Fireworks

Secret Sphere - 'Portrait Of A Dying Heart' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/28/53/bc/Secret-Sphere-17-1372946675.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     July 04, 2013    
 
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The best and most consistent set of songs yet from Secret Sphere.

Well-seasoned veterans from the thriving symphonic power metal scene located in Northern Italy (Alessandria to be precise), Secret Sphere have deep seated roots that go all the way back to the mid 90s, and as such can justly lay claim to being contemporaries of acknowledged genre defining acts such as Rhapsody and HammerFall.

Debuting as long ago as '99 with the exuberant 'Mistress Of The Shadowlight', over the ensuing decade and a half the band have gradually honed their sound into a tightly complex, bombastically overblown amalgam of Rhapsody, Angra, Queensrÿche and Blind Guardian, with more than the odd passing nod to the theatrical melodrama of Savatage and Virgin Steele. 'Portrait Of A Dying Heart' is their seventh full length studio album to date, and as well as being their most ostentatious and ambitious piece so far, it also marks the recording debut of new vocalist Michele Luppi (ex Vision Divine).

Based on a short story commissioned specifically for the project by up and coming Italian authoress Costanza Colombo, 'Portrait Of A Dying Heart' is one of those everything and the kitchen sink symphonic/progressive metal releases that both dazzles with its technical dexterity and bemuses with its dynamic intensity. Luppi it has to be said is a very astute addition for the band, his soaring metal roar (second only to that of Fabio Lione in the increasingly impressive canon of Italian metal singers) giving them a dynamic, yet powerfully melodic edge over much of the competition.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Whilst admittedly for the uninitiated this is not the easiest of releases to digest (especially on first listen), the overblown mix of speed metal riffs, impassioned hooks and symphonic arrangements displayed on the likes of 'X', 'Secrets Fear' and 'Wish & Steadiness' (not to mention the instrumental title track that opens the album in suitably enigmatic style) pushes the band ever closer to Kamelot territory (obviously no bad thing!), which can only further enhance their reputation with an increasingly partisan European crowd.

Took a while for the album to really get under my skin, but having lived with it on and off for a couple of months now I can confidently say that this is the best and most consistent set of songs yet from Secret Sphere.

Dave Cockett

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