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Höstsonaten - Summereve CD (album) cover

SUMMEREVE

Höstsonaten

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.94 | 302 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Summereve' - Hostsonaten (9/10)

Much like another well-known Italian artist composed a few centuries earlier, progressive rock act Hostsonaten has taken on writing a soundtrack to each of the seasons, as part of a fairly familiar, yet highly ambitious project of four albums. Capping off this album cycle is the band's 2011 offering, not surprisingly entitled 'Summereve'. An almost entirely instrumental journey, Hostsonaten creates a stunning soundtrack for the warmest of seasons; a beautifully fitting score to the coming months. Although the concept of this album may seem tacky at first glance, the brilliant way Hostsonaten executes it puts 'Summereve' among the freshest sounding symphonic prog rock albums in recent memory.

Best described as a soundtrack, the music on 'Summereve' is best identified with film score music. Some very subtle natural ambiance weaves its way into the background of some of the passages here, giving the listener enough of a auditory cue to imagine their own visual accompaniment here. Thinking of the music in this abstract sense, there are moments here where the music speaks of thunderous summer rain, bright sunrises, gardens in full bloom, and colourful orchards. For such a pastoral ideal, Hostsonaten uses lush harmonies, mellotrons, keyboards, and tastefully performed guitars of all shapes and sizes to bring forth the musical vision. The sound is fairly vintage; sounding like it could have been written and performed at any time over the past three or four decades. The production shows the modernity of 'Summereve' though; every instrument may be heard with beautiful clarity.

Besides a fleeting section of spoken word dialogue (which feels somewhat unnecessary in the overall scope of the album), Hostsonaten decides to make their musical vision clear without any sort of vocal accompaniment. This might tend to alienate the fans of Italian progressive rock who look out for great vocalists in music, but it does work to the music's favour. The soundtrack feel to 'Summereve' allows for the instrumental nature of the work to thrive. Although the symphonic instrumentation of symphonic prog rock has usually amounted to the work of a keyboardist, there are real classical instruments at work here, which only adds to the distinctly organic feel of the music. Instead, synths and mellotrons are only used when the band feels like they would sound best there, which makes Hostsonaten's sound quite a bit more sincere than the run-of-the-mill prog band.

'Summereve' came to my attention only through the widespread acclaim it was receiving across the board, and I have found myself incredibly impressed by this masterpiece. The 'mood music' vibe of 'Summereve' leads one to question whether it will truly become one of the classics of Italian progressive rock over time, but it is clear even from the year of its release that Hostsonaten has released an incredible piece of work with 'Summereve', and closed off what has been a surprisingly successful concept project.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |

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