RETRO TUESDAYS: Sìn-Ta – Sìn-Ta (1996)

Italian doom metal has a glorious experimental history thanks in no small part to the psychedelic, and oft improvisational, experimental restlessness of Paolo Catena (Paul Chain, Death SS) who lent his production skill and introductory performance (“Metropolis”) to the long out-of-print and fittingly obscure progressive rock debut from Sìn-Ta. Formed in Pesaro, Italy in 1986 this trio created one twenty minute EP that exists as the sole internet available artifact from the project. Available to pirate for a short period of time and only on a few progressive music savvy databases the legend of Sìn-Ta is long lost to the aether. It should come as no surprise, though, as a limited release from the intermittently active Italian alternative music label Freak Out! that officially dissolved around 2008.

As much as I’d like to pull in comparisons to amazing prog-doom legends like Black Hole and Ningen Isu only a small part of Sìn-Ta‘s music invokes any sort of ‘doom’ feeling. Beyond the twisted crawl of “The Dog & The Snake” and a cover of Popul Vuh‘s “Huter Der Schwelle” that closes the EP, much of ‘Sìn-Ta’ expresses a love for jazz-like rhythms that are driving and vaguely oriental with some Afro-Caribbean basslines (“Poison”) breaking up the otherwise gloomy sound. If you’re familiar with Paul Chain‘s ‘Master of All Times’ (2001) consider this a full leap back to the mid 70’s but using some of the same instrumentation, minus the growling electric synth; Both records speak some of the same language of Italian prog but Sìn-Ta‘s is curiously grounded in world music. I simply don’t have the expertise in progressive rock to pull out the more obvious influences, but I appreciate the oddity for what it is.

I largely recommend this as an obscurity that will be exciting for fellow fans of Catena‘s legacy but obviously his major contribution was production and the instrumental intro track. As thrilling as the random discovery of a rare or lost recording can be the musical value will likely be limited to fans of 90’s progressive rock and curios from Italy’s infamous progressive music legacy. Old school doom metal heads won’t jump out of their chairs at the sound of Sìn-Ta but I’d still recommend it to folks interested in obscure prog and Chain-related miasma.

Artist Sìn-Ta
Type EP
Released 1996
Listen on YouTube! Freak Out! Label [Dead Site]
Progressive Rock,
Doom Metal

Under a poisoned sky. 3.5/5.0

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