without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Oi! One look at that cover artwork and you’re probably as nervous as I was when it finally came down to listening to The Sniper. Truth is, I’ve found Scelerata to be a reasonably good power metal band, despite their somewhat odd taste in artwork (take a look at the cover for “Skeletons Domination” for another illustration), and The Sniper is no exception, even though it may look decidedly like something you DON’T want your kids listening to.
This is, in fact, a Brazilian power metal band playing largely in the power metal style that’s much more typical of Europe. Specifically, I would interpret Scelerata as a blend of the Swedish and German schools due to their balance of aggressive riffing and thundering rhythm with some speedy melodic neo-classical elements (including some harpsichord sounds on “Unmasking Lies”) and Olaf Hayer-esque vocals from Fabio Juan. Although this might not sound that remarkable, it’s another measured step from South America and specifically Brazil, whose power metal offerings inevitably draw comparison to power/prog progenitors Angra. While there are some similarities here to the Brazilian giants (especially early on the album), Scelerata sounds more like a heavier, less neo-classical version of Dionysus.
So, this is an odd release out on Nightmare, what with being pretty solid, no-frills power metal fare. The latter half of the album is a bit lighter (including the title track, which is interesting, given the gunshot that kicks it off). I’m particularly impressed with “The Sniper” because, like Theocracy’s “I AM” and Instanzia’s “The Desert Fox”, it manages to run for ten minutes as a relatively hooky multi-part power metal tune and not an attempted epic. Even with the slowdown and solo section in the midst of the song, the melodies keep flowing, and it may even be the band’s best track here. Really, aside from the useless 38 second instrumental prelude to the finale, nothing here lags far behind the best of the material. “Drowned In Madness” sounds like a classic Italian/Scandinavian power metal cut out of the mid-90’s, while “Unmasking Lies” bears some similarity to Edguy in their power metal heyday. Opener “Rising Sun”, on the other hand, sounds like a pure-power/speed infused take on Angra and Age Of Artemis. Most tunes on The Sniper are hefty enough to be called favorites though. All in all, I’d say it’s been a fair while since I found a straightforward power metal album of this style to be this consistently good.
Go grab The Sniper, definitely, if some more aggressive Pan-European power metal is just what you’re looking for. I don’t foresee anyone being disappointed. If you don’t dig this stuff, shovel off, because it’s more of the same, classy music that powerheads are always craving, with just enough of a classy Brazilian twist to make it remarkable.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal
Power metal and Brazil go together like chicken and waffles, peanut butter and jelly, misery and working full-time. "The Sniper" is Scelerata's third record, a novel example of a power metal band that knows how to get things done right. It seems these Brazilian warlords scored Helloween's longtime bard Andi Deris and former Iron Maiden vocalist and longtime welfare queen Paul Di'Anno to make guest appearances here, and that caliber of cameos is almost certainly worth a listen, so why not give it a shot, right? However, the Brazilian quintet of Scelerata proves itself to be beyond the attraction of big names and shiny guest appearances based on the group's insanely fun and dynamic material throughout "The Sniper," which is definitely authentic. It's not big or revolutionary, but it is enjoyable, and that's all that matters.
Scelerata practices a standard representation of power metal, taking hints and cues from godfathers like Helloween and Gamma Ray, yet they manage to pull off whatever they do exceptionally well. They ignite the festival with "Rising Sun," a blistering rocket of uplifting vocals, blazing riffs, catchy rhythms, unforgettable solos, other delicious treats. They seem to be conscious about this type of anthem being their strength, as other songs like "'Til the Day We Die" and "Unmasking Lies" are conditioned to fit the same mold, although each tends to vary in tempo and identity rather smoothly. Magnus Wichmann and Renato Osório spend most of the album leapfrogging over each other's bolting guitar solos, and Fabio Juan, making his Scelerata debut, delivers a solid, albeit rather typical vocal performance.
Not a lot of surprises here as expected, but everything works out. The only pure anomaly of the bunch happens to be "Must be Dreaming," which is a mysterious, dreamy rocker that dramatically shifts the idea of Scelerata's music; Andi Deris makes his appearance here, and he sounds fantastic. There are times, however, in which Scelerata begins evolving into something far beyond the beef of "The Sniper," showing trace amounts of a group that has monumental potential. "In My Blood," simply put, puts most of the remaining record to shame; it's an explosive bombardment of sensational power metal. The epic eponymous anthem, too, burns through a plethora of spellbinding sections in which rumps are roasted and glorious riffs are praised eternally.
The eleven tunes (ten if you deduct "Money Painted Red," merely an intro to the title track) make the grass a little bit greener, a little more fresher, and a lot more bloodier. I'd like to derail the excessive genital stimulation for a bit, noting that Paul Di'Anno's vocals are almost nowhere to be found: he adds his voice to "Rising Sun" and "In My Blood," apparently, yet I can find not a particle of his performances. Then again, "Killers" was the last Di'Anno output that I bothered with, so his throat could've aged into anything, maybe even sounding like Juan's. Regardless, "The Sniper" needs a little love, too. Not perfect, but certainly worth checking out.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
Scelerata, a Brazilian heavy metal band, somehow managing to fly under the radar for the past few years, released their newest album The Sniper on November 6th in the United States. These guys have worked with quite the massive list of heavy and power metal bands. The band has played shows with Edguy and Masterplan, while also recording their latest album at Blind Guardian’s Twilight Hall Studios. In fact, the new album boasts guest appearances from Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden) and Andi Deris (Helloween) two well-known men who hardly need an introduction in this business. This new album brings in much heavier elements than what the band is known for, as they take on a more solid heavy metal sound, while still maintaining that power metal grasp in their melodies and hooks.
This album starts out strong and doesn’t let go. “Rising Sun” kicks off with a fast guitar melody and traditional power metal drumming. The riffs continue on through the song, but when the vocals come in the real hooks begin. The songwriting is strong yet simple, easy to enjoy and fun to sing along to. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, an overwhelming dueling guitar solo hits and I am sold on this band for life! “Must Be Dreaming” starts out slow with a nice bass feature, but opens up into a strong song with amazing vocal presence that sends shivers down my spine. The combination of Andi Deris and Fabio Juan creates the most pleasant of listening experiences. This song is very reminiscent of Dark Ride era Helloween (go figure). I really love how the overwhelming feeling of darkness in the music is contrasted by the power metal vocals. All of this tells me that Andi and Fabio need to work together in more projects in the future.
The next notable track, though all songs have proven themselves great in one way or another, is “’Til the Day We Die”. This is by far my favorite track on the album. The song opens with this thrashing riff and guitar solo, layered over pounding bass work and drums. As it goes on, I manage to get lost in the catchy choruses and impressive guitar work when all of a sudden, everything slows down. The thrashing ends and a beautiful rendition of the chorus ensues, complete with layered vocals that practically brought a tear to my eye. The album closes with the near ten minute long title track “The Sniper” showcasing even more fantastic musicianship and leaves me wanting so much more from this band.
I can understand why the band has received so much attention from the genre’s great names, but I fear they deserve even more from heavy and power metal fans around the world. Please, take the time to check out their music. The Sniper is most definitely worth your time.
[Originally written for TheMetalReview.com]