Chalice Of Sin – Chalice Of Sin
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 18/06/2021
Running Time: 48:38
Review by Simon Black
Now I’m quite fond of Italian label Frontiers Music. They have a habit of assembling some quite fascinating projects and rebooting careers, so I watch their output with interest. This particular Frontiers project is a new vehicle for Wade Black (no relation) – a man who has cut his quite significant vocal chops with the likes of the rebooted Crimson Glory, Seven Witches and Leatherwolf over the years. As ever with recent Frontiers projects, this one has been assembled remotely with Black presumably cutting his tracks in the States and the rest of the band in Europe.
There’s very much a house style creeping in with a great many of these projects though, as the pandemic forces this remote way of working on musicians, but the risk with this is the that they can become potentially a little too formulaic. This isn’t helped when so many of the recent ones crossing my desk have all been produced by Frontiers in-house producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also takes on bass and keyboard duties here). Now don’t get me wrong – he’s a bloody good producer and gets a consistently rich production quality out of his artists, but when so many of them blend Classic, Melodic and Power Metal sounds and styles as a matter of course, it’s often difficult to tell where one project ends and another begins. He might be feeling the same way, given how many of these projects get thrown at him by the label boss Serafino Perugino who is nothing if not persistent and prolific in the projects he encourages from his artists.
Fortunately, Wade Black has such a distinctive voice and range that this project is saved from some of the pain recent label contemporaries have suffered from. That said, although the vocals are firing on all cylinders, the backing band feels like just that – rather than this being a cohesive band in and of itself. The beauty of remote delivery is that it doesn’t stop you working (and this project had its inception in 2019 before COVID hit), but the challenge is it sometimes robs you of the spark of Promethean fire that can turn a good set of musicians and songs into a truly great album. It’s a case of great ingredients, but a cake that doesn’t quite bake to its full potential in this instance – a potential that might have happened quite naturally had the players had the opportunity to work in the same room for a little longer and build their natural chemistry a teensy bit more.
The song structures are all pretty robust and well crafted, with dazzling moments of technical flourish in the arrangements that keep the attention nicely (as Del Vecchio’s proves to be quite nifty and progressive on the keyboards), but the music side does feel a bit too ‘by the numbers’ in general. What this album does demonstrate brilliantly is Wade Black’s quite exceptional voice. If you’ve not come across him before he has a high and wide range, but plenty of guts and gravel to go with it – think Jørn Lande with an extra two octave range and you will quickly get a sense of what he can do. It’s powerful, gutsy, loud and completely holds your attention. Take a proper band and keep the Producer in that role alone, and this might have sounded a whole lot more distinct. Either way, Wade has now been added to my list of cracking vocalists to watch, and for that reason alone this is worth a spin.
‘Sacred Shrine’ (Official Audio)
01. Chalice Of Sin
02. Great Escape
05. Sacred Shrine
06. Ashes Of The Black Rose
07. Through The Eyes Of A Child
08. I Stand
09. The Show
10. The Fight
Wade Black – Vocals
Martin Jepsen Andersen – Guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Bass, Keyboards
Mirkko De Maio – Drums
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