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Vivaldi Metal Project: The Four Seasons
Vivaldi Metal Project The Four Seasons CD Album Review

Vivaldi Metal Project: The Four Seasons

Melodic/Symphonic/Heavy Metal
4.5/5.0

Someone once said that heavy metal is merely classical music with electricity. Oh yeah. That was me. Right now. The Vivaldi Project is the passion of composer and keyboard player Giuseppe Iampieri aka Mistheria. The musician has loved the classical composer's The Four Seasons since his childhood and set himself to the task of applying that famous work to heavy metal. After making a video trailer to advance the project, fellow Italian musician, bassist, and composer Alberto Rigoni jumped on board, and the ball kept rolling with an international cast of musicians. You can find a list of participants at the website.

Mistheria Photo

Giuseppe Iampieri aka Mistheria

I'll admit I had some skepticism at the start. I love The Four Seasons and I love melodic heavy metal. But the idea didn't seem a good fit. Maybe Holst's The Planets. But, not looking one bit at the press material, I put my doubts aside and jumped in.

My first reaction to the first song? "This doesn't sound like Vivaldi at all. Certainly, not the first movement of Spring. And what the hey? Lyrics and vocals? Don't recall that in The Four Seasons." Well, that's because there are no lyrics for The Four Seasons, but I'll return to that matter in a moment.

The first song wasn't Vivaldi. Escape From Hell is an original composition by Mistheria, with lyrics buy Rob Rock. Now that's just stupid. I don't know if it was ego or what. If you're doing an album about The Four Seasons, if you're adapting The Four Seasons for melodic metal, than start the damn album with The Four Seasons. It's just common sense. Seemed lied a bonehead move to me.

Returning to the lyrics and associated vocals and vocal arrangements, something inherently fraught with problems. One, as alluded to earlier, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons has no lyrics. However, they are based on four sonnets (or vice versa as some suggest). If anything why not make the sonnets the lyrics, attach them to the music? Second, if you're rejecting the sonnets as a lyrical source, perhaps at least draw inspiration from them. Not so much here. Compare the beginning of the Spring sonnet with Douglas Docker's start to Metamorphosis.

Spring Sonnet: Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven, Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

Docker: Being twelve is magic My hormones are nothing tragic I'm leaving my childhood behind Enter the age of reason My friends they just know no treason Euphoria's easy to find

"Being twelve is magic; My hormones are nothing tragic"? What kind of dribble is that? Ouch. But Docker can rhyme.

Obviously, I'm not getting the concept. Also, adding vocals, with a variety of different vocalist is problematic. How are the screamo vocals associated with Spring #2 - Largo? Because it's a largo? It doesn't seem to be arranged or played as a largo either. In many cases, the individual vocalist, notably the more coarse or screamo, distract from the arrangements

Dispensing with my first reactions, not entirely positive, let's move on to say the following. As a whole, Mistheria's The Four Seasons is massive, lush, passionate, and engaging. The orchestration and choral arrangements, regardless of what you feel about added lyrics, are magnificent, epic in proportion. The same can be said for the integration synth and guitar lines. the neo-classical guitar style was given it's name for a reason, and violinist Niccolo Paganini is probably head-banging from his tomb. Additionally, if you are familiar with The Four Seasons, you will catch Vivaldi's original melodies and harmonies in each song here. In this sense, Mistheria stays true to the source material while injecting his own interpretation.

Mistheria's treatment of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is exactly that, his interpretation. He took his passion for this classic work and created a vision, an exceptional and inspiring one at that. I doubt that, at this point in time, you will find another another piece of classical music given such an elegant and creative adaptation to melodic heavy metal.

Vivaldi Metal Project - The Illusion of Eternity (Spring 1st mov.)


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The Bottom Line

Mistheria's treatment of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is exactly that, his interpretation. He took his passion for this classic work and created a vision, an exceptional and inspiring one at that. I doubt that, at this point in time, you will find another another piece of classical music given such an elegant and creative adaptation to melodic heavy metal.

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