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Höstsonaten - Winterthrough CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.08 | 162 ratings

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4 stars Hostsonaten is a project headed by Fabio Zuffanti, the bass player for one of the best newer Italian symphonic bands at the moment, Finisterre. Winterthrough is Zuffanti's fourth album with the name Hostsonaten and it seems he keeps improving. This time, he paints an idyllic and also a not so perfect picture of winter.

It's been a long time since Finisterre have done anything (they haven't released an album since 2004), so we can clearly assume that Hostsonaten might now be Zuffanti's main project. Zuffanti was already impressive with the 2002 romantic epic Springsong and now he returns with his ode to winter, which is just as gentle as spring, but can also be harsher in some moments.

Hostsonaten, who got the name from an Ingmar Bergman movie (starring Ingrid Bergman), are a pretty typical Italian band, but I mean this in a positive sense, in the sense of Italian symphonic rock from the 70s. The music is extremely melancholic, romantic, fluid and melodic. They have that great Italian feeling for music which sends shivers down your spine. It's true that the sound is pretty much cemented in the 70s and that many tricks are taken from bands like Genesis, Celeste and perhaps even PFM, but I have nothing but positive words for Zuffanti in terms of compositional quality. He created a work which takes you on a magical journey through all the beauty and hardships of winter. I only have a problem with one part which is too much of a carbon copy of Hackett's guitar riff during Banks's solo on Cinema Show. But enough about that, the general impression is good.

Hostsonaten use fairly obvious tricks. We've heard it all before in all the big symphonic bands. There are plenty of vintage keyboards. The gentle segments with the piano and mellotron are particularly noticeable here. They often remind the listener of Celeste. There's also a great deal of organ and synthesizer here, which sometimes breaks up the romantic mood of the album, but it mostly serves to spice up the music. Unlike some previous efforts, there are a few heavier parts here as well, where the guitar has a chance to breathe a bit more freely. There are still plenty of obvious tricks on the twelve-string and acoustic guitar taken from Hackett (even the electric sometimes reminds of Hackett), but I can say with certainty that the album is much more versatile in its guitar segments than ever before. There are also many classic bass and bass pedal parts. I feel that the addition of the woodwinds is a good touch, which gives the album a unique character.

I can say that Hostsonaten continue the beautiful Italian tradition of Mediterranean symphonic music with a melancholic flavour. There's a clear influence of bands like PFM and Celeste, and naturally also of Genesis. The music is arranged in a fairly complex way, but the emphasis is still on the melodic and aesthetic value. Zuffanti created the right winter atmosphere, he managed to put together complex arrangements with music that's highly stylistically perfected. Winterthrough is an album that people who like new symphonic music must hear because it beats anything bands like The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard have done in terms of musicality.

maribor1 | 4/5 |


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