It seems that traditional Metal is living a quite popular period in Bari, because just a few weeks after the recent Essenza CD, I have been shipped the debut of a new 5-piece, composed between 2008 and 2011. This concept album is presented as an EP, but the over 32 minutes of length make it fall into the category of albums as to my opinion, being 25 the threshold.
The lyrics deal with the eternal fight between good and evil, and in detail they cover the Judgement day, a land of sunrise, memories and a warlord.
The self-titled CD is dedicated to the memory of Ronnie James Dio, who's also homaged by a Rainbow's cover version at the closure of the record.
A refined, yet thundering intro, "Scent of Twilight", prepares for the rippling Power metal abundant in overdubbed vocals, alternated with other threatening ones, and the fast drumwork. Still, the guitar solos are the true masterpieces of "Fate" that won't leave any serious listener unstricken.
"Land of the Wiseman" contains a very Helloweenian strophe at the beginning and at the end, while the rest offers two Malmsteen-influenced axe solos, another different guitar solo earlier and vocals that make the singer feel proud and the audience wanting to join him. There's also a short structure interrupting the classical Power/Speed patterns to render this composition complete.
Time for the only ballad, "Starlight Memories", embellished by Hammond lines reminding the good old Deep Purple; the soft acoustic guitar and the mesmerizing drum are coupled with marvellous vocals making this track and "Fate" the "Twilight Gate" highlights.
As the title suggests, "Through the Gate" is a piano intermezzo, leading us to "Portrait of the Warlord", a long song displaying interesting breaks, based on time modifications and stop 'n' goes galore. The guitar have the opportunity to embrace the top of skill and arrangements; the riffs become tight, then turn open, allowing vocalist Stefano Fiore to deliver shining parts impossible to forget. The brief Prog progressions, the dark insertion three minutes before the conclusion made of a shower of fast solos and the main theme reprise grant this song the palm of 'most unconventional and unexpectedly composed'. A tip of the hat to the drumming, also considering that it's all been programmed.
On the other hand, "Catch the Rainbow", is the only one where the drums sound acoustic (read human), although there's still a programmed drumming machine; instrumentally the song is faithful to the original keeping its Hard rock aspect, whereas Fiore's voice is objectively fairly different from Dio's; this doesn't have to be intended as negative, because it amalgamates well with the rhythmic section and the wha-whaing guitar.
The few downsides of the songs are the use of a drum machine, which isn't the proper option for a 'warm' genre as Power metal, the slightly nasal vocals in the low notes due to defective microphoning, and Fiore's lyrics in broken English, luckily offset by his talent and his marvellous voice. Thus, if you're not the pernickety guy, you might find this mini-CD fabulous, while I see it as a great start which can be propedeutic to a stunning sophomore album able to compete with the more and more demanding international standards.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - October 30, 2012