Wine Guardian – Timescape
Logic IL Logic, Burning Minds Music Group
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Running Time: 56:28
Review by Simon Black
True Progressive bands never cease to amaze me. The level of musicianship required to even entertain such a project is normally a fair few stops above many out there and the genre’s musicians also tend to have the kind of technical disposition that translates into the world of music production as well. I recently watched an old Pink Floyd live gig from the 80’s and was struck by how far from their roots they drifted in this rudderless post-Waters period, with an army of session guys doubling up on guitars, keys and indeed drums in order to attempt to reproduce the complexity laid down in the studio live. Obviously, technology has changed this somewhat, but it still does not hold a candle to what we have here – three chaps doing all of that complexity on their own.
Wine Guardian don’t sound like most Prog Rock / Metal albums that cross my desk. For a start, the heavily layered production that would have forced an old school producer to reach for the bottle in terror at the thought of quite how much overdubbing he was likely to have to try and get away with on analogue kit is simply not visible here. Wine Guardian have opted for a really clean and stripped back sound, that puts the instruments and the playing simply and cleanly into the front of your attention, coming across mix-wise like a hybrid of Dream Theater’s ‘Distance Over Time’ snorting Helmet’s ‘Meantime’. This is doubly surprising as most Italian outfits tend to favour the orchestral, epic ‘death by reverb’ approach, so it makes a really refreshing change to these ears. The fact that this stripped back feel probably took a really long time to actually engineer is once again testament to the skill on display, as that layering is present, but oh so subtly delivered and fools the ears very well indeed.
This is technical Prog first and foremost and clearly has had a long gestation period – steering away from commercial accessibility in favour of musical sensory indulgence for those (like me) that absolutely appreciate that sort of thing. They’ve been around since 2008, with one full length album and an EP to their name to date and this is music that clearly has taken time to craft so it takes time to really appreciate. It’s also definitely not a Metal album, but one of those many layered onions of a record that works best when peeled back one wafer thin skin at a time to, err … a good bottle of wine! That said it has moments of aggression and energy – ‘Digital Dharma’, with its thinly veiled contempt for modern political behaviour has a positively extreme metal vocal style peppering it, which goes well with the staccato delivery of the opening verses. This is an album that’s about the musical journey, not the destination, so don’t expect punch radio friendly tracks. This needs time, wine and a good set of head cans to appreciate in full, as the instrumental song-crafting creates the seemingly contradictory concept of a well-constructed musical meandering. Whilst that’s an enjoyable journey, sometimes it feels like a little more formality of structure might help, as sometime it’s not clear that we’ve moved from one track to the next. Nevertheless, it’s a gift that keeps on giving if you give it the time.
‘Chemical Indulgence’ (Audio)
01. Chemical Indulgence
02. Little Boy
04. Digital Dharma
05. The Luminous Whale
06. The Astounding Journey
Lorenzo Parigi – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Stefano Capitan – Bass & Backing Vocals
Davide Sgarbi – Drums & Backing Vocals
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