VISION DIVINE – THE HOUSE OF THE ANGELS, song from DESTINATION SET TO NOWHERE LP, 2012, earMUSIC

Metalview

Live at Borderline, Pisa, Italy, January 2013

Band based in Massa, Italy. Lineup: Fabio Lione – Vocals (Angra, Hollow Haze, Rhapsody of Fire, ex-Symmetry, ex-Labyrinth, ex-Kamelot (live), ex-Athena, ex-J. Storm); Olaf Thörsen – Guitars; Federico Puleri – Guitars; Andrea “Tower” Torricini – Bass; Alessio “Tom” Lucatti – Keyboards; Alessandro “Bix” Bissa – Drums.

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DGM – Momentum 2013

Momentum is my very first contact with the Italian progressive metallers DGM, shame on me…

For those who have never met them before like me, DGM is a band of long standing, founded in 1994, released eight studio albums,  one double live CD and one self produced demo EP. Listening to their latest I think they take a lot of their musical inspiration from Symphony X (yeah 🙂 ), indeed, there is one track featuring Russel Allen on vocals. On their webpage they state that the album ‘represents the full stylistic maturity of a band’ and I’d totally agree, though listening through earlier releases quickly I’d say their style is very consistent throughout.

The instrumentals, especially the guitars are very reminiscent of Symphony X, whereas the vocals could fit equally well in 80ies Van Halen or even Toto, they are very hard rock, very melodic with catchy lines.

A bit back histroy of the band that should be more widely known imo

Their second release Wings of Time was a favourite of many Italian metal magazines and earned them lots of fame in Japan too, getting them an exclusive interview on the Japanese BURN! mag.

Different Shapes, which was released in 2007 was awarded top album by both Rock Hard and Metal Hammer.

DGM played twice at the Gods of MetalFestival together with Heaven&Hell, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Dark Tranquility among others, Lagoa Burning Festival (2007), Prog-Power Europe (2007 and 2013) and supported Symphony X on their European tour, sharing the stage with Pagan’s Mind to.

Time to dive into the back catalougue! cover art

1994 – Random Access Zone (mini CD)
1997 – Change Direction
1999 – Wings of Time
2001 – Dreamland
2003 – Hidden Place
2004 – Misplaced
2007 – Different Shapes
2009 – Frame
2010 – Synthesis (DVD + CD)

2013 – Momentum

Tracklist:

1. Reason (feat. Russell Allen)
2. Trust
3. Universe
4. Numb
5. Pages
6. Repay
7. Chaos (feat. Viggo Lofstad)
8. Remembrance
9. Overload
10. Void
11. Blame

Current Line-Up

Mark Basile – Vocals
Simone Mularoni – Guitars
Andrea Arcangeli – Bass
Emanuele Casali – Keyboards
Fabio Costantino – Drums

http://www.dgmsite.com

Thy Majestie – power metal from Italy

Thy Majestie is a Power metal band from Palermo in Italy that formed in 1998.

Their 6th studio album, ShiHuangDi, released in 2012 was my first encounter with the band and I am still asking myself, why this band is not better known. Reading their Wiki page it seems like they missed out on some important opportunities, like touring with Kamelot in 2002: They were invited by Thomas Youngblood but couldn’t afford the travel expenses and had to fulfill recording duties (for Scarlet Records). Or signing with LIMB music, duties with Scarlet Records again.

The album is a concept album, like some of the earlier releases about Jeanne D’Ark for instance. ShiHuangDi refers to the first Chinese emperor, and this sets the lyrical concept for the album. A few musical references to Eastern music here are overpowered by the unique power metal style. Bands like very early Kamelot come to mind, but not when it comes to vocals that are more high pitched, maybe like Fabio Leone (who actually sings on one track here) or again, someone compared the vocal style to Sonata Arctica. The approach is symphonic and epic, but never cheesy, and slightly progressive. I especially like the drums, hard ‘n’ heavy, like they should be. Lots of keyboards and some nice string arrangements, well fitted and not overdone. This is more metal than Royal Hunt’s latest release (where guitars are too much in the background and keys too much in the front) but otherwise this reference works well too.  Jump down there to listen for yourself ….

ShiHuangDi cover art

ShiHuangDi (2012)
1. Zhongguo
2. Seven Reigns
3. Harbinger Of New Dawn
4. Siblings Of Tian
5. Walls Of Emperor
6. Under The Same Sky
7. Farewell
8. Huanghun
9. Ephemeral
10. End Of The Days (featuring Fabio Lione)
11. Requiem

I’ll surely dive into the back catalogue of this band. Hastings 1066, a concept album (guess about what) seems to have been one of the most celebrated releases in Italy and maybe even whole of Europe, and progressive elements were more marked on some albums I heard.

Their releases:

Perpetual Glory (self released, 1999)
The Lasting Power (2000)
1066 (demo, 2001)
Hastings 1066 ( 2002)
Jeanne d’Arc (2005)
Dawn (2008)
ShiHuangDi  (2012)

thymajestie.com

First video by Schysma – Lost In A Maze

Just when I managed to finish the review, Schysma have managed to finish their first video 🙂

Schysma, Progressive metal from Milan (Italy), present their first official videoclip,

“Lost in the maze” (Video Edit), based on the first EP Imperfect Dichotomy (2012).

http://www.facebook.com/schysma
http://www.schysma.com/

Schysma – Imperfect Dichotomy EP review

I’d like to introduce you to Schysma, an Italian progressive metal band who released an EP in Septmeber 2012. I think these are tracks that will also go on the full album that is scheduled to be released later in the year.

Schysma EP cover art

Tracks:

01. Lost In The Maze

02. Noise Of Silence

03. Migdal

04. Supreme Solution

05. Sinners

stream: http://www.facebook.com/schysma

First off Schysma is not your usual Italian metal that oozes epic heroism in symphonic brightness. Influences here may range from hard rock to industrial, and the most noteable sound at first are the vocals. Riccardo Minicucci’s voice has an extremely characteristic sound; maybe not everybody will like it, but I love it. And man, can this guy sing. Just you wait for the higher notes …  He’s got an ear for catchy melodies too and interesting vocal lines, never gaudy or cheesy, throwing in some perfect growls here and there.

The guitar parts are classic metal style, the solos just let you guess at the virtuosity of the player Vladimiro Sala, who never loses himself in pointless fast shred-overkills but serves the songs perfectly with Pink Floyd style solos. Here too we find catchy riffs that will stick although they are never simplistic or easy.

The keyboards add colour by use of sounds, I feel sure these will become a charcteristic hallmark for Schysma.

The whole EP comes across as a very powerful, dark and gloomy work of art that becomes more and more interesteing the more often I listen to it. The songs have drive and a lot of drama, that will not leave you unaffected. The lyrics are gloomy too. The intro to ‘Lost In The Maze’ is spoken by what I take to be a preacher ending with the repeated question, ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ and this seems to be the theme around which the songs are centered. Culminating in the song “Supreme Solution” with the words:  ‘… Genocide, ethnic cleansing, it’s all the fuck you need ..’

I definitely recommend checking this band out!

And that they are creative not only musically is proved by the pics on their facebook page, take a look at how they have a knack of creating athmospere visually.

A little background: It all started in 2009 as Purpleknights, but they soon disbanded again leaving Martina Bellini and Giorgio Di Paola working on the songs and who become the nucleus of Schysma. The band as it is now was formed in 2011 and 2012 and recordings for the EP must have started straight away. All band members have been active in different formations before that, but none of these bands are known to me at all (Ananke, SineVolume, Sehnsucht, Onderock,  Yanus, Babylon) but I read that Ananke put out a formidable power metal album in 2009 that you may be interested in checking out.

Martina Bellini – Keyboard and Programming
Giorgio Di Paola – Bass Guitar
Riccardo Minicucci – Lead and Backing Vocals
Vladimiro Sala – Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals
Luca Solina – Drums and Percussions

http://www.schysma.com/

guest post by Heidi Bobal

The Prowlers

The Prowlers are a progressive powermetal band from Rome, Italy, formed in 1996

Point Of No Return 2013

The Point Of No Return by The Prowlers album art
1.  Touchy Too
2.  Face To Face
3.  Heaven Starts From You
4.  Victims
5.  The Death of Me
6.  Point of No Return
7.  Warriors of the Wasteland
8.  Mind Lies
9.  The Attraction Law
10. Profession, Pt. 1:  The Reading Day
11. Profession, Pt. 2:  The Education Day
12. Profession, Pt. 3:  Time to Go

The band combine a variety of musical styles, sometimes inside a single song, from Hard Rock to NWOBHM, from Power Metal to Progressive.

In 1999 they recorded their first demo of low quality due to a total “home-made” production so, in December 2000 they entered the studio to record what became their debut,  “A Descent into the Maelstrom”, taking inspiration by the E.A. Poe novel. The response was positive and some labels got interested, but no agreement was found. One year later, another demo titled “Souls Thieves” was recorded and this time got the band a deal with the Italian label “Northwind Records” who released the album in 2003. A lot of buzz was created in Italy and media was positive about the album. In the beginning of 2005 yet another demo that was to become their next album was sent to Intromental Management, who gave them a deal for recording and releasing “Devil’s Bridge”;  mixed in Jailhouse Studios (Horsens, Danmark) during October 2005, under the guiding eyes of Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, TNT, Beyond Twilight, etc). It was released 2006 and received lots of positive reviews from all over the world.
Two years later they entered the studio again for recording “Re-Evolution”, released through German label Pure Steel Records in 2009.

In April 2009, after 13 years of activity, guitar player Stefano D’Orazi left the band and was replaced by Roberto Franzò.

The Prowlers toured with Manticora and Circle II Circle during their European Tour and was lined up for the first Devilstone Open Air Festival in Lithuania with Sepultura as headliners. In 2010 they appeared at the Total Metal Festival in Italy.

Their 4th album “Point Of No Return” was released on January the 15th, 2013

You can stream “Devil’s Bridge” on Deezer, “Point Of No Return” and “Souls Thieves” on last fm

Discography

A Descent into the Maelstrom    2001
Souls Thieves             2003
Devil’s Bridge                2006
Re-Evolution              2009
Point Of No Return   2013

Line-Up

Fabio Minchillo – Vocals
Massimo “Reckless Fable” Canfora – Guitars
Massimiliano De Stefano – Keyboards
Claudio “Dr. K” Cappabianca – Drums

http://www.theprowlers.com 

Secret Sphere

SECRET SPHERE is an Italian power metal band founded in summer 1997, by the talented guitar shredder Aldo Lonobile.

Their music is symphonic, very melodic and catchy and combines majestic arrangements and a multitude of musical influences from hard rock to progressive metal. They released six albums , and played with or supported bands like King Diamond, Gamma Ray, Edguy  and many more.

There’s not a lot of info about this band, and they kept their line up rather well through the years, changing a drummer from time to time but not much more than that. Secret Sphere can surely be considered as one of the great bands out of  Italy together with Labyrinth, Vision Divine and Rhapsody.

Their first singer Roberto “Ramon” Messina, also known for his work with Alkemyst, Avatar, Highlord and Hemisphere was replaced by Michele Luppi – formerly of Vision Divine and Thaurorod.

Dicography:
Between Story and Legend Demo – 1998
Mistress of the Shadowlight – 1999
A Time Never Come – 2001
Scent of Human Desire – 2003
Heart & Anger – 2005
Sweet Blood Theory – 2008
Archetype – 2010

“Portrait Of A Dying Heart” the new album already featuring Michele Luppi has been acclaimed all over the world as one the best melodic metal releases of the year

Portrait of a Dying Heart – 2012

Cover Art
Secret Sphere Portrait Of A Dying Heart

1. Portrait of a Dying Heart
2. X
3. Wish & Steadiness
4. Union 04:12
5. The Fall
6. Healing
7. Lie to Me
8. Secrets Fear
9. The Rising of Love
10. Eternity
11. Legend (Japan edition bonus track)

Current Line Up:
Michele Luppi – Vocals
Aldo Lonobile – All guitars
Andrea Buratto – Bass
Marco Pastorino – Rhythm guitars
Gabriele Ciaccia – Keyboards and piano
Federico Pennazzato – Drums
http://www.secretsphere.org/site/