Released: 2000, Independent
First up this month is Italian power metalheads Black Swan. The band plays a symphonic style of power metal that is very close to fellow Italians Rhapsody and Labyrinth. Actually, the band is basically a mix of the Rhapsody bombast and the Labyrinth prog-metal. The problem here is, that while the music is flawlessly executed, there isn't much on this disc that we've not heard before. That being said, it still is a quite enjoyable ride!
While only three songs long, the CD is 15 minutes long, not bad considering that one song is a 1:30-long intro. Black Swan leaves themselves plenty of time in the other two songs to indulge their prog tendencies, and indulge they do! "Medusa" is a winding track that speeds along with the obligatory slow middle section (hmmm…haven't we heard that formula before?). However, the slow section is well done, highlighted by some nice keyboard work, that sounds vaguely Stratovarius-y for some reason. The song serves as an intro into the vocals of Danilo Cagliari, whose high register wails both compliment and distract the listener from the music. He often sounds off-key and needs to learn a bit more restraint in order to be a truly effective singer (a constant falsetto is not necessarily a good thing!).
"Lord of my Dreams" is the other full-length song on the CD and it too is a burner with a slow mid section. While it is essentially a copy of "Medusa", I do find it to be a more interesting track overall. There are some of those "eerie" background Viking-style vocals that add to the attempted evil sound of the song. Plus, Cagliari's vocals are more palatable in this song for some reason. Anyhow, this is a band that is still learning and has quite a ways to go before being ready to compete with the Rhapsody's of the world. However, there is the talent here to accomplish that goal, making Black Swan a worthy listen for your ears. Plus, they've got cool cover art! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org