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Submarine Silence - Journey Through Mine CD (album) cover

JOURNEY THROUGH MINE

Submarine Silence

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.84 | 49 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Italian symphonic group Submarine Silence, whose core line-up is comprised of guitarist David Cremoni and keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Cristiano Roversi of Moongarden, find themselves in an interesting position for their third album, 2017's `Journey Through Mine'. The oddly titled disc combines the two worlds of the previous couple of SS albums, their fully instrumental self-titled debut from seventeen years ago (and a much-loved minor modern symphonic classic it's often considered) and the difficult to love vocal-driven `There's Something Very Strange In Her Little Room' from 2013, by offering a balance of both approaches together, with highly consistent results this time around that often lift to real greatness - vintage prog fans are in for a treat!

Submarine Silence are unashamedly influenced by the early-mid Seventies era of Genesis, but thankfully most of the time they are more a case of `inspired by' as opposed to blatantly recycling themes and motifs of that legendary English group (although little moments still pop up here and there like that, so you might need to be a little forgiving!), and they are similar in approach to international acts like the Agents of Mercy and Willowglass, and Italian groups such as The Watch (or even PFM's `Chocolate KIngs' era) that continue in the classic Genesis style. About half the pieces on `Journey...' have English lyric vocals delivered by a raspy and deeply hoarse new singer in Guillermo Gonzales, but thankfully he never tries to ape Peter Gabriel, if anything he reminds a little of Johan Hansson from the Swedish act Twin Age, another Genesis-like group, and while he will likely still prove divisive with listeners, he's a marked improvement on the singer on the previous disc `Something Very Strange...' that frequently distracted from some colourful musical backings.

Opening instrumental `The Astrographic Temple' is all dizzying synth spirals, whirring Moog sprints, Mellotron-lifted fancy, loopy electronic programming, crisply nimble electric guitar runs and punchy drums (courtesy of Emilio Pizzocoli, returning from the debut), sounding not unlike another modern group Trion. `Black Light Back' is full of pretty and dramatic atmosphere, built around haunting Mellotron choirs, sparkling twelve-string acoustic chimes in unison with weeping ethereal electric guitar strains, and Guillermo delivers a curiously charismatic and charmingly accented vocal (and a lovely highlight is the proper grand piano instead of keyboard emulation in the intro, a difference that is instantly noticeable and should be thoroughly appreciated by listeners!). `Swirling Contour' reminds of numerous 80/90's Neo-Prog bands like Grey Lady Down with its overexcited and energetic vocals, and Genesis-flavoured instrumental `Canova's Gypsoteque' swoons with all the regal organ, aching Steve Hackett-like guitar strains and haunting Mellotron choirs beloved of that band.

The twelve minute title-track `Journey Through Mine' is overloaded with heroic instrumental passages, heavy rumbling bass playing and a theatrically tortured lead vocal, but parts of it could come a little too close to branding Submarine Silence with a dreaded `clone band' tag in the way it borrows similar themes and sounds from Genesis' `Unquiet Slumbers/Quiet Earth/Afterglow' medley off their `Wind and Wuthering' LP - still sounds wonderful and proves very effective though! Gloriously romantic Andy Latimer-esque guitar reaches full of longing burn throughout soloing-heavy instrumental `Five Lands Nightwind' that will be adored by Camel fans, and `Butterflies' is a class act to close on, starting as a delicate piano ballad backing Guillermo's tenderly reflective words and voice as sweet guitar ruminations and inspiring Mellotron choirs raise everything to the heavens in a dreamily hazy finale.

Despite the fact that it doesn't do much in the way of anything new, some vocals can be a little trying and the disc does have a slightly stuffy and boxy production (although it's a welcome antidote to the over-polished lifelessly pristine sound of many modern works), `Journey Through Mine' has an authenticity to its vintage sounds, a warmth in its use of old equipment and an unending pride in the proudly grandiose symphonic prog sounds of old that plenty of vintage prog fans cherish. Submarine Silence are to be commended for stepping up in quality again here, and their latest album, that frequently unveils a very special magic, is highly deserving of more attention.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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