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Altair: Descending - A Devilish Comedy
Altair - Descending A Devilish Comedy CD Album Review

Altair: Descending - A Devilish Comedy

Progressive Power Metal
4.5/5.0

Here's another band that I thought dropped off the face of the planet, Italy's Altair. Begun nine years ago, the band cut their first album, Lost Eden, back in 2013. They toured around their native Italy, sharing the stage with some European power metal heavyweights such as Freedom Call, Trick or Treat, Kaledon, and Vanexa. Now they return with their second effort, Descending - A Devilish Comedy, and this isn't quite the same band that recorded Lost Eden.

Altair Band Photo

Altair

With that first album, Altair sounded much like warmed over Edguy mixed with some Stratovarius and Gammaray. In others, they were merely just another European melodic power metal band, pretty good but not groundbreaking or innovative. Descending finds the band moving into progressive power metal, in the context of a concept album. As to the latter, it's something of a twist on Dante's Inferno as Altair describes: "It's a concept album who runs through the circles of hell, which exist only in our minds, where all the fears, vices, virtues and the dark side of the human kind are showed in the form of a theatre comedy."

As for Altair's progressive power metal, you'll notice several significant changes in their style. One is simply a greater degree of complexity in their arrangements. I don't mean weirdly technical stuff like math metal. But Altair offers plenty twists in tempo and time signatures, without losing the fundamental essence of wrapping their songs in melody and harmony. Also adding to the complexity of the arrangements, is the contribution of each player and each instrument to the song composition. Guitar parts add rhythm and harmony, yet also blister with twin guitar leads. The guitar lines are some of the best you'll hear. The keyboards add texture, especially symphonic orchestration, but also find places to rise in solo. Other times, as within Godless for example, the synths duel with the guitars. Also, keyboard player Enrico Ditta offers some sweet classical piano flavor, such as the end of Seed Of Violence or just after the start of A Lesson Before Ascending. Underneath all this, the rhythm section is power metal heavy and hard charging, while still giving the songs significant groove. So Altair definitely sticks to their power metal roots; most every song here gallops from the gate. But Altair has also made the significant move to make more intricate, and so interesting, progressive metal. It's a change and difference I enjoy; I think you will too. Easily recommended.



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The Bottom Line

With Descending, Altair has taken their heavy metal to the next level by offering more intricate, and so both interesting and entertaining progressive power metal.

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