Released: 2012, Scarlet Records
Italian Power Metal continues to reign supreme with dozens and dozens of quality releases coming out every year. New 2012 albums by established veterans like Elvenking, Rhapsody, Skylark, Thy Majestie, Vision Divine and White Skull are making waves. However, we at Metal-Rules.com are dedicated to bringing our loyal readers information on the latest bands so, accordingly are going to do a quick review round-up of five albums by the following newer Italian bands: Another Destiny Project, Holy Knights, Mirrormaze, Sound Storm, Wind Rose. Please feel free to check out all the bands in this feature.
This album came as a bit of a surprise. Palermo’s Holy Knights put out an excellent debut album in 2002 called GATE THROUGH THE PAST on the magnificent Underground Symphony label. And then they pretty much disappeared from the wider public awareness. I had simply assumed they had broken up. Now ten years later they have signed with Scarlet Records and released they second album, BETWEEN DAYLIGHT AND PAIN. It’s almost like they are starting from scratch. In the intervening decade there have been some significant changes. The band was a quartet with the various members using stage names. Now they are a trio with only the drummer Claudio Florio and singer Dario Di Matteo remaining. They picked up Simone Campione, who is also a member of Thy Majestie these days, to handle bass and guitar. The reduction to a trio doesn’t hurt the band at all they still sound as full and powerful as before.
BETWEEN DAYLIGHT AND PAIN is an excellent continuation of the bands sound although the lyrics are a little focused on medieval knights and have a more modern approach. The album is a quick return to form running 8 songs for about 40 minutes. Musically the band are still very Italian…and by that I mean they still play a speedy neo-classically inspired Power Metal sound. That also means by default a very high-level of performance and individual talent and an adherence to the conventions of the genre. They don’t add an enormous amount of compositional originality but in all fairness they were among that massive first wave of Italian Power Metal in late 90’s, early 00’s along with any number of bands on Limb, Angular, Dragonheart, Elevate and as mentioned Underground Symphony.
BETWEEN DAYLIGHT AND PAIN maintains a consistently bouncy fast, tempo but not falling onto the ‘happy’ Power Metal category, although they do have some really catchy moments such as the very brief keyboard interlude at the 2:10 mark of the song ’11 September’, before ripping back into a crushing guitar riff. The brief segment, with what sounds like a calliope type instrument repeats itself a couple more times on the song. It’s very quirky and sound track-like and something that might be written by Dan Elfman for a Tim Burton movie. The band is not quite a straight-ahead as one might expect and the sound is very contagious and engaging.
All the hallmarks of a great Italian, Power Metal album are found here, lots of double-kick drums, keyboard vs. guitar interplay, many solos, baroque inspired musical passages, a clear powerful singer, epic choirs and big sing-along choruses. I’m personally delighted that the Holy Knights have returned to the Metal battlefield and with any luck we won’t have wait another ten years!