Antonini, Eddy - When Water Becomes Ice


Year of Release: 1998
Label: Underground Symphony
Catalog Number: US CD 025
Format: CD
Total Time: 65:38:00

It's no wonder that my taste has been firmly rooted in Italian, symphonic, prog metal when there are Italian musicians out there putting out discs like this one. Eddy Antonini is the brainchild behind Skylark, the Italian prog metal band plagued by a poor vocalist and a terrible production team. Eddy is the keyboard player that writes most of the music in Skylark, and for some reason has decided to go solo and put out a monster of a disc, in When Water Became Ice, a disc that slightly resembles Skylark material, only written and played so much better.

Without knowing anything about Eddy or his situation in Skylark, it's hard for me to imagine why Skylark is not more of a hit with him in the band, and why his style and approach works so much better than his work in Skylark. While Skylark's music is among the best in the Italian Prog Metal world because of Eddy, their poor vocalist and poor recordings keep them from being on top of the Italian heap. By himself, Eddy has chosen to use 2 guest vocalists to complement his music, and uses a host of other musicians to get his point across. Problem is, this disc is so much better than anything Skylark has done previously, except that it's not as guitar heavy as Skylark discs, and it's obviously keyboard driven making this much more prettier than Skylark material.

THE STYLE:

Symphonic, keyboard-driven, prog metal light because although there are guitars, they are put behind the keyboards in the mix so heavy hitters won't find this one too attractive because of the crunch-less approach. Interestingly enough, the music runs a spectrum of styles, further showing off the versatility of Antonini. I hear speedy runs of music a la Rhapsody, the New Age atmosphere of early Athena, and the classical influenced approach of Eddy. Throw in some cover songs by Bach, Helloween's "I Want Out," and "Shooting Star;" of which I am unfamiliar. The average length of the songs run from 6:00 all the way to the epic 15:00 song, "The Crypt Of Montmartre." There is quite a bit of diversity on this disc to say the least.

THE BAND:

Eddy Antonini plays all the keyboards, including quite a bit of the harpsichord, which gives this disc a "royal" sound most of the time. Eddy also sings background and lead vocals on one song, and I can't figure out why he doesn't do the singing on the Skylark discs. He also employs 2 other Italian singers for the other songs, both of which are very talented and pleasing to the ear; with so much diversity, you'd expect someone to fall to the "Curse of the Italian Singers," but Eddy has really done his homework here and picked a bunch of very talented people to play in his disc. There is a horde of guitar players, and he uses one drummer and one bass player, both of whom are very capable to pull off this music. As a matter of fact, the drummer sticks out quite a bit with his speedy double bass runs and effortless style, while the bass player seems very at home being the other only mainstay in Eddy's mass of musicians. This furthers my confusion as to why Skylark isn't the best Italian prog metal band on the planet, although if Eddy had anything to prove, he certainly did on his own with this disc.

THE PRODUCTION:

Eddy produced this disc as well, and although I'm not sure who produces Skylark discs, but if it's Eddy, there is something seriously wrong here. This disc sounds great, and years ahead of what Skylark sounds like. The only complaint I have here is that the guitars are just too far back in the mix, but I'm sure it's very intentional on his part. Had he put the crunch into this music, he would have sold many more people onto his music, but it ends up being on the lighter side of prog metal because of this. Everything sounds beautiful here, especially the keyboards. The vocals might be just a little bit back in the mix, but there are more instrumental passages than there are vocal passages so it's not a problem at all. The drums and bass are up in the mix, althouth it never hurts to add some punch in my book, but I am sure that the goal here was the emphasis on beauty, not power. Someone in Skylark better get wise to what is happening here and utilize Eddy more in their music, and if he is, I'd love to know what the problem is with Skylark's approach and to why they can't sound like Eddy does on this disc. I can't imagine why a band would sound below average, and then have a member go off and do a solo disc and sound worlds better than the band.

THE COMMENTS:

On the whole, this disc will appeal to keyboard lovers, and Italian Prog Metal lovers. If you're into Skylark and want to hear what they should sound like, check this disc out. I don't believe in judging a disc by its cover, but in this case it works. Check out the fabulous digi-pak used to house this disc, it's inspiring. From the gorgeous pictures of icebergs floating in crystal blue water, to the fancy fonts, to the cardboard pages of the pak, this disc screams beauty all the way around. I'm not sure what is going on in the Skylark camp, but I'd have to think there will be problems or changes after someone in that camp hears what this guy can do on his own. Get him more involved in the recording process, if he isn't already, give him the pen and let him have at it and maybe the next Skylark disc will sound like it should. Their music is already superbly written, it's the approach that needs to be worked on, and after hearing what Eddy can do, there is no excuse why they can't put out a killer disc if they continue on.

I'm adding Eddy Antonini to my favorite keyboard player list, and he definitely signifies to me what Italian symphonic metal is all about. If you don't mind a crunch-less type metal, and like bands like Rhapsody, early Athena, I'll throw in Helloween and Gamma Ray because lots of this music is based on speedy music like they play, and if you imagine what Gamma Ray sounds like keyboard-driven, then you'll get a kick out of this one. Throw in some high pitched singers, awesome production, abstract lyrics, and great songwriting, and you have an excellent disc. This one comes highly recommended.


Tracklisting:
J.S. Bach - English Suite N.2: Bour?e 1 (1:42) / Sun (Keeper Of The Dreams) (8:04) / Twilight (5:56) / Dream (3:00) / Fear Of The Moon (6:53) / The Crypt Of Montmartre (14:58) / Rufus (5:51) / Andromeda (2:34) / Shooting Star/I Want Out (7:19) / When Water Became Ice (5:48) / J.S. Bach - English Suite N.3: Prelude - English Suite N.2: Saraband (5:34)

Musicians:
Eddy Antonini - piano, keys, harpsichord, backing vocals; lead vocals (8)
Roberto (Brodo) Potenti - bass
Federico Ria - drums
Guests:

Fabio Dozzo - vocals (3, 10, 11)
Folco Orlandini - vocals (2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11)
Max Ferri - guitars
Nico Tordini - guitars
Olaf Torsen - guitars
Giovanni De Giorgi - speaker (6)

Discography:

Skylark:

The Horizon & The Storm (ep) (1995)
Waiting For The Princess (maxi-cd) (1996)
Dragon's Secrets (1997)
After The Storm (1998)
Belzebu (maxi cd) (1999)
Divine Gates Part I - Gate Of Hell (1999)
Divine Gates Part II - Gate Of Heaven (2000)
The Princess' Day (2001)

Solo:

When Water Becomes Ice (1998)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 937
Language: english

  

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