If you know your heavy metal history, then you understand how much the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) influenced the genre. It was a huge paradigm shift that rippled like waves across the world. Any country that enjoyed heavy rock and metal that was affected. This includes Italy, the home of Vanexa, one of the progenitors of NWoBHM style metal in that country. Born in 1979, the band was active through 1995 with three studio albums. After this time, Vanexa's career and presence has been spotty at best. Yet, in 2015 the band gathered to record again. The band features original members Sergio Pagnacco (bass) and Silvano Bottari (drums), and features Italian guitar hero Pier Gonella (Necrodeath, Mastercastle, et al). The return with their first new album in 22 years, Too Heavy To Fly.
When you're born of the NWoBHM movement, you'll likely not depart from it. Vanexa does not. Rather, the band gives us a lesson in the fundamentals of classic melodic heavy metal. All the proper elements are here: twin guitar harmony, whether by riffs or leads, clean melodic singing and harmonious vocal arrangements, and a strong rhythm section which can move by moderation or speed as necessary.
These things are wrapped up two additional essential necessities. One is enough tough heaviness, mostly by the riffage, to be heavy metal. The second is simple and pure hard rock groove. The arrangements swell with all these things, making Too Heavy To Fly a well-crafted and well-played album of traditional, keep it true, heavy metal. Simply, you can band your head to the metal and tap your toe to the rock. Additionally, if you're a fan of the genre, you know that the guitar pyrotechnics should be abundant. And you would be right. The guitar work within Too Heavy To Fly is varied, sweet, and electric.
To mention a few songs then. You'll find some real heavy metal groove monsters with Too Heavy To Fly and Tarantino Theme, or some speed with Paradox. Vanexa can take their melodic metal and wrap it in some AOR accessibility with the catchy Life Is A War or The Traveler. This motif and feeling is even stronger in the anthem-like ballad Kiss In The Dark, which my remind some of mid-period Rainbow.
Honestly, there's simply not a single disappointing song here. However, I will say, at times, vocalist Andrea Ranfagni seemed a bit muted in the mix. But that's just to my ears. Hey. It's all good. Too Heavy To Fly is a fine return to form for Vanexa, delivering a superb album of classic and traditional melodic heavy metal. Easily recommended.
Too Heavy To Fly is a fine return to form for Vanexa, delivering a superb album of classic and traditional melodic heavy metal. Easily recommended.
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