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Secret Sphere
Portrait Of A Dying Heart
November 2012
Released: 2012, Scarlett Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

Certainly there is no shortage of Italian power metal bands, and Secret Sphere is set to release their 7th LP in 2012’s PORTRAIT OF A DYING HEART. The band was part of the initial Italian power metal movement, emerging at about the same time as Rhapsody and Labyrinth but not able to garner the same level of interest as those two stalwarts. The new album seeks to redress that, PORTRAIT OF A DYING HEART being a concept album inspired by the epic concept albums of Queensryche and Savatage. The album is based on a novel called ‘She Complies With The Night', which was specifically commissioned by Secret Sphere's guitarist and main composer Aldo Lonobile to the young Italian authoress Costanza Colombo.



The label and band describe themselves as symphonic power metal, and while there are certainly symphonic elements, the comparisons to Rhapsody Of Fire are no longer as apt, Secret Sphere really going in a more Labyrinth-like direction. Simply put everything is here. Great riffs, amazing vocals, powerful production, attractive and sticky melodies boosted with lots of technical guitar playing. From the instrumental opening of the title track, to the climatic signature track, “Eternity”, this is state-of-the progressive power metal. Parallel track comparisons with other concept albums emerge quickly, as in the track two “X”, obviously inspired by “Anarchy X” as track two on OPERATION: MINDCRIME. This is also the most Labyrinth sounding track, a nice blend of speedy riffs, emotive vocals and integral keyboards.



New singer Michele Luppi is really a fantastic weapon for the band, and while the music occasionally ventures towards the epic and technical, each song is digestible and memorable, making this an extremely accessible album. For fans of power metal, particularly the brand the Italians are renown for, PORTRAIT OF A DYING HEART is a welcome and enjoyable release that should appeal to fans of Labyrinth, Rhapsody of Fire, Kamelot, and Vision Divine.
Track Listing

1. Portrait Of A Dying Heart

2. X

3. Wish & Steadiness

4. Union

5. The Fall

6. Healing

7. Lie To Me

8. Secrets Fear

9. The Rising Of Love

10. Eternity

Lineup

Michele Luppi - Vocals
Aldo Lonobile - Lead/Acoustic Guitars
Marco Pastorino - Rhythm Guitars
Andrea Buratto- Bass
Gabriele Ciaccia Keyboards
Federico Pennazzato - Drums

Other reviews

» Sweet Blood Theory
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

» Archetype
by Robert Williams

» Portrait Of A Dying Heart
by Erich

» Portrait Of A Dying Heart
by Waspman


Next review: » Secret Sphere - Portrait Of A Dying Heart
Previous review: » Satanic Blood Spraying - At The Mercy of Satan

Secret Sphere
Portrait Of A Dying Heart
November 2012
Released: 2012, Scarlet Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Italy’s Secret Sphere seems to be one of the more respected modern power metal bands these days. Certainly the band’s run, starting with 2003’s SCENT OF HUMAN DESIRE stands out – even if I’ve never had the chance to hear them. They’re just one of those bands that have always been on my radar, but I’ve never made the time for. The band itself has undergone several member changes over the past few years, with the biggest coming earlier this year with Vision Divine vocalist Michele Luppi replacing long-time singer Roberto Messina. Replacing the lead vocalist is never easy, but with me at least, it won’t be a factor having never heard Messina’s contributions.

Starting off the album, the band makes a ballsy move by opening with the 6-minute instrumental title track. It’s unorthodox to be sure, but it works as the song is packed with some great instrumentation and riffs and manages to stay interesting for its full duration. “X” brings Luppi’s vocals to centre stage and, for those familiar with his standout work in Vision Divine, you’ll not be surprised to hear that he sounds just as excellent here as he did in his previous band. Indeed, “X” is a truly great power metal song and sets the album up nicely. Sadly, although there are a number of great songs on here such as the speedy “Secrets Fear” and “Healing”, by the end, the album dies a slow painful death as the track list flies off the rails by stacking three ballads in the last four songs.



When “Lie to Me” hits, you’re thinking, OK, it was probably time for a ballad, then the aforementioned “Secrets Fear” goes full throttle, but then it’s back to sap-ville with “The Rising of Love” and “Eternity”. Too much balladry! It’s too bad the band seems obsessed with ballads, because it’s obvious that these are talented guys that can write awesome power metal when they want to.



One or two more songs like “X” would have sent this album over the top, but PORTRAIT OF A DYING HEART is still a very solid power metal album that shows the band isn’t afraid to take chances.
Track Listing

1. Portrait of a Dying Heart
2. X
3. Wish & Steadiness
4. Union
5. The Fall
6. Healing
7. Lie to Me
8. Secrets Fear
9. The Rising of Love
10. Eternity

Lineup

Michele Luppi: Vocals
Aldo Lonobile: Guitar
Marco Pastorino: Guitar
Andrea Buratto: Bass
Federico Pennazzato: Drums

Other reviews

» Sweet Blood Theory
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

» Archetype
by Robert Williams

» Portrait Of A Dying Heart
by Erich

» Portrait Of A Dying Heart
by Waspman


Next review: » Serpentine Path - Serpentine Path
Previous review: » Satanic Blood Spraying - At The Mercy of Satan





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