Secret Sphere – Lifeblood

Lifeblood Album Cover Art

Secret Sphere – Lifeblood
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 51:33
Review by Simon Black
9/10

This Italian Power / Progressive Metal outfit have been treading the boards since 1999 and having only really come across them latterly, I had to say they had not really registered much on my radar. This is probably because the challenges of maintaining a steady line-up vocally had taken their toll, with the word on the street being that with their original vocalist Roberto Messina having long since departed in 2012, that their best days were sadly in the past. So, the fact that he has re-joined them for this important tenth record, is a significant milestone event for these chaps.

And with his return, comes their mojo, as this record is a very palpable hit.

European Power Metal can be a hit and miss affair, with the Italian acts in particular often having a very distinctive classically influenced sound that makes everyone assume their name is some derivation of the word ‘rhapsody’. Whereas this record, whilst being firmly of Italian heritage, also has a strong transcontinental feel and appeal – which is a convoluted way of saying that these chaps can write lively Power and Progressive influenced material that has the right level of radio-friendly accessibility to guarantee plenty of chorus singalongs in a festival field of your choice with an audience who never actually heard your songs before. A key element of this is the phrasing within individual tracks that keeps melody lines and some of the solo breaks superficially simple and effective, but allows for a few moments of progressive flourish that remind you of how well these boys can play without limiting the accessibility for the more casual ear, that might be put off by the more technically proficient elements. That said, when guitarist Aldo Lonobile and keyboardist Gabriele Ciaccia let rip, they really can shred – ably supported by either a blisteringly relentless when needed or more measured and paced rhythm delivery as required. And because these guys know how to use their Progressive tropes sparingly, it doesn’t jar when a song manages to go both directions within the space of a few bars. This kind of flexible appeal is remarkably rare…

It’s bombastic, energetic and lively stuff for the first half then dovetails into a more melodic and commercially accessible second half, with some real care taken in the song-writing and a highly polished standard of production. For such a long album it also does the honourable thing and does not outstay its welcome. Or worse – drown you in ballads – having only the one. It’s also going to appeal to the more Metal fan base compared to some of the more Melo-Metal sounding releases they have delivered in recent years despite the commercial focus, making this an album with a really broad range of appeal. A hook-laden and well-crafted return to form.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Shaping Reality
02. Lifeblood
03. The End Of An Ego
04. Life Survivors
05. Alive
06. Against All The Odds
07. Thank You
08. The Violent Ones
09. Solitary Fight
10. Skywards
11. The Lie We Love

LINE-UP:
Roberto Messina – Vocals
Aldo Lonobile – Guitars
Andrea Buratto – Bass
Gabriele Ciaccia – Keyboards
Marco Lazzarini – Drums

LINKS:

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