7 OUT OF 10
Running time: 37:24
Pitch Black Records / High Road Publicity
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
For fans of Delain, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Letters from The Fire and Nightwish, Insatia are a female fronted, melodic, symphonic, power metal band from Amercia and Canada and “Phoenix Aflame” is their sophomore recording.
Founded in 2009, they have previously released one self-produced album, their debut “Asylum Denied” and they have opened for multiple international acts, including Sonata Artica and Dark Tranquility.
Produced by Fabio D’Amore (Serenity), Ivan Moni Bidin (Starsick System, Pathosray, Late Warning) and Staffan Karlsson (Arch Enemy, Firewind and Roxette), “Phoenix Aflame” could be seen as a symbolism of the changes that have happened in the band since the first release. Almost all the previous members have been replaced, except for singer Zoé Federoff, and it is around her that the new band has been based. They are a band reborn and re-energised. They have been through tumultuous times but, like a phoenix that arises from its own ashes, so have they.
Recorded at St Cecilia Studios in Tuscon, Arizona (and then later in Italy) with engineers Steven Lee Tracy and Robbie Wiliamson, the album features a host of guest musicians from Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind, Spiritual Beggar) and Chris Amott (ex-Arch Enemy, Armageddon) to Christian Hermsdörfer (ex-Visions of Atlantis, Serenity) and Erica James Foster (The Erica James Band) and the sleeve artwork is absolutely fantastic, fantasy driven as all symphonic power metal albums should be, a true work of art.
However, although the album is solid and consistent, it doesn’t measure up to the artwork. The guitars and vocals are the main aspects of this band, and although Kaelen Sarakinis is a fantastic guitar player who can produce great solos (especially on the title track), the remaining musicians almost blend into the background.
Zoé’s vocals are beautiful and captivating but I think at times she needs to be a bit more powerful. Thankfully, she doesn’t reach the screechy heights that some symphonic metal singers reach, and she does have a strong voice so I am by no means saying she cannot sing because she can, and very well too. I think with the emotion and feeling that comes with a lot of symphonic metal tracks, she should just let herself go a bit more and let the passion flow out of her in her singing.
I have seen mixed reviews about this album, from the reviewer loving every aspect of it, to one who hated it and my honest reviewer’s opinion is that it is a good album!
Each song is solid and the songwriting is tight and concise, but nothing stands out to me as the “epic” piece on the album. Everything has been done before and although I have no problem with a band following a recipe that has been ‘safe’ for their predecessors, I do think they need to push their limits a bit, and maybe it will give them that little bit of edge over bands of the same genre.
With a little bit more magic this band could easily be an 8 or a 9!!
- 1. Land of the Living (Intro)
- 2. Act of Mercy
- 3. Memory of a Sapphire
- 4. Sacred
- 5. We are the Grey
- 6. Phoenix Aflame
- 7. Not My God
- 8. Captor and Captive
- 9. Velvet Road
- 10. Healer of Hatred
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