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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Eros & Thanatos

Review by Gary Hill

This is the latest album from the Italian prog act Syndone. They have a couple guests who show up on the disc, too – namely Steve Hackett and Ray Thomas. There is a certain, almost operatic Italian prog sound. While these guys do veer from that, a lot of their stuff lands there. This is quite a solid release with some great musical moments.

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Track by Track Review

This is a weird acapella thing. The vocals do have some processing, but no instrumental accompaniment. It makes me think of Queen in some ways. I will say that it almost feels like the vocals are back-tracked, and they might be.

Area 51
A powerhouse organ heavy prog jam emerges directly after the last piece. The cut evolves from there with some cool jamming. This instrumental has a lot of groove while still landing in prog territory.
Terra che brucia
Intricate picked acoustic guitar starts this. The vocals come in over the top of that. This is mellower and quite ballad-like The guitar part is complex and quite stirring. That holds it for two and a half minutes or so. Then it works out to more rocking, full band stuff. This is great hard rocking prog. It really works to a killer jam as it continues.
Gli spiriti dei campi
Piano and voice open this. Somehow it again reminds me of Queen a bit. This grows out into a pretty amazing piece of music after a time. There are a lot of symphonic elements. It has classical and jazz leanings. It manages to rock like crazy, too. Yet, it still makes its way back down to just piano and voice later.
This high energy and unusual cut has a lot of Italian prog trademarks. There is ELP and some Queen to be heard here, too. There is a lot of jazz in the mix in a lot of ways. This is a unique and diverse piece of music. It’s not my favorite thing here, but it’s one of the most ambitious pieces. The more melodic prog movement mid track works better than some of the rest of it to my ears.
Duro come la morte
Piano and voice opens this and holds it. It’s very much and opera inspired Italian prog styled thing. It’s dramatic and evocative. Around the two minute mark it explodes into a powerhouse full band arrangement that’s smoking hot prog rock. It’s quite a bit like ELP in a lot of ways, but there are other things going on, too. This jam really works through some intriguing shifts and changes, getting quite melodic at times. It drops to classical strings further down the musical road. Then a heavily processed guitar cries with passion as it evolves from there.
Alla sinistra del mio petto
Pretty intricate piano leads this off with the cut working to a rather jazzy piano led arrangement. As vocals join the piano becomes the only instrumentation. It works from there more toward the earlier arrangement. This is very jazzy in a lot of ways. The cut gets more intense and involved before it finishes.
This is a much more rocking thing. It’s quite dramatic and very cool. It’s proggy, but has some almost space rock and jazzy textures, too.
L'urlo nelle ossa
This song features some flute performed by Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues. Italian world music is the order of the early parts of this number. When it first moves out from there around the two minute mark it makes me think of marching band styled music. Other more rocking elements are heard at times, but there is a definitely orchestral band thing for a time. A blast of hard edged prog is heard after the three minute mark. Then it drops to just piano and voice to continue. As it builds out from there it gets almost operatic in some ways. Some seriously powered up prog jamming emerges later.
Bambole (remake)
This is a great pure prog rocking jam. It’s energized and classy. There is a drop back around the two minute mark for a mellower section with piano soloing over the top. The piece has an insistent build up from there exploding into some killer prog as it continues. The jam at the end of this almost makes me think of the band White Witch.
Cielo di fuoco
Steve Hackett appears on this song providing some guitar. Piano starts it. The vocals come in over the top of that. There are no other instruments for more than the first minute. Then it explodes out into a cool mid-tempo prog groove from there. Emotional vocals are laid over the top of that backdrop. A cool, almost bluesy guitar solo emerges at one point. By around the five minute mark the piano takes it to end it. Then there is some silence. After the six minute mark a cello (at least I think it’s a cello – but there is only “orchestration” listed in the credits) rises up and creates a classical melody.
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