The Finest of Miracles is a lovely little album from Greek prog act Ciccada, released by the fine folks over at Fading Records / Altrock Productions. The band are Evangelina Kozoni (Vocals), Yorgos Mouhos (Guitars ), Yiannis Iliakis (Drums, Percussions), and Nicolas Nikolopoulos (Flute, Sax, Mellotron Synth, Electric and Grand Piano, Glockenspiel), and they state their main musical influences as Gryphon, Gentle Giant, Yes, Jethro Tull, Strawbs, Frank Zappa, Magma, Miles Davis, Genesis, Henry Cow, and Stravinsky. The glorious album artwork of course lets you know we've got a prog release before you even investigate the band or start playing the music, and once you do, the majestic sounds do no disappoint.
The opening instrumental barrage that is "A Night Ride" is like a crazy meeting between King Crimson, Yes, and Gryphon, as heavy rock guitars collide with ominous Mellotron, Moog styled synths, flute, piano, and a wealth of guest violin, giving it that classical-meets-prog feel. It's a great way to start The Finest of Miracles, and doesn't end there. The lovely "Eternal" sees the vocals of Kozoni first come into play, supported by majestic piano and more strings, a charming Renaissance-meets-Gryphon styled piece that keeps getting more symphonic as it goes on to its conclusion. Lush acoustic guitar, flute, cello, violin, clarinet, Mellotron, and organ pop up on the engaging "At the Death of Winter", a fun tune that also features some vocal counterpoint ala Gentle Giant and a tasty lead guitar solo courtesy of Mouhos. The upbeat "Around the Fire" again brings to mind vintage Gryphon as well as Jethro Tull, and there's more of that wonderful flute as well as acoustic & electric guitar, while the recorder takes over alongside trumpet on the brief instrumental ditty "Lemnos (Lover Dancer)". This brings us to the five part title suite, a monstrous 20-minute creation that mixes gorgeous folk & classical with menacing prog rock. All the instruments are utilized here, with the guest strings & brass really adding some nice flavors to the mix. Mostly instrumental, save for some vocal sections in Greek late in the suite, the highlight here is without a doubt the section "Wandering", which goes from gentle to heavy without warning, constantly keeping the listener on his or her toes.
In the end, The Finest of Miracles will be 45-minutes well spent, and you'll want to revisit time and time again. If you are looking for an obscure prog gem here in the early part of 2015, look no further.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. A Night Ride (6:26)
2. Eternal (8:02)
3. At the Death of Winer (4:04)
4. Around the Fire (9:16)
5. Lemnos (Lover Dancer) (0:47)
The Finest of Miracles Suite:
6. Birth of the Lights (1:52)
7. Wandering (6:42)
8. Sirens Call (1:38)
9. As Fall the Leaves (3:09)
10. Song for an Island (4:47)