Storia o Leggenda is often referred to as a "lesser" Le Orme album, but the truth is, Le Orme never put out a bad or less than committed record before the 1990s, with the one exception of Smogmagica (1975), a failed experiment. Of course, a faction of the progressive rock intelligentsia disses Verità Nascoste, Storia o Leggenda, Florian, and Piccola Rapsodia dell'Ape in order to better highlight magnum opuses like Uomo di Pezza and Felona e Sorona. Still, where other major Italian progressive rock bands like Premieta Forneria Marconi and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso were starting to show signs of exhaustion (or compromise), all of these albums are worthwhile listening, and Storia o Leggenda more so than the others. Something magical happened on this 1977 LP, as several factors came together to produce a splendid opus. First of all, the band turns back to acoustic guitars, to an extent not heard since 1973's Uomo di Pezza. And, here, the band that made a name for itself as a keyboard-led trio finally manages to show why adding a guitarist was so important. They had failed to do so with Tolo Marton on Smogmagica. This time around, Germano Serafin, introduced on Verità Nascoste only a few months earlier, perfectly fits into Le Orme's new sound. For Storia o Leggenda does represent a new sound, one that is now totally removed from the group's beginnings as Nice wannabes, and much more in line with the Italian progressive rock ethos (Banco, PFM, Il Volo's eponymous debut). In fact, Storia o Leggenda represents the best of both worlds between the more pronounced rock leanings of the previous record (Verità Nascoste) and the next, all-acoustic, almost instrumental LP Florian. It has the complex metrics and driving rhythm section of the first ("Al Mercato delle Pulci" and "Il Musicista" are very strong prog rock mini-epics) and the lush arrangements and pastoral feel of the latter ("Tenerci per Mano," "Un Angelo," the title track). One final point: Aldo Tagliapietra never sang better than on this album, his voice pure Italian honey. This album has been worthy of high esteem for a long time and will continue to deserve such esteem in the future.
Storia O Leggenda Review
by François Couture