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Sithonia - Confine CD (album) cover

CONFINE

Sithonia

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.93 | 20 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sithonia's finest hour - "Confine" is an absolute success of symphonic prog for the 90s, and it is really a pity that this sextet isn't usually as praised as other fellow ones (who also deserve it). "Confine" is the third studio effort by Sihonia, and as revealed in the live album entitled "Folla de Pssagio", a couple of tracks already existed in full form before the album per se. The album kicks off in the most magnificent way one can imagine: years and years of carefully listening to progressive albums might as well leave you still unprepared for the outburst of musical magic comprised in 'Albi di Spagna'. This lovely piece is not precisely an epic, starting on a Renaissance note with a basis of classical guitar and vocal, then the input of multiple keyboards gradually joining in until the arrival and development of a majestic architecture that brings back the good old days of BMS and PFM. This opener leaves you speechless, perhaps wanting to listen to it 2 or 3 more times before going on with what remains of the album. Once you can get past this lovely shock, 'Sinergie Interattive' shifts to lighter moods - it starts with an emulation of a cartoonish jingle (including weird voices and phone rings), and then the main body alternates psychedelic beat on a 5/4 tempo, Cabaret jazz and some subtle Gentle Giant-ish ingredients. This is symphonic prog for a Fellini movie. By now, the listener's attention is fully guaranteed, so 'Piccole Vele' can lead us to the farther realms of the heart with its patently romantic ambiences elegantly wrapped in a melancholic aura. Despite its short duration, this song manages to incorporate some brief dense ornaments in order to remain reasonably varied within its well defined framework. The instrumental 'Pentolle Sullo Scalfalle' keeps things in this introspective tone: the jazzy vibe provided by the guitar phrases get along well with the utterly symphonic keyboards, never getting to the saturation point. Not only does this album comprise the band's best opening track ever; it also contains their best instrumental. 'Porto d'Inghilterra' is the longest piece in the album - it starts with storm noises, and then the instrumentation warms up in a Gentle Giant-meets-BMS sort of way, and from now on, the varied melodic journey turns out to be an outstanding display of creativity and harmonization. The way in which the serene moments and the dense passages combine and almost fuse together is a trademark of Sithonia at their best, and oh, how well it works here especially. The instrumental '... Un Altro Momento' brings a moment of relaxing solace after the preceding track's colorfulness: the eerie prelude on a duet of classical guitar and piano is followed by a softly joyful rock, somewhat influenced by Genesis and Le Orme. 'Piancandolli' and 'La Cella' perpetuate the romantic aura and delicate sophistication that we had already found in'Piccole Vele', while still providing a healthy dose of the warm, energy displayed in 'Porto d'Inghilterra'. But again, things will get a bit warmer with 'Ultimo a Stare in Porta', whose main riff is quite catchy. The utilization of peculiar vocal arrangements, a happy-go-lucky sax solo and a dissonant organ solo widely reveal the band's intention to toy with their extravagant side, which is particularly celebrated in the climatic impromptu. 'Il Segnale' is a brief voice-piano ballad segued into the instrumental extravaganza entitled 'Alla Corte del Gran Khan' - the latter doesn' even reach the 2 minute mark, but it sure encapsulates a great mixture of Genle Giant, Happy the Man and Banco. Listening to both tracks as a unit is the best experience for the listener. It is the namesake track which is in charge of closing down the album. It starts with an accordion delivery of one motif from 'Sinergie Interattive', and then, things move fluidly according to the band's most bizarre aspect. It would be fair to label the interaction of the musicians as aggressive, but it is not so in a rock fashion, but more like a big circus in which things are almost getting out of control. Halfway through, the track turns into a more typically progressive pomposity, ultimately leading to a brief coda led by eh acoustic guitar. Regardless of the tracks that each individual listener may point out as their favorite ones, this album as a whole is a highlight, a major achievement in the realm of Italian 90s prog. Oh man, Sithonia ruled!, and how!
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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