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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Syn

Armistice Day

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is composed of two new tracks from the Syn along with acoustic versions (recorded live at XM Studios) of some of their earlier tracks. In my estimation this is the strongest disc from the band to date. Steve Nardelli’s vocals are stronger here than on the previous releases and the band just rocks out in style. Keep in mind when you are talking about acoustic versions there’s only so much you can say about it, but each of these have their own identity and are quite strong. I like this album a lot.

Track by Track Review
Armistice Day
The build up that starts this off really feels a lot like Yes. When they drop into the song proper, though, this has a more 1960’s rock feeling to it. Nardelli’s vocals here are among the best I’ve ever heard from him. They create a cool progressive rock meets psychedelic exuberance texture for the chorus. There’s also a cool soaring bridge on this. There’s also a killer keyboard dominated movement and a tasty guitar solo coming out from there. This is really a great blending of 1960’s positive psychedelia and modern progressive rock.

Silent Revolution
Right off the bat this is a mellower piece of music. It comes in with a balladic approach. Acoustic guitar and keyboards are merged in the introduction, dancing around one another. They drop it back to a stripped down version of itself. This track builds very organically. It never really wanders far, but gets quite powerful at times. There is a jazzy sort of take on the musical themes for a while. Then it drops back down to the opening musical themes. From there they move out into an instrumental journey based on this concept. There is a tasty acoustic guitar solo. Eventually this takes us back to the song proper and we’re back through the same basic patterns as those that got us to this point. This is another exceptional vocal performance from Nardelli.
Cathedral Of Love
This is the first of the acoustic renditions of Syn songs. The track has a very powerful feeling to it, despite the stripped down texture. This is such an incredible piece of music. The dramatic and intricate introduction still works very well. They drop it way down for the verse. As this is built up later the piano really does a lot to make this number work as well as it does. The frantic jam later in the track seems less like Yes (as it does on the studio rendition), but rather feels kind of jazzy. That’s at least in part due to the acoustic guitar solo. There is still a great soaring texture to some of the later movements. One section of the track still has a lot of Yes in it, though – the bridge that comes around the six minute mark.
21st Century
Feeling like folk rock meets progressive, this is a strong track. It’s very powerful, both in terms of its performance and its lyrical content. There are some interesting musical excursions here, most notably the piano dominated instrumental movement.

Golden Age
Much of this acoustic rendition feels to me like a proggy version of Free. There are definitely segments that move into more traditional progressive rock texture, but I really hear the Free thing through a lot of the song. It’s another smoking rendition. It’s fast paced and quite cool. There’s definitely a healthy dose of that 1960’s psychedelia on this, too.

Some Time, Some Way
A dramatic motif makes up the early segments of this track. There is a powerful instrumental movement later in the track. In some ways this is more dramatic than the other tracks here and yet it’s not as wide reaching as some of the other music. They slow it way down to end it.

Reach Outro
This is essentially an extension of the track that preceded it. It builds slowly with progressive rock wonderment. It serves as what the title says it is, an outro for the song that came before.

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