Italy, historically known as the home of the Roman Empire, has a very unique musical tradition, with music has traditionally been one of the cultural markers of Italian national and ethnic identity. Opera originally emerged in Italy in the 16th century, as well as such forms of European classical music as the symphony and concerto. The list of famous Italian composers includes: Giuseppe Verdi, Antonio Vivaldi, Giacomo Puccini, Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, Gioacchino Rossini, Niccolò Paganini, Vincenzo Bellini, etc. During the 1970s Italy had one of the biggest and most diverse progressive rock scenes. Italy has a wide power metal and experimental scenes as well. Many famous musicians and artists in various genres are from Italy too: Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Luciano Pavarotti, Adriano Celentano, Eros Ramazzotti, Paolo Conte, Ludovico Einaudi, Laura Pausini, Andrea Bocelli, etc. Also Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone), Joe Satriani, Steve Albini are Italian Americans.
So we prepared a list of 35 famous and influential rock and metal bands which are from Italy - check it out below!
And here's the actual list:
Nibiru are Italian psychedelic/ritual sludge metal band from Turin. They're known for their unique blend of sludgy aggression and ritualistic heavy psychedelia, varying in their levels of improvisation.
Raein are one of the most known screamo bands from Italy. With their excellent musicianship, deep emotional lyrics and almost unrivaled passion from the vocalists band received wide recognition outside the country.
33. Incoming Cerebral Overdrive
Incoming Cerebral Overdrive play their own unique blend of mathcore, atmospheric sludge metal and progressive metal. After releasing 3 studio albums the band is on hold now, and all members except vocalist formed instrumental band Deaf Eyes.
32. Disarmonia Mundi
One of the best known melodic death metal bands from Italy, Disarmonia Mundi were formed in Avigliana in 2000. Since 2004 the band's vocalist is Björn Strid from Swedish band Soilwork.
Italian trio MoRkObOt play their unique mix of psychedelic, experimental, math, noise and space rock. The group consists of 2 bassists and one drummer.
30. Massimo Volume
Massimo Volume are a unique Italian band, formed in 1991 in Bologna. They mix post-rock and noise rock with spoken word lyrics, written by vocalist Emidio Clementi, who eventually published poetry and novels.
Elvenking were formed in Sacile, Italy in 1997. Right from the beginning, Elvenking combine power metal, folk music and extreme sounds in their own mixture.
Aborym are an Italian industrial black metal band from Taranto. They have described their music as "alien-black-hard/industrial."
Canaan are a unique Italian band, formed in 1995 in Milano after the split of the doom metal band Ras Algethi. The band plays its own mix of gothic rock, doom metal, darkwave, dark ambient, etc.
26. Il Teatro degli Orrori
Il Teatro degli Orrori were born in 2005 from the fusion of two other Italian bands: One Dimensional Man and Super Elastic Bubble Plasticis. Il Teatro degli Orrori play a mix of alternative, post-punk and noise rock.
Novembre play atmospheric progressive doom metal with elements of death metal and gothic metal. The band originally started in 1990 as a death metal band called Catacomb, but as their style changed over time, they renamed the band to Novembre, as the former moniker did not represent the band's steadily progressing sound anymore.
24. Marlene Kuntz
Marlene Kuntz, active since 1987, combine alternative rock, noise rock and post-punk with different poetic influences in their lyrics. In 2001, Marlene Kuntz were nominated for Best Italian Act at the 2001 MTV Europe Music Awards.
23. Forgotten Tomb
Forgotten Tomb area black metal band formed in Piacenza in 1999 by Ferdinando "Herr Morbid" Marchisio. The band is well-known for being among the pioneers of the so-called depressive black metal subgenre.
Afterhours are one of the most popular Italian alternative rock bands. The group was founded by lead singer Manuel Agnelli in 1985 in Milano. The band's name was taken from the The Velvet Underground's song.
Graveworm are a melodic/symphonic black metal band with influence of gothic metal. Since their formation in 1992 they gained wide recognitions outside Italy.
Diaframma are one of the most famous new wave/post-punk/gothic rock Italian acts. They reached the status of a cult band because of the charismatic leader Federico Fiumani's statements and lyrics. Notoriously, Federico Fiumani more than once turned down very lucrative major labels' deals in order to preserve his artistic independence and maintain Diaframma's integrity, making him a sort of a hero in the underground Italian scene.
Area, self-proclaimed "Area international POPular group" are experimental avant-prog/jazz-fusion band, formed in 1972. They are considered one of the most respected and important bands of the 1970s Italian progressive rock scene.
Ufomammut are a power trio formed in 1999 in Tortona, Italy. They are worldwide recognized as the creators of their unique brand of psychedelic sludge/stoner metal. The band's name means: "UFO" (abbreviation of U(nidentified) F(lying) O(bject)) + "mammut" (Italian for mammoth).
Subsonica are an electronic rock band, formed in 1996 in Turin. The band gained real success in 2000 by playing the Sanremo Music Festival. In their career, they sold nearly around 400,000 CDs.
16. C.S.I. (Consorzio Suonatori Indipendenti)
Consorzio Suonatori Indipendenti (or C.S.I.) are a project formed in 1992 by the members of two other Italian bands: Litfiba and CCCP Fedeli alla Linea. Led by Giovanni Lindo Ferretti and Gianni Maroccolo, it later evolved into the band PGR.
Formed in Rome in 1997, Zu are a unique trio, made of drums, electric bass, baritone saxophone plus electronics. Although difficult to define, Zu's style fuses many genres and influences: math rock, noise rock, punk jazz, grindcore, free jazz, etc. Zu played a lot of concerts in Europe, America, Asia and Africa and collaborated with many different artists and bands: from Mike Patton, Melvins and Dälek to Peter Brötzmann, The Ex and Ken Vandermark.
14. Le Orme
Le Orme are one of the longest lasting and best known Italian progressive rock bands. They are one of few Italian rock bands to have success outside their own country, having played concerts across North America and Europe, and releasing an album in English at the height of their success (with English lyrics were written by Peter Hammill).
13. Death SS
Death SS are an Italian metal band, that was originally formed in 1977 by Steve Sylvester and Paul Chain. The band combined elements of horror and the occult and heavy metal to become one of the pioneers in black metal, thrash metal and so-called "horror metal." Originally Paul Chain was the main composer in the band, and Sylvester was the lyricist. While Sylvester left in 1982, the band lasted 'til 1984 when they split. Death SS were reformed in 1988 by Sylvester, as Paul Chain detached himself from the evil philosophy of the band, with Sylvester once again being the only constant member since the reformation.
12. Paul Chain
Paul Chain is simply an artist name (the translation into English of his real name, Paolo Catena) that stretches over 4 different bands, none of which exists today since the "artistic death" of Paul Chain in 2003. Paolo Catena continued making experimental and improvisational music under the name Paul Cat (his project is also formerly called P.C. Translate, later shortened to simply Translate). Some of Paul Chain's main incarnations: Paul Chain Violet Theatre (was the original name of all Paul Chain's project until the namechange in 1987; mostly traditional doom metal/heavy metal); Paul Chain (the main project; primarily traditional doom with psychedelic and experimental elements); Paul Chain - The Improvisor (Paul Chain's impovising live act); Paul Chain Experimental Information (most experimental side of Paul Chain).
Litfiba are an Italian rock band formed in Florence in 1980. They evolved from British-influenced new wave band to a more personal rock sound influenced by Mediterranean vibes. The band took its name from the telex code for Via dei Bardi, Florence, where the band rehearsed (Località ITalia FIrenze Via dei BArdi).
Monumentum are an Italian experimental atmospheric rock/doom metal/darkwave band formed in Milan in 1987. One of the band's founding members, Roberto Mammarella, is also a founder of famous metal music label Obscure Plasma Records (subsequently Avantgarde Music).
Sadist are Italian progressive/technical death metal band formed in 1993. Their debut album "Above the Light" acknowledged as one of the most influential death/thrash metal albums ever recorded, but then the band became much more technical and progressive. Their second album "Tribe" (1996) considered one of the most influential technical death metal efforts.
8. CCCP Fedeli Alla Linea
CCCP Fedeli alla Linea were an Italian band formed in 1982. The genre was self-defined by the members themselves as "Musica melodica Emiliana / punk filosovietico" ("Melodic music of Emilia-Romagna / pro-Soviet punk"). Their name, CCCP, is an intentional use of the Cyrillic acronym of "SSSR" (transliterated "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics", abbreviated USSR).
7. Ephel Duath
Ephel Duath were a unique Italian avant-garde/jazz metal band, formed in 1998 in Padova. They have had a constantly changing lineup, with guitarist and songwriter Davide Tiso being the only original member. In December 2014, Davide Tiso announced the end of Ephel Duath.
6. Fleshgod Apocalypse
Fleshgod Apoclaypse were formed in Rome, Italy in 2007. Originally they started as a technical brutal death metal band with symphonic elements, but later they developed their style up to symphonic death metal and later just to extreme symphonic metal.
5. Banco del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso were one of the most prominent Italian progressive rock bands of the 1970s. Their early recordings, particularly "Banco del Mutuo Soccorso" (1972), "Darwin!" (1972), and "Io Sono Nato Libero" (1973) are highly regarded among fans of the genre. In later years, the band pursued a more pop-oriented style, often shortening the name to Banco, and sometimes singing in English rather than Italian. The band's original frontman, Francesco Di Giacomo, tragically died in 2014.
Goblin are is an Italian progressive rock band known for their soundtrack work. They frequently collaborate with Dario Argento, most notably creating soundtracks for "Profondo Rosso" in 1975 and "Suspiria" in 1977. Initially named Cherry Five, their early work spawned one eponymous progressive rock record, and they were then called in to compose the soundtrack for "Profondo Rosso." The band changed their name to Goblin, rewriting most of the score, originally written by Giorgio Gaslini including the famous main theme.
3. Rhapsody / Rhapsody of Fire
Rhapsody of Fire (formerly known as Rhapsody) are an Italian symphonic power metal band, formed in Trieste. The group is widely seen as pioneers of the symphonic power metal subgenre. The band was originally formed as Thundercross in 1993, then changed its name to Rhapsody in 1995; and then, due to trademark issues, changed the name to Rhapsody of Fire. In 2011, after 18 years as co-leader of the band, guitarist Luca Turilli left Rhapsody of Fire to form a new Rhapsody band, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody, along with two other members who left with him, Patrice Guers and Dominique Leurquin. They describe their discography as a parallel continuation of Rhapsody of Fire's discography, and consider that they didn't leave the band, rather that it amicably split in two.
2. Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) are an Italian progressive rock band, formed in 1970. They were the first Italian group to have success abroad, entering both the British and American charts. Between 1973 and 1977 they released five albums with English lyrics (written by Peter Sinfield). They also had several successful European and American tours. PFM introduced new sounds, such as the synthesizer, to the Italian musical world. They were among the first Italian bands to introduce new sounds, such as the synthesizer; as well as one of the first groups to combine symphonic classical and traditional Italian musical influences in a rock music context. Such innovations and their longevity have made them among the most important bands in the international progressive rock genre.
1. Lacuna Coil
Gothic/alternative metal band Lacuna Coil are definitely the most famous Italian band outside of Italy. Since their formation in 1994, the band has had two name changes, being previously known as Sleep of Right and Ethereal. They have toured internationally many times and were nominated for a MTV Music Award.
Know more bands from Italy? Feel free to share them in the comment section below. (And don't forget to check out the list of honorable mentions here.)