Odysseas (Fading Records, 2014)
Italy is experiencing an impressive progressive rock Renaissance, a new golden age, with some of the finest artists in the current international scene. Syndone is one of the gems in the new batch of rock progresivo italiano.
Odysseas, the group’s latest album was released at the end of 2014. Even though you can listen to influences from ELP, Banco, and National Health, Syndone has evolved into a fabulous original band featuring spectacular keyboard work by composer and keyboardist Nik Comoglio and Gigi Rivetti, along with the equally outstanding vibraphone by Marta Caldara. The combination of lots of keyboards (with plenty of distortion), the multifaceted vocals and vibraphone make an exquisite mix.
The current lineup features Riccardo Ruggeri on vocals and acoustic guitar; Martino Malacrida on drums; Maurino Dellacqua on bass, Taurus bass; Marta Caldara on vibraphone, keyboards; Gigi Rivetti on piano, moog synthesizer; and Nik Comoglio on Hammond organ, piano, and other keyboards.
Musically, this is symphonic progressive rock at its best with jazz-rock fusion segments and an occasional incursion into world music (one of the pieces has a strong Middle Eastern flavor). Odysseas is a tribute to Homer’s Odyssey where the concept of travel is seen as the goal of the human being, always tended to look to the future: “the true travel is not to discover new landscapes but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)
Syndone combines exquisite piano and vocal passages with scorching electric organ and fascinating synthesizer melodies. The drum work is also attention-grabbing. There is a good reason for that. One of the guests is masterful drummer Marco Minnemann. The other high profile guest is flutist John Hackett, Steve Hackett’s brother.
Syndone was founded in late 1989 by Nik Comoglio to form an ELP style trio. “We wanted a name that would evoke all together sacredness, Turin, spirituality and scored grooves (like an old vinyl LP) so I thought of Syndone, with the “Y” to distinguish it from the famous relic and make it International at the same time, without being blasphemous. This name in fact immediately evokes Turin in any part of the world… and I liked this!” says Nik. [Sindone is the Italian name for the Shroud of Turin]
After two recordings, “Spleen” (1991) and “Inca” (1993), the group disbanded. Eighteen years later, Syndone returned as a sextet with a new line up. Syndone doesn’t use electric guitar as a choice. All distortion sounds are generated by keyboards.
In 2010 Syndone released a new album titled “Melapesante” (Fading Records), a concept album based on the idea of the apple fruit and its meaning in history.
In 2012 Syndone released the splendid “La Bella è la Bestia” (BTF) in which the band invited the great Ray Thomas, flutist and co-founder of the Moody Blues, as special guest in an audio track on the album.
Odysseas is an immediate classic, a masterpiece that sets the standard for state of the art symphonic progressive rock.