Helrei? - M?moires


Year of Release: 1997
Label: Underground Symphony
Catalog Number: USCD-021
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:43:00

Lately, the Italians have been really cranking out the symphonic prog metal, with the latest from Black Jester, Shadows of Steel, Rhapsody, and now this band. When you first look at the beautiful artwork on this particular disc, you will notice the resemblance to all of the other beautiful artwork that the Italians are known for. For some reason, when the Italians come up with gorgeous artwork like this, the music inside usually seems to follow suit, although in some cases I have found otherwise. This time though, rest assured that the music behind this band is as pleasing to the ears as it is pleasing to the eyes.

Basically, if you like your prog metal injected with some heavy keyboards, heavy and light guitar work, great drumming, speedy tempos at times, and don't mind an accented singer, you will have no problem enjoying this disc.

THE STYLE:

Symphonic, epic, speedy, atmospheric, majestic prog metal. This band takes their cues from many a different bands and styles, and blends them all into one interesting package. If I am not mistaken, the singer is from an Italian Neo-Prog band called Asgard, and the drummer is from the Italian prog metal band Black Jester. If you take the soft, plush, atmospheric music of Neo-Prog music, and add in the heavy guitar work of a good metal band, and then throw in some nice drum work ala Dream Theater, then you might get pretty good idea of what this band sounds like. The music ranges from the soft, acoustic, almost New Age-like style, to the more traditional heavy metal approach complete with crunchy guitars and double bass runs more akin to the modern metal sound. I'd almost like to say that the band is a combination of Asgard, Black Jester, and parts of Dream Theater's When Dream And Day Unite. With nice long songs ranging from 6:50 to 15:19, the songs are all built around a mixture of all these styles, complete with instant stops from one style to the next, soft keyboards suddenly turning into crunchy guitars, mellow piano parts turning into double bass runs that speed off into another direction. All of this adds up to one hell of a progressive metal disc.

THE BAND:

The usual complement of vocals, bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. When it comes to the Italian bands, for some reason you never hear about how great this guitarist is, or that guitarist is, because these bands generally rely on each other to combine their talents into making the disc instead of one particular player standing out among the crowd. Well, in this band, you will remember several players after hearing this disc. For starters, the guitarists is not your run-of-the-mill Italian guitarist. This guy wants to be heard, heavy, and remembered. He certainly is all three, yet as heavy and metallized as he sounds, he can play very soft and plush throughout the disc showing a very versatile approach to his instrument. The drummer is the next player that stands out, playing a very bombastic style, thanking Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, and others for his inspiration. From double bass runs, to the softer Neo-Prog style, this guy can keep up and change with the best of them. The keyboard player does not seem to have as many chops as the guitarist, but then not many do. This keyboard player is used more as an atmospheric backdrop for the music, and he loves that huge, open, epic sound. I imagine him wanting to be part of an orchestra with the many sounds that he contributes on the disc. The bass player has to be a good player to keep up with this ever changing array of tempos, and I have to say that in order to keep up with this guitarist he has to be well schooled in his instrument. Nice work by this band, both in the heavy and the softer work. They aren't afraid to kick it into high gear, and then take it right down to a soft whisper.

THE VOCALS:

Already I can hear you asking if this guy is a victim of the dreaded "Curse of the Italian singer syndrome," and I have to say no. However, be ready for a bit of an accent here. The singer is a pleasant-toned singer, stays in a mid-range tone, and never strays anywhere out of his range. Anyone who is familiar with the Neo-Prog approach to singing has an idea of where this guy comes from; especially coming from a Neo-Prog band, he takes that style with him injecting a softness to the music. I do not mind an accent on a singer, as long as he is pleasant to listnen to, and this guy is certainly that. Much better than the Black Jester singer, have no fear.

THE PRODUCTION:

This is what separates this band from every other Italian prog metal band. I am always complaining about the Italians' inability to record a good disc, (most of the time anyway), and this band breaks out of that image and comes up with one of the better Italian recordings I've heard from that group. Clear, crisp, punchy, precise, are some words that come to mind when I hear this disc. Every instrument is heard clearly, especially the guitar, and rightly so in this case. The vocals are right up front, and the bass and drum parts are nice and heavy to complement the bombastic sound of this band. Maybe the Underground Symphony label has some experienced knob turners, because I noticed a nice sound on the Shadows of Steel disc, and this one from that label. Don't be afraid to crank this one up, it's a winner.

THE COMMENTS:

Overall, this is an excellent disc. If you like that huge, symphonic sound mixed in with your prog metal, you are sure to love this one. Keep in mind that the singer has an accent, but his pleasant tone makes you all but forget about that. One on song, he sings a bit in Italian, and it sounds so beautiful that you don't care that you don't know what he is singing. I would have to say that fans of Black Jester, Time Machine, Dream Theater's When Dream And Day Unite, and fans that don't mind a dose of Neo-Prog thrown in with their metal are going to have a field day with this disc. This certainly came out of nowhere and took me by storm, and I would imagine that it will appeal to many out there that love their warmth and beauty mixed in with the heaviness of the metal. It doesn't get much better than this when it comes to mixing styles, and toning it down to a whisper all the while keeping the metal beast inside us fed. This is extremely recommended.


Tracklisting:
Exordium (4:21) / Mark The Wizard (10:09) / Tale Of The Crypt (9:36) / Endless Wars (8:41) / Interludium (0:54) / Suite De F. (15:19) / The Departing Muse (6:49) / Congedum (1:37)

Musicians:
Daniele 'The Druid' Soravia - keyboards
Marco 'Yorick' Tortato - guitar and backing vocals
Luca Roggi - drums
Alessandro Arcuri - bass and narrating voice
Franco Violo - vocals

Discography:
M?moires (1997)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

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

Artist website: members.tripod.com/~helreidh/welcome.htm
Hits: 767
Language: english

  

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