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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Syndone

Melapesante

Review by Gary Hill

Syndone is an Italian progressive rock band. Those familiar with the sounds of Italian prog will probably have certain expectations to what the group sounds like based on past experience. This is pretty typical of Italian progressive rock. That means it’s often fusion oriented, very interesting and very well performed and composed. It also means the vocals are mostly operatic and in Italian. Fans of the genre will find plenty to like here. It can certainly appeal to those not familiar with the Italian type of progressive rock, too. It’s a great album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Melancholia D'ophelia

A killer synth line opens this up and as the rhythm section joins it takes on a decidedly fusion-like groove. This is dramatic powerful and a bit noisy as the synthesizer plays leads over the top. Then it drops to more pure fusion as they continue. It drops down to a balladic progressive rock movement for the vocals. They take it out into a potent and a bit cinematic progressive rock journey after that. Then the percussion takes over for a short time until the track transitions back to vocal territory.

Allegro Feroce

This is a short and very potent (and rather crazed) instrumental piece. It moves between pure progressive rock and fusion and is a real powerhouse.

Melapesante

Dramatic and rather theatrical, this is another cool progressive rock tune. Most of the fusion has been wiped clean from this creation and it’s much slower and less dynamic than some of the other music. Still, it has enough twists and turns and works out into something akin to a cross between folk prog and Traffic at one point.

Magritte

The majority of this song is balladic and mellow and very pretty, but there’s a powered up bridge that’s poignant and strong. The vocals lean towards operatic, and I’m not a big fan of that, but somehow it works here.

Giardino Delle Esperidi

Starting with piano and spoken vocals, this builds out from there in fairly mellow, but less so than the opening movement, sounds that combine fusion with progressive rock and classical.. It’s very dramatic and rather sad. Around the three minute mark it spirals upward into something that borders on chaotic. It’s noisy, but also quite cool. They take it out to more pure jazz territory from there.

Malo In Adversity

Classical music and jazz are combined here as the piano drives the proceedings at first. This piece is certainly well within the realm of RIO, and could be considered chamber rock, too. At least that applies to the extended introduction. It drops to a very mellow balladic motif for the vocals, and again wanders close to an operatic ballad. It grows upward, but still maintains an operatic, theatrical approach. Eventually it drops way down again. As the piano and voice bring it out from there it feels quite a bit like Queen. This segues straight into the next piece.

Mela Pensante

They bring in a jazz meets progressive rock instrumental movement. As the vocals enter there’s almost a musical theater approach. That operatic element is still present. They give us a fusion instrumental movement and then take it out to some serious operatic vocals accompanied by some great retro jazz meets progressive rock music.

Mela Di Tell

Keyboards dominate the early sections of this and it’s a dramatic and more traditional progressive rock tune. There’s a smoking hot instrumental section later that’s a bit like a proggy take on the bluesy side of Led Zeppelin. It works back to the main segment. A movement later calls to mind Spock’s Beard a bit. Then they take it out into a killer fusion meets prog jam that has hints of Genesis and other bands. They turn in a rocking jam later that has hints of Kansas. That section closes the number in style.

Dentro L'inconscio

Here’s another song that has echoes of Queen. There’s a lot of musical theater and opera built into this mellow ballad, too. At around the two minute mark, though, it powers out into a movement that feels a bit like early Genesis. From there it moves out into a pretty and melodic progressive rock movement. There’s a classically tinged piano-dominated movement later that serves, with some vocals, to end the piece.

4 Hands Piano Boogieprog

This rises with a classically tinged jam. Then it transitions to something different with more of a fusion flavor. Then they take it out (as the title suggests) into a smoking hot bluesy jazzy boogie. This really calls to mind Emerson Lake and Palmer a lot. It’s a short instrumental.

 
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