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Syndone - 2012 - "La Bella e la Bestia"

(46:12, BTF Records)


1.  Introitis 3:12
2.  Il Fiele E Il Limite 4:49
3.  Rosa Recisa 4:57
4.  Complice Carnefice 6:08
5.  Piano Prog Impromptu 1:23
6.  Tu Non Sei Qui 4:23
7.  Orribile Mia Forma 3:53
8.  Mercanti Di Gioia 4:13
9.  Bestia! 3:56
10. Ora Respira 4:38
11. La Ruota Della Fortuna 3:37
12. Canto Della Rossa 1:03

Nik Comoglio  keyboards 
Riccardo Ruggeri  vocals 
Francesco Pinetti  mallets; glockenspiel
Greg Walsh  flute 

Prolusion. The Italian project SYNDONE is the creative vehicle of composer and keyboardist Nik Comoglio, initially a short lived venture in the early 90's that led to the release of two albums before it was terminated. But in 2010 Comoglio revived this project formally with the release of "Melapesante", and two years later the fourth full length production issued under the Syndone moniker appeared in the shape of "La bella e la Bestia", released on the Italian AMS/BTF label.

Analysis. Earlier today I had a run through the new album by Notturno Concertante, an experienced Italian unit that had released a production somewhat atypical of Italian progressive rock: A smooth, melodic and distinctly harmonic production, an album that shies away from just about any form of dramatic effect. Contrasting this creation quite nicely is the latest album by Syndone, a disc that features many traits music fans tend to associate with Italian art rock bands. Symphonic progressive art rock is the style explored, and a fairly innovative and quirky one at that. The piano has the central role throughout as a key element in most proceedings, supplying wandering and mostly harmonic textures with occasional lapses into jazz or classically oriented sequences where the tangents tend to become subtly more experimental in expression, occasionally utilizing somewhat unexpected tonal ranges. Supplementing the piano is a wide variety of keyboards and digital strings. The organ is used extensively for themes with more of a majestic expression; emulated violin and cello add a classical symphonic touch on other occasions, while the flute parts, originally designated to Ray Thomas, from what I understand, add a certain folk-oriented details to the proceedings. The majority of compositions incorporate sequences that cover several stylistic orientations. The heart and soul of this album is symphonic art rock, but always with room for a subtly jazz-tinged escapade and often for passages with more of a classical symphonic character to them as well. And even when staying put within the symphonic art rock realm, variations in pace and intensity is the rule rather than the exception for each individual piece. That quite a few of the 12 chapters of this conceptual production also find room for instrumental details of a subtly atonal, dissonant or disharmonic nature emphasizes the perception of this album meriting a description as fairly innovative and sophisticated. Those fond of dramatic details will find quite a lot to suit their tastes too, and if not always in the instrumental department, the vocals of Ruggeri caters for that aspect of the music quite nicely. He covers five different roles on this thematic excursion, and handles all of them with a keen sense of theatrical drama and certain flair to boot. This all adds up to a fine production of a fairly challenging nature. Not quite as impressive as their former CD in my personal opinion, but a fine specimen of its kind that has been well planned and executed.

Conclusion. If you tend to like Italian progressive rock, and in particular if you have a soft spot for artists exploring material of a fairly challenging nature within a symphonic art rock framework, then Syndone is a band worth taking a closer look at, especially if you find the inclusion of jazz and classical symphonic oriented passages to be regarded as a positive feature.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 15, 2012
The Rating Room

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