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Twilight of Days
Released: 2001, Noise Records
This is the first time I have heard this band despite the fact that Rhapsody’s Fabio Lione once was the vocalist for this band! The original line up came together back in 1991. Fabio was not in the original line-up but joined in 1995. He remained with the band until 1999 when he realized that fronting his full-time band Rhapsody and his side-project Vision Divine was too much to handle along with his Athena duties. Therefore, in 1999 Athena chose to two replacements from the Italian metal scene – vocalist Francesco Neretti and an extra lead/rhythm guitarist Graziano Poggetti. Rounding out the line-up is Simone Pellegrini (guitar), Fabio Doveri (bass), Gabriele Guidi (keys) and Ross Lukather (drums).
It should come as no surprise what style of metal this band plays. This is melodic power metal all the way! Athena is nowhere near as orchestrated as Rhapsody, but there are similarities. The rhythms throughout the CD are not as classical sounding opting for a more straight-up power metal feel. The keyboards add some classical touches not too far removed from Stratovarius. There is of course plenty of double kicks and melody. If you are a fan of power metal like Stratovarius, Helloween, Rhapsody, Kamelot, Angra, etc., then you will also have to add Athena to the list of bands you have to check out. Songs like “Twilight of Days” present all the elements of power metal but the band does not just play what some refer to as “happy power metal”. For example, “The Highest Tide” and “Lord of Evil” has some heavy riffing that has a more aggressive edge to it than what you would find in many of the other polished “happy” sounding power metal bands. These guys are also excellent musicians; the soloing in the opening track “Twilight of Days” is flawless. The alternating keyboard and guitar solos take place in a number of songs and it is one of the band’s strengths. In line with many power metal bands, Athena has also put a lot of thought into their lyrics in the creation of a concept album. The general storyline is one of a king who upon defeat is presented with a second chance at life by the devil in order to face his destroyer. He is made immortal until the moment he is to face his enemy. If he should fail, he will spend eternity in hell. If he wins, he will lead the army of darkness in a quest for world domination. The king’s solution to this dilemma is one that I would not of chosen, but maybe it was his only way out of Satan’s evil trick! :)
I guess the only problem that Athena face is that they are but one in a sea of many melodic power metal bands. For that reason, some might overlook them. However, if you are a fan of this genre then Athena is worthy of your attention. I for one would rather wade through a glut of melodic power metal to find gems like Athena, than have to wade through the thousands of hybrid hardcore death metal bands.
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