with some crazed circus music. Io e Te Senza di Lei (translated as You and I Without You) is a really pretty ballad featuring some beautiful, laconic guitar, sax and piano (acoustic and electric) but, this being a Give Us Barraba song, of course has to be messed up – first with a short Ska section in the middle and a screaming metal end. Keeping with the album’s disjointed feel (gotta keep the listeners off-balance at all times, LOL!) Everything That I’ve Learned begins as a funky rock song, changes into a laid-back parody of a lounge song (with some crazy, rather orgasmic vocals) and ends as a heavy funk fusion piece. Again, perhaps it’s the melding of such disparate elements so well is what really is the best aspect of this band.

The album title song is next and, if you can get over the WAY over-the-top disgustingness of the song title and story line it’s actually one of the best songs musically on the album with a cool progressive fusion jam at the beginning, an overly dramatic (but of course done humorously) middle section complete with darkly romantic piano and restates both themes before ending. The album concludes with two very different songs, A per vendetta, a straight-up prog rock/metal instrumental that builds in intensity throughout and has a killer gothic keyboard solo from Indriolo before the album ends with La riflessione riflesssa, a rather superfluous electronic/spoken word vocal that did absolutely nothing for me (maybe there’s a point to this “song” but I didn’t get it at all and I’m really tired of bands that think it’s cute to put in minutes of silence before adding in a quick coda just to see if anyone can find it.) The last song aside, I really dug this album that has a great mix of humor and sophistication of some of the best avant-garde Italian progressive rock from the 70’s.

It’s a horrible cliché but in this case quite true that this is a band that really doesn’t take themselves seriously at all but takes music seriously and believes in having a lot of fun in creating it. Hopefully this isn’t just a lark of an album but the beginning of a long run of quirky, darkly humorous progressive music. If you like, you can hear all of Laser Baron via the Spotify playlist below and you can also purchase a copy of the album via the link, also below.

Rating 9/10

review by Jeff Stevens

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