It's hardly a surprise, but here's another upstart symphonic power metal band, Astral Domine, from, you guessed it, Italy. The band was created several years ago by composer, lyricist, and guitarist Luca Gagnoni wishing to create epic power metal. The result is their debut album, Arcanium Gloriae (from the Latin, roughly, 'secrets of glory').
This is rather basic symphonic power metal, and so rather typical of the genre. It's like a poor man's Rhapsody of Fire or, perhaps better, Rhapsody of Fire 'lite' as some songs offer some acoustic folk elements. Arcanium Gloriae has all the traditional elements: a foundation of melodic metal, the speed of power metal at times, a symphonic orchestral layer, big choral arrangements, some spoken word portions, and Gagnoni's fiery neo-classical guitar playing.
Having made the earlier comment of this being genre typical, when Astral Domine is on their A-game, they can be quite substantial, even impressive, as with Tale of the Elves and Pain. Where Heroes Die is another example if only for the deft Gagnoni solos, but more so because Rhapsody of Fire's own Fabio Lione contributes vocals to the song. He's much stronger vocalist than Marco Scorletti, whose presence can almost seem minimalist throughout, perhaps due to the mix. However, he does get a chance to shine with the song My Lord. It's also a good example of the lighter side of Astral Domine, where the use the strength of a choral arrangement complimented by piano to get that epic operatic metal feeling. Other times, Astral Domine simply slips back into typical symphonic power metal as with Welcome to My Reign, speeding along, yet not offering a lot of substance, except maybe the guitar solo. Nevertheless, Arcanium Gloriae is a significant and promising start for Astral Domine. Though their biggest challenges will be bringing something fresh and inventive to genre in the future so they can step out of the shadows of the greats, like Rhapsody of Fire. Recommended if you love the genre.
NOTE: My digital promo copy had flaws in two songs. Both Moonlight and Falsi Dei stopped at some point and would not play. Downloading them again individually, rather than part of full album Zip file, seemed to solve the problem. The buyer might want to keep this in mind when purchasing the album in digital format.
Arcanium Gloriae is a significant and promising start for Astral Domine, even if they are standing in the shadow and also mimicking Rhapsody of Fire.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]