Giant The Vine -
Music For Empty Places

(2019, 47:57, CD Lizard Records LZ0145CD)

The tracks:
  1- 67 Ruins(6:00)
  2- Ahimsa(6:09)
  3- The Kisser(5:58)
  4- The Rose(5:58)
  5- Gregorius(6:34)
  6- Lost People(4:51)
  7- A Little Something(5:03)
  8- Past Is Over(7:24)

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This Italian sextet is rooted in 2014, it took five years before the band released its debut album entitled Music For Empty Places. The band hosts two guitarists and two keyboard players and this gives the sound of Giant The Vine a lush and dynamic extra dimension. Listening to this debut album I noticed that the focus is on emotion, and consider Music For Empty Places as a pretty intense musical experience (like Radiohead, Coldplay and Riverside). The contrast between the dreamy and bombastic parts often create a lot of tension: the one moment a slow rhythm with a hypnotizing atmosphere or dreamy with twanging guitars, the other moment an up-tempo beat with heavy guitars and drums or a bombastic eruption with howling guitar or majestic Mellotron. Another strong element in the music is the colouring with the two guitars and keyboards. From twanging guitar with flanger or a spacey guitar sound to howling electric guitar runs and propulsive riffs. And from a delicate Grand - and electric piano to sumptuous Mellotron outbursts and mellow organ waves. The interplay is very intense, and the rhythm-section does a dynamic job.

My highlights.

The Kisser (5:58) : It opens with a beautiful layer of dreamy orchestral keyboards, then the music alternates between mellow, up-tempo and bombastic eruptions, topped with a very pleasant colouring with the instruments, from heavy guitar with strong drum beats or catchy riffs to a spacey guitar sound and sparkling piano runs.

Gregorius (6:34) : First a bombastic climate with rock guitar riffs and Mellotron violins, then dreamy twanging acoustic guitar and a strongly build-up, volume pedal driven guitar solo with tender runs. Then again bombastic with sensitive electric guitar and Mellotron violins, halfway the music turns into a compelling mid-tempo with emotional guitar and powerful drumbeats, with Spanish echoes. Finally, a short slowdown and then a bombastic eruption featuring Mellotron violins and howling guitar with volume pedal (evoking Steve Hackett). The conclusion is very subtle with mellow duo twanging electric guitars, again with a Spanish flavour, simply beautiful, what a dynamic track, my favourite one.

A Little Something (5:03) : It starts dreamy with warm acoustic rhythm guitars, a Floydian guitar sound and organ, shifting to a slow rhythm, then tender piano joins. Next a bombastic eruption with howling guitar, heavy riffs and propulsive drums, very intense. Finally, a mellow atmosphere with slightly distorted guitar (use of the flanger I think).

Past Is Over (7:24) : Another varied and dynamic composition that beings with a dreamy intro, then a catchy beat and again dreamy, featuring fragile guitar work. Now the music turns into a slow rhythm, a very compelling atmosphere, the bands trademark! Halfway a dreamy climate with melancholically orchestral keyboards (violin sound), then a sensitive electric guitar joins (again evoking Steve Hackett). In the end a bombastic eruption with heavy guitar riffs, a huge contrast with the many dreamy parts in this track, emphasizing the frequent tension in the music of Giant The Vine.

If you are up to a captivating blend of Mellotron friendly Classic Prog and intense modern prog, this is an album to discover!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

Where to buy?

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