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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Syndone - Odysseas

Now for me, since last year, I have been getting a huge enjoyment of the Fading Records label in which it is a part of the AltrOck family. From bands like; La Coscienza Di Zeno, Not a Good Sign, and Ske to name a few in which they are bringing the sound of RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) for a complete resurrection to show that it has light and power in the flaming torches. And one of the bands that completely blew me away this year this spring, is a group called Syndone.

I first became aware of Syndone last year when I first heard their concept album, La Bella e la Bestia (The Beauty is the Beast) which featured Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues and they had a huge amount of the ‘70s sound of symphonic and jazz rolled up into one and can they take it into different boundaries. That and their new album, Odysseas, is a magical and breathtaking album. Syndone has been around since 1990 with various line-up changes and carrying the Prog sound is tough, but they have pulled through with this one. The line-up considers Nik Comoglio on keyboards, Francesco Pinetti  on vibraphone, and Riccardo Ruggeri on lead vocals.

And special guests John Hackett (Steve’s brother) on Flute and The Avengers/Steven Wilson’s mastermind on the drums, Marco Minnemann. The album begins with Invocazione Alla Musa. It has an alarming keyboard introduction before the catchy and fast vibraphone beats come onto full play along with some working bass lines and not forgetting the Hammond and moog in there while the signatures changes key in the time they hit the right note. Riccardo Ruggeri, has an amazing voice and at times is gentle and soothing. 

And at times, with his voice, you almost couldn’t turn the album off, because it is beautiful and powerful on the way he sings. Classical and Flamenco touches with Il Tempo Che Non Ho and the reprise Vento Avverso ,classical guitar with an Egyptian sound for an intro turned into a transformation with the ominous concerto piano in the style of Procol Harum’s In Held ‘Twas in I on Penelope, sees Syndone going into an emotional background. And it just hits your heart really well and the usage of the strings on the two pieces just captures the story between Odysseus and his faithful wife as he goes on this journey to reach the Ithaca for ten years and the music itself shows how he has to fight to survive and the danger he encounters between Cyclops, the six-headed Scylla, and the whirlpool Charybdis.

Poseidon and Circe, gives Nik Comoglio an excellent exercise and a chance to go free on his keyboards or “Nikeyboards” for short. He is going through the styles of Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Norman Haines, and Jurgen Fritz. Nik is spellbinding and almost like a conductor as he gives Pinetti the chance on when he comes in at the exact moment in the right measure and at the right note.  And he takes the Hammond organ, Piano for another spell-binding adventure with a fuzztone sound, thanks to the strings and the mellowing touches with a harder edge on Eros & Thanatos while the homage to Kerry Minnear from Gentle Giant comes in handy with Eaeyoepia on the vibraphone that is almost straight out of the Three Friends-era.

But the closer, Daimones, is where everyone is coming together. Features a lot of the symphonic structures and a nice homage to Genesis and ELP, the increasing summit on the lyrics shows that there is a new beginning  by spreading your wings and save you from the abyss as the crescendo from the instruments is a full knockout for the curtain to drop with a lukewarm applause.

I have listened to Odysseas about nine times already and this may well be one of the finest progressive rock albums to come out this year. Syndone have truly embarked on storytelling throughout their music and I can’t wait to hear what they might do next in the future and this is one of the most highly recommended albums to come out for 2014.

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