Finisterre, "Storybook" (Moonjune Records) Finsterre were one of the most well-respected Italian bands to come along in the 90's, especially in the wake of their now-classic album In Limine. The group's subsequent followup, 1999's In Ogni Luogo, was met with more mixed reviews (I haven't personally heard it, so I'll reserve judgement), but I can't imagine any fan of Italian progressive rock to be disappointed with this release. The compositions absolutely drip with the uniquely Italian elegance found in the music of Alusa Fallax, Locanda Delle Fate, Maxophone, etc. The instrumentation is also very much in keeping with the pastoral side of Italian prog - a keyboardist, guitarist, bassist (who also sings), a dedicated flautist, and a drummer. All the song lengths are nicely epic, and none seem to show signs of overextended composition. Though the band are very pastoral, they vary the mood quite a bit without ever getting out of character. For example, the second track, the epic "Oriazonte Degli Eventi" starts with a delicate Le Orme-esque flute melody and slowly builds into a majestic rock-out section reminiscent of the fast, intense moments of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso where Francesco Di Giacomo is absolutely screaming his lungs out (not mention the Alusa Fallax-like keyboard and flute lines that serve as a transition). However, I'm almost hesitant to do such name- ropping, because Finisterre clearly don't rip off any of these groups. Other highlights include the fast, jubilant flute work of "In Limine," the building ostinatos and soaring guitar of "Macinaaqua, Macinaluna," and the initially intense (and wholly Tangerine Dream-unrelated) "Phaedra," which also should be noted for the strangely fitting speed-metal guitarwork at the beginning and the humourous use of some extremely familiar musical qu! otes to introduce the musicians. Oh, I should mention that this is a live recording from Progday 97, and the sound quality is very listenable (and really pretty good) and there are hardly any noticeable flubs from the band. Finisterre haven't completely redefined Italian progressive rock, but they represent a near-perfection for their particular interpretation of the style. With so many Italian groups from the 70's making one or two mind-blowing recordings and then disappearing, there were a lot of new sounds without a chance for a large scene to truly develop them. Finisterre are one of the groups that truly represent a new refinement and perfection of those classics. ~Jon~, EER-MUSIC.com
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