There are some moments of decent metal on this release but overall it's an album that shows the band developing its sound. Maybe with a bit of continuity in its line-up they might come up some special next time around. Keep an ear for this lot in future.
Vision Divine: 9 Degrees West of the Moon
This lot was formed in 1998 as a solo project of Carlo Andrea Magnani but it has turned into a full-time band. Fans of power metal will very much welcome the fact this is an on-going concern instead of an occasional outlet for its members. This is strong, keyboard-sprinkled, very melodic, power metal from Italy. It's great that Italy based Frontiers picked up this lot to add to their constantly growing collection of quality melodic heavy and not-so-heavy rock.
Now they are not necessarily breaking great swathes of new progressively influenced power metal, but that does not mean this is a quality release. There is enough originality and quality of song-writing to raise the release above the bog-standard power-metal release. Made up of the afore-mentioned Magnani and the crème of Italian metal musicians this is clearly a class act.
What it brings to mind at times is “Pull Me Under” era Dream Theater, without being a clone of that band (as so many other bands tend to be). There is something distinctly Italian about this sound. Methinks VD would be perfect coming out of the stereo system of your favorite Italian exotic as you drive through the streets of your choice of Italian city.
Pathosray: Sunless Skies
Progressive metal firmly in the Dream Theater school of musicality. Instead of hailing from the US, this lot hail from Italy. Not that you could tell mind you. This is quality stuff that is great helped by the quality vocals from Marco Sandron. The man has enough range to match the rest of the music, backing vocals are well done as well. They have clearly made an effort to create progressive music that has appeal to non-musos.
Needless to say the playing on here is of top quality. The songs are huge in nature and while complicated never venture into pretentiousness or pomposity. Songs like “Aurora” truly show why this lot has something special about them. Epic in scope, but accessible in a clear way, if it were to have some lady in flowing frock singing, it could be a rival for the likes of Nightwish et al.