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Heartache - 'Skyscrapers And Firefalls' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/91/8f/09/Heartache-Skyscrapers-and-Firefalls-76-1499020837.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 02, 2017    
 
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In a crowded market I'm not convinced that Heartache have that certain "something" to make them major contenders.

Hailing from Italy, this is the band's debut album with them having only previously released an EP entitled 'Apophis'. It's a concept album which according to the PR blurb is about a guy, an emblem of his time, living in the trap of social isolation and technology's non-reality. Each track takes him on a spiritual journey to find the "real" reality surrounding him. Got that? Me neither.

The opening track is pretty much an atmospheric offering which leads into a curious number, 'Apparel Makes the Man,' which puts me in mind of a Dream Theater and A.C.T. hybrid, albeit with a vocal arrangement on the verses that doesn't seem to go with the music behind it. Some redemption is found in the chorus. Thomas Gabriele's vocals will, I suspect, prove to the key issue for the listener, his accent is exposed on some of the quieter numbers such as the acoustic ballad 'Craziness', elsewhere it comes across as rather earnest.

Gabriele is joined by Matteo Palladini (guitar), Giancarlo Vizzaccaro (keyboards), Alessandro Giordano (drums) and Andrea Prestia (bass) all of whom come over as being highly accomplished players.

The band mix Prog Metal with more acoustic-based material, with the two merging on 'Waking Hour' which starts out mellow and builds to the big ending where Palladini delivers a fine solo. The end of 'Breaking News' is a bit bizarre, with some very strange synth gymnastics.

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The lengthy 'Climax' initially takes the intensity down several notches with some delightful piano before they dip into an off-kilter synth refrain. Just as quickly, the track changes direction into a brooding, sparse phase before the pace quickens which brings the band Tiles to my mind.

'Constant Dropping' is the last proper track and is the longest at over twelve minutes. The opening instrumental with acoustic guitar and piano has Genesis hallmarks. When the vocals arrive, I can't help but think of Nickelback. It's the album's most cohesive song with some fine vocal arrangements.

In a crowded market I'm not convinced that Heartache have that certain "something" to make them major contenders. The songs have lots of good parts but few of them hang together as complete entities. It's almost as if they are trying too much. The promise is there, and as debuts go, it's not at all bad but they're band that needs to hone their skills.

Gary Marshall

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