Giant The Vine -
A Chair At the Backdoor

(CD 2023, 46:55, Luminol Records)

The tracks:
  1- Protect Us from The Truth(8:21)
  2- Glass(5:34)
  3- The Potter's Field(5:33)
  4- Jellyfish Bowl(8:16)
  5- The Heresiarch(3:31)
  6- The Inner Circle(3:16)
  7- A Chair At The Backdoor(12:24)

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Giant The Vine is a new instrumental Italian prog band that was founded in 2014 on the initiative of guitar player Fabio Vrenna (also keyboards), he teamed up with fellow guitar player Fulvio Solari, and then drummer Daniele Riotti. The name Giant The Vine is derived from the band Gentle Giant and the Genesis song One For The Vine. It took five years to release their debut album entitled Music For Empty Places, in 2019. After this release bass player Antonio Lo Piparo joined Giant The Vine. With this new line-up Giant The Vine released a new album this year entitled A Chair At The Backdoor, backed by several guest musicians on piano and saxophone.

About the debut album I wrote this: “If you are up to a captivating blend of Mellotron friendly Classic Prog and intense modern prog this is an album to discover!”. Well, I am sure that those who like Music For Empty Places will also be pleased with this new effort. Again the focus is on emotion, and creating tension between the mellow, atmospheric, more dynamic, and bombastic parts, often it sounds compelling and hypnotizing. Although the keyboards and guitars sound a bit more lush and elaborate on the first album the music on A Chair At The Backdoorm is tastefully coloured with acoustic - and electric guitar, keyboards, piano and saxophone. My highlights.

Protect Us from the Truth (8:21) : The intro delivers twanging guitar, soaring keyboards, sound effects, and soon the unsurpassed Mellotron joins. Then a slow rhythm with soft drum beats, and powerful saxophone play, evoking King Crimson. Gradually the music turns into more lush and bombastic, pretty hypnotizing and compelling, this is the 'Giant The Vine trademark'. Halfway a dreamy sound featuring an exciting contrast between tender piano and raw Robert Fripp kind of guitar riffs, topped with Mellotron, what a captivating dark and ominous climate, early King Crimson and Swedish Anekdoten come to my mind. The final part is mellow and hypnotizing, with subtle work on guitar and keyboards, in the end a moving guitar solo that starts sensitive, then howling and more fiery, wow!

Jellyfish Bowl (8:16) : First a dreamy climate with tender piano and the distinctive lap steel guitar sound, blended with the Mellotron, then a bombastic sound in a slow rhythm with Mellotron violins and sensitive electric guitar runs. Halfway tender piano, the hypnotizing atmosphere is a fine prelude to a bombastic eruption with howling electric guitar in a slow rhythm, again the lap steel guitar joins, with a wonderful solo, backed by Mellotron violins. How intense, and how interesting, Giant The Vine succeeds to deliver lots of tension and dynamics.

The Heresiarch (3:31) : This short track features the heavy side of the band with an agressive and catchy bass, powerful tight drum beats, a melancholy Mellotron sound, and a dynamic rhythm-section. Halfway fiery guitar runs, and finally Mellotron choirs, another pretty compelling musical experience.

A Chair At the Backdoor (12:24) : The final epic title track opens with twanging guitar, in a slow rhythm, coloured by fragile electric guitar work. Then a mid-tempo with a tight beat, Mellotron and hypnotizing guitar play, the climate is again ominous. Back to dreamy, and halfway sensitive guitar runs. The second part starts with an accelaration featuring powerful guitar and saxophone, evoking early King Crimson. Finally from dreamy and hypnotizing with Mellotron and fragile guitar to more lush and dynamic, the music sounds intense, topped with Mellotron and intense drum beats. In the end the twanging guitar play from the beginning, what a beautiful and compelling composition.

No vocals in the music of Giant The Vine, the instruments colour the compositions, especially the guitars and keyboards, in a very compelling and hypnotizing way, simply wonderful!

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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