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Rivendel - Sisyfos CD (album) cover

SISYFOS

Rivendel

 

Neo-Prog

3.71 | 65 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars On the strength of their latest instrumental album, 2018's `Sisyfos', and actually their fourth work since forming in the mid-Eighties, it might be a bit of a struggle to not instantly dismiss Spanish act Rivendel as being a mere King Crimson clone. Absolutely Robert Fripp's legendary eclectic prog group is a massive influence on this concept album about the Greek myth, with the album overloaded with endless scratchy Mellotron, tortured sustained guitar wailing and rattling percussion, but admittedly the band occasionally take things further by incorporating elements of spacerock, Seventies horror movie soundtracks and even little hints of the earlier `krautrock' period of Tangerine Dream before the programming took over.

Opener `Charon Crossing the Styx' gradually unfolds over twelve minutes, a dreamy and mysterious spacerocker that also holds a definite lurking sense of unease. Mellow guitar ruminations and placid icy synths slowly come to life with rambunctious drum thrashing, and the heavily improvised piece might not have sounded out of place on an Oresund Space Collective album. `Sisyphus & Merope I' is a sedate chiming guitar shimmer of delicate reflection that could almost have popped up on an Italian giallo soundtrack when its ghostly Mellotron choir starts to rise. The playful `The Istmian Games' could almost be retitled `The Indoor Games' in the way it captures the same loopy mindset of King Crimson's `Lizard' album from 1970 with its devilish keyboard mischievousness and Frippian guitar grinding, and `Sisyphus & Merope II' is a further reprise of the first shorter spectral interlude.

For `Greek Salad', think of the wild old Crimson improvisations - all slithering bass murmurs, clanging percussion crashes, heavy staccato piano stabs, lurching guitar grooves with occasional buzzsaw-like eruptions and monolithic horn-like Mellotron blasts. The lulling `Sisyphus in Styx' holds unhurried ambient synth/organ builds and clouds of serene Mellotron caresses ala early Tangerine Dream before serrated guitars and chilly 'Tron shards start to infiltrate, and the blistering `The Anger of Zeus' is feral and violent. Best of all is the closer `Sisyphus and the Rock', loaded with eerie percussion tinkering, psychedelic spacy electronics, a filthier stoner rock snarl to the guitars and a stalking imposing heaviness constantly stomping down as if wandering off from a Goblin soundtrack.

Perhaps there's not a lot of depth to `Sisyfos', and some stretches prove to be a little unengaging, but its gloriously dirty surface noise and heavy atmosphere is still very addictive, and the sparse production gives the album a satisfying grit. There might not be much in the way of originality, but if you're happy to hear an album that picks up where King Crimson leaves off and you simply don't mind a disc that's often a case of just `more of the same', `Sisyfos' has plenty going for it.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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