Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A symphony with some spirit. - 84%

hells_unicorn, December 24th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Underground Symphony (Digipak)

There has been a general tendency that when a consistent veteran of an established metal style falters, a younger outfit will rise quickly to pick up the slack. This time around it's a symphonic power metal act out one of its hotbeds (Italy) that arose from the ashes of an obscure and less symphonic leaning band in Orion, picking up the pieces of Dark Moor's disaster of an LP Project X, on the very same day no less. This band goes by the name of Ghost City and they share so much stylistic commonality with the seminal period of Dark Moor and a couple other associated acts via their former vocalist Elisa Martin that it's hard to believe that nobody from said band's 1999-2003 era wasn't involved in the solid mixture of majesty and technique that is Tragic Soul Symphony.

Just about everything going on here is strikingly similar to Dark Moor and Fairyland's debut Of Wars In Osyrhia, from the pacing to the dense orchestral arrangements, let alone the high pitched wails of vocal newcomer Francesco Civardi, who has a similar timbre and cadence to Elisa Martin. Perhaps the only outright point of divergence is that the guitar tone is a bit more punchy and a bit more audible compared to the symphonic elements provided by the keyboards and the presence of the drums, which probably owes to the background of most of these musicians in the previous aforementioned band Orion, which had a fair degree of thrash metal influences going on. The riffs are generally fast, echoing the speed metal trappings of Rhapsody Of Fire, as well as the corresponding Malmsteen-like Neo-classical noodling, but there is also a healthy amount of more mid-paced grooving that's maybe a bit indicative of Hamka.

While the overt symphonic trappings mentioned dominate the actual sound of this album, the pacing and the structure of this album deviates from the instrumental overture, followed by the full length songs with occasional shorter interludes that typifies Rhapsody Of Fire and Fairyland are avoided in favor of a more straight up approach that is in line with the post-Martin era of Dark Moor, and the heavier guitar tone does lend itself a bit to some of the latter day works of Dark Moor such as Autumnal and Ancestral Romance, particularly more slower paced and densely layered numbers like "Nobody Will Be You" (which does have some faster thrashing elements) and the somewhat progressive grower "Fate". But when dealing with some of the shorter material like "Desireless Future", "Lord Byron" and "Slaves Of Yourself" it definitely leans closer to a predictably Rhapsody Of Fire oriented sound, complete with a dueling keyboard and guitar solo right out of the Staropoli vs. Turilli playbook in the latter's case.

It goes without saying that everyone is hoping that Dark Moor got the wannabe Broadway rock show composer stint out of their system and will get back to what they are actually good at, but should they either opt not to do so, or if those disheartened by what Project X means for the time prior to their next album, Ghost City may prove to be an apt replacement. This album is definitely a solid continuation of the same spirit of sound that most were hoping for out of Dark Moor, not to mention being an album that can also sate those that have been wondering when the heck Fairyland is going to put out another LP. It's a complete throwback to where symphonic power metal was in the early 2000s, be it in Italy, Spain, or elsewhere in southern and western Europe, and an extremely competent one at that. If one seeks to get back into the spirit of things and find some good food for the soul, one would do well to take the road to Ghost City.

Later submitted to (The Metal Observer) on December 30, 2015.