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(47:51, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. 67 Ruins 5:59 2. Ahimsa 6:08 3. The Kisser 5:57 4. The Rose 5:57 5. Gregorius 6:34 6. Lost People 4:50 7. A Little Something 5:02 8. Past Is Over 7:24 LINEUP: Daniele Riotti - drums Fulvio Solari - guitars Fabio Vrenna - guitars, keyboards Marco Fabricci - bass with: Chico Schoen - piano, keyboards Ilaria Vrenna - piano
Prolusion. Italian band GIANT THE VINE has a history that goes back to 2014, although it would take the band a few years to stabilize and establish a firm line-up. In 2019 they signed to Italian label Lizard Records, who released their debut album "Music for Empty Places".
Analysis. One of the key characteristics of progressive rock as a genre is that there are more bands active in this field that are difficult to pigeonhole into a specific sub-genre than in the majority of other types of music that revolves around rock as the stylistic core foundation. Giant the Vine is a band that represents this particular approach in a fine and often compelling manner. Instrumental progressive rock are arguably the three main words to use to describe this band. Not because it says a lot about the music itself, but due to the fact that instrumental or not instrumental is a fairly important aspect of a band and an album for many potential listeners. Besides this more generic description, Giant The Vine is a band that one might describe as being eclectic in a compelling and easy to like manner. Featuring numerous style variations and style details yet managing to create music that should also have a fairly broad appeal. Wandering plucked guitar motifs is something of a cornerstone in many of the songs here, as a recurring element rather than a straight up dominant one however. Often used to open a song or set in motion, and this element tends to pop up as a standalone instrument or in a sparse, delicate section in the greater majority of the compositions here. The bread and butter of these creations is a bit different though. Frequently alternating between different types of arrangements, we are often presented with a calmer section, a more vibrant one and often a more majestic, opened up soundscape along the way as well. With quite a plethora of minor variations among all of them. A certain emphasis on psychedelic tinged or -oriented maneuvers appears to be a trademark of the band, at times bordering post-rock landscapes. More majestic sequences with organ or layered keyboards have their place as well, with a few examples of both orchestral textures applied and even sequences with a nod or three in the direction of symphonic progressive rock. harder edged and often darker guitar riffs have their place here too, albeit used more carefully, as does tighter, firm and mainly light toned riff constructions. The trusty, old Mellotron is used with at times a liberal spirit to create and set a distinct mood and atmosphere, while the piano and the electric piano appears here and there to establish a more delicate undercurrent. The songs flow, transition, develop and frequently return to revisit or repeat earlier themes as they were or in minor or major variations. There is often an ebb and flow dynamic present as the compositions mode, develop and transform, although in some instances the differences from one part to the next can be rather subtle.
Conclusion. "Music for Empty Places" is a well made album of it's kind, but to my ears a few of the songs lacks that little extra to manage to become more than just ear candy: Pleasant and pleasing in an almost unobtrusive manner. Other creations makes a stronger impression however. An album for fans of instrumental progressive rock of the kind that is fairly easy to listen to, and that may have a fairly broad potential audience also outside of the boundaries of the progressive rock universe.
Progmessor: December 22nd 2019
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