The Music of Terror: Il Balletto di Bronzo’s “Ys”

The Music of Terror: Il Balletto di Bronzo’s “Ys”

YsAt one point, I wanted this site to also cover music.  In fact, you can find a few reviews waaaaay back when of some fantastic albums.  Unfortunately, it became more of a chore to add music as we were getting loaded up with film after film. That isn’t a complaint by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just a fact.  So, music had to make way for other geek things.  Plus, we aren’t the type of people who want to cover the generic horror “music”-psychobilly, Misfits rip-off bands, gore metal, etc.  We have a varied taste at The Blood Sprayer and it seemed best suited to just focus on film.  Still, their are artists that will fit all too perfectly into a theme making it impossible to not cover.  Italian Week posed the obvious of covering Goblin.  Shit, look at all the soundtracks they did for Argento!!  It’s irresponsible to not cover them.  But, for me there is one Italian band, and one record in particular, that sounds like nightmares put to tape.  Blood Sprayer readers, meet Il Balletto di Bronzo’s “Ys”.

Admittedly, Il Balletto di Bronzo has nothing to do with horror. Ys is not a score or soundtrack to any of our favorite Italian filth.  The album is deserving of your attention because it sounds like what those movies are trying to do to you on the visual end.  It’s a frightening up & down, back & forth of beautifully laid out movements.  The melodies that drive the album play out like a narrative.  Essentially, it moves in the same manner that a horror movie does.  There is the the calm, eerie build that spikes with each emotional beat.  As the record progresses, it reaches frighteningly cacophonous moments that would’ve perfectly heightened some of those insane Fulci moments.  As the album draws to it’s close, you aren’t left with a feeling of relief.  You’re left with the lingering oddness that the album drug you through. 

crossesA friend and fellow musician told me a story about a drive home from a show and falling asleep in their band’s van.  One of his bandmates was driving and listening to Ys.  He said that when he woke up, and heard the music that was playing, it scared the shit out of him.  This is an example of what sort of emotion this record envokes.  On the surface, you can view it as another weird prog rock record from the 70’s.  But any fans of the band will tell you otherwise.  On the short list of “terrifying” albums, this one ranks up their with the best of them. 

Il Balletto di Bronzo didn’t have one of those long-ass, Rolling Stones careers. The band was short lived and barring a couple ill-advised reunions, have kind of vanished from the public eye.  They’ve been sited as influences by a few modern bands like Mammoth Volume and Nurse With Wound and Ys has had a several reissues in countries like Japan.  Still, the band’s work remains relatively unknown by most.  In fact, the 2 people I know that enjoy this band are 2 people who’s musical taste and knowledge rivals most folks.  But, I can assure you if you are a fan of Italian horror and understand how important the music is to those great films, you’d hear the same thing that I do when listening to this album.  So, here’s my recommendation to you:  Grab your copy of Fulci’s The Beyond, then snag a copy of this record (go ahead and download it. I’m not a saint-I’m not going to tell you what’s right or wrong.).  Turn down the lights, start the movie and then fire up this album.  You will see where fear and music meet and you’ll wonder the same that I do:  Why the hell didn’t anyone use these guys for soundtrack work?!

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I'm the founder of this here site and a contributing writer. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the foundation of who I am as a horror lover but sleaze, exploitation, Italian film, and erotica from the golden age are my areas most widely researched. This is done with a great amount of vigor. When not assaulting my mind with film, I'm with my beautiful family or cheering on my beloved Baltimore Orioles.

3 Responses to “The Music of Terror: Il Balletto di Bronzo’s “Ys””

  1. Why do I have a feeling that I was the band member driving home and listening to YS and scaring the shit out of my ex-bandmates? There are others that fucked up too. Museo Rosenbach, Semiramis, AREA, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Quella Vecchia Locanda… Goblin and Bronzo are only the tip of the iceberg. Progressive rock was the first popular music form to actually take hold in Italy, and Italian progressive rock is as heralded and fabled as the entire Italo-horror genre. The amazing thing about it was just how dark alot of it was. Goblin did it for cinematic effect (to the point that I have to turn down the sound sometimes.) but Goblin were also a VERY late entry into the whole Italo-prog thing as well. The lack of interest it got outside of Italy was specifically because none of the records (save Premiata Forneria Marconi’s “Chocolate Kings”) were recorded in English, and when they did, it was pretty underwhelming. Italian progressive rock plays alot like an Italian opera. It needs to be in it’s native language because the music was structured as such. You need to listen to the entire album from beginning to end to really get the scope of what was happening. Italian prog bands did NOT make singles. It’s hopeless earnestness is the only thing that keeps its potency from diminishing over time, and the fact that it did not crumble under the weight of pretension like Emerson, Lake and Palmer or other greats of the English language progressive rock movements.

  2. Wes, if I ever get my demon thriller off the ground… I’ll try my damnedest to get these on the OST. Just listening to them gave me some great ideas for scenes. Especially Introduzion!

  3. Time to catch up boys! I have been collecting for a year now. Have a look here:
    Man…some of these groups just trash the so called English “greats”!

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