Tom Hayes 6-Oct-2006 Hero

Certainly one of the more unusual entries from the Italian progressive rock scene of the early 1970s, Heroís sole album is an enigma, yet essential purchase for fans of heavy prog. Some of the oddities found here include: 1. Though based in Italy, Hero relocated to Germany to record their sole album for the Pan label (Sahara, Metropolis); 2. Going against convention for an Italian band, Heroís lyrics are entirely in English; 3. The album didnít see a release until 1974, two years after the actual recording and one year after the death of group founder and guitarist/bassist Massimo Pravato. Hero were a highly innovative trio, driven by aggressive electric guitar, even though played primarily in a jazzy style. Thereís also quite a bit of organ from vocalist Robert Deller (whose vocal style is somewhat reminiscent of Peter Hammill). In fact, given the entirely disorienting nature of their music, it would seem Hero may have been the forefathers of the sound championed by the modern Italian group Garden Wall. Even though the majority of the songs donít clear the 6 minute mark, itís extraordinary how much material is packed into each composition. Generally mislabeled as a hard rock band, Hero present one of the real rarities: An album with no obvious comparisons. The closest I can get are some of the harder German underground bands like Virus, Necronomicon or Erlkoenig. It wasnít until 2006, that a legit CD reissue surfaced (on the AMS label, in the mini-LP format). Very much recommended.

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