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Arguably Secret Sphere’s best album - 80%

TrooperOfSteel, May 7th, 2012

One of the more successful and well known Italian power metal bands, Secret Sphere, have released their latest effort, entitled Sweet Blood Theory. This album is the band’s fifth full-length CD since their inception back in 1997. And just recently, the band announced a change of labels, going from Nuclear Blast to Dockyard 1. With all of Secret Sphere’s previous albums given good praise, how would the new Sweet Blood Theory stack up? Read on to find out.

Secret Sphere are not your ordinary power metal band. With lyrical content typically ranging from life issues, love, reality and dark fantasy; Secret Sphere have also had a sexual tinge thrown into their lyrics. With previous song titles such as Virgin Street 69, Scent Of A Woman and Desire; and a album titles such as Mistress Of The Shadowlight and Scent Of Human Desire; these lads from Italy have certainly opened new doors into lyrical content of European power metal bands. These persuasive song titles took a back seat, however, in the band’s fourth CD Heart And Anger. This release was a “back to the roots” type album, which recalls the first power influence of the band. The tracks were fast and furious, but mixed with melody and a symphonic aspect, which was backed up by a 50-piece symphonic orchestra.

Sweet Blood Theory has taken the core of Heart And Anger making a continuation of the band’s original power influence, making it their new musical direction. This latest effort by Secret Sphere is a concept album based on the novel The Vampire written by John William Polidori in 1814 and is regarded as one of the early novels with a vampire character, even possibly the very first. This concept is perfect for Secret Sphere as their dark fantasy content can flow freely with the concepts of the novel.

The first thing I noticed with the new release, is that Secret Sphere are now much more aggressive. Not overly aggressive however, but still quite melodic and symphonic as well. The tracks, bar one, are all mid to fast-paced with a lot of double bass pummeling, chunky riffs and memorable solos. Secret Sphere’s use of keys has been like their musical signature over past albums; and with Sweet Blood Theory this is no exception. The keys and symphonic elements really balances out against the more aggressive side, giving more feeling and emotion to each track. Add to that, Roberto Messina’s wonderful and melodic vocals, which drives the feeling of each track. His range is exceptional, while his delivery has improved a lot over the years. One track on the CD which really shows off Messina’s abilities, is the ballad called The Butterfly Dance. Soulful and emotional, it is one of the better metal ballads I’ve heard in quite some time.

I also must say that Secret Sphere’s song-writing, arrangements and song structure have improved quite a lot. On Sweet Blood Theory I was impressed with the creative song-writing, in which no way seemed predictable or done just “by the numbers”. Each track has its own feel, identity and intensity; and does not seem to go by any previous song structures. Secret Sphere have really pulled out all the stops on this release, putting everything into this album. And the best thing is, that it really shows. The evidence is right there in the music.

Although the whole CD kicks ass song-wise and I could easily list every track as a standout; some of the tracks worth mentioning here are Stranger In Black, From A Dream To A Nightmare, The Shadows Of The Room Of Pleasure, Welcome To The Circus, Feed My Fire and All These Words.

I can easily and proudly say that Sweet Blood Theory is by far Secret Sphere’s best album to date. If you thought Scent Of Human Desire and Heart And Anger were good, then be prepared for something even better with this release. This band may be overlooked somewhat in the metal community, but with the move to Dockyard 1 and now with this opus, here is Secret Sphere’s bold statement to the metal world.

Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com