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Windchase - Symphinity CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.18 | 83 ratings

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5 stars Abandoned are the Sebastian Hardie moniker despite the remainder of the two main songwriters from the Windchase album of the year before! Guitarist Mario Millo and keyboard artist Toivo Pilt share the songwriting chores here more equally than on the two SebHardie albums.

The influences on Millo's guitar playing is more diverse than on the first Sebastian Hardie release, Four Moments: I hear more Carlos SANTANA, Steve Morse, and Steve Howe than the Jan Akkerman or Andy Latimer sounds and styles previously dominating his performances (though the older-feeling 4. "Gypsy" [4:47] [8.75/10] could, once again, have come directly off of an early 1970s Focus album). The vocals have an effect creating a Greg Lake/John Wetton sound, though Camel in the rhythm section. I get what other reviewers are saying about the poppier tendencies of the songs credited to Mario Millo--witness the sappy orchestral support on 3. "Glad to Be Alive" (8:06) (8/10). I like the vocals better here, as well, as I can hear more efforts to achieve individual recognition in a Grand Funk Railroad-kind of way.

1. "Forward We Ride" (1:39) a jazz-lounge "classical" piano solo to open the album. Very pretty. (5/5) 2. "Horsemen to Symphinity" (8:33) opens feeling and sounding like something from either a Hatfield and the North album or Gino Vanelli before the electric guitar settles in over a nice, driving slightly-Latin flavored rhythm section. The guitar sounds Andy Latimer-like in the first verse but then becomes more Santana-like as the song goes on--so much emotion packed into that sound, those notes! Truly goosebump-raising! The Greg Lake/John Wetton vocal sound is very strong in this one. The organ play backing Mario's third guitar solo is so Greg Rollie--making the solo sound that much more Santana-ish--though the lull before the finish is more Focus-Jan Akkerman-like! Amazing song! Full marks! A shining example of all that is best with prog music! (20/20)

5. "No Scruples" (6:29) has more of the Camel/Kansas sound with the Lake/Wetton voice at its most aggressive, before it shifts into the frenetic "Sound Chaser" synth solo mode. Surprise that it then shifts into full-on CAMEL Moonmadness. (8.5/10)

6. "Lamb's Fry" (9:39) quickly clicks into a Santana-like groove with the bass and rhythm guitar playing major rolls behind the soloing synth. If anyone's heard 2018's "Strange Valleys" by Californians STARVING DAUGHTERS you know the feel of this funky tune--it's dance infectious--something rare in Prog World. The passionate guitar and keyboard soloing is so second fiddle to the awesome rhythm track. Once again, I am happy for the instrumental nature of this song. The lulling middle section continues to maintain that Santana-like Latin feel as a Chick Corea- like Fender Rhodes solos. Listen to Mario's rhythm work behind! The guy is INTO this! It just makes it that much more infectious. (19/20)

7. "Non Siamo Perfetti" (1:57) a gorgeous, very professional solo classical guitar piece. (5/5)

8. "Flight Call" (4:36) pretty, lushly-scored and polished, this is a true "prog" pop song--similar to what PFM became after it started creating albums in English. (8.75/10)

One thing I like about this album is the greater prominence and variety of keyboard sounds: Toivo Pilt really gets to shine throughout!

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music--really! This is really top notch prog music--no where as imitative as the SebHardie albums.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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