Carlo Faraci - vocals
Pier Gonella - guitars
Steve Vawamas - bass
Chris Parisi - drums
Rob Tiranti - guest vocals
Wild Steel - guest vocals
in Floods" odyssea
release date 04 October 2004 - debut album
preview - review by Marco "Norman Knight" Signore____
is yet another power metal project from Italy. It starts back in 2000
from an idea of the guitarist Pier Gonella, aided by several musicians
from the Italian metal scene. In this album, as a matter of fact, we
find cameos at vocals by Wild Steel (Shadows of Steel) and Rob Tiranti
(Labyrinth), but the main vocalist remains Carlo Faraci – mind you,
this is his first metal work (and you can easily hear this in the
album). The line up is completed with Steve Vawamas and Oscar Morchio on
bass, and Chris Parisi on drums.
album opens with a brief intro (strangely resembling a submarine
sonar…) and then goes on with the first song, “Fly”.
This is a typical Italian power metal song, good guitar work, decent
bass and drums, but the vocals are out of place. And this is a surprise,
as the vocals are sung by Rob Tiranti from Labyrinth. In any case, the
song flows on fluid enough and yet too
“framed” in the standard power metal style. However, we leave
behind the opener and come to the second song. Here we find some
original music piece, as “The King”
(this is the title of the track) opens with the typical double drums and
power riffs of guitar, but then after a good vocal part, becomes eerie,
with atmospheric keyboards creating a carpet for weird insertions of
guitar and bass and single lines of voice. The central part is beyond
doubt the most interesting part of the song, and not a moment too soon
it melts away into the power metal basic riff of the main refrain that
ends this track. Interesting stuff, as said before.
a sweep synth and distorted background voice we move into “Falling
Star”, the following track. Soon a guitar playing
alternating strikes creates the mood of the song in which sweeping and
acid synths merge with a mid tempo (at last!) from the drums. The
distortion of the guitar is fuzzy, almost evil, and different (once in a
while) from the typical power metal sonorities – with much more chorus
than we are used to. Then the piano accompanies the vocal line – more
melodic rock than metal, but this again is a welcome change of pace.
Unfortunately the singer Carlo Faraci is not at his best with the
falsetto – he should, in my humble opinion, remain on middle tones. I
think that this song, however, is a little masterpiece for the keyboard
arrangements. It is a pity indeed that neither on the flyer nor on the
sleeve there is any mention of the keyboard player. A
lot of loops, sweepers, even “quasi-analogic” growlers are used in
this track and the keyboard is always precise in creating the right mood
for the other instruments (be them the guitar with his nervous
solo, the good bass work, or the vocal line). Then the vocal starts
again with the refrain “falling
star” – again, too much falsetto, and this is the only black
spot in an otherwise very good song.
the very good synths closing the track, we are then transported into “Burning
Time”, the guitar intro clearly speaking of the main
influences of Gonella (guess who? Satriani and Malmsteen). This
song, however, is not at any level with the previous two. Again we
return to a typical “Stratovarius-like” power song, even with
too-foreseen chord sequences. There is very little else to say
about this track, and so we drive ourselves to the following one, titled
“Try Again”. What do we have
here, with this acoustic intro? A melodic metal ballad, with a pedal
bass from keyboards and a simple yet effective arpeggio of acoustic
guitar. The ballad itself is in the standard of
melodic power metal, again with two elements that must be remarked.
First, the keyboard work is very well done, maybe with a bit too much
“sci-fi style” sounds, but very well arranged. The drums and bass
follow up the skeleton of the song without infamy nor glory. But the
second thing is the vocal line. In my opinion this song should again
have been sung with middle tones and not going in falsetto, a
technique that maybe Carlo Faraci has not yet mastered; and the lyrics
are a bit too weak, resembling the very simple songs from Helloween like
“A tale that wasn’t right”. A song that will make the most
romantic among young power metallers dream… but maybe a bit too
“Angels Cry” we find an
aggressive, Romeo-style dark guitar, that introduces a power metal
drum’n’bass work finally at good levels. The voice of Wild Steel
interprets very well this power metal song in the style of Domine or
Labyrinth. Even though nothing new under the sun,
this song is well played and flows away smooth for the ears of the
listener. And thus we are greeted by the next song, the title
track (in two parts) and possibly the most original song in this album.
in Floods” is a two-part song, of which the first instrumental
part (“El Ultimo Canto”) opens with an interesting guitar solo, well
placed on the always sharp keyboard carpet. And again the keyboards are
well arranged and entwined with the vocals with loops and choirs (both
synthetic and human) only to fade in the main guitar theme. The
chords and the sonorities clearly send out the message “this is a very
sad song”, and fade into the second part
(“Miserable Man”) – that is a sharp change of pace. An
instant of silence and the the drums explode and the exceptional synths
(with a lot of phaser) create the right atmosphere for a curious vocal
line in which at last the voice of Faraci finds its perfect balance,
even when it goes in a sort of falsetto. And while the lyrics are more
resembling an Italian melodic-pop song than a metal one (“I’m screaming again, you’re so far away from me…”), the song
remains the best in this album. The strange and yet very effective
entangling of synth, guitar, bass and drums is very weel performed, and
the sonorities of the synths are well chosen, all leading to the main
guitar solo that is bracketed by a brief and intense intro and outro of
flanged lead synth, and the final cry of anguish abruptly end the song.
the sweeping and flanged keyboards makes “Apocalypse
part 1”, instrumental intro for the last track of the
album, “Creatures”… a nervous
song in which the vocal line goes on with the keyboard pads. But the
refrain weakens the whole construct. The guitar and drum play as one in
the bridge and all too suddenly there is a choir singing a refrain a-la
Helloween. Maybe a better choice of the
melodic line would have been of great benefit for this otherwise good
song that in some parts almost becomes very interesting (e.g. in the
bass mini-solo, in the central instrumental part, and in the
spoken section, all very well conceived and performed ideas). If not for
the refrain, this “Creatures” would have contended the “most
interesting song” prize in this album with the previous one “Tears
in Floods part 2”.
I have listened many times and very carefully to this CD. It has good ideas mingled with lack of originality (which is becoming typical of the whole Power Metal style) and this is a pity. The musicians here are all good ones, and the ideas are there, ready to be picked as mature fruits, but you can feel that somehow they are escaping like in Tantalus’ myth of old. Songs like “Creatures” or “Tears in Floods pt 2” clearly demonstrate what these musician could do if only they had the courage to detach from the too much used and too much listened chlichés of the “standard” power metal which is quickly becoming noious. Too much double drums, too much hi-speed guitar soloes, and too much falsetto voice (a speciality in which the otherwise good singer Faraci should train a bit more) have a bit spoiled an otherwise good album.
this review will have two endings, depending on whose side are you on in
the Metal scene.
1. Powermetal diehards.
album is overall a very good album. Good Italian-style power metal, in
the wake of Labyrinth, Vision Divine and with a touch of Domine, this CD
is a good Melodic Power Metal work which could open the way to a very
promising band. Excellent guitar riffs, good bass’n’drum work, nice
vocal lines and the collaboration of famous Italian Power Metal names
such as Rob Tiranti and Wild Steel make this “Tears in Floods” an
album at least to listen to, if not to buy immediately.
2. Non-powermetal diehards.
this album is indesputably very well played, performed, mixed and
engineered, with great musician and a voice that even at his first go at
a metal album shows interesting developments, is clearly a “first
attempt”. Too much “standard” power metal here, lack of
originality both in lyrics and main lines in songs, make this a work
that will not be easily listened for a non-power fan.
are many very interesting points to suggest you this album. First, the
keyboard work. In a single word: excellent. Second, there are a couple
of songs (“Tears in Floods pt 2” and “Creatures”) that are
enough testimony of the gauge and abilities of the involved musicians.
Third, the guitar player Pier Gonella shows much of his enormous skills
here and if you like guitar play (and who doesn’t? We are metalheads,
after all!!!) you should definitely listen to this, one of the best
guitarists in the Italian metal scene! The vocal line sounds incomplete,
though, as the singer Carlo Faraci has a bit more to learn about metal
in all, I would give to this album a good listening before buying it.
It’s a sort of thing that you either love or hate. But it shows
promises, it shows fertile terrain. It is a good business card for a new
band like these Odyssea.
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