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Synful Ira - Between Hope and Fear
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Monday, 09 July 2012
Synful Ira - CD Review
Between Hope and Fear
Synful Ira - Between Hope and Fear


CD Info

Logic(IL)Logic Records

12 Tracks

English Lyrics


Metal has had a pretty good run now since the days I listened to Hound Dog on the radio, way back when American music had meaning. In this country it’s seeing less interest, we get the Beiber, we get the rap, but then, maybe these are symptoms of other problems. Irrelevancy seems to be the order of the day. So, you have to look elsewhere to get the best in metal. But, it’s out there, and in many respects, it’s better than ever. You have to look to Europe, East and West, you have to look to South America, you have to look to Asia, but, it’s out there, and better than it ever was. Well, Italy seems to be a hot spot these days. Hell, even bands like Ashes You Leave are using Italian vocalists, as are others. Well, Synful Ira is breaking new ground in a number of respects. This is metal to get excited about. This is music that takes us in new directions, and they do it with a solid metal sound, complete with that requisite symphonic background and the metal components that we’ve come to expect. But, its more than that, it’s a story, a story complete with all the elements, hope, love, betrayal, sex, remorse. . . .damn, it’s almost Biblical. And, it’s done in a Gothic style, we go in that dark direction that serves to define the genre, we look into the Abyss, we reveal what takes us to the eternal darkness, where hope has no relevancy, where pain defines our reality, where the eternal serves to confine our limited understanding of life. Ahh, and it’s good music, in case I forgot that part.

Well, the band began as a project by guitarists, and significant others, Fabio and Laura Balducci. Originally, it was a cover band for Evanescence and Nightwish. But, as they added musicians they realized they had more to offer. Vocalist Letizia Chiozzi made it clear there was music beyond the typical cover here, and the band went to work putting together original material. There was a short EP type thing to begin with, and then this release became a focus. And, it’s a significant effort, you pretty much get it all here, all the components we look for in our Gothic music style, this is music that tells us a story, tells it with a symphonic metal delivery system and does it with style. There’s a bit of overlap between musical styles, the band uses terms like gothic, power, prog, electronic, industrial, and pop to describe their approach to things. Well, OK, no need to argue about that, but I’m not sure I see all of that. What they do say that makes sense is ". . but the different genres adjust to the theme of the song and they can even change within the same song. The music in this album is conceived as a soundtrack for the hypothetical film of this story." Now I’m not so out of touch with reality as to not recognize that story telling is often found in contemporary music, including many releases covered on this site. Clearly, sounds like delusion squared have provided stories of incredible breath and sophistication combined with solid music for our expanded listening enjoyment. But this one is a little different, that link to a "film" approach is somewhat novel. In fact, what we get here is a relatively in tack script, complete with interactions and observations that are linked to the specific characters in that script. The label provided me with some in depth discussion of how each track contributed to this storyline. I don’t know if that’s going to be on the actual CD should you choose to purchase the product. So, I can’t comment there. What I can say, without reservation, however, is that the musical delivery system is sufficiently strong that if all you care about is that part you will surely get your money’s worth.

I guess it’s kinda necessary to cover the story here, at least at some level. Then we can discuss the music which is equally outstanding. But, here’s the story, short version, as seen through the mystical eyes of the Doctor, as he works his way through another bottle of the Russian medicine. There appear to be four voices, four characters of some level of reality. There is the protagonist, there is the voice of conscious, there is the voice of the protagonist’s inner fear and there is the voice of the "new love". Oh, and there are some choral works which represent the voices of the main character’s loved ones. Got all that? Well, it appears that the main character goes through a bit of a downer thing, he, or is it she, gets dumped. Bummer. We go through different levels of depression, reflection, anger, an inability to trust. Damn, this sound like my autobiography. Anyway, things improve, as they generally do, and we move towards trust, friendship and finally a desire towards introspection. I mean, is this a psychologist’s dream soundtrack or what? I think I’ve heard this story a thousand times in therapy. But, in the end, we tie it all together, the final track talks to the main character’s reflection on the stages of life, the movement towards serenity which is, after all, what we all desire. And damned if it doesn’t end the thing with a solid existential perspective on life, we’re all alone in the end; learn to get used to it.

OK, now to the music. The production begins with an introduction to the story, maybe not the classical intro we generally get in Gothic, but a vocal introduction that tells us where we’re going:

What is the secret of life? / What will our destiny be?
True emotions, loving memories and friendships / Many a love have embraced us before
Followed us, showing us our way / Yet betrayal, disappointment, anger and fear,
Are constantly lurking around the corner / Soon to arrogantly cross our path
This story is not unlike many others, / Yet it shows it is possible to regain hope and faith
However deep we may have sunk / Always remember…never stop hoping

Well, that’s pretty much what the story’s about. And, following this introduction we begin our movement through the individual tracks, each of which provides a different part of the story, complete with an identifying theme. For instance, the second track, True Lies is defined by the identifier "Betrayal and Lies". This is a metal track, we get everything symphonic metal promises, solid vocals, killer production and lyrics that speak to us of everlasting truth.

The story is a dark one, the music, however, stands on its own. These are solid musicians, outstanding writers, people who understand metal and are fully capable of delivering on the promise. Inside My Fears is one of the more metal sounding tracks. This one talks to fear, our relentless movement to embrace that direction in our personal life and the danger that can result. You notice the interaction between the various voices that define this work. It’s almost something of a conversation.

It’s probably necessary to relate again that this is music that stands on its own, especially in live performance. The band appears to do a killer set, this one is Fatal Temptation and, yea, hard to determine which is hotter, the singer or the guitar player, oh, the decisions we must make in Femme Metal. But, it’s clear here that it isn’t only the story that can be attractive with Synful Ira. They do some fine music, and look damn good doing it. Now, not that you care after watching that, but the theme here is betrayal. And, it leads to the final track, Destiny. And here is where we get that existential component, the one that really defines the message of this production. The music is somewhat subdued, it’s atmospheric, as we would expect for this type of message. The band relates the interpretation and its composition thusly: "The protagonist is now away from everyone and speaks for the first time directly to the listener, retracing some phases of his life that helped him regain his serenity. The song is a rearranged medley of all songs on the album and in the end it returns to the theme of "Sound Of Life", to close the circle and therefore represent the cyclical nature of the various states of mind faced in everyday life."

And there you have it. It’s interesting ideas and done with outstanding music. These guys are way beyond a Nightwish cover. They stand on their own, the music is refreshing, the thoughts are far beyond what the American music establishment is willing to consider for the most part, certain exceptions noted. I expect people who buy this music will buy it for the music; they’ll stay around long after to consider the message. If you can be entertained twice, for the price of one product, you just can’t complain. Two for the price of one.

9.5 / 10

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