1. Words are Swords
  2. Princess of Love
  3. Space
  4. My screams
  5. Lullaby Noir
  6. The Phoenix
  7. Greedy Blade
  8. Dawn of promises
  9. Memories
  10. Cradle of Stone

Giorgia Gueglio - Vocals
Pier Gonella - Guitars
Steve Vawamas - Bass


Alessandro Bissa Bix - Drums



MASTERCASTLE: "The Phoenix         

Last Desire

preview  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo ___          


Follow your instinct.


The first feature i like in this debut-album is that each song is attractive already from the very first notes, giving immediate pleasure. Therefore you are practically invited to listen to the whole track with benevolent mood. Thing which is absolutely worth, because "The Phoenix" is a solid product of Melodic Metal, with peaks of neoclassical Power. Guitars get classic charming solos and energetic riffs, combining techniques of melodic power metal and heavy metal, mainly matching the taste of the German area, adding however a magic touch of Italian harmony. Strong beats, empathic signatures, fast attacks or slow ponderous dreaming phrases let  much more than just a pretty impression. For fans of the genre, this is the album to listen to in almost every moment. "The Phoenix" might not be revolutionary (moreover the title is practically identical to Agathodaimon's new release "Phoenix"), but it's perfectly structured with a great carpet of bass and drums that let explode Pier Gonella's powerful and addictive guitars. Mastermind of the band is  one of the most important European guitarists: Pier Gonella, who is also member of Labyrinth and Necrodeath. And to complete the caliber of this line up we have Alessandro Bissa (Bix), special guest drummer from Vision Divine, and the new presence in the scene of female vocalist and lyricist Giorgia Gueglio, whose voice is so forceful and cristalline. Even if she should improve her middle tones (where her voice is too near to pop), or old the tones longer and agreeably, she has all attributes to become an excellent metal vocalist, because she has a natural way of singing. Steve Wavamass at the bass completes the group. And after all, although knowing the value of the musicians, i would have never thought that a "new" Italian band could dare to compete in this genre with the giants from "Mitteleuropa". Hardly you will find in this album extravagant phrases but Mr. Pier Gonella has composed heavy songs of quality that can be easily assimilated, that can let your mind fly high in the warmth of summer nights or let you rocking and banging a lot. Influences from Helloween or Accept or Primal Fear or Malmsteen can surface, but it's the uncomplicated yet effective research of the genuine, traditional good things to be enthroned here. Under this point of view, maybe the wrong step is the opener "Words are Swords", valuable song that however sounds too ambitious, less spontaneous,  and in reality cannot totally resist a confrontation with the monsters of the genre. While the remaining 9 tracks can do it and are all too nice and some of them actually irresistible, so let's discover them. 

After the hammering uptempo opener Words are Swords come in my opinion better songs like the beautiful balladesque Princess of Love will spread blue romanticism and pounding rhythm and great guitar sounds in full dreaming atmosphere. And indeed this song tells of "a clan of witches dancing in a forest": quite a druidic picture. Space is so rocking and fresh and young. Space could be also appreciated by an American audience but an English one would find it really attractive. The fast instrumental My Dreams sees a lead guitar taking the place of the vocalist and spitting also violin-like vibrato accompanying a very good basic composition . Surely a great track. 

Lullaby Noir is sensible and, at times, when Giorgia Gueglio reaches the higher octave of her range, almost hymnic. The titletrack The Phoenix unleashes much tension, is much better than the opener and can activate the attention of those who like restless Speed/Power metal. 

Greedy Blade, whose lyrics speak about the big and devastating disaster of Vajont, is for me the best track of the CD, the track that combines pure Melodic Heavy Metal of finest with modern feelings and a touch of synthetic. Dawn of Promises is fast, hard, full of riffs yet very harmonious. 

We return to slow and sorrowful pace with another instrumental, Memories, where the lead guitar gets a marked cutting edge. Finally another track which i recommend: the rocking, tenacious Cradle of Stone, where also involving dreaming passages are contemplated. 
With this album you don't follow your demanding mind, you follow your instinct. 


Rating: 8,5/10 


dalia di giacomo         16.04.2009

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