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coverpic flag Italy - Full Moon 65 - 01/28/02

Finisterre
Storybook
MoonJune Records

I've often heard mentioned that Italy is full of prog rock fans, and that the country also harbours some excellent bands of the genre. Now I've finally heard Italian prog rock, and I can only say that the stories are true.

Storybook is a live recording from Finisterre's first ever concert in the United States, at the Progday Festival in August 1997. The sound is crisp, each instrument comes through crystal clear. The band is fired up, and plays wonderfully throughout the nearly 80 minute long CD. The American audience seems to welcome the fresh, new sounds with enthusiasm, and the music is delivered with effortless skill and an almost childlike playfulness that is seldom heard in prog.

Finisterre has that 70s-ish synth/mellotron vibe going on, with more than a nod to the King Crimson of that era. Guitarist Stefano Marelli even launches into "21st Century Schizoid Man" during the 14-minute "Phaedra", and in the same song the band also quotes In the Court of the Crimson King, complete with full mellotron onslaught. There is also often a slight hint of psychedelia in the music.

Most of the material is instrumental, but there are occasional vocals, all sung in the beautiful Italian language, so I have absolutely no idea what they're about. There are some very lovely themes, often enhanced by the flute of Sergio Grazia and the rich keyboard textures coming from Boris Valle. And then there are some long jams that never become boring or feel meaningless. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm on display here, that's for sure.

For those interested in exciting progressive rock with that classic sound, Finisterre should definitely be given a try, and Storybook is a fine introduction to their music.

Visit Moonjune Records for more information.

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