Released: 2012, Radtone
Back in September, 2012 I took a look at some new, underground Italian Power Metal bands in a five CD review feature. This month we are going to look back at 2012 and some of the titans of Italian Power Metal who released albums this year. They are Elvenking, Rhapsody, Skylark, Thy Majestie, and White Skull. I call them ‘titans’ because all these bands have been around for 15 years or more and are all in that 5 - 9 album zone…pretty impressive! We also reviewed the new Secret Sphere and Vision Divine last month who also meet this criteria. Enjoy!
Skylark has always been an odd band, struggling to find acceptance despite a large number of albums and a huge following in Japan. The band is back after a five year absence on a new label and a couple of lineup changes. Frederico is back on drums after several years and in an odd move there is a new female singer, Ashley from Arizona, replaced native Italian Kiara. Ashley does a magnificent job and may attract more people that have a problem with singers who sing English with an accent. That has never bothered me but for some an accent bothers them. Ashley has a clean, clear powerful voice, but she is not a total soprano style, although she can sing quite high like tracks ‘The Princess And Belzebu’. that's her on the cover too.
The strangely titled TWILIGHTS OF SAND doesn’t roll off the tongue. It is not grammatically incorrect, but using the plural of Twilight seems strange. TWILIGHT OF SAND would have made more sense. In any rate the album is the bands 9th and it seems like just a few years back I bought DRAGONS SECRETS on Underground Symphony. The band certainly is productive with nine albums in 18 years, not a bad pace. After the very disappointing album WINGS, where the band changed from symphonic Power Metal altogether to a more AOR sound, I hadn’t heard the last two records, so combined with the 5 year gap it has been nearly nine years since I checked them out.
TWILIGHTS OF SAND, is a very decent speedy Power Metal album. The band has always been very squeaky clean, not on bit of dirt anywhere, from the production and playing, everything is meticulous, shimmering highs, blazing solos clinical in execution and lots of shiny, Casio keyboards courtesy of band founder and mainstay Eddy Antonini. This is total video-game soundtrack keyboard Metal that is all the rage these days, except these Italians have been doing it for years. The songs gallop along nicely and there are some tender moments as well. You might think that with song titles like ‘She’, ‘Love Song’ and ‘Tears’ the album might be a bit wimpy, but those songs are actually faster songs! There are a couple of real barnburners; songs like ‘Lions Are The World’ start with an extended slow extended intro before roaring off into the sunset and the cut ‘Follow your Dreams’ starts with a really catchy Stratovarius-like, keyboard line before dropping gear into double-kick madness.
Skylark hasn’t had much attention on our site with only one album review, and that was of the aforementioned album WINGS in 2004 which I gave a poor rating to. I’m glad I did revisit Skylark because the new album is a very welcome return to the sound I enjoy. For fans watch for a various international Asian pressings of TWILIGHTS OF SAND with multiple bonus tracks too!