some of Skylark best written songs are present. Heavier and faster than before…this is symphonic power metal and it really sounds like no other band. Fabio sings with more force and emotion than ever before and his voice is more controlled, and he uses backing vox to great effect again. Every musician involved gives a great performance. There are a lot of complex moments to every song. Songwriting is top notch. The guitar solos are technical, melodic as hell, and fast too. And the themes are very memorable and grand.
SIMILAR BANDS: For those not familiar with those Italo-power contemporaries take older Helloween and add double bass and A LOT of keyboards (mostly piano and harpsichord)to get the idea.
Features guest musicians such as Rob Tyrant (Labyrinth), Folco Orlandini (Mesmerize), and Vic Mazzoni (Projecto)
1. Intro 00:44
2. Welcome 07:00
3. The Triumph 09:08
4. Belzebul 08:11
5. The Last Question 03:51
6. Earthquake 01:42
7. I Can’t Find Love Tonight 02:15
8. Satan Arise 02:43
9. Why Did You Killed the Princess 06:02
10. Lift for the Sky 01:06
11. Dance of Stars 06:51
The Triumph! – 95% When I went into symphonic power metal a few years ago I was amazed with Rhapsody’s unique approach (ok I was really naïve back then) but the combination of symphonic-orchestral music with heavy-power metal blew me up. Then I got into Skylark and I was again amazed by the epic atmosphere and songs length. Well, by the time Divine Gate I arrived I was absolutely astonished by its sheer speed, crushing guitars, ultra high pitched vocals and symphonic mix with power metal. I was able to get the special deluxe version and so far it remains as one of my favorite cds. The crushing pace and powerful music hyperventilates me every single time I listen to it. The style is very similar to Rhapsody but at this point they started to drift apart. Whereas Rhapsody focused more and more into medieval-symphonic elements and complexity of including more and more folky instruments, on this album Skylark focuses more on brutality, speed, tight and complex rhythm sections as well as guitar soloing.
So I have to say this: this is power metal by all means. It stands for everything the genre stands for: simple yet effective speed metal riffs without the complexity of it. The chord changes are not abrupt and actually predictable, high pitched vocals sung almost entirely in the higher registers, tons of symphonic elements around, sheer speed, rely on fantasy-epic tales. If this is not what power metal was about, I do not know what it is. The album contains every single power metal element there is. Certainly has its flaws but that does not take away the entertainment.
I am going to talk about the pros first: The long songs are nothing but spectacular saying they had it all: the relentless speed, tons of guitar solos, cool vocals (although they have their flaws), changes of pace and complex rhythm sections and instrumental passages. The keyboards are very well mixed with the guitars and provide an epic atmosphere throughout the entire album. The flow of the long songs maintains interest because they are a lot of twists, the interlude of the two singers is very well performed, and the narrations give a more sinister-evil ambience and provide another approach to the songs. The most important thing on Skylark’s albums is atmosphere and epic-ness and they perform it masterfully. If you want pure crushing speed and symphony at the same thing we are talking the 3 very first songs which clock at around 10 min. each so this is pure entertainment, unadulterated and simple. The ballads, as far as I am concerned are not cheesy. ‘The last question’ I’d say works more of an intro, next there is ‘I can’t find love tonight’ which sounds very much the same but they are very enjoyable because of the harpsichords. I find the ballads with Kiara much better but these are very good indeed. The middle tones in the vocals on ‘I can’t find love tonight’ fit the music like gloves and the lack of guitar solos does not take away any points from the song and the pianos do not overpower the guitars so it doesn’t sound cheesy or over sugared. The structure of the album although can drag some interest because the way the songs are ordered even so keeps you interested because, for example, right in the middle of the ballads there is a powerful song in ‘Earthshake’. Perhaps it can be considered an interlude but even so once it immediately begins it rampages with brutal speed and power. There is a lot of variety in the drumming: drum rolls, changes, double bass beats, etc. so you never get bored and the precision of the drummer is remarkable, being the speed of the songs. The bass lines courtesy of ‘Brodo’ are awesome since he provides not only the rhythm lines but more he sounds really tight and thick with the guitars, which is what we should expect from a bass player.
In regards to its flaws: first and foremost the poor production prevented them to really achieve full potential. Unfortunately the drums (especially the hi hat and cymbals) are really buried in the mix. The double bass drums are ok but as far as the cymbals it is a pity. Fabio Dozzo is again attempting to scream out loud every two minutes but he is not in control of his powerful voice so he gets out of range almost every time. Being Italian I’d say he should study vocalization and just trying go to the highest registers because it is Italian power metal. Definitely and I agree 100% here, Fabio Lione is far more professional.
It is without any question the heaviest material they’ve recorded, contrary to the lighter on the next ‘Gate’ but even so they are both good staples of symphonic power metal and if you are a fan of the genre you need to get this.
In the end, I tried to be fair enough with this piece of enjoyment for a metal head. I always thought this album to be near perfection. Today I know I was really innocent but even so, I it can keep me interested through the entire listening experience and since it still has a lot of airplay on my cd player I’d consider it very very good and a good representation of what the genre stands for. Pass by the production problems and the ones mentioned above and you will find it very interesting but if you can get ‘The last gate’ then we will be talking.
Underground Symphony – US CD-040
Format: CD, Album
Style: Heavy Metal
1 Intro 0:44
2 Welcome 7:00
3 The Triumph Guitar 9:08 [Lead On First, Third] – Vic Mazzoni
4 Belzebù 8:11
5 The Last Question 3:51
6 Earthquake 1:42
7 I Can’t Find Love Tonight 2:15
8 Satan Arise 2:43
9 Why Did You Kill The Princess 6:02 Guitar [Second Solo] – Pota*
10 Lift For The Sky 1:06
11 Dance Of Stars 6:51
Bass [6 Strings] – Roberto “Brodo” Potenti*
Drums, Percussion – Federico Ria
Guitar – Fabrizio “Pota” Romani*
Guitar [Lead] – Vic Mazzoni (tracks: 1, 2, 4 to 11)
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Voice [White Warrior] – Fabio Dozzo
Rhythm Guitar – Vic Mazzoni
Voice [Guardian Angel] – Folco Orlandini
Voice [Lady Of The Light] – Monica Golfetto
Voice [Princess Of The Snow] – Marina Maggioni
Voice [The Divine Speaker] – Giovanni De Giorgi
Voice [The Divine Spirit] – Rob Tyrant
Recorded at Zenith Recordings
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