After a six year silence, Guitarist Tony Vinci reveals his new Speaking to Stones album progressive metal project, Elements, once more on the Lion Music label. For this new album Vinci engaged some world-class players including Andy Engberg (Section A) on vocals, Mark Zonder (Fates Warning, Slavior) on drums, Greg Putnam (Jam Pain Society) on bass and stick, and Anthony Brown (Graphite Symphony) on keyboards.
Speaking to Stones:: sample the music.
Unlike the previous project, Vinci collaborates with keyboard player Anthony Brown for the songwriting process. Additionally, the five musicians were never in the same studio together; they're contributions were developed and recorded different studios in the States and Sweden. Perhaps that gives album title Elements a double meaning.
Lyrically, the songs consider man's relationship to the earth in it's basic elements: fire, wind, water, earth, and the 'quinta essentia,' or the light of nature, considered to be the fifth essential element. But Elements could refer to individual efforts and contributions to this collaborative effort which make the album quite dynamic. Every performer and performance here is intenese and impressive, with substantial kudos to both Zonder and Putnam. The latter's bass work especially engages the listener.
Musically, then, Elements is quite persuasive and entertaining heavier melodic progressive metal, and generally that's the tone across the album. It makes sense for Fire, to be dense, intense and deliberate. However, you might expect Wind and Water to track differently; either could be lighter, wind as a breeze and water a gentle stream or quiet pond. You don't get that. Rather Wind is a tempest and Water, though light in small parts, is ocean waves crashing on a beach. Expect the same from Earth, a very guitar oriented song, and Quinta Essentia invokes all that you've heard in epic summary. Considering this pattern, some may listen and nothing more than a single 57 minute current of heavier prog metal. But they would miss the nuances, like the bass work.
Fundamentally then, Elements is a strong album of intense and entertaining progressive metal crafted by five very gifted musicians. Recommended.