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(63:34, Altrock/Fading Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Invocazione Alla Musa 3:11 2. Il Tempo Che Non Ho 5:33 3. Focus 4:24 4. Penelope 4:44 5. Circe 2:31 6. Ade 5:01 7. Poseidon 2:21 8. Nemesis 5:10 9. La Grande Bouffe 4:52 10. Eros & Thanatos 2:04 11. Vento Avverso 3:43 12. Freedom 1:47 13. Daimones 4:54 LINEUP: Nik Comoglio – keyboards Riccardo Ruggeri – vocals Francesco Pinetti – vibraphone With: Federico Marchesano – bass Pino Russo – ac. guitar, oud Marco Minneman – drums John Hackett – flute Elena Favilla – viola Beppe Tripodi – violin Umberto Clerici – cello Claudia Ravetto – cello Sara Marisa Chessa – harp Marco Braito – trumpet Marco Pierobon – trumpet Gianluca Scipioni – trombone Nilo Caracristi – French horn Stefano Ammannati – tuba Paolo Porta – saxophone Luca Biggio – saxophone Gianni Vironi – saxophone &: Labirinto String Orchestra
Prolusion. The Italian project SYNDONE was formed by composer and keyboardist Nik Comoglio back in the late ’80s, but following two initial albums in the early ’90s this project took an extended hiatus. A few years back the project revived however, and from 2010 and onwards three more full-length albums have seen the light of day. "Odysseas" is the most recent of these, released by the Italian label Altrock's Fading imprint in early 2014.
Analysis. Back in the days when I listened exclusively to various forms of metal, many bands chose to market their albums with a guarantee that no keyboards had been used in the creation of their albums. Syndone has added a guarantee of a similar variety on their latest production: that no electric guitars have been used on this disc, alongside the advice to play this CD aloud. A charming detail in the facts department, but one that is also needed. There are plenty of presumably keyboards delivered details at hand that sound like they might have been produced by an electric guitar. Once you finish reading the credits section of this CD, which is an extensive one, you'll know that you're in for something a bit out of the ordinary on this occasion. Perhaps not quite as much as one might expect, but Syndone as of 2014 comes across as an ambitious creative unit that strives to include a fair amount of different sounding musical details to their journey. The latter word is used intentionally, as the topic of choice concerns a certain ancient legacy from the realms of literature, where a journey is indeed a key element in the story. Extensive use of keyboards, organ and piano obviously gives this production a symphonic sheen, as far as overall general style goes symphonic progressive rock is the name of this particular game. The vibraphone is liberally applied throughout, as are real string instruments and saxophones, adding a strong emphasis on the classical music-inspired part of symphonic progressive rock throughout. Powerful, emotional vocals of the kind you'll find just about only in Italy, is a distinct presence, too. Ruggeri is a strong vocalist with a characteristic and likable voice, and he employs his talent to good effect here. With liberal amounts of more or less subtle jazz-tinged and folk music-inspired details thrown into the mix as well, alongside extensive use of what I'd describe as vintage-sounding keyboard details, this adds up to an elegant, enthralling but also demanding production. The songs range from delicate, atmospheric vibraphone and percussion interludes to powerful, surging affairs with a majestic impression of the kind that makes it at times difficult to reflect upon the aforementioned description of no electric guitars used. As this production unfolds this slight detail becomes even more intriguing, in a good way.
Conclusion. Quirky, sophisticated symphonic progressive rock with a strong and characteristic vintage sound is what Syndone had created on their fifth studio album "Odysseas". With a liberal amount of high-quality guest musicians, this album should be an enjoyable affair for just about anyone with an affection for the more demanding variety of this type of progressive rock, and in particular for those who have a soft spot for Italian-language lead vocals.
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