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TRACK LIST: 1. Aqua 2:58 2. Asia 5:04 3. Macinaaqua Macinaluna 8:55 4. Dal Caos 4:00 5. SYN 15:00 6. Isis 7:42 7. Cantoantico 12:15 8. Phaedra 7:03 All music: by Valle. All arrangements: by Finisterre. All lyrics: by Finisterre, except 3: D. Laricchia. LINE-UP: Boris Valle - piano & synthesizers Stefano Marelli - acoustic & electric guitars; vocals Sergio Grazia - flute; electric guitar; backing vocals Fabio Zuffanti - electric basses; vocals Marco Cavani - drums & percussion Produced by Finisterre. Engineered by O. Giordano at "Musical Box", Genoa.
Prolusion. The review of the debut eponymous album of the Italian band Finisterre is another excursion to the more or less recent past of our beloved genre. Of course, it is above all destined to those who joined a camp of Prog lovers not long ago.
Synopsis. The first Finisterre album includes the three songs: Macinaaqua Macinaluna, Isis, and Cantoantico (3, 6, & 7) and the five instrumental pieces: Aqua, Asia, Dal Caos, SYN, and Phaedra (1, 2, 4, 5, & 8). The short opening instrumental Aqua, consisting only of symphonic passages of piano and synthesizer, can hardly be perceived as a separate track. Rather, this is an intro to Asia, especially since there is no pause between them. One may wonder seeing that the first two tracks here are titled just like Asia's well-known albums. Most likely, this is a coincidence, as there is nothing in common between the music of Finisterre and that of the said supergroup. Apart from a flute, Asia doesn't feature acoustic instruments and is probably the most dense and intensive composition here. Presenting a classic, yet, definitely original Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal, this piece as if forestalls the prevailing stylistics of the album. With the exception of Dal Caos representing Classic Symphonic Progressive in pure form, all the other tracks are about Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Classical Music and some of those of Prog-Metal and Folk Rock. All of them are richer in the parts of acoustic instruments (piano, acoustic, classical and Spanish guitars, and still the same flute) than the album's opener. What's interesting is there are a lot of accordion solos on Macinaaqua Macinaluna and the 15-minute epic SYN, and those of saxophone are clearly heard on another track, but none of the said instruments is credited in the CD booklet. The Classical Music-related parts are provided usually by the piano passages performed mostly out of the context of the band's joint arrangements and are widespread on all the long tracks. There generally aren't that many repetitions on the album. In other words, most of the arrangements here develop almost constantly, and the music is very diverse and complex. However, the stylistic cohesiveness of the album provides the more or less quick comprehension of it. The vocals (lyrics in Italian) are also original, even though they're done in a theatrically dramatic way typical for such singers as Peter Gabriel or Christian Decamps.
Conclusion. In my honest opinion, "Finisterre" is assuredly one of the ten strongest and most impressive debut albums released within the framework of the Italian Progressive in the 1990s. Almost ten years have passed since its release, but the album still sounds fresh and remains very listenable. This gem will adorn a collection of any lover of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock.
VM: January 21, 2004
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