1. Prodromos

2. Conformity

3. Flying into the void

4. War without End

5. Atlantis (-Garden of Atlantis  - Atlantis rise)

6. Hammerhead

7. And I still remember...

8. Ominous Silence

Bruno Masulli - Vocals

Marco Signore - Keyboards, background vocals

Lino Mazzola - Drum, background vocals

Ly Holestone - Bass

Jo Dardano - Guitar


MARSHALL : "Garden of Atlantis"        marshall          Frontiers Records


Pages from the Past

preview - review  by Sara "Shadow Lady" De Vita____     

Very good and successful work the one by Marshall: “Garden Of Atlantis”. Sonorities that were missing duiring the years and that the Neapolitan band rediscovered and readapted to the “needs” of the modern metal, recreating soundscapes of the highest skill and finesse.

Marshall are born in 1986 with Lino Mazzola on drums, Mario Ferrigno on bass and background vocals, and Sasŕ Ferrigno on guitar and vocals. The sound of this first line-up spaced between a hard rock '70s-styled (from bands such as Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin), and the American Heavy Metal (with influences from Whitesnake or Van Halen). After three demos (1987, 1988 and 1989) Marshall experimented an intense live activity, to which the first full lenght followed, titled Magic Diamonds. Between 1988 and 1991, the band played in more than 70 concerts.
And yet, after being voted as best new Italian band in 1990 on the Metal Shock magazine, and with great praises both from critics and audience, Marshall enter their dark age - even though it was also their best moment of their initial musical career; they were chosen as openers for the Black Sabbath 1991 Italian tour, but missed this great occasion, and hindered with problems, Marshall break up at the end of 1992.   

Almost 10 years after, Marshall come back with a new line-up. Of the old line up only Lino Mazzola remains. The sound this time is influenced by the classic Heavy Metal (Iron Maiden, Saxon) with prog-power sounds, due to the joining up of Marco Signore on keyboards coming from a progressive/symphonic  background, and also to Ly Holestone on bass, who had his musical evolution through the power metal of Stratovarius and Labyrinth. To this new line-up a new guitar player is added, Alessandro Grasso (coming from hard rock / melodic metal school) and also the valid contribution of the awesome vocalist Bruno Masulli, with a strong and wide metal background (from classic to thrash metal). And this is the valiant line-up that allows Marshall to produce an advance tape titled “Atlantis”, to which several live shows in Italy follow. When for working reasons Alessandro Grasso abandons the band, the virtuous Jo Dardano takes the guitar giving a more innovative sound to Marshall. Except for some live shows in the first two months of 2003 when (due to serious working problems) Marco Signore and Bruno Masulli are temporarily substituted by Alessandro Granato on vocals and Riccardo Barone on keyboards, Marshall keep their formidable line-up that ends up invited to the Agglutination Metal Festival on august 9th, 2003. In september 2003 Marshall enter again the recording studios for their second full length, “Garden of Atlantis”, and in november start their tour in Italy to promote the new album. And the album doesn’t get lost in chatters and superfluous frills, and since the fist song (completely instrumetal), the Marshall-style stands out without hesitation.

Driving and determined, “Conformity” is a shard that wounds the listener’s ears through a play of guitars and keyboards that chase each other on a background of powerful and immediate rhythms and a high-flying voice. Excellent are the passages of tempo and the stop ‘n go's that embellish the song with an incredible versatility.
Dreaming and with a strong emotive impact is “Flying Into The Void” (that, in my opinion, better represents the band’s style). Ravishing are the keyboards, that develop giving chase to the voice, that in turn dominates in a song with a rhythmical structure built on accelerations and slips giving to the listener a strong sensation of a fall towards cutting sonorities …<<…restless soul lost in the shadow of life>>, underlined by an alternate solo of keyboards and guitars that shocks and hypnotizes.
Stunned by a sadistic game of pure heterogeneity, Marshall decide to give us pure and aulic moments with “War Without End”…a song of denounciation on the difficult acceptance of the concept of war underlined, with great sensibility and technique, by the “instrumental merging” created by the band. Rage and confusion… unavoidable and hopeful… this is “War Without end” …<<War to end all wars>>. …now let’s move to the marvellous “Atlantis”…believe me, there are no words to describe such a  concept-song of so ample breath: delicate in its keyboards intro (Garden Of Atlantis), elegant in the masterly intervention of the bass that breathes away that sensation of highest fly, to replace it with a slow fall towards the darkness of the abyss... where the “ancient city” is said to be found.
The song explodes after more than two minutes from its beginning leaving place to the sound bursts of “Atlantis Rise” that, whithout hesitation, with double relentless bassdrum and stout riffs, recreate a sort of struggle between their impetus and the delicate essence of the keyboards mixed with the dark presence of the bass notes. Even the choice of subdivide this song in two well distinct moments that intertwine in the finale in an explosion of sounds and sensations is truly a choice of importance and it must be considered a mark of great professionalism.
After the aulic “Atlantis”, we are transported into a floating sound that will lead us towards the end of this experience of ancestral sensation and yet extremely present.
“Hammerhead”, an instrumental song, manages to describe by itself… no need of a vocal “Ambassador” to mark its contours. A very good guitar work that make the sound smooth and melancholic. The rhythm is never overdone and, gloomy, follows the virtuosisms of a truly excellent guitar work.                                                                                                                                        

And I Still Remember…” is the more “’70-like” song of the whole album: when you listen to it you have the sharp sensation to be lost in a labyrinth, where the walls are made out of notes and chords, where only a voice can show us the way out. The sensation of being lost is even more felt towards half of the song: when sounds faintly recalling doom metal give out a sense of anxiety and the obsessive words “In The Garden Of The Painted Flowers A Black Rose Cracks The Stone” almost announce an endless loss that will lead us to the almost black-metal abyss (at least in the concept) of “Ominous Silence”, last song of the album. In this song, a true and proper descent into the Hells, the more extreme and innovative soul of the band is revealed, abandoning the more fierce and sharp sonorities to start a musical path more complex and articulated and of no easy interpretation. As a hidden predator… it waits for our get used to delicate musing lulling towards places of oniric promises… only to attack us in our most vulnerable moment: the unexpected arrival of an aggressive violence that gives chase hungry… sure of our defeat.

 …defeated… dazed…our predator leaves us wounded… moving away proud of having carved upon us its mark…an M… …M for Marshall…M for Mystical Music. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Sara De Vita  

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