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Lionsoul - 'Welcome Storm' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b3/d2/8c/Lionsoul-Welcome-Storm-62-1519505743.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 24, 2018    
 
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A decent album by a serious and committed band.

Whatever the nationality of a band, I always hope for something that lifts them above the fray and marks them out as different. On paper, Lionsoul certainly appear to fit the bill.
Hailing from Bergamo in Northern Italy, they openly eschew some of the more common traits of the genre ("very high vocals, fast riffing and Classical-bombastic, exaggerated keyboard parts") in pursuit of Power Metal that is "heavy, lively, raw and still melodic". Neither are they afraid to stretch out and experiment, given their desire to write exciting and varied material without sacrificing their Power Metal roots. They also appear to be a pretty earnest bunch – if the album photo shoot is anything to go by – though I do like a band that takes its art seriously.

Some other things I like about Lionsoul include Ivan Castelli's vocals. Castelli has an edgy and sometimes unsettling voice that demands attention. Like Ozzy Osbourne in early Black Sabbath, Rob Halford in Judas Priest or Geoff Tate in early Queensrÿche, it's powerful, dynamic and hard to ignore. It's complemented by Aurelio Parise's guitar work which positively overflows with enthusiasm and ideas. Parise's work is particularly striking in 'Gatling Sight', 'Iron Whispers' and 'The Thunder Master'. In ambition, it's the perfect accompaniment to Castelli. They're a pair well met.

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The downside? Well, I'm not sure the lyrical themes do much for me personally, though I wouldn't knock either the quality of the music or its appeal to others on that basis. As for the music, at times it borders on the overwrought or overblown. There's a touch of Manowar-style overstatement here and there, and Luca Mazzucconi's drums – for all their essential power and force – can be a touch intrusive. Perhaps 'Welcome Storm' tries a bit too hard to hit the heights. That said, the Operatic sections of the title track work well, as do the excellent and accessible 'Beyond Dusk'/'The Principal Warrior' combo and free flowing album closer 'Lion's Throne'. Between them, these tracks ensure that the band come in and leave on a high (three cheers for the primacy and recency effect.)

There's something very likeable about 'Welcome Storm', it's a decent album by a serious and committed band. Its biggest problem is that taken as a whole it's not as good as the best work of any of those referenced above or the band's acknowledged "European Power Metal elite" influences, and therein lies the rub.

Michael Anthony

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