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The majority of friends of mine condemn me (literally) because I don’t like Dio, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Accept, old Motorhead, or even old Judas Priest, etc. At some point I thought there was something wrong with me or my metal acknowledgement for that matter but then again, it is a simple matter of taste and although I am well aware of the legends status and creative process to begin with, those bands never grabbed me and never will. I have come to the decision that it is a matter of technology. Back in those days they had to play with what they had, analog equipment, 4 track consoles, etc. nowadays although bands constantly sin overproducing their albums, it is for me a pleasure to listen to traditional heavy metal with modern sound. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad with old school heavy metal, I simply don’t like its sound because of technology. So we are clear on that?
Thus, what Master Castle offers with this wonderful album is everything that a heavy metal album should have, IMHO: good vocals, simple yet effective riffs, powerful drumming, good soloing and good sound. Be aware fellows, this is not power metal and I’d think that whoever says so is making a mistake, as far as the core power metal sound is concerned. The speed of power metal is not present here, except some tracks that do use double bass drums but even Judas Priest used them and they were not considered power metal, now were they? There is a tendency today that everything with speed is power metal, and that is not certainly true for all purposes. This is heavy metal, pure and simple with a female singer who has a kick ass voice.
Giorgia Gueglio has a very nice tone of voice. She is not the overused soprano style we have come to expect from…well almost any band nowadays. Coincidentally enough being from Italy her voice is very very similar to Michaela D’Orlando from Power Symphony. Her tone then is, very high pitched but with a nice touch of melody and she can sustain the high notes without that vibrato that most of the times is a sin when singers do not use their vocal abilities properly.
The production is very powerful, all the instruments sound sharp, crisp and loud. ‘Toxie radd’ is a good example of how powerful the bass and drum bass sound. Excellent, and not to mention the vocals that do not overpower any other instrument and yet they sound overall the ride. We do not have weird experimentation with horns, distorted vocals, growling or anything, just catchy and pure heavy metal done properly. Nevertheless, one thing they do use overall is the multi tracked vocals to give a more epic feel to the vocals in every single chorus.
‘Event Horizon’ opens and it is a great opener, marvelous vocals which are basically notes sung for long periods of time but they are very nice with and ultra catchy chorus and ‘Painkiller’ alike riffing and drumming. The obvious focal point of this song is the vocal performance. ‘MISR’ is next and this is to me a boring track with this modern metal and even nu metal influence in the guitar effects and riffs. The guitar solo is extensive but the drumming effects and percussion do not fit against each other. ‘Wild Spell’ is a good track, one of the fast tracks and the main riff is quite good with stops that do not disrupt the flow of the song and nice double bass drums added. The vocal performance is stellar with multilayered vocals all around. The guitar solos are very good and they are all around constantly. `Last Desire’ is another slow track with a heavy riff sounding like Benedictum or Beyond Fear (musically alone of course) although is not that heavy y the guitar fills softened a lot. The vocals again, fly high with memorable vocal lines. ‘Away’ has a modern guitar sound stylistically imitating that boring pop rock bands MTV throws at us. It is not a bad track per se but it pales compared to the others. As you guessed the guitar solo is spiced with wah-wah pedals to, again, sound more commercial.
There are 2 instrumentals and they add a nice vibe through the album, especially because they are smartly placed at the middle of the album and before the last song so they cut the songs but they don’t disrupt the entire experience of the album. ‘Jaded Star’ is a ballad and although it is good, it is not exceptional and I think the keyboards are a little too loud but the vocals are awesome. ‘Great Heaven’s climb’ is another fast track with awesome vocals and reverb used which upgrades the surrounding and involving of the music. ‘Cat house’ has a modern feel to, perfect for radio play. The guitar effects have a bridge to give this echo sound and the vocals are not that high and they are actually restrained. The guitar solo is basically a progression of the riff played on different notes so it is really forgettable. ‘Scarlett’ is obviously not a catchy track and yet the vocal melodies are effective as hell and beautiful but perhaps the guitar fills and rhythms is what don’t grab me that much but it has a nice flow either way.
The album can be broken into the fast up tempo songs and the mid paced songs which are the heaviest. ‘La serenisima’ (which is a cover) has a funky rhythm based with the guitar soloing driving the melody. It is a good instrumental but it pales next to ‘Space trip’ because of its kick ass guitar solos and more powerful flow.
So I am giving it 85 because they are not the ultimate band, they are not innovative in any sense or anything that Judas Priest, Edguy, Stratovarius or any other band have done before and some of the tracks are forgettable and soulless. They are just rocking and rolling applying old heavy metal to modern sound with a singer that can kill any modern trash sell out stupid commercial so called heavy metal band. These guys know how to entertainment without using power metal-speed boredom, soprano overcrowded singers but more polished simple yet effective heavy metal.