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Portrait Of A Dying Heart
Released: 2012, Scarlet Records
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.
1. Portrait of a Dying Heart
3. Wish & Steadiness
5. The Fall
7. Lie to Me
8. Secrets Fear
9. The Rising of Love
Michele Luppi: Vocals
Aldo Lonobile: Guitar
Marco Pastorino: Guitar
Andrea Buratto: Bass
Federico Pennazzato: Drums
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