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SYZYGY: A Glorious Disturbance – 2 DVD/CD Set

SYZYGY is a Cleveland, Ohio based progressive rock band. I have been fortunate enough to review their entire catalog of CDs so far, and was delighted to receive this masterpiece just after the turn of the year. The band is made up of Carl Baldassarre, on vocals and guitar; Sam Guinta, on keyboards; Al Rolk, on bass; and Paul Mihacevich, on drums; with Mark Boals on guest vocals.

The concert videos are both recorded in 5.1 surround sound with incredible aural imaging. The concert video presentations behind the band are great when they are visible. It was a great experience to be able to finally see the band in action playing this music. The professionalism with which they handle their live stage presence is immaculate.

The special features DVD was especially great to watch and hear Carl Baldassarre's interview with Michael Heaton as he talks about the past and how he met Sam Guinta. The discussion of the evolution of the band from local cover band playing many of the most respected venues in Cleveland, to the writing and design of their own sound and material. The story of how the band evolved in three stages as Abraxas in Euclid, Ohio, then Witsend, and finally SYZYGY. The history of the band and recording of their epic "Dialectic" is worth the price of admission alone.

The writing and making of "Realms of Eternity" discussion between Baldassarre and Guinta is intricate and well developed. They take you through the tracks of the album in an original and a definitive audiophile presentation discussing the most important steps and sections of the process of making their music.

Mark Boals interview is a great window into the way this band is perceived from an outside guest artist.

The band roundtable, filmed near Madison Ohio, with Lake Erie in the background was well thought out and a great discussion of how these guys came together to do what they love. They have a great discussion about the past and present of SYZYGY, set to the sound of the lake's wave rhythms. The discussion of the future, possibly a double or maybe two albums sounds very interesting.

This is a fantastic band history cataloged for all time in a unique and well decorated art package. If you are a fan of the band it is a must purchase. If you are new to the band or the prog genre this is a great introduction to what many of the bands in this genre go through to bring the unique music they deliver to their fans. Leaders of prog wish they had all of this technology and forethought to be able to document their history while they were young enough to feel and remember it. Many of the epic bands of the '60s and '70s have since gone back and produced similar documentaries in their retirement.

Track Listing:

• DVD 1: Almost 2 hours from two different Syzygy concerts – 2009's "Three Rivers Progressive Rock Festival" and 2010's "A Day of Prog Festival" (Syzygy headlined).

• CD: Over 72 minutes of live music. Several new and exciting interpretations of some of the band's earlier work as well as pieces performed live for the first time. Incredible sound quality.

•DVD 2: Over an hour and a half of special features:

o In depth interview with Carl Baldassarre by Michael Heaton (the Minister of Culture for the Cleveland Plain Dealer). Carl discusses the history of the band with tons of behind-the-scenes footage dating back 30 years.

o The Writing of Realms: An in-depth look at Realms of Eternity, the album that Steve Hackett (Genesis) called, a "masterpiece." This feature includes a track-by-track breakdown in the studio of these great compositions. Musicians and audiophiles will love this!

o The great Mark Boals discusses his perspective on working as lead vocalist and front man for Syzygy (both in the studio and live on stage).

o Band Roundtable: Listen in as the members of Syzygy discuss the past, the DVD and Syzygy's future. Lots of additional footage included in this roundtable discussion.

Added: October 22nd 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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SYZYGY: A Glorious Disturbance – 2 DVD/CD Set
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-10-22 15:18:59
My Score:

American prog rock band Syzygy have been together for a number of years now having released their first CD Cosmos and Chaos in 1993. Their last studio album Realms of Eternity was released in 2009. A Glorious Disturbance is a massive three disc set (2 DVD/1 CD) and has been out for a couple years now. I have had this for a while but unfortunately it had been lost in the shuffle so to speak. That is unfortunate since this is an excellent set.

In the band are Carl Baldassarre (guitars and vocals), Sam Giunta (keyboards), Paul Mihacevich (drums and percussion), Al Rolick (bass and vocals) and the renowned Mark Boals (vocals). The concert DVD contains two live shows; 2009 3RP Festival and Day of Prog in 2010. Boals' joined the band just prior to the 3RP performance.

First of all, the concert DVD. This is a top notch and classy performance. The playing is vibrant and energetic and flat out rocks. "Vanitas", the first track taken from the 3RP Festival, is a scorcher of an instrumental although the song does drift into lighter moments where the playing is much more subtle. There are some eclectic moments as well but mostly this is heavy prog with chugging riffs and big orchestral swells of keys. "Mount Ethereal" features fantastic interplay between all four musicians before the music becomes a little more ethereal, hence the title. Mark Boals enters with his solid hard rock voice and the music alternates between lighter and darker shades with impressive change ups throughout. Mihacevich's drumming also deserves special mention as it is outstanding whether going for rapid fire pounding or jazzier moments of subtlety. Having never heard Syzygy before I have to say this is outstanding progressive rock.

The 2010 Day of Prog concert features seven tracks starting with "Darkfield" where a tasty melodic groove turns into complex heavy prog with raging organ and intense guitar riffs. Back and forth it goes as the band transitions between heavy and light with what seems like ease. The mood is lightened somewhat with the acoustic and folky "Circadian Rhythm" while "The Coronation", the fourth movement from "The Journey of Myrrdin", is one part hard rock and the rest heavy prog with tricky chord progressions, dynamic solos and fantastic musical interplay between all involved. The disc ends with a couple of encores; UK's classic "In the Dead of Night" and a scorching rendition of Deep Purple's "Burn". Boals does a great job on both tracks.

The Live concert CD contains a mixture of tracks from the 2009 and 2010 concerts and of course sounds great as well.

The bonus DVD includes; an insightful interview with Carl discussing the history of the band and progressive rock, Carl and Sam sitting at the sound board dissecting the making of Realms of Eternity, an in depth interview with Mark Boals and a round table discussion where the band talks about their albums and what the future holds.

The packaging is elaborate with beautiful cover art adorning a fourfold digipack. The attention to detail in every facet of this set is quite remarkable.

Syzygy have done an outstanding job with A Glorious Disturbance. If, like me, you haven't heard Syzygy's music A Glorious Disturbance should be a great discovery, especially if you like your prog with a hard rock edge. For those familiar with the band you will want to have this as well.

SYZYGY: A Glorious Disturbance – 2 DVD/CD Set
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-01-04 07:54:10
My Score:

Progressive rock fans around the world have been treated to the powerful and majestic sounds of Ohio's Syzygy for close to 20 years now, and seemingly as a big 'thank you' for their support the band have released this wonderful 3 disc live set titled A Glorious Disturbance. In addition to two shows (2009's 3RP Festival & 2010's Day of PROG) on the first DVD and a selection of songs from both shows on a CD, there is also a 2nd DVD with bonus features, including a great interview with guitarist Carl Baldassarre, where he talks about the history of the band from their days as Abraxas and Witsend up to the current incarnation. You also get to hear from the rest of the band, as well as guest vocalist Mark Boals, who is a great and surprising fit for Syzygy, given his past affiliations with Yngwie Malmsteen, Ted Nugent, Uli Jon Roth, Ring of Fire, and other acts that are more in the hard rock & heavy metal realm.

As for the live concert footage, it is spectacular to say the least, as the band delivers a nice selection of epic tunes from throughout their career (including stunning versions of "Dreams", "Darkfield", "Vanitas", and "Beggar's Tale", as well as rousing covers of UK's "In the Dead of Night" and Deep Purple's "Burn", the latter of which the band seemed to be having a real blast playing. Through it all, Baldassarre contributes plenty of virtuoso guitar work alongside Sam Giunta's glorious keyboard passages, with bassist Al Rolk and drummer Paul Mihacevich holding down the steady rhythms. As far as modern prog rock with a vintage twist, it doesn't get much better than this!

The entire set comes housed in a lovely digibox package with very cool artwork and loads of information on everything that is included. It's just a fantastic presentation all around from one of progressive rock's classiest bands.

Track Listing
DVD 1 (5.1 Surround)
2009 3RP Festival
1) Vanitas
2) Mount Ethereal
3) Strange Loop II
4) Dreams
5) M.O.T.H.
2010 Day of PROG
1) Darkfield
2) Circadian Rhythm
3) The Coronation
4) Beggar's Tale
5) The Sea
6) In the Dead of Night (UK cover)
7) Burn (Deep Purple cover)

Special Features DVD
1) Carl Baldassarre Interview
2) The Writing of Realms
3) Mark Boals Interview
4) Band Rountable
1) Varitas
2) Mount Ethereal
3) Circadian Rhythm
4) Strange Loop II
5) Dreams
6) Darkfield
7) The Coronation
8) Beggar's Tale
9) M.O.T.H.

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