Bob Katsionis – Prognosis & Synopsis (Symmetric Records)

Tuesday, 13th February 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Best known for his guitar/keyboard roles in Firewind, Bob Katsionis also has a proficient solo career – as Prognosis & Synopsis represents his fifth album and first since 2012. The great thing about instrumental records from proven artists is they allow musicians to explore outer facets and interests that can be challenging to hone in during a vocal-led effort, and Bob takes full advantage of developing his ideas however left-field they may be. Do not fret, fans of the man’s shredding capabilities on both the axe and ivory weapons will delight in those intricacies – but what’s engaging about these ten tracks are the melodic moments that showcase an affinity for AOR, melodic and progressive rock themes outside of the expected power/progressive metal platforms.

To gain broader appeal beyond the musically-inclined audience, Bob considers injecting most of this material with solid riffs and reoccurring themes that he builds upon through guitar/keyboard layers. Check out “Aegean Sunset” for instance – two separate keyboard parts open the proceedings, before a beautiful, peppy piano-led riff hits in almost a Toto/AOR-ish montage, while the guitars and tempo support the overlay of arpeggios and synchronized speed runs. Atmospheric textures with an electronic, distant drum undercurrent place “Dark Matter” into that 80’s/ Stranger Things soundtrack vibe- while the slower, mind-bending swirls for “The Messenger” make for a heightening aural experience as you rarely get to take in a 4:55 instrumental ballad. Those that desire the metal aspects to Bob’s career have plenty to treasure as well – “Prognosis” containing a whirlwind of licks and tricks, plus the fantastic drumming support of Vangelis Moraitis, while closer “Synopsis” travels progressive and exotic/bombastic terrain throughout it’s six-minute journey.

Since the songs average out around 4:30 per cut, you never feel inundated with too much musical information to process – and this scribe is sure there will be numerous sequences you’ll return to for the catchiness or ‘wow’ factor. Summing up the man’s career while also making a statement for the future, Prognosis & Synopsis delivers on all fronts – making this an instant buy for fans of progressive metal, instrumental music, or any of Bob’s work in general.

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