After their phenomenal debut piece, The Phoenix, Mastercastle returns with their sophomore effort Last Desire Directed by guitar whiz Pier Gonella (Labyrinth, Necrodeath, Odyssea), the band also returns with its principals which includes, of course, the brilliant Giorgia Gueglio on lead vocals (who also writes all the lyrics). Ms Gueglio is a pure hard rock/heavy metal singer which, with song compositions, makes Mastercastle a true melodic hard rock and heavy metal band as opposed to another symphonic/goth metal ban in the Dutch or Scandinavian tradition. This in itself is a welcome relief.
Similarities to the previous album remain: Gueglio intelligent lyrics and stirring vocals, and Mr. Gonella's brisk and virtuoso guitar work. Yet, the bombastic neo-classical power metal compositions give way to a more straight forward melodic hard rock and heavy metal sound. Songs like Event Horizon, Wild Spell, and Last Desire emphasize both the skills of Gueglio and Gonella, but are more rocking affairs. I would even say Away is deliberate melodic metal with hard rock hooks. On the other hand, while Misr explores many of these new areas, it also easily sounds like progressive metal in parts.
As previously, Gonella is given opportunity to spread his wings and impress with his virtuoso style on the instrumentals Space Trip and Las Serenissima. The latter is a cover of the Italian ensemble piece Rondo Veneziano rearranged for rock guitar, and picks up on the debut album's neo-classical style. As for Ms. Gueglio, she is impressive throughout, with Jade Star and Great Heaven's Climb representative of the amazing depth of her talent. Mastercastle's Last Desire is an impressive follow-up to their debut, and shows a band neither resting on the laurels of their previous accomplishments nor standing still in their progression to new ideas. Strongly recommended.
Mastercastle's Last Desire is an impressive follow-up to their debut, and shows a band neither resting on the laurels of their previous accomplishments nor standing still in their progression to new ideas.