Fireworks

Secret Sphere - 'One Night In Tokyo' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4c/03/3c/secret-sphere-one-night-in-tokyo-59-1480196858.jpg Hot

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The Italian Power Metallers release their first live album.

The Italian Power Metallers release their first live album. The band have gained popularity in Japan so it is only right that this performance was captured in Tokyo in front of an appreciative, if not (by the sound of it) very large crowd. Italy has produced a number of very fine Power Metal acts and Secret Sphere are one of them, although they often get overlooked in Europe for the more headline grabbing Rhapsody (and Rhapsody Of Fire) or Labyrinth. They aren't as eccentrically ground-breaking as those bands, instead playing it straighter.

SS has undergone a number of changes since their inception in 1997, no more so than replacing Roberto Messina with Michelle Luppi. Luppi (who has recently been handling keyboards and those tricky high notes for Whitesnake) is a solid choice especially when considering his work with Vision Divine isn't a million miles away from SS. For some long term fans though, with only one full album with the band under Luppi's belt, they may feel that a live disc with Messina would have been more fitting to cover the earlier material. Indeed, the albums 'Sweet Blood Theory' and 'Scent Of Human Desire' aren't represented here at all. With half of the set-list coming from 'Portrait Of A Dying Heart', the album the band made with Luppi, it's less of a retrospective live album and more of a representation of who they are today.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The heavier 'Fall', the power ballads of sorts 'Lie To Me' and 'Eternity' stand out from that record in this live setting. Although it's the songs from, perhaps their best album, 'A Time Never Come' that are the strongest here. The epic 'Legend' in particular is impressive and the ultra-heavy 'Under The Flag Of Mary Read' suggests they might have lost some of their edge on more recent records. Luppi handles melody and Metal well and he is an appreciative front-man, winning over the crowd and getting them to join in. He has the unusual habit of what sounds like blowing kisses at the end of songs to the crowd.

A second newly recorded studio version of 'Lie To Me' is added at the end, which features a good guest appearance from the great Anette Olzon. This is the first album recorded in collaboration with the Frontiers label and it'll be interesting to see which direction their new album takes them.

Duncan Jamieson

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