Released: 2013, Sleaszy Rider Records
Time moves swiftly, and so do bands in this era. Overtures are already releasing their 3rd full length album, ENTERING THE MAZE, which is the follow up to the quite respectable previous album REBIRTH that I reviewed in 2011. When last I heard these Italian power mettalers, their style featured strong influences from Hellowen and Edguy, with appropriate bombast and keyboards. The band has since evolved on ENTERING THE MAZE. The sound is still undeniably rooted in classic European power metal, but everything is more muscular this time around with more emotionally connecting choruses and heavy, tougher riffs. The band also had a lineup change on this album, with Adriano Crasnich replacing Daniele Piccolo on guitar.
At the center of the show is singer Michele Guaitoli, again showing his versatility and varying his delivery with using lower registers for the heavier riffs and reaching melodic highs for the memorable and uplifting choruses. Album opener the “The Maze”, while not the strongest track on the album, introduces the elements present on most of the songs, with progressive and heavy opening riffs. These riffs usually accompany the verses before setup bridges that pave the way to festival choruses lathered in melodic keyboards. “Of Nightmares” likewise is a song that contains a memorable chorus, while album closer “The Oracle” combines epic power metal with progressive tendencies, while clocking in at nearly nine minutes; it is the longest track on the album. For more bombastic and symphonic leanings, look to the chorus of “Programmed To Serve”, which ironically contains a heavy Morgana Lefay style during the verses! There is no arguing with the quality of the album’s sound either, and that is largely because of the mastering efforts of Sascha Paeth, whose talents grace the music of Edguy, Kamelot, and Epica to name a few.
Overtures have certainly improved, with ENTERING THE MAZE being the band’s finest effort yet. Everything is a step up, which includes the enhanced packaging and bonus DVD that includes official video clips, a live in studio set of 5 songs and some bonus content. It is an impressive package. The style is firmly entrenched in European/Italian power metal, which does not leave much room for originality, but Overtures deliver with professional musicianship and solid arrangements. Perhaps not quite up to the standards of A grade Italian power metal (which for me would be Labyrinth, Rhapsody of Fire and Secret Sphere), ENTERING THE MAZE is certainly nipping at their heels and worthy of the attention of fans of the genre. Followers of the three above mentioned bands, as well as German power metal fans of Edguy and Helloween will want to check out Overtures.