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Syndone - Eros & Thanatos CD (album) cover

EROS & THANATOS

Syndone

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.84 | 63 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Italian symphonic band Syndone have been steadily improving since emerging at the start of the Nineties, beginning to hit their stride with `Melapasante' six years ago and offering a number of superb works since then. Initially a solo alias name for keyboardist Nik Comoglio, the group stepped up in a big way and had their profile amongst the progressive rock community raised with the deliciously lavish `Odysseas' in 2014, and one of the most addictive and best Italian discs of that year it was too. Since then the project has expanded with several more musicians being implemented who have all delivered an equally fine work with 2016's `Eros and Thanatos'. Taking its name from the personifications of love and death in ancient Greek mythology, it contains all the fanciful orchestration, booming keyboard-domination and Queen-like operatic vocals of the previous few albums that fans should adore, and it even boasts guest contributions from former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Roy Thomas of the Moody Blues!

After a brief distorted vocal a-cappella introduction, `Area 51' launches straight into the furious E.L.P/Le Orme-flavoured keyboard heavy instrumental pomp the band is known for, full of quirky whirring synth soloing, heavy drumming, groovy jazz- fusion flecked guitar smouldering and murmuring bass all delivering maddening spiralling themes. `Terra che Brucia' begins as a delicate classical guitar and creaky Mellotron ballad behind Riccardo Ruggeri's Freddie Mercury-esque croon that culminates in a heavy booming organ, twitching keyboard and sweeping orchestration finale. `Gli Spiriti dei Campi' is a rapturous piano-led jazzy ballad that surprisingly reminds of Zeuhl-originators Magma (yes, really!) with lengthy improvised breaks, the schizophrenic `Qinah' is a delirious outburst of heavy soloing and histrionic vocals, and there's melancholic fuzzy guitar soloing over strings in the finale of `Duro Come La Morte'.

Both `Alla Sinistra Del Mio Petto' and `Fahra' are welcome shorter breaks, the first a delicate piano, vocal and bass interlude, the latter peppered with Mediterranean and ethnic flavours grafted to ravishing acoustic guitars and brooding group vocals. `L'Urlo Nelle Ossa' is a beautifully sung swooning acoustic ballad full of warmth that rises impeccably in drama with climbing orchestration and Roy Thomas' subtle flute, the piece eventually revealing a soft gothic quality. `Bambole' (a remake of an earlier Syndone piece from their 1993 album `Inca') jumps around from bombastic rock, symphonic majesty and jazz-fusion dreaminess, and listen for Riccardo taking on a shredding Osanna-like vocal power in the finale! Steve Hackett then delivers a masterclass guitar solo that weaves throughout the warm Hammond organ and sobering cello of thoughtful and grandiose album closer `Cielo Di Fuoco'.

Although more-or-less vinyl-length, the album perhaps still feels just a little too long at fifty-two minutes with a couple of tracks following a similar pattern - ballad opening, heavy outbursts, extended instrumental passage, etc - but the vibrant mix of rich orchestration, vocal exquisiteness and a dazzling variety of proggy instrumental colour makes `Eros and Thanatos' one of the Italian prog highlights of the year, and another inspired effort from Syndone that again shows this wonderful group in superb form.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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