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Ok, I am fan of Skylark and I actually enjoy Eddy’s solo effort but that does not mean that I consider this a very good symphonic fantasy power metal or whatever nomenclature you have for this.
Certainly, Mr. Antonini’s skills for song writing and composition are out of question, especially when considered that mixing classical music with metal music can become a difficult task unless you have two things: 1. an obsessive and exquisite ear taste for classical music. 2. Exceptional song writing skills. Even harder is doing it right. I am not saying this is a bad album but is not the peak of Eddy’s creativity. I actually think that ‘Divine Gates, Gate to hell’ from Skylark is so far the best, but it goes par to ‘Gates to Heaven’ as well but on with the review.
This album is miles super cheesy musical journey. The lyrical content is very much alike Skylark’s ‘’After the Storm’ & ‘Dragon Secrets’ whereas the fantasy epic themes come up since the very first spin and throughout the journey they continue to revolve around shires, trolls, gnomes, evil wizards, etc. I like fantasy themes so I don’t have a problem with that, but the elements per se are a little bit over used already.
The metal music itself is right behind the classical music. In other words, all the rhythm sections are 100% classical music influenced in regards to the riffing style and scales and everything. The drums do not stand out and are just following the rhythm and nothing else. There are plenty of piano solos, harpsichords, flutes, violins (keyboards huh!) and everything is revolved around the classical music. Although the classical music is the first component of the music it does not overshadow the other instruments, which demonstrates Eddy’s superb production skills by now.
The problems start arising the moment you see that the metal music journey is too short, saying, that in terms of metal we only 6 songs: ‘Sun (Keeper of the Dreams)’, ‘Twilight’, ‘Rufus’ and ‘Fear of the Moon’ and ‘Shooting Star/I want out’ and ‘When water became ice’ because the rest are basically classical interludes, spoken interludes and intros which are around half of the cd because of these passages each song has. This is not bad per se, but if you are expecting a full metal assault, whether symphonic or otherwise you will be disappointed, comparing it to ‘Divine Gates: Gate to Hell’. In other words, 65% of the album is NON-metal. Especially, when you consider the fact that all the guitar solos are accompanied by…guess…yes, piano solos. They are actually very good, but again, if you expect the bombastic are power of Skylark’s ‘The Triumph’ or something like, you will fall again disappointed. Take ‘The Crypt of Montmartre’ for example: It is split in 2 parts whereas the first one is only a spoken passage narrating the background story. The second part is a super slow epic song with only a few speedy riffs rather simplistic and flute interlude really boring trying to show I don’t know what.
The other problem lies within the over use of soft interludes and solos (excluding the guitars of course) put right in the middle of each song. So not only we have before or after the songs classical interludes but on every song right in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, the solos are not bad (i.e ‘Andromeda’ is but exquisite) but it can become annoying after a while that the metal songs are so few and too mellow in some instances.
I am not trying to be mean with the album. Let’s leave that clear since I enjoy it a lot, but the over use of classical music can make the album sounding too mellow, too light for my taste even thou I dig symphonic metal albums quite easily since I love the sub-genre. For me, Skylark was the perfect balance of such power and relentless speed with classical elements. If you take for example ‘When water became ice’ there you have a song overshadowed by the overwhelming use of classical music.
‘Shooting Star/I want out’ are two covers perfectly performed. ‘I want out’ is very good and I’d say even better that the atrocity played by Sonata Artica in the Helloween tribute part I. Here the vocals reach Kiske’s high notes. The power flavored speed gives the song a different atmosphere, not to mention the classical music accompanying it. The juxtaposing of the vocalists sound perfect, although again the high notes sometimes get out of range is a very well executed cover.
Since I am a sucker for high pitched vocals (Ralf Scheepers raise your hand although…mmm, let’s blame Kiske for that) I like Fabio Dozzo’s vocals. Sometimes, as many people have appointed he can get out of his natural range and sometimes this will make him sound non-tuned but even so he is a great vocalist, he just needs to learn how to control such power. Folco Orlandini is also a great vocalist although not powerful as Fabio but even so, the textures and diversity of notes he can provide are of a very exquisite taste and he definitely has complete control of his soft and warm voice.
In the end my friends this album is very good although I consider it to pale beside Skylark. The creative mind of Eddy certainly is unstoppable but as far as this being the ultimate symphonic metal album or any sort of peak of the genre I still have my doubts. It will always be a regular spin cd but I think it still fails to warm up in the killer metal department but again, if you like symphonic metal fancied with gnomes and fight good vs. evil you can dig this one. You’ll get a nice ‘I want out’ cover and tons of classical music.
Italian metal can sometimes get very ugly. Especially the symphonic fantasy genre. Some people swear by it. Some people just plain swear. Judging by this album, Eddy Antonini doesn’t seem particularly interested in the argument.
This is an album that opens and closes with pieces by Bach. It also includes a song that incorporates Vivaldi. But the classical influence goes much further than that. Eddy Antonini knows exactly what he’s doing. He has an unquestionable reverence for the past, but the voice his own. He takes four centuries of western music heritage and shapes it into a metal firestorm of speed, power, symphonics and a heaviness that should by right break the back of all involved. Except that it doesn’t.
What you get instead is 11 tracks that read like a resume of a songwriter at the height of his powers. There’s something old and there’s something new. A number of the songs would later be redone (or vice versa), but this is the fresh from the battle stuff.
‘Sun’, ‘Twilight’ and ‘Fear of the Moon’ are cathedrals of metal intensity. The melodies are epic, and the structures awesome in scope. ‘Dream’ on the other hand is just a voice and a piano. But don’t let that fool you. Even the quieter moments on this album keep you staring. ‘Rufus’ is the clearest nod to Antonini’s band SKYLARK, but on this occasion he even manages to out-SKYLARK SKYLARK.
Not that this album is too far removed from Antonini’s home band. But this time around the more curious aspects of the SYKYLARK universe have momentarily been ironed out. English still isn’t their first language. And here and there you may still wonder “how the hell do Italians do that thing with their voice?”. In the end though, this solo side step from Antonini is all about a clear eyed command of metal allegiance.
At a time when his symphonic peers continue to release albums that all sound the same (and invest big in album artwork and bonus tracks), Antonini pretty much still can’t see what all the pretentious fuss is about. He’s still doing what he did on this album: coming up with hooks that move in and never move out, and keeping it heavy enough to justify that new amp you’ve been putting off. And then needing to take it back the next day for repairs.
This is really a quite enjoyable album. I'll admit that I only like a handful of songs from Skylark, but Antonini's solo album is just wickedly awesome in terms of songs and production. I love how Eddy pays tribute to J.S. Bach. I'd like to hear more classical compositions done in this style. Power-metalizing any song seems like a good idea. This album has alot of standouts on it, such as the title track, Fear of The Moon, and of course, the very powerful Twilight. And although Rufus is a pretty decent song, I still have no idea what it is supposed to mean. IMO, the real highlight of this album is hearing someone outdoing Michael Kiske. The cover of I Want Out is done brillantly. More bands need to utilize two vocalists in their songs, it just adds many more diminsions. Most probably wouldn't be able to pull it off as well as Folco and Fabio. I didn't think the ending high note to I Want Out could be improved, but once the song gets to the highest point, Fabio goes even higher than the original, very cool sounding! I believe that this should be the album to buy before buying anything from Skylark. If you really like this, you'll happily listen to anything Eddy and the Skylark crew put out.
From Eddy Antonini (does this guy have an IQ of 190 or something?), the mastermind/keyboard player of Skylark, comes his first solo album of epic proportions. First off it must be noted that all Skylark members appear on this album, thus it bears a great resemblence to Skylark, however thats not to say that it sounds exactly the same as Skylark albums because it doesn't. This album is even more classically influenced than the albums under the name of Skylark. The music, overall seems to be more keyboard oriented here, and even the alternate versions of Skylark songs (Rufus and Fear of the Moon) have quite a bit more keyboards and sound quite different thanks to the fact that Folco Orlandini (Mesmerize) is singing them. Needless to say, it wouldn't quite be right to label this release power metal. I would call it classically influenced symphonic speed metal. The songs here are top notch, and even the covers are nothing short of excellent. The cover of Shooting Star (I really dont know who originally did this one) and (Helloween's) I Want Out are very great and probably outdo the originals in terms of melody and bombasticicity (is that a word?) The classical influences are shown heavily by Eddy's interpretation of the Bach suedes on the first and last tracks. Also, not to mention the piano ballad, Dream...which I'm sure is the most beautiful ballad ever!! The remake verision of Fear of the Moon (originally on the Skylark's first EP) has better production quality and really has all the same great qualities as the original but I still feel that it lacks something that the original does. Also the (first) version of Rufus (later remade on Skylark's Princess Day' album) isn't quite as powerful as the later remake is despite the fact that it is great and almost the same but not quite. The best song on here is probably 'Twilight' with its awesome hook lines and PERFECT vocals courtesy of Fabio Dozzo. The other song that Fabio sings on here (besides Shooting Star/I Want Out) is the title track, which is also really great!! I'm sure that anything Eddy Antonini gets his hands on will turn out great! And this album is no exception, its a pure masterpiece!!
so, if you have any self respect and you are into symphonic speed metal with thundering drums and operatic vocals and unbelevable melody...then this album is for you and it would be a crime not to own it!!