Released: 2014, Bakerteam
There are literally hundreds of bands in the Italian Power Metal scene. As a new band how do you distinguish yourself in a crowded and competitive arena? Having a strong identity helps, having high quality musicians helps but often it comes down to the songs. With so many bands playing a similar style, song-writing can make or break a band. Fortunately Holy Shire have some really good tunes.
This young band is from Milan and they are a big group at that with nine members! The band was formed about five years ago and went the usual route they did a demo, then an independent EP and now their full-length debut, MIDGARD has been released by Bakerteam Records.
MIDGARD is loaded with symphonic and progressive elements and is not as fast as many of their brothers in this genre. One unique feature that sets Holy Shire is that they have not one, not two, but three female vocalists! The only other bands I can think of off the top of my head to do that is Coronatus (Germany) and BabyMetal (Japan). I guess we have the Axis Powers of triple female lead vocals! The leads are handled by Erika ‘Aeon’ Ferarris. What a cool name! She has a gift of strong voice with good range. You might think that with three vocalists the band might be overpowering but that is not the case.
Holy Shire have managed to create an identity of their own, a sound that is not as keyboard driven as many Italian Power Metal bands. The flute plays a prominent role. The performer who goes by the name of ‘Ale’ plays a strong role in the bands sound but without being overpowering. It is not really a lead instrument as such by always adding atmosphere to the songs. The production is quite smooth and clear, there is not too much heavy distortion in the guitars, the tone is a bit mellower. The overall sound of MIDGARD is not really operatic and bombastic but certainly progressive and engaging. The are some symphonic elements, such as those heard on the cut ‘Revenge Of The Shadow’ but for the most part, the flute and piano are embellishments.
Holy Shire have managed to carve out something a bit different and interesting in a crowded and competitive sub-genre. Their debut MIDGARD should attract some attention for fans of the genre and prove to critics and cynics that it is a not always about being full-blast, when it comes to this sub-genre, and that the songs can come first.