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A metal opera with all the fanfare - 90%

TrooperOfSteel, May 1st, 2012

We all knew that when Edguy’s Tobias Sammet created Avantasia’s ‘Metal Opera’, with all of its guest vocalists and performers, that it would pave the way for other bands/performers to venture into the same endeavour. Here is one of those instances with Brazilian drummer Heleno Vale forming the band Soulspell. Created in 2004, Soulspell released a demo in 2006 called ‘Just let the time flows’ before constructing this new metal opera CD, entitled ‘A legacy of Honor’.

In the same vein as Sammet’s metal opera, Heleno Vale has brought in guest vocalists and musicians, mainly from Brazil, to help with his metal opera quest. The band itself consists of 3 main vocalists (Luiz Magri, Edney Marques and Frank Langona), while 2 other musicians; keyboardist Fabiana Doce and bassist Daniel Guirado also lend their voices in the release. The bands rounds off with guitarists Juliano Grego and Thiago Pasqualinoto, 2nd keyboardist Shirlei Escobar, and of course Heleno Vale.

If that is not enough already, Vale has enlisted the help of fellow Brazilian singers such as Iuri Sanson (Hibria), Renato Tribuzy (Tribuzy), Nando Fernandes (Hangar), Mário Linhares (ex-Dark Avenger), Leandro Caçoilo (Eterna), Maurício Del Bianco (Innerforce) and a few more. There is also a group of guest musicians, mainly from the same bands mentioned above.

As with the structure of Tobias’ metal opera, there is a fantasy concept entwined with the CD and the various vocalists have been given “stage names” for their parts in the metal opera feast. The end result is much like Sammet’s project; with a spectacular musical journey of passion, emotion and great theatrical melodic power metal. This “superband” indeed delivers what Heleno Vale had in mind when he began constructing this masterpiece. All vocalists give their all throughout the CD, empowering so much exuberance and prowess to tell the story written superbly by Heleno Vale.

Musically, this is like a metalhead’s dream come true, particularly one who is a fan of traditional metal, power metal or melodic metal. With so much talent involved in this project (much like Avantasia, but on a lesser scale), every creative song is worth its weight in gold, whether it is the speedy tracks with riffs and solos galore, fabulous technical drumming and sensational vocals; to the mid-paced and slower ballad-esk tracks with soaring choir vocals full of heart and soul. There is not one weak point on this release, whether it be the performances of all involved, or the songwriting and structure.

I won’t mention many track names here because all of them are beyond great and you will just have to hear this CD for yourselves to realize the brilliance of ‘A legacy of Honor’. But I must mention the following tracks, including “Age of Silence”, “Troy”, “The Blacksmith”, “A Little Too Far”, “Army of Just One Mind”, and “Eternal Skies”.

If you are a fan of Avantasia when Tobias Sammet released the 2 ‘Metal opera’ CDs, then Soulspell will again tantalize your ears with their stunning contribution to a metal opera concept album. I also urge fans of those 3 metal genres mentioned earlier to track down this CD, as you will not be disappointed. I only hope that Heleno Vale and co. continue down this pathway for their next release and not let this project be a once off. This is a must have CD, hands down.

Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com

2008's Metal Opera Masterpiece! - 95%

Oakenson, October 3rd, 2008

I think it is safe to say that metal operas are much more of a common thing these days than, let's say, in 2001 when the first Avantasia album came out - there have been great successes (Avantasia, Final Chapter) and unfortunate failures (Aina) throughout the rather short metal opera history so, when taking this into consideration, where does the first all-Brazilian metal opera fall? Soulspell consists of an original, core band, joined together by a pretty vast assortment of respectful and reputable guests (including members from bands like Hibria, Tribuzy, Dark Avenger and Tuatha De Dannan) that help give the record the dramatic, "operatic" aesthetic of having multiple characters, perspectives and so on.

The album sweeps open with two absolutely fantastic tracks: The Gathering/Age Of Silence and Troy. Both songs feature sweeping, galloping rhythms, excellent vocals and a strong sense of dynamic that is prevalent throughout the instrumentation, song structures and melodies - the songs flow exceptionally well as individual compositions but also as pieces of a larger whole, which, in the case of a concept album, is very necessary. The Blacksmith and The Impaler are two very strong tracks that work very well together back-to-back; The Blacksmith is perhaps the "rockiest" song on the album, with a completely phenomenal guitar solo, whilst The Impaler is a true metal masterpiece, showcasing a precise and effective use of keyboards as well as vocal-lines and song dynamics (which, at this point of the listening experience, is something that the band clearly has no problem with). The album closes out with The Last Life which is, undoubtedly, my favorite track on the album, as well as what I would consider to be the year's greatest power metal song. The song stands at nine minutes in length and features an array of changes, giving it a very strong progressive and epic feel that, truly, steals my breath away with its power and might - this is an epic that stands right alongside any of the genre's greatest works (Rhapsody's Symphony Of Enchanted Lands, Avantasia's The Seven Angels, etc) ... what a wondrous, wondrous way to end the album!

Please do not think that, because I only mentioned specific songs above, that the other songs that remain unmentioned are unworthy or, in some way, are lower in quality for they absolutely are not. A Legacy Of Honor is a conceptual album that is necessary to listen to in full to truly experience it in its (obviously) entirety. With that being said, I really do hope that Soulspell gets the recognition they clearly deserve amongst the many metal circles that exist today, for their debut effort here is one for kings ... I expect even greater things from the band in the future although, for the time being, let this album slake your thirst for true, glorious and epic power metal - hail!