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With 15 years of label backed experience in the style that he largely helped to pioneer, Luca Turilli has become a full on institution unto himself. Having recorded nearly as many full length albums as he has racked up years of experience, his craft has gone through some subtle leaps in evolution, but has maintained a consistent template approach to songwriting and album creation that may as well be his insignia. Perhaps the only downside to the continued expansion of Luca's discography is that it will likely bring a level of confusion to any who casually follow his work, as there are now 2 Rhapsody projects out there, each of them containing half of the membership that gave us the last several albums. Likewise, it has seen the official demise of his 2 side-projects, and with it what is basically the end of his long collaboration with vocalist Olaf Hayer, which actually produced one of his finest creations "Prophet Of The Last Eclipse".
This particular incarnation of Luca's sound, dubbed "Ascending To Infinity", sounds like a continuation of the storyline of the last Rhapsody Of Fire saga, if one were to go by the title and the style of album art. However, what dealing with the actual music, the level of familiarity with the first two Luca Turilli albums ("King Of The Nordic Twilight" and "Prophet Of The Last Eclipse"). There is a much heavier reliance upon symphonic orchestral elements with perhaps a less overt hint of electronic elements that were all over the 2 comparable albums, but the impressively wide range of the principal vocalist Alessandro Conti (best known for his impressive vocal work with Helloween tribute band turned power metal powerhouse Trick Or Treat) definitely hints at similar acrobatics that were on display when Olaf Hayer was in congress. Alessandro also has a slightly stronger operatic tilt that, along with the massive production, does move things a bit towards the Rhapsody Of Fire sound, but the songwriting pulls it back the other way.
Perhaps the biggest departure to be found on here when compared to previous Turilli brand offerings is that this is not a concept album, but rather a collection of homages to various famous stories. There's a folksy nod at the beginning of "Excalibur" that turns into a bombastic symphonic anthem, a creepy set of themes kicking off "Dante's Inferno", and a near eastern tilt to "Dark Fate Of Atlantis" that all paint very vivid pictures in correlation to the lyrical subjects, all the while largely conforming themselves to Luca's very conventional blend of classical themes and fast paced power metal. In fact, while the song titles and introductory musical material showcases what would be a newly born sense of eclecticism, the lion's share of this album somehow manages to keep itself nestles very firmly within the orthodoxy of Turilli's older works. Perhaps the lone exception is the operatic cover "Luna", which also proves to be the only lackluster effort on here as it veers a little into jazz ballad territory and clashes with the high energy nature of the rest of the album.
Like any album bearing the Rhapsody letter's on the cover, this album tends to impress all around, but doesn't really hit home until the long-winded closer, in this case a 16 minute plus epic musical depiction of the war in heaven outlined in Milton's "Paradise Lost". Turilli pulls out all the stops on this one, and showcases his abilities as both an accomplished guitar shredder and keyboard soloist. In much the same fashion as "Gargoyles: Angels Of Darkness" and "Prophet Of The Last Eclipse", this is filled to the brim with contrasting sections, operatic vocal work by multiple guest vocalists, and a slow build from a quiet and subdued introduction to an extravagant mixture of metallic riffing and 18th-19th century inspired symphonic arrangements. Alessandro shines particularly brightly on this work as well, pushing the limits of his upper range in a manner highly reminiscent of Michael Kiske, though in a fairly different musical context than the ex-Helloween front man would ever really find himself in, apart from maybe his work with Amanda Somerville a couple years back.
It's a given that Luca Turilli seems all but incapable of disappointing his fan base, though this album probably won't expand too far beyond that, save maybe a few holdouts who really like Epica and Kamelot, but somehow never took to Turilli's more virtuoso-based approach. Indeed, the principle thing that may turn off some older fans of the his work is that he seems to be creeping slowly towards Mark Jansen's neck of the woods, at least as far as the production character of his albums go. The sun never really sets or rises in Luca's world, it's always at the top of the sky, shining down at full intensity, and this is yet another album that reflects that sense of consonance and consistency.
I was as confused as most people when Luca Turilli decided to leave Rhapsody of Fire in late 2011 to form... Rhapsody. It seems Luca was trying to go for a fresh start, as he disbanded all his other solo projects in favor of this one. Stylistically, it isn't too much different from Rhapsody of Fire except for the fact that it's much more eager to produce an epic, cinematic atmosphere, with choirs and orchestrations abound, not to mention being lyrically more rooted in pre-existing mythologies as opposed to Rhapsody of Fire's lengthy (absurd and overblown but still awesome) original concept. On the surface, though, it does seem like "just" another Rhapsody of Fire album. There's the cheesy intro track which leads right into the fist-pumping, infectious opener ("Quantum X"/"Ascending Into Infinity"), the crappy ballad that should never be on a power metal album in the first place ("Luna," which if I were Luca, I would have shafted it in favor of "Fantasia Gotica"), the lead single which features a lengthy solo passage, infectious guitar leads and an impossible-to-not-sing-along-with chorus ("Dark Fate of Atlantis") and a loooong as hell epic to close off the album in a triumphant fashion ("Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's Fall"). On the surface, it would seem Luca has written himself into a Timo Tolkki-esque limbo of uncreativity where he churns out the same old crap no matter how many times he renames his band, but thankfully that is not the case here. Luca just knows what works and adds little twists to bring a bolder yet still familiar experience, much like his previous self-titled band. (no, NOT Dreamquest... Ugh, I was trying to forget that)
The first thing of note is the use of an actual orchestra--- none of that cheesy orchestra patches on a keyboard shit (there are keyboards, but they're restricted to solos and played by Luca himself!). If I recall reading somewhere, Luca wrote EVERY single orchestration line on his own. The orchestration is dense and multi-layered, like a good film score. Every once in a while, it seems like it's drowning out the killer guitar work, but nowhere near as bad as "Symphony of Enchanted Lands II's" orchestration, which grew to be quite overbearing.
The second thing to note is the new vocalist--- Alessandro Conti, of Trick Or Treat fame. While Trick or Treat seems to be little more than a not-too-serious Helloween tribute, Alessandro brings his A-game to the band with soaring operatic vocals. (though you can still hear traces of Michael Kiske worship in his voice. Guess it only makes sense that they covered Helloween's "March of Time" as a bonus track, then) One can still speculate how the likes of, say, Olaf Hayer or even Fabio Lione would have sounded doing this, but Alessandro does a fine damn job, even if he does seem to disappear between the epic, lengthy choir passages. I look forward to Alessandro's future endeavors with the band, and hopefully he'll be able to overpower the choirs and really shine. He has definite potential to climb to the ranks of everyone mentioned in this paragraph.
So, in the long run, if you like Rhapsody or any of Luca Turilli's previous solo projects (minus Dreamquest, which I'm still trying to forget), then picking this up is a no-brainer, really. The only people I can see getting disappointed with this are those looking for something more guitar-driven, like Rhapsody of Fire's last album. But the music provides a grand and epic atmosphere, some catchy numbers, stellar vocal work and some of Luca's trademark neoclassical guitar solos. Hopefully, the boys in Rhapsody of Fire will get inspired by this album and try to one-up it with their next effort and in turn inspire Luca to write an even better follow-up and the two bands will create a neverending cycle of awesome symphonic power metal albums. The fans can only win with this one.
If you give a listen to the magic of the albums King of the Nordic Twilight and Prophet of the Last Eclipse for the solo project Luca Turilli, you will easily fall in love with the talented music of this man, another story began here when Luca and the guitarist Dominique Leurquin and the bassist Patrice Guers left the band "Rhapsody Of Fire" to start their own visions, the album "Ascending to Infinity" is considered now as a debut album for the project "Luca Turilli's Rhapsody" though its actually Luca's fourth solo album with this genre.
Suddenly, the deep inspiration of the orchestral cinematic music has collided with the beauty of the power metal, especially when the classical influences are covered by a majestic sheet of operatic arrangement. The rapid movement of the symphonic movements that follow the charming choirs gave a big serious feeling to the songwriting, about seven guest musicians helped to make these visions real and helped to give this record a very deep spirit. The fantastic vocalist Alessandro Conti surprised all the fans with his amazing performance in this record, his throat reflects so much energy and strength to the tracks that have been recorded for this album, its hard to compare his voice with Olaf Hayer (the vocalist of the solo project Luca Turilli), but Alessandro fits this musical direction perfectly.
The classical influences didn't appear only on the performance of the orchestration and the keyboards only, they also appeared on the performance of the lead guitars as we can notice in the tracks "Ascending To Infinity" and "Dark Fate Of Atlantis". You also can notice the lead guitar merges with the melodies of the keyboards in the track "Clash Of The Titans", some tracks like "Of Michael The Archangel And Lucifer's Fall" have a deep classical inspiration for the lead guitars that fight the rhythm guitars to produce an epic sound. The choirs and the backing vocals were the factory of creating a great cinematic taste behind the charming voice of Alessandro, the track "Dante's Inferno" displays this taste really well, and the powerful voice of the guest vocals also gave the track "Tormento E Passione" a deep operatic and symphonic texture, and it also allowed the the vocalists to reach very high notes while performing the song.
The talented bassist Patrice Guers stayed with Luca as a solid team in this record, the strong bass sound walk around the power metal riffs perfectly and floats on the surface of the rhythm guitars, and sometimes behind the lead guitars, songs like "Clash Of The Titans" show the skillful work and the collection of influences that cover the bass performance. Since the announcement of the drummer Alex Holzwarth my expectations have been really bright because his work in the albums "From Chaos to Eternity" and "The Frozen Tears of Angels" for Luca's previous band "Rhapsody Of Fire" was really professional, many attractive touches he has always added to the tracks to make them more effective and rigorous.
If you are ready to listen to one of the best Nuclear Blast's records and one of the greatest album of this year, then you have to buy your own copy of this album right now, when you first play this record you will start discovering a lot of musical elements in every minute you listen to, the beauty and the perfection merge here to clothe the the composition and the performance of this album very well. If you are into Luca's previous works then you have to own this album because this one is his best work so far, but if you're not into the music of this Italian genius, then I guess this album will be a great introduction for his skillful musical career. This album is recommended for all the metal albums around the world and specially for those who adore the symphonic and the orchestral sounds inside the metal music, and specially for those who adore the power metal genre.
Originally written for:
I think I can safely say that there was not much doubt about the musical direction Mr. Turilli will take after the split up. No negative connotation here, because there is absolutely nothing negative in how I feel about his music. Be it in Rhapsody, Luca Turilli or Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. Some may like it, some do not. But when the discussion arise, within the boundaries of relative objectivity, one can not deny his musical ingenuity and the level of commitment. Also, within the same boundaries, one must be honest and confess that in the past, his lyrical endeavors were not always, shall we say, on the same page with the sublimity of his music. So one of the reasons I'm rating this high is also an improvement on that field.
I would like to start with music first. Few surprises there, actually. If you listened to Rhapsody and Luca Turilli, you will pretty much know what to expect. Beside the occasional appearances of something that resembles middle-eastern influence, it's safe to conclude that this is still Rhapsody we know and love. Catchy choruses, Latin choral parts, symphonic orchestrations, and as always, great deal of uplifting musical energy. Even the aforementioned eastern influence works very well with the whole, adding a tasty "spice" in this already delicious meal.
I am hardly an expert on the matter, but I think something should also be said about the production, which is becoming better and better with every new album this band release. Clean, distinct sound of instruments, without synthetic echo from the early albums, and well balanced, equally represented parts for every band member, without damping the one instrument for the whole benefit of, let's say, orchestral parts. So I guess having a relatively big budget fixes many things.
New vocals... Guy is great. Simple as that. Classically educated, refined, able to cover such vast range, perfect in applying the desired emotion in any given moment of the song. A singer well within Fabio Lione rank. Perfect choice for this, symphonic, highly emotional type of music.
Lyrically, without the restrictions of the Saga, album covers great variety of concepts such as human nature and psychology, metaphysics, ancient civilistaions, potential of the human spirit, parallel universes, technological decadence etc. Aspects of life that had always, by his own words, fascinated Mr. Turilli and the proof of that is evident even in the latest work of his original band. Only here, with the absence of mentioned limitations, those themes became much more obvious, and were allowed to evolve and flourish to their fullest potential. One thing that still remains constant, however, is the ever-present "touch" of myths and legends, and it's one of the reasons I like this album as much as I do. Although here, they are not the main topic (I know Mr. Turilli would say that they never were in the first place, but you know what I mean), but rather serve as a "facade", and the reminder that this IS a Rhapsody album with all his trademarks, enriched with the addition of somewhat expanded vocabulary.
As for the downsides of the album, I must agree with fellow reviewer and say that "Luna" truly does not belong here. I have nothing against the covers of certain pop-orientated songs (example given, Haggard -"Hijo de la Luna"), but this one, in my humble opinion, is crippling the album. And not even the whole song. I mean, Mr. Conti obviously gave his best, and it doesn't sound bad at all. But the "Only you can hear my soul" part is so awful that it succeeds in ruining the rest of the song.
All in all, another great Rhapsody release. Full of purified energy and power, with all the elements we associate with this band. Classical, symphonic orchestrations, choirs, pinch of medieval/renaissance folk tunes combined with couple of new, good-sounding surprises. As the title says, good ol'...
So, If you like Rhapsody, or this type of music in general, you should definitely check this out. I think you won't regret it.
Luca Turilli is one of power metal's most prominent and influential guitarists with a signature neoclassical playing style, reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen. He surprised fans by leaving Rhapsody of Fire last year, in an autonomous effort to reach complete musical freedom. Interestingly naming his new project Luca Turilli's Rhapsody, he made his creative intentions clear: retaining the traditional Rhapsody of Fire power metal feel, with a new and personal twist.
Ascending to Infinity opens with cultural Indian singing, a fresh surprise, only to dive right into Turilli's electronic style as displayed in his "Luca Turilli's Dreamquest" project. After the unsurprising change, a loud, movie-trailer-like voice announces to the listener how he or she will "journey to a place of wonders that will blow their mind." The album's orchestration is indeed mind blowing. Turilli does a wondrous job incorporating electronic effects with pianos, choirs, and synth orchestras. If one can ignore the cheesy opening track, the rest of the album is a very mature and technically progressive album.
The title track, "Ascending to Infinity," does not lack in Turilli's impressive and signature arppegio lead guitar playing, but it lacks a certain punch that the following track, "Dante's Inferno," delivers. Arranging choirs into metal tracks have become commonplace, but Turilli revives the feeling a listener got when he or she heard choirs in metal for the first time. The choir, especially in "Dante's Inferno," is strong, vibrant, and did not sound as though it was obligated to be incorporated into the music.
Speaking of vocals, the lead vocals, performed by Alessandro Conti, sounds much like Fabio Lione of Rhapsody of Fire. Conti does a remarkable job with his full ranged and powerful voice, perfectly fitting among the choirs and orchestrations. He smoothly adjusts between passionate and bombastic sections without missing a beat. The highlight of his performance is in the Italian duet with Sassy Bernert called "Tormento E Passione," clearly structured and influenced by an opera piece.
Luca Turilli is a master solo artist, capable of writing extensive rhapsodies comparable to the classical greats.
Written for cultured-metal.com
Luca Turilli is an awesome guitar player and composer. His solo projects have been very diverse and controversial, but I think for the most part we all can agree that he is a pretty damn good solo artist. At first I was a little miffed that Luca and Patrice left Rhapsody of Fire, but I have seen Rhapsody of Fire live since and I have listened to this new album and have come to a conclusion: having two Rhapsody's is an amazing thing. Oliver Holzwarth is finally getting the attention he deserves and Michael Ticheli is an awesome guitar player. In the meantime, Luca Turilli is finally realizing his dreams in all their cheesy and epic glory. This album really does sound like a Luca Turilli album with a bigger budget and a better singer, I love it. The style of this is very symphonic, but it still has plenty of double bass drum 16th notes and awesome guitar playing. I absolutely love the use of choirs and orchestras in this because it adds so much emotional impact and just really immerses you in the music.
The opening is soooo cheesy, I'm still not quite sure whether I like it or not. In fact that kind of summarizes my initial thoughts on this album. It was kind of like "what the fuck did I just hear?". After about three listen throughs I realized that this is not only a really good album, it's also a very unique and personally I believe it will be highly influential. The only issue I have with this album is Luna. This song is a replacement for Fantasia Gotica, which was cut from the album during production due to time issues. This song sucks, it's some kind of Italian pop ballad which does not belong on a power metal album. This really is a great power metal album album; I'm actually taking off 8 percent for Luna alone, once they actually release Fantasia Gotica I'll probably bump up the score a bit.
The best songs on this are: Dante's Inferno, Excalibur, Tormento e Passione, Dark Fate of Atlantis.. Screw it, everything except Luna is a highlight. Ascending to Infinity is a really neat song with a chorus that's not necessarily catchy, but musically it's amazing and very uplifting and immersive. Dante's Inferno and Tormento e Passione are both really amazing songs and probably the two best ever written by Rhapsody. Neither of them are fast, they're very dark and mid-paced , but they manage to be very epic by building up to these epic climaxes and very dramatic and emotive crescendos. Tormento e Passione is a very operatic song with soaring vocals that wouldn't sound out of place at all in an opera. Excaliber is a neat song with a folk opening with a flute that is very reminiscent of Rhapsody's own Village of Dwarves,then it gets into the heavier stuff. The best part of this song is the chorus; Luca played with a very interesting idea on this one, since it's a mini epic (at about 8 minutes) he didn't want to give away the chorus right away. To do this he brings in the chorus about three or four times during the song, but the first few times instead of letting it build all the way up to the high notes and it's climax it goes up and then down again (note wise). This was a really smart decision because it really adds to the epic-ness of this and for those of you who know it's coming it really leaves you anticipating the full chorus in all it's glory (the full chorus was in the preview of this album). That sort of epic build-up is really effective and really cool. Dark Fate of Atlantis was the single of this album; and what a cool single it was, it starts off with a very Indian sounding part with a lady singing and some horns in the background adding to the feel. It then goes right into one of the most awesome guitar riffs Luca has ever written; its not too heavy and it's very technical with some great soloing including an awesome bass solo! It's also got a very catchy chorus.... Wait, you know what, I'm not handing out points to this band anymore for catchy chorus's unless they're really, REALLY good. Birds fly, fish swim, Michael Atkinson molests dogs and Rhapsody writes really catchy chorus's. Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's fall is of course the eye catching 16 minute epic that Luca LOVES putting in his albums. It is very good and has everything a good epic needs, including less narration *cough, cough, Heroes of the Waterfall Kingdom, cough*. While it is really good, this is nothing new; the first half of this album is really fresh and unusual, yet really really good. The second half is good, but kind of formulaic and nothing new. Clash of the Titans is okay, but it's kind of a tangled mess and it doesn't really have a catchy chorus. But atmospherically it's really good with a cool little part at the beginning where you hear police sirens and normal city sounds as a metropolis is attacked by titans.
All in all this is a very unique album for Rhapsody and fairly standard fair for a Luca Turilli album only with a bigger budget. I really want to give this a better score, but Luna is really bad and Clash of the Titans is really average. The rest of this album is a great Rhapsody album and Alessandro Conti is an awesome singer, I absolutely love his range and he does a really good job with the more operatic stuff like in Tormento e Passione, this is definitely a must buy album and I recommend it to all power metal fans.
This album reminds me a bit at times of Luca Turilli's first couple solo albums (the good ones). I rather miss Olaf Hayer in that case, but Alessandro Conti is still an excellent vocalist. His high range seems beyond what Fabio was capable of, which adds a new dimension to things. That's where the differences really stop on a vocal level though. In general, you get a lot of operatic/dramatic backing vocals on this album and not as much of the main vocal as you'd like. This is not unlike more recent Rhapsody Of Fire albums at times, so it was partially expected to happen on this album too.
In general, there is way too much symphonic/operatic stuff for my tastes. This is typical of Luca's writing post-Power Of The Dragonflame era Rhapsody. The music is still really cool, but you'd think a guy who is such a great player would do more playing and not so much composing. The songs where he does play a lot of guitar are bad ass. The keyboards he recorded might actually be more impressive though. He is quite a musician. Compositionally, the crazy amount of stuff going on in some of the songs with the choirs and various orchestrations is very impressive. If you like that kind of thing, then this is a wet dream.
Personally, I'd rate this somewhere in the same quality range as Symphony Of Enchanted Lands Part II. A step back in many ways, but also a step forward into a more progressive/experimental sound than Rhapsody had in the past. Luca should be proud of this, but it kinda sucks that he wants to put the Rhapsody name to it. Alex Staropoli has a lot on his shoulders now to write a Rhapsody Of Fire album that lives up to how strongly the band finished its stint together in 2011.
Luca Turilli is an Italian musician, specializing in guitar and keyboard, and is arguably best known for his work with power metal giant Rhapsody of Fire for nearly two decades. Turilli was Rhapsody of Fire’s lead guitarist, primary song writer and lyricist, but in 2011 the band Rhapsody of Fire continued on without Luca after Luca and Alex Staropoli, who plays keyboards for Rhapsody of Fire, decided on a friendly split. Staropoli would continue on as Rhapsody of Fire, and Luca would continue on as Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, attaching his name to the epic name of Rhapsody to avoid any nonsensical lawsuits (You all know what I mean!).
Ascending to Infinity is LT’s Rhapsody’s first full length release, currently available in Europe and releasing in North America on July 3rd. On the band’s website they have three songs up for free streaming, new merchandise, and their next tour dates listed for Belgium, England, Spain, Italy, and France (sorry, no North American dates yet!). This album, produced and written by Luca, in my opinion, is the perfect example of beautiful, well written, and epic as fuck power metal. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rhapsody of Fire, but honestly…this is what Rhapsody of Fire wishes they sounded like. But hey, I’m not going to sit here and compare the two. I’ll save you all from that, because I’m sure you’ve seen it everywhere by now.
The whole album is heavily influenced from myth, with tracks like Clash of the Titans, Dante’s Inferno, and Excalibur, you cannot go wrong. What is more epic than mythology hailing from all over the world? (This album makes me really appreciate that college class I took on mythology. I now feel the need to thank my professor.) LT’s Rhapsody’s website quotes that they are born to sound cinematic, based on LT’s true passion for cinema and soundtracks, and it would be really hard to deny that when listening to the new album.
“Take an amazing journey through a world of wonders, to a place that will blow your mind and move your heart so you will never be the same again.”
You’re excited already aren’t you?
After the fantastic intro track the above quote was taken from, that does nothing less than make you want to piss your pants in anticipation, the album explodes into the title track Ascending to Infinity. It begins with a fantastic guitar driven intro, reminiscent of speed metal of the likes of Malmsteen, with perfectly articulated arpeggios that would make any guitarist jealous. The song’s true feeling comes to life when vocalist Alessandro Conti, an unknown voice to me before this, jumps in with amazing power and body to his voice. He manages to tower over a VERY commanding fanfare of instruments, and when the chorus comes in behind him… well I’ll keep it G-rated, but this chorus is absolutely breathtaking.
Dante’s Inferno is my favorite song on the album, and that may be because I do have a fond attachment to the epic poem, the Divine Comedy. In the poem, Dante is thrown into a hero’s journey through the depths of hell. “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” is inscribed in the gates he passes through. The song’s intro really makes me picture that exact moment when Dante reads those words but still continues on. The hero’s journey is broken up into many parts, the descent, the belly of the whale, and the return. This track does an amazing job of taking you along that journey, through perfectly written power metal (who would complain?) and brings this poem to life in a way that I’ve never heard before.
The album’s single, Dark Fate of Atlantis, features some fantastic musicianship all around, and a minute long intro that will send chills up your spine. Yet again, Conti’s vocals are very prominent and strong over a hard-hitting track, with fast drums and heavy guitars and keys. Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer’s Fall, the end to this album (I know, I’m sad it’s over too) is a 16 minute long epic telling the tale of the Archangel Michael, broken into three parts. In my opinion this is one of Luca’s best epics. The three different parts to the song are distinguished, yet uniform enough to work together as a whole. The Frozen Tears of Angels (Rhapsody of Fire) is one of my favorite epics, also written by Luca Turilli, but this one tops it by far.
I can seriously go on forever about the many reasons you should order this album. 1) North America needs to realize if we want to see bands live on our side of the world we need to actually buy records. 2) There is a limited edition available with bonus songs including a Helloween cover. YAY! 3) This album is fucking amazing, in every way, it’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. If my bosses would allow it, I would have seriously just published this review as “THIS ALBUM FUCKING RULES” and that’s all… but alas, that is not going to pass. So please, any fans of epic, symphonic, power, and the newly titles cinematic metal… buy this album. You won’t regret it.
100%, yeah I said it!
[Originally written for themetalreview.com]