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Uranus and Gaia
Released: 2016, Asgard Records
Angarthal is the self-titled, debut solo album of Steve Angarthal who of course we all know from his Italian Power Metal band, Fire Trails. OK, I’ll be honest. I have never heard of Fire Trails either, but now after hearing this solo album I want to!
URANUS AND GAIA is an eclectic mix of styles, but all of them work well together. It has hint of melodic Metal, blazing guitar histrionics, quirky song-writing and arrangements all laid over a bed of classic Rainbow/Dio/Maiden/Sabbath styled Metal. It is an interesting mix, one I have not really heard before, which is a good thing. It’s almost schizophrenic as if Angarthal can’t decide what kind of style he wants to do on his solo album, so he does them all…sometimes in the same song! Call me crazy but I hear little hints of off-kilter bands like King's X, Saigon Kick and the more obscure T-Ride, but just tiny hints. There are some big harmonized vocals which might be the Saigon Kick thing with a strong of melody. Then out of the blue he will bust out an Yngwie inspired shredding solo! Then a bit of Hammond sounding organ pops up…we are talking ‘kitchen-sink’…but somehow it all holds together based on the strength of the choruses.
It’s pretty hard to describe this unique album, but I like it because it is so fresh, fun and enthusiastic. URANUS AND GAIA sounds technically great in terms of production and it’s heavier and faster than my previous comments might lead you to expect. The 48 minute album also comes wrapped in some high quality cover art which might lead you to think Progressive Power Metal but not quite. The vocals of Angarthal are serviceable mid-range and clear, he is not horrible but it is evident his strengths lie in writing and playing first. He sings about all sorts of things, historical, mythical and magical, biblical and more. Acoustic guitar and some gentle interludes adds atmosphere to the songs, and although there are some gorgeous lower songs, there is not really a 'ballad' per se.
URANUS AND GAIA is a complex album, not hard to listen to, but hard to describe and easy to enjoy. Metal fans who are open-minded, have an affinity for melodic side of Metal and an adventurous listening streak will very likely enjoy this unique and interesting album. I hope this album does not go unnoticed.
2. Uranus and Gaia
4. Sailing at the End of The World
5. Leviathan Rising
6. Holy Grail
7. Miles in the Desert
9. The Abyss of Death
10. Wielders of Magic
11. A Lie
12. After the Rain
13. Losing My Direction
Steve Angarthal – Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Luca Saja – drums
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