European metal is alive as never before. Most of us are familiar with the constant flow of great bands hailing from Finland, Sweden and Germany. But the last decades have seen Italy become a healthy birthplace for melodic rock/metal bands as well. I cannot deny that I like most bands from the boot shaped country: read my review of Dark Horizon's Angel Secret Masquerade. Nevertheless, for some reason, Italyís Secret Sphere has succeeded in escaping my attention. Therefore, Iím glad to spend time on their sixth outing, Archetype.
Saying Archetype is a melodic rock disc is an understatement because these guys are not only melodic, but masters of mixing power metal with orchestral arrangements. Versatility is the word here and each track drowns in it. The tempo of the whole album goes up and down like a thermometer in the western European climate. The disc seamlessly strings together great fanfare moments, slow and quiet interludes, and stomping power and tempo. I can assure you itís impossible to lose attention for a second. On top of that, the guitar work is embedded beautifully in the arrangements, a real joy to listen to. This type of music lives by a great sound and the production is spot on and everything breathes quality.
After the short classical intro, the album starts of in fifth gear with the powerful duo of Line of Fire and Death From Above before the tempo lowers a bit with The Scars That You Can't See. Instantly, with these tracks, you feel that this is going to be a great ride. The track that embodies what Secret Sphere is all about is More Than Myself: an orchestral intro, big and powerful bass and drumming, blazing keys in the back, a slow piano interlude and a great solo in the middle.
Things get even better as the best song is yet to come. Mr. Sin is a big, powerful, and catchy track with great harmony vocals, and a refrain that locks itself in your brain. Also, check out the solo because it is simply fantastic. Mr. Sin is a killer track that, without doubt, will blow the crowds away when performed live.
Future is a more melodic track, but with Into the Void the band hits the gas once more. Secret Sphere follows with the nice ballad All in a Moment. The title track Archetype ends proceedings in a great and powerful fashion. My copy of Archetype also includes two bonus tracks that, in my opinion, should have been left out. The first is the bland, almost acoustic, Vertigo; the other is the superfluous Roxette cover The Look, that hardly differs from its Swedish original.
Nevertheless, I was right. I should have given Secret Sphere more attention on previous releases. However, never late than never and I can assure you I will not let this band pass by in the future. Moreover, it is time to start checking on their substantial back catalogue. Fans of melodic progressive power metal can expect a great Christmas when Archtype is your gift under the tree.
Saying Archetype is a melodic rock disc is an understatement because these guys are not only melodic, but masters of mixing power metal with orchestral arrangements. Versatility is the word here and each track drowns in it.
With a band name such as Hammerschmitt, I'll give you one guess to their country of origin. Yeah. Germany. Hammerschmitt has been plugging away at their craft, melodic hard rock and heavy metal, for nearly 20 years. Until now, all albums were recorded in German ... [ Read More ]