Released: 2012, Spider Rock
Despite being around for many years, this is my first time having the pleasure of listening to Ivory Moon and it is our first review of the band for Metal-Rules.com. Founded in Italy well over a decade ago the band, comprised of seven members, have released their third album entitled DARK TIME. Quite a few members have come and gone from the band over the years and most recently for this album the band has introduced a new female lead vocalist, Gabriella Aleo. She shares the vocal duty with Sandro Manicone. He tends to take more a full lead role but she adds some wonderful counter-points with her awesome sweet, clean, high soprano style adding diversity to the songs.
Generally the band are in the Symphonic vein, but for experienced fans of the genre, you can tell the difference between a Metal using symphonic parts and a fully symphonic band. IVORY MOON fall in the former category as the symphonic elements are relegated to a supporting role. For example on the song ‘Darkness’ those sounds of horns and strings take a backseat to a much more straight-ahead, conventional Metal sound. The songs are very melodic and catchy, some of them even have a Melodic Euro-Metal feel like perhaps Takara, Bonfire or Pretty Maids but with much more instrumentation floating under the song structure. If you strip away all the horns and strings floating around, you would have a decent album by Axxis or even Pink Cream 69. That means good songs but at times mushing, the two somewhat dissimilar styles together don’t always work. That is not to sat that the album is without Metal appeal, the solos are excellent lots of fire and flash, the vocals of Sandro are a bit gravelly with a bit of a rock and roll sneer at times. Then the soprano vocal will kick in and leave you scratching your head in puzzlement but fully enjoying the shift within the same song. The tune ‘Apocalypse’ is an excellent example of the dichotomy of sounds and styles wrapped into a fantastic and intriguing piece of art.
The strength of DARK TIMES is frankly not at all a dark sounding album but one loaded with harmony, melody and really catchy hooks. The various tempos and tones keep the songs engaging, instead of hitting the listeners over the head with an all-out symphonic assault. The time-changes are used sparingly but effectively. The choruses are very effective and memorable and mixed with the rock and roll bite (some of the songs have pinch squeal harmonics, which is unusually for this type of album) and then the soprano drops in and suddenly it switches gear and all wraps back to a super memorable chorus. Despite working in crowded genre of Metal, Ivory Moon have hit on something just slightly different and interesting, blending the various sounds into a very entertaining and catchy album. I had initially (in my mind) originally rated this album a bit lower but I revisited it a couple of times before writing the review and I’m pleased to recommend this to most Metal fans.