Released: 2017, Rockshot Records
Progressive, female-fronted metal from Italy! And a power trio to boot. That brief description in the promo captured my interest right away, as the term symphonic is the more expected description with female-fronted bands from that part of the world. Formed in 2011, REDEMPTION is an ambitious concept album telling tales of drug abuse, crime, broken families, and sacrifice. It’s a common enough scenario in the world today and HIDDEN LAPSE executes their vision with enthusiasm. The entire project is greatly enhanced with the compact running time, the 11 songs clocking in at about 40 minutes.
Vocally, Alessia Marchigiani employs a comfortable range to move the story along while guitarist Marco Ricco and bassist Romina Pantanetti lock into complex but digestible rhythms. After an instrumental opener that reveals nothing of what is to come, “Silent Sacrifice” is the proper beginning, with its progressive and speedy opening riff. Much of the album pattern to come is established here, with start-stop progressions, multiple riffs and speeds, along with subtle keys. Up next is a brief interlude, the second non-vocal tack in 3 songs and again quite different in style from the songs that are sung.
As thing progress, Hidden Lapse’s chops and ambition shine. There are several instances where things move towards what might be an actual song, before the band changes tempos, several riffs come and go, and things begin to feel a bit disjointed. It’s a common problem with progressive metal, the balance between overplaying and composing actual songs. Credit Hidden Lapse for not sounding like Dream Theater though, as this is more like a dark Kamelot with Delain’s singer. Production is clear and dry but mercifully uncluttered with multiple tracks of drenching guitars and keyboards, which is the norm. The mix is basic and to the point. The title track is a melodic highlight, packaging all the bands impressive qualities in a worthy song.
Undoubtedly this an impressive debut from a band that manages to find a way to engage in a progressive metal sound that does not sound exactly like everyone else, but borrows the necessary parts. The room for improvement lies chiefly in the ability to move towards more conventional structures while retaining the progressive tendencies, all while making things sound cohesive, as the interludes and instrumentals do not complement the vocal tunes. Certainly, a band that merits monitoring, fans of Kamelot and Delain will find a viable hybrid of the two in Hidden Lapse.