Album Review – Ferum / Asunder / Erode (2022)

A ruthless entity arises from the underworld with an obsessive and monolithic record, showcasing the boldness and rot of American death doom and the introspection and emotion of English death doom.

Formed in 2017 in Bologna, Italy, but currently scattered between Bologna and Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the ruthless Death/Doom Metal entity known as Ferum (which means “wild”, “untamed” or “fierce” in Latin) is unleashing upon us all their debut full-length opus, entitled Asunder / Erode, following up on their 2018 EP Vergence. Recorded and mixed by the band’s drummer Are Kangus at Walter Productions, mastered by Dan Swanö, and displaying a fantastic cover art by Paolo Girardi (read more about the concept and process HERE), Asunder / Erode is a clear step forward in the career of vocalist and guitarist Samantha Alessi, bassist Matteo Anzelini and the aforementioned Are Kangus compared to their previous release, offering fans of heavy music an obsessive and monolithic record showcasing at the same time the boldness and rot of American death doom and the introspection and emotion of English death doom, with its slow, funereal riffs and cavernous atmosphere positioning it as one of the best albums of the genre of the past few years.

The massive, sluggish beats by Are kick off the thunderous opening tune Halfhead, with Samantha roaring deeply like a she-demon while also extracting sheer malignancy from her axe. In other words, it’s dark, sinister and somber just the way we like it in Doom Metal, which is also the case with The Undead Truth, featuring the iconic Mike Perun of Cianide on vocals, sounding even more demonic and grim with Samantha firing obscure riffs nonstop supported by the low-tuned bass by Matteo, not to mention how intricate and vibrant the drumming by Are is. Then continuing their path of old school, sulfurous Death and Doom Metal the trio brings forth the headbanging Desolate Vantaa, a song perfect for breaking your neck in half to the pounding drums by Are while Samantha darkly vociferates the song’s lyrics; and dark clouds are above us in the damned tune Belong, where Samantha and Matteo are in total sync with their stringed weapons, generating a menacing, reverberating sound tailored for admirers of the most obscure form of Doom Metal.

Get ready for almost seven minutes of infernal epicness in Monolithic Acquiescence, presenting elements from Blackened Doom in its core while remaining loyal to the foundations of Death Metal thanks to another awesome performance by Samantha on vocals; whereas investing in a more ferocious vibe, the trio delivers endless violence and heaviness in Entrails Of Linnahall, with Are dictating the song’s brutal pace while also alternating between pure Death Metal and slow, sinister passages. A deep roar by Samantha kicks off the Stygian extravaganza titled Resurgence In Bereavement, another dense, multi-layered composition showcasing Are’s classic Doom Metal beats, growing in intensity and fear until all fades into the void for our total delectation, while eerie vocalizations and minimalist sounds will darken our minds in Outro – Spesso Il Male Di Vivere Ho Incontrato, which is not a bad idea for an outro but it could have been slightly shorter to keep the energy level in the album even higher. Nothing to worry about, though, as in the end the album kicks some serious ass from start to finish.

As already mentioned, the wild and fierce hybrid of Death and Doom Metal blasted by Ferum in Asunder / Erode is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys a good dosage of obscurity and hatred in metal music, proving how focused the trio was while recording the album and, consequently, pointing to an exciting future ahead of them. Having said that, don’t forget to start following Samantha and the boys on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other important information about the band, to purchase your copy of Asunder / Erode from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page or from Sound Cave as a CD, a color vinyl or a black vinyl, and to stream all of their devilish arias on Spotify. Ferum are definitely on the right path to conquer the world of extreme music based on what they have to offer us all in their new album, leaving us eager (or I might even say desperate) for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Halfhead, Desolate Vantaa, Entrails Of Linnahall and Resurgence In Bereavement.

Worst moments of the album: Outro – Spesso Il Male Di Vivere Ho Incontrato.

Released in 2022 Unorthodox Emanations/Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Halfhead 5:24
2. The Undead Truth 6:28
3. Desolate Vantaa 5:15
4. Belong 5:23
5. Monolithic Acquiescence 6:53
6. Entrails Of Linnahall 5:24
7. Resurgence In Bereavement 6:39
8. Outro – Spesso Il Male Di Vivere Ho Incontrato 3:02

Band members
Samantha Alessi – vocals, guitars
Matteo Anzelini – bass
Are Kangus – drums

Guest musician
Mike Perun – vocals on “The Undead Truth”

Album Review – From The Depth / Moments (2020)

Enjoy the new chapter in the career of this electrifying Italian Power Metal unity, celebrating relevant memories and episodes of everyday life while time passes by.

Punchy and aggressive, fans who have been waiting since the 2014 EP Perseverance are now rewarded with Moments, the sophomore full-length opus by Italian Power Metal unity From The Depth, presenting a series of personal occasions in the band members’ lives that they are reliving through their music, from hard times to the anniversary of the group forming back in 2008 in Parma, a city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Recorded at Domination Studio and Angle Room Studio, mixed and mastered at Domination Studio, and featuring a classic artwork by Hungarian artist Péter Sallai (MORTPAINTGRAPHICS), Moments showcases all the maturity and refinement in this new chapter of a band currently comprised of Raffaele “Raffo” Albanese on vocals, Gianpiero Milione and Simone Martinelli on the guitars, Santo Clemenzi on bass and Cristiano Battini on drums. In the band’s own words, “Moments is a way to celebrate relevant memories and episodes of everyday life while time passes by. Each aspect of the production has been taken care of with extreme attention to detail from song structure to the final master; nothing has been left to chance and we did our best to get out the most from each session during songwriting.”

Futuristic and electrifying form the very first second, Immortal is a kick-ass hybrid of the music by Stratovarius, Nightwish and Gamma Ray with the band’s own Italian twist, with Gianpiero and Simone being utterly insane with their riffs, providing Raffo all he needs to shine on vocals. Then we have the faster and more ferocious Spread your Fire, a lesson in Power Metal by this Italian squad led by Cristiano’s pounding drums and the always melodious and sharp vocals by Raffo, also presenting some atmospheric passages, followed by Ten Years, another high-octane, melodic composition featuring their trademark riffs and solos and crisp background keys intertwined with the rumbling bass by Santo, with endless stamina flowing from all band members. After such high level of adrenaline, it’s time for a stunning semi-ballad by From The Depth titled Streets of Memory, where Raffo’s introspective vocal lines are nicely boosted by the smooth sound of the guitars and the groove from bass, sounding epic and imposing from start to finish. And the cinematic bridge Hypnos warms up our senses for the Symphonic Metal tune Forget and Survive, where the band brings a good amount of progressiveness to their sharp sonority with both Gianpiero and Simone embellishing the airwaves with their refined riffage and strident solos, being therefore tailored for admirers of the genre.

A medieval overture explodes into another symphonic and epic feast of Power Metal entitled Just Ice, with Santo and Cristiano making the earth shake with their thunderous kitchen, and showcasing a pleasant pace where Raffo gives another lecture with his soaring vocals during the song’s almost eight minutes of awesomeness. The band continues to crush our senses in Missed, a galloping, Stratovarius-inspired metal hymn perfect for headbanging together with the band where Cristiano is on fire with his beats, supported by all incendiary riffs, guitar and keyboard solos and rumbling bass punches. In other words,  you’ll certainly feel energized after listening to it, while endless groove and an enfolding atmosphere are the main ingredients in the modernized A Matter of Time, uniting the classic sound of Symphonic and Power Metal with nuances from more contemporary styles. And lastly, the band offers us all Somewhere, a delicate piano ballad where Raffo steals the spotlight with his deep vocals. Although I love ballads, I personally think they should have ended the album with a more gripping tune, but of course this one has its good moments such as the embracing ambience crafted by the sound of keys and bass.

In a nutshell, From The Depth have truly mastered the art of Symphonic and Power Metal in their newborn spawn, positioning them as one of the driving forces of the genre not only in their homeland, but all over our Heavy Metal world. Hence, if you want to show your support to those unstoppable Italian metallers, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel and search for them on Spotify to listen to more of their thrilling creations, and above all that, grab your copy of Moments from the Rockshots Records webstore or from Apple Music, letting the magical sounds and epic passages crafted by Raffo, Gianpiero, Simone, Santo and Cristiano penetrate deep inside your mind and soul in the name of Heavy Metal, providing you some amazing musical moments in your everyday life.

Best moments of the album: Immortal, Spread your Fire and Missed.

Worst moments of the album: Somewhere.

Released in 2020 Rockshots Records

Track listing
1. Immortal 4:55
2. Spread your Fire 4:55
3. Ten Years 5:09
4. Streets of Memory 4:20
5. Hypnos 1:51
6. Forget and Survive 4:48
7. Just Ice 7:46
8. Missed 4:51
9. A Matter of Time 5:47
10. Somewhere 4:22

Band members
Raffaele “Raffo” Albanese – vocals, choir vocals, guitars on “Streets of Memory”
Gianpiero Milione – guitars
Simone Martinelli – guitars
Santo Clemenzi – bass, choir vocals
Cristiano Battini – drums

Guest musicians
Davide Castro – keyboards on “Immortal”, “Spread your Fire”, “Ten Years”, “Streets of Memory”, “A Matter of Time” and “Somewhere”
Andrea De Paoli – keyboards on “Ten Years”, “Forget and Survive”, “Missed” and “A Matter of Time”
Oreste Giacomini – keyboards on “Immortal”
Roberto Tiranti, Giacomo Voli, Angelo Guidetti, Marco Spitale, Stefano Nusperli, Marco Olmedi, Ros Crash, Jennifer Ferretti – choir vocals

Album Review – Arcana 13 / Black Death EP (2020)

A lethal mixture between the visual terror of Italian horror with the heavy and magical atmospheres of 70’s Occult Rock in the form of a short but extremely sharp and obscure EP.

“Emblems seen through the fog, it’s the end of it all. Look upon the blood-red moon and you’ll be facing the Black Death.”

Hailing from Italy, the birthplace of cult horror movie masters like Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Mario Bava, among many others, more specifically from Ravenna, a city in in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, Doom/Heavy Metal entity Arcana 13 (which should be read as Arcana Tredici, as “tredici” is 13 in Italian) is unleashing upon humanity more of their “Horror Doom”, a lethal mixture between the visual terror of Italian horror with the heavy and magical atmospheres of 70’s Occult Rock, with their brand new EP entitled Black Death, the follow-up to their 2016 full-length opus Danza Macabra.

Comprised of Simone Bertozzi and Andrea Burdisso on vocals and guitars, Filippo Petrini on bass and Luigi Taroni on drums, Arcana 13’s latest gravestone is the collaboration with director Luca Canale Brucculeri on his new horror TV series Black Death, based on the eponymous comic book. He got enthralled by Arcana 13’s music and decided to commission the main theme’s songwriting for the series, resulting in this short but extremely effective display of horror and doom by Arcana 13, all complemented by a grim artwork designed by Spanish artist Pol Abran (Branca Studio). Having said that, are you ready to face darkness and horror together with this talented four-piece act of doom?

Like in a sinister horror movie the song Black Death starts in a truly phantasmagorical way, evolving into a feast of damned beats blasted by Luigi and cryptic guitar lines by both Simone and Andrea. Not only that, it has a beautiful Black Sabbath-inspired vibe that will certainly captivate all your senses, inviting you to feel the thunderous bass by Filippo smashing your skull mercilessly, while the last part of the song is faster, more dynamic and more flammable, bringing to our avid ears a wild guitar solo as the icing on the cake. Then Arcana 13 offer us all something I’d never thought I would see one day, a somber and atmospheric Doom Metal version of an Iron Maiden song, more specifically the old school Wrathchild (check out this amazing version from Iron Maiden’s latest live album The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter, released in 2018), where Filippo kicks ass on bass while the vocal lines sound and feel grim and introspective from start to finish, also showcasing a fantastic job done by Simone and Andrea with their damned riffage.

If Black Death is only the “teaser trailer” to what Arcana 13 are preparing for us in the near future in the form of a new horror movie-inspired full-length opus, then we can all rest assured great things are about to happen in the ominous world of such skillful and hardworking Italian group. Hence, keep an eye on their official Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the quartet, and grab your copy of Black Death from their official BandCamp page, from the Aural Music webstore, from FYE.com and soon from several other locations, showing your utmost support to a band that certainly knows how to transform a spine-chilling, psychological horror story into top-of-the-line heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Both songs are darkly amazing.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Aural Music

Track listing
1. Black Death 6:48
2. Wrathchild (Iron Maiden cover) 3:52

Band members
Simone Bertozzi – vocals, guitar
Andrea Burdisso – vocals, guitar
Filippo Petrini – bass
Luigi Taroni – drums

Album Review – Danger Zone / Don’t Count On Heroes (2019)

Rest assured we can always count on this talented Italian squad to make our lives better to the sound of their first-class, 80’s-inspired Hard Rock.

As we’re quickly approaching the end of 2019, let’s enjoy a melodious and vibrant feast of Hard Rock infused with Heavy and Power Metal elements to properly warm us up for the year that’s about to begin, hosted by Bologna, Italy-based veteran rockers Danger Zone, who have just released their fourth full-length album Don’t Count On Heroes, the follow-up to their highly-acclaimed 2016 album Closer To Heaven. Featuring the same lineup as in their 2016 album, that being Giacomo Gigantelli on vocals, Roberto Priori and Danilo Faggiolino on the guitars, Matteo Minghetti on bass, Pier Mazzini on keyboards and Paolo Palmieri on drums, Don’t Count On Heroes is another ode to 80’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal split into 11 classy compositions, reminding us all once again that although those golden years of rock and metal might be long gone, they’re still alive and kicking inside the hearts of us fans and of talented musicians like the ones from Danger Zone.

As soon as you hit play, futuristic sounds will ignite the Hard Rock party entitled Demon or Saint, led by Paolo’s steady beats and Pier’s classic keys, while Matteo brings thunder to the music with his metallic bass. Needless to say, it’s quite impossible to stand still to this electrifying display of rock music. After such amazing welcome card, the band delivers more melodic and pleasant notes in Faster Than Love, where Giacomo gives a lesson in 80’s Hard Rock on vocals, or in other words, it couldn’t sound more Sunset Strip than this; followed by Somewhere Out of Time, keeping the rhythm fast and upbeat, with Roberto and Danilo extracting sheer electricity form their guitars accompanied by the thunderous bass by Matteo, resulting in a beautiful composition that will please all fans of our good old Rock N’ Roll.

Firing a more melodic and radio-friendly sound, those Italian rockers offer to our ears the ballad Destiny, with the guitars by Danilo and Roberto filling our ears with joy and harmony, all boosted by Pier’s classic keys, whereas it’s time to speed things up again and increase the level of adrenaline in Down to Passion, led by Paolo’s spot-on beats and Matteo’s rumbling bass. Put differently, this is a dancing tune that lives up to the legacy of 80’s Hard Rock with the band’s own European twist, not to mention Pier and Roberto’s healthy “duel of solos”, adding even more energy to the overall result. In Rise Again we’re treated to an acoustic, serene intro where Giacomo showcases all his vocal potency flowing into a beautiful ballad with introspective lyrics and endless passion, while Hang on to Your Heart is another straightforward creation by Danger Zone showcasing classic guitar lines and beats. It’s nothing truly special, but its chorus is indeed catchy and should work really well if played at a rock n’ roll radio station.

And it seems Danger Zone are investing heavily on ballads this time, as Forever Now is one more display of how mellow and passionate they can sound, with Roberto bringing a sensational rockin’ touch to the song with his guitar solos while Giacomo beautifully declaims the song’s positive lyrics. Then rev up your engines for a mid-tempo Hard Rock extravaganza entitled Rolling Thunder, where Paolo doesn’t stop pounding his drums, therefore providing Giacomo all he needs to thrive on vocals and again presenting awesome guitar solos for our total delectation. The second to last tune in Don’t Count On Heroes, titled Breakaway, is faster and more furious than most songs of the album, with its guitars sounding utterly strident and sharp, not to mention Pier’s 80’s-inspired keys bringing even more adrenaline to the music, and that heaviness and fun goes on until the song’s very last second. Last but not least, a piano-based ballad named Eternity closes the album on a melancholic and gentle note, again focusing on Giacomo’s potent vocal lines but with Roberto obviously stealing the spotlight with his lean solos, resulting in a perfect song for listening together with your loved ones.

As aforementioned, Danger Zone have been putting a lot of effort and focus on the melody and harmony of their compositions, which is beyond clear in their new album Don’t Count On Heroes (available for a full listen on Spotify), and if you’re a fan of this very melodic side of 80’s Hard Rock and Glam Metal go check what the band is up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and grab your copy of their pleasant new album from the Pride & Joy Music webstore, from the AOR Heaven webstore, from CDON.se, from Apple Music or from Amazon. We might not be able to count on heroes to save us in our dangerous society, but we can surely count on Danger Zone to make our lives easier and happier to the sound of their excellent and classic Hard Rock.

Best moments of the album: Demon or Saint, Down to Passion and Breakaway.

Worst moments of the album: Hang on to Your Heart.

Released in 2019 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Demon or Saint 4:55
2. Faster Than Love 4:40
3. Somewhere Out of Time 4:17
4. Destiny 4:12
5. Down to Passion 4:05
6. Rise Again 4:07
7. Hang on to Your Heart 4:07
8. Forever Now 4:36
9. Rolling Thunder 4:25
10. Breakaway 4:30
11. Eternity 4:58

Band members
Giacomo Gigantelli – vocals
Roberto Priori – lead guitar
Danilo Faggiolino – guitar
Matteo Minghetti – bass
Pier Mazzini – keyboards
Paolo Palmieri – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Federica Lanna

While angels are turning into grace… Demons languish because of their pains…

It’s time to be embraced by the beautiful voice of the stunning Italian singer Federica Lanna, frontwoman for Modena-based Symphonic Metal act Sleeping Romance, here on The Headbanging Moose, and let me tell you that once you are touched by the mesmerizing, delicate and passionate vocals by our metal chick of the month of March, you’ll become addicted to her voice and music. That’s what first-class Symphonic Metal with female vocals is all about, and Federica is here to show us all the metallic scene in Italy is alive and on fire and that her band is one of the most interesting names we should be paying attention to when it comes to symphonic music.

Born on April 26, 1986 in Modena, a city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region known for its balsamic vinegar, opera heritage, Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars, Federica lives up to the legacy and culture of her hometown, having studied opera singing for around three or four years in her career. She had to stop her course, though, due to the high cost for her at that time, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t resumed her studies in recent years, when she began studying with a speech therapist as well as started working with Italian singer, keyboardist, producer, bassist and vocal coach Michele Luppi (Vision Divine, Secret Sphere, Whitesnake). Federica said in one of her interviews that unfortunately she doesn’t play any other instruments like guitar or keyboards, but who said she needs more than her voice to embellish the airwaves, right?

In regards to her career with Sleeping Romance, when she joined the crew in 2012 the band was at that time still called Hybrid Resolution, playing a style closer to Gothic Metal instead of their current Symphonic Metal. Federica didn’t release anything under the name Hybrid Resolution, though, with the band’s only release since their inception in 2009 being their 2011 five-track self-titled debut EP. The original idea of the band’s mastermind, guitarist Federico Truzzi, was about combining orchestral and symphonic music to rock and metal, which is why it was originally named Hybrid Resolution, but they decided to change the name to Sleeping Romance in 2013, already with Federica as their lead singer, to give the band a darker, more evocative and more romantic touch. Owner of a delicate but at the same time very powerful voice, Federica’s approach when developing her vocals for the music by Sleeping Romance is quite straightforward, as she works together with Federico in order to create vocal lines that not only value her voice, but the entire song. The duo tries different solutions and ranges together until they reach a desired shape and form, with Federico always providing her keyboard drafts to help her with the vocal melodies.

Drawing influences from movie soundtracks and classical music, and playing what can be labeled as “Mediterranean Symphonic Metal”, the band currently comprised of our diva Federica Lanna on vocals, the aforementioned Federico Truzzi on the guitar and orchestrations, Fabrizio Incao also on the guitar, Lorenzo Costi on bass and Francesco Zanarelli on drums have already released two full-length albums, those being Enlighten, in 2013, and Alba, in 2017, as well as a few singles through the years. Since the release of their debut opus, the band has toured quite extensively in Europe, playing mini-tours and one-off festival shows around the continent, including Brainstorm Festival and FemME in the Netherlands, Christmas Rock Night in Germany and many others. There are several videos on YouTube where you can enjoy Federica’s voice (and obviously her beauty), such as Lost In My Eyes, Where The Light Is Bleeding, My Temptation, December Flower, The Promise Inside, and an acoustic version of Finding My Way.

Also, although Federica hadn’t been in any band of certain significance before joining Sleeping Romance, you can still enjoy her gorgeous voice as a guest singer in the song The Final Crusade, released in 2017 by Austrian Symphonic/Progressive Power Metal band Serenity in the album Lionheart. Besides that special appearance, Federica also updates her own YouTube channel on a regular basis with her personal versions for metal and even non-metal songs from an array of bands and musicians, such as Within Temptation’s Somewhere (in partnership with Angela Di Vincenzo, from Secret Rule), Epica’s Storm the Sorrow (together with Alex Lady Owl), and Tesseract’s Tourniquet.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As Federica started singing when she was still a child, growing up among Disney soundtracks and her father’s albums (which included classics like Pink Floyd, Queen, Enigma and Enya), her range of influences in music can be considered quite wide. For instance, she loved singing both Bohemian Rhapsody and The Sleeping Beauty, two very distinct but obviously very impactful and multi-layered songs. Apart from Freddie Mercury, Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and her father’s influence, Federica said in one of her interviews that it was when she discovered the music by Within Temptation that she began developing her taste for Symphonic Metal, falling in love with the genre. Among her favorite bands, she always mentions Within Temptation, Nightwish, Evanescence, Rhapsody and so on, also including other bands and styles on her list in recent years, such as Shoegaze, Djent and Progressive Metal.

When asked about the metal environment in her homeland Italy, specially the Symphonic Metal scene, Federica said that, due to the increasing number of amazing bands, the biggest challenge not only for Sleeping Romance but for any band is to be unique, to stand out and not be just a copy of a band which already exists like Nightwish and Within Temptation. She complemented by saying that despite the fact Sleeping Romance is a fairly young band and that it’s an honor for them to be compared to renowned names in the scene, they’re always trying to create something unique and recognizable, always aiming at generating their own sound. Federica also said that metal in Italy is undervalued in spite of all those excellent new bands appearing in the scene, and that’s one of the reasons why she doesn’t usually have a lot of chances to meet other musicians and play with other metal bands in her homeland.

Federica is obviously passionate about touring with Sleeping Romance and playing live, saying that during her first ever tour with the band she hadn’t eaten anything for two days before their first gig in Holland so excited she was then, also saying that tour was one of the best experiences of their lives. When asked about the most important aspects while preparing for a live show, our talented metalhead said that it’s essential for all band members to work, move and look on stage as one single entity, focusing on the songs instead of on their individual performances, complementing her thought by saying that they truly enjoy involving the audience by stimulating their senses and imagination during their concerts. In addition, as a tip to anyone who’s going on a tour with a band, she said touring is not always easy despite all the satisfaction it might give you, and that it’s really important to take care of yourself, bringing with you things like medicine and blankets, as well as being very patient with everyone and everything and be ready for whatever comes during the tour.

Last but not least, Federica said in one of her interviews that finding the perfect lineup before getting into the studio to record a new album is more than essential (which is why by the way she ended up playing with Sleeping Romance, as they changed singers), and that recording an album that truly represents the musicians involved and show the listener the band in their very nature is something Sleeping Romance is always in pursuit of. Furthermore, as the only woman in Sleeping Romance, Federica said she feels like “the princess among the ogres”, saying that the guys can be quite rude sometimes, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like spending time with them; quite the contrary, that’s one of the main reasons why she enjoys being with them so much as it’s never boring or tiresome. Personally, I believe it’s Federico, Lorenzo, Francesco and Fabrizio who truly benefit from having such talented, beautiful and fun metal woman among them all the time, don’t you agree? That certainly brings a very welcome balance to their lives in the studio and on the road with Sleeping Romance.

Federica Lanna’s Official Facebook page
Federica Lanna’s Official Instagram
Federica Lanna’s Official YouTube channel
Sleeping Romance’s Official Facebook page
Sleeping Romance’s Official Instagram

“I have never thought to be so good to deserve a musical career and then Sleeping Romance came into my life and I experienced a constancy and a love that I ‘ve never felt for anything, and a couple of years ago I also started to teach singing; music gave me my place in the world when I didn’t know what to do with myself.” – Federica Lanna

Album Review – Avelion / Illusion of Transparency (2017)

An emotional journey through the fragility and strength of human nature presented by an up-and-coming Italian band ready to conquer the world of melodic and modern Heavy Metal.

Aiming at overpowering genre classification by creating a new form of Modern Metal mixed with Progressive Metal influences and expressions, the talented squad of Italian metallers known as Avelion are set to conquer the world of heavy music with their first full-length album, the beautiful Illusion of Transparency, an emotional journey through the fragility and strength of human nature. Founded in 2008 in Parma, a city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, this Melodic Metal act already released two strong albums, the EP Cold Embrace in 2011 and another EP titled Liquid Breathing in 2013 (followed by a mini-tour in Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia), but it’s with their new album that they’ve finally reached their most effective and promising shape to date.

Featuring the artwork, design and photography by Stefano Mattioni (Viron 2.0), Illusion of Transparency not only brings all the characteristics of high-end Melodic Metal, but its lyrics will also reach to your heart and your mind in an exciting manner. “The introspective lyrics revolve around the human condition: interpersonal conflict, dehumanization and the difficulty that someone could experience while trying to “fit” into society are the themes of the album”, said frontman William Verderi. Keyboardist Oreste Giacomini also complemented that thought, saying that “we all live in the illusion of transparency. Just think about the media, the internet and our cognitive bias. Reality is becoming more and more blurred and shady.”

In the opening track Fading Out the futuristic sounds by Oreste are suddenly joined by the melodic voice by William and the powerful, electrifying guitars and beats by Leonardo Freggi and Alessandro Ponzi, respectively, sounding like a fast-paced hybrid of Dream Theater and Stratovarius, therefore providing a flawless depiction of what this talented band is capable of doing. Echoes and Fragrance, a song that’s very progressive and exciting from start to finish, presents more modern sounds emanating from the whimsical keyboards by Oreste, while Leonardo and bassist Danilo Arisi deliver thunderous lines through their strings; followed by Burst Inside, where Oreste is once again responsible for building a metallic ambience for the rest of the band to deliver their potent fusion of Progressive and Melodic Metal. Furthermore, the intricate drumming by Alessandro and the Dream Theater-inspired performance by William on vocals are the highlights of this great song, making it even more compelling for fans of the genre.

Increasing the level of epicness and feeling, Avelion deliver an emotive tune titled Derailed Trails of Life, a futuristic semi-ballad showcasing a powerful atmosphere and featuring the tender, delicate backing vocals by guest singer Francesca Pasquinelli, not to mention the soulful guitar solo by Leonardo at the end. In the next track, Falling Down, a piano intro quickly turns into a modern Heavy Metal feast, yet again presenting elements from the music by bands such as Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and DragonForce, with Leonardo and Danilo providing some good balance with their heavy strings in contrast with the smooth keyboards by Oreste. Innocence Dies, a progressive and dark creation by Avelion with a lot of intricacy added to its melody, is perfect for explaining to the average person what modern Melodic Metal is all about, while in the electrified tune Waste My Time the bass guitar by Danilo sounds absolutely thunderous. Moreover, this awesome composition presents several breaks amidst the heaviness blasted by all instruments, while William continues to impress with his tuneful vocals.

The last batch of songs from the album keeps the energy flowing smoothly, starting with Open Your Eyes, where more rumbling sounds permeate the song’s industrialized ambience. However, what starts as sheer heaviness suddenly morphs into a power ballad that, despite its complexity and energy, doesn’t live up to the rest of the album in terms of quality. Blending the underground aura of Progressive Metal with mainstream modern Hard Rock, Ain’t No Dawn displays a superb performance by Oreste and Alessandro with their respective instruments, not to mention the song’s precise tempo changes, before Never Wanted, the last track in Illusion of Transparency, presents a more-than-pure Avelion sonority, from its rhythmic drumming to its slashing and melodic riffs, with William stealing the spotlight with one of his strongest vocal performances of the whole album, flowing to a climatic and harmonious ending.

In a nutshell, Avelion sound more than ready to conquer the world of heavy music with the sheer awesomeness found in Illusion of Transparency, and you can start following this up-and-coming band on Facebook to know more about their music and projects, as well as listen to their music on YouTube or SoundCloud. If you’re a fan of Melodic Metal always searching for new amazing bands to enhance your collection, go to the Revalve Records’ Big Cartel, to iTunes or to Amazon and buy your copy of this top-tier, full-bodied album by Avelion. Illusion of Transparency might discuss about the fragility and strength of human nature, but its music is far from being fragile or weak. Quite the contrary, this is potent Heavy Metal, just the way we love it.

Best moments of the album: Fading Out, Derailed Trails of Life and Waste My Time.

Worst moments of the album: Open Your Eyes.

Released in 2017 Revalve Records

Track listing
1. Fading Out 4:46
2. Echoes and Fragrance 4:31
3. Burst Inside 3:44
4. Derailed Trails of Life 4:38
5. Falling Down 5:30
6. Innocence Dies 3:11
7. Waste My Time 4:03
8. Open Your Eyes 3:39
9. Ain’t No Dawn 4:47
10. Never Wanted 4:16

Bonus track
11. Echoes and Fragments (The Algorithm Remix) 4:01

Band members
William Verderi – vocals
Leonardo Freggi – guitars
Danilo Arisi – bass
Oreste Giacomini – keyboards, programming
Alessandro Ponzi – drums

Guest musicians
Gianmarco Soldi – guitar solos on “Open Your Eyes” and “Ain’t No Dawn”, backing vocals on “Ain’t No Dawn”
Olaf Thörsen – guitar solo on “Falling Down”
Francesca Pasquinelli – backing vocals on “Derailed Trails of Life” and “Falling Down”