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Syndone - Odyssťas CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 139 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Five albums in almost twenty years isn't exactly moving at a fast rate, but it's a true sign of an artist slowly honing and perfecting their craft, not feeling the need to simply put out new product annually. Judging by the very impressive efforts on the latest Syndone album `Odyssťas', the slower work-rate has paid off beautifully. Despite a back catalogue of somewhat inconsistent yet promising previous works, the Syndone project, a trio comprised of vocalist Riccardo Ruggeri, keyboardist Nik Comoglio and vibraphone player Francesco Pinetti (not the usual prog trio set-up, eh?) finally delivers a truly memorable, thrilling album, their most defining release to date, and it's another triumph that keeps up the tradition of high quality recent RPI works.

An exclamation on the beautiful Mini LP CD sleeve proudly proclaims `No electric guitars!', and this will no doubt be familiar to fans of the early Queen albums, where Freddie and the boys would boast of `No synthesizers'! In that similarity lies a clue to a big influence to parts of this album, as frontman Riccardo Ruggeri has a definite theatrical purr very much modeled on the amazing Mr Mercury. He swoons, he woops, he croons...truly seductive, ravishing and full of that typically passionate delivery associated with endless classic RPI works. The rest of the main band is supported by guests playing flute (John `brother of Steve' Hackett), acoustic guitar (sublime work from Pino Russo) and Marco Minnemann's up-front drums, with Federico Marchesano's bass a constant highlight throughout, as well as some grand orchestration.

Just listen to how exquisitely Riccardo sings the classical guitar and piano ballad `Il Tempo Che Ne Ho', one of the most sweetly romantic and deeply moving pieces I've heard on an album, Italian prog or otherwise, all year. Riccardo perfectly controls his voice for maximum emotion, and it's an instant classic. The sweeping orchestration made me instantly think of Il Rovescio della Medaglia's `Contaminazione', and it has an impossibly dramatic climax. One of the must stunning tracks in all of 2014.

Elsewhere on the disc you get ripping vibraphone loaded jazz/fusion instrumental runs like the opener `Invocazione Alla Musa' (bristling with cool Hammond), `Circe' (lovely spiraling piano and frantic drumming) and `Eayoepia', all very much in the manner of 70's Pierre Moerlin's Gong albums. `Poseidon' and `Eros and Thanatos' are bombastic E.L.P/Triumvirat Hammond organ driven bombastic workouts, and `Focus' is a horn-led hard rocker with screeching, dangerous wild vocals. `Penelope' is a lonely late-night piano reflection with a sorrowful vocal but moments of real prettiness, and it's very much in the manner of an early Queen solo Freddie piece such as `You Take My Breath Away'. There's full-on vintage flavoured symphonic prog workouts like `Ade' and `Nemesis', and all these different styles come together in the finale `Daimones', a triumphant theme with lovely shimmering electric piano and positive Genesis-styled synth themes.

Highly recommended for fans of Seventies Queen and the most over-the-top classical and theatrical inspired Italian prog works, it will be exciting to see just how Syndone attempt to top this new personal standard on their next release. It's also very refreshing to hear an album not resort to dark and gloom, instead favouring plenty of life, energy and joy, and the band are full of inspiration and passion, Riccardo soaring high with the best vocals to appear on an Italian prog album all year. These factors help make `Odyssťas' one of the most varied, lavish and tasty RPI releases of 2014!

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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