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 – 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”

Album Review – Moth’s Circle Flight / My Entropy (2016)

Catchy riffs, deranged growls and endless energy in an album that blends Metalcore with tons of other subgenres of heavy music, recommended for the ones in pursuit of the “light in the shadows”.

Rating4

CoverAfter ten years alive and kicking, releasing a couple of EP’s and one full-length album, playing alongside renowned artists such as Sepultura, Extrema and Guilty Method, among others, and participating in important European events like the Colonia Sonora Festival in Turin, Italy, it’s time for Italian Metalcore/Groove Metal wolf pack Moth’s Circle Flight to celebrate a decade of existence with the release of their second full-length album, entitled My Entropy, a melodic turmoil of catchy riffs, demented screams and nonstop adrenaline.

Although it’s considerably hard to describe the sounding of Moth’s Circle Flight due to the crazy amalgamation of rhythms and genres added to their musicality, this is the type of band that will please fans of heavy and uncompromised music the likes of Pantera and Trivium, highly recommended for some good jumping, screaming and headbanging. Formed in the city of Parma in 2003, the band only found their actual formation in 2012, hence shaping up their music to what can be found today in My Entropy.  In their lyrics, the band wishes to reiterate the leitmotif that has accompanied them in recent years, that being “the constant search for light in the shadows, the frenzied gathering around a flame that we’ll never own, but that keeps us alive and eternal.”

When the Slipknot-inspired intro in Man On The Peak morphs into a brutal fusion of Metalcore and Alternative Metal, all hell breaks loose  led by the demented riffs and solos by guitarists Luca “Pellach” Alzapiedi and Francesco “Baldo” Baldi, reminding me of the music by the Butcher Babies with hints of Pantera. An interesting mix of soundings, isn’t it? But that’s just the beginning, as in the neck-breaking tune Ends Of A Shadow we’re treated to the enraged screams by both Gabriele “Gabbo” Rosi and Simone “Pancio” Panciroli, who switch their vocals from the good old times of Phil Anselmo to a frantic version of Axl Rose, and again to what we find in modern Melodic Death Metal, therefore showcasing all their versatility. In addition to that, the song’s awesome chorus will certainly stick to your head for a good amount of time, no doubt about that.

MCFThe alternative Raise Your Head, which presents a lunatic atmosphere usually found in modern Americanized music, is a good choice for igniting some serious mosh pits during the band’s live concerts, with Pellach and Baldo continuing to impress on guitars while Fabio “Bersa” Bersani showcases all his passion for Groove Metal behind his drums. Bassist Marco “Satir” Reggiani kicks off the excellent Late Promises with his thunderous lines, quickly evolving to solid Alternative Metal with additional elements taken from Groove Metal and Metalcore where vocals sound like a mix of Phil Anselmo and Daron Malakian (System Of A Down); followed by An Old Chant, a rabid anthem that condenses the musicality by System Of A Down, Butcher Babies, Alice In Chains, Sevendust and tons of other distinct bands, with its riffs and beats being in total sync and, consequently, creating the ideal ambience for some brutal headbanging and moshing.

And there’s more brutality emanating from the music by Moth’s Circle Flight in what’s perhaps the most melodic of all tracks, Write My Name, where Gabbo and Pancio once again burst their lungs out in a violent but tuneful way, providing a welcome break from the sheer madness of all previous songs. Despite not being a bad song, With Love, With Flames never really take off, maybe because it’s too alternative and the band gets a bit lost deciding if they get heavier or groovier (the guitar solo by Pellach is really good though, as well as the drumming by Bersa), but fortunately that “hesitation” doesn’t last long as we have another kick-ass blast of Groove and Alternative Metal entitled Bursting Into Existence, with its clean vocals once again reminding me of Daron Malakian. The song offers the listener a good balance of harsh screams and clean vocals, with its accelerated rhythm and dissonant riffs adding more fuel to the overall result, maintaining the song’s fire burning until its deranged ending. In Madball (maybe a tribute to American Hardcore icons Madball), growls follow the path built by guitar riffs in what gets a bit repetitive halfway through it, before Ray Of Ira comes to close the album on a high note. It’s amazing how the band blended English and Italian in the lyrics and still sounded very organic, especially during the song’s clean vocal parts. Furthermore, the instrumental pieces are beyond precise and effectively support the message sent in both languages. Well, based on how the album ends, I’m pretty sure we’ll see a lot more of Moth’s Circle Flight in a not-so-distant future.

You can go absolutely mental to the music by Moth’s Circle Flight (also known as MCF, if you like acronyms) by visiting their Facebook page and SoundCloud, and grab your copy of My Entropy at the logic(il)logic Records’ webstore, on iTunes or at CD Baby. And if you’re also searching for the “light in the shadows” mentioned by the band, just like a real moth, I suggest you do it while listening to the vigorous Metalcore by this talented Italian sextet as that will definitely cheer you up, even if you never find the desired light.

Best moments of the album: Ends Of A Shadow, An Old Chant and Bursting Into Existence.

Worst moments of the album: With Love, With Flames and Madball.

Released in 2016 logic(il)logic Records/Andromeda Dischi

Track listing
1. Man On The Peak 4:07
2. Ends Of A Shadow 4:11
3. Raise Your Head 4:19
4. Late Promises 5:10
5. An Old Chant 4:42
6. Write My Name 3:50
7. With Love, With Flames 3:14
8. Bursting Into Existence 5:00
9. Madball 4:14
10. Ray Of Ira 3:57

Band members
Gabriele “Gabbo” Rosi – vocals
Simone “Pancio” Panciroli – vocals
Luca “Pellach” Alzapiedi – lead guitar
Francesco “Baldo” Baldi – rhythm guitar
Marco “Satir” Reggiani – bass
Fabio “Bersa” Bersani – drums