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Reasons Behind - "Ouverture" (CD/EP)

Reasons Behind - "Ouverture" CD/EP cover image

"Ouverture" track listing:

1. The End Of Our Chapter (5:07)
2. My Last Act (5:01)
3. 1000 Fading Lives (5:21)
4. Choices (4:55)
5. The Last Night Of Ilion (6:05)

Reviewed by on August 3, 2012

"...drawing too many influences from other sources wears on the originality a band needs to stay on the side of distinction rather than extinction."

Hailing from the culturally rich Italian city of Bologna, no one would argue that Northern Italy is without a metal scene. In fact, much of the finest Italian metal calls this region its home. One of the newest acts to come from the area is Reasons Behind, which started off as a gothic metal cover band, playing classics from Nightwish, Epica, and Within Temptation. Now an original act, its debut, appropriately titled “Ouverture,” leaves the listener little doubt as to where the band draws its influence from and little to set itself apart from it.

A five piece fronted by the highly operatic and quite lovely Elisa Bonafè (“Ely”), the band cannot help but be compared to early Tarja era Nightwish. While the EP is an impressive and well played debut, it would behoove the members to quickly try to expand and evolve the sound lest they face the brink of mediocrity that starts with that ear cringing fan response of “meh.”

There is no question that Bonafè can sing with the best operatic singers in metal. Her style may just be a little too close to opera, sort of like Meden Agan’s Iliana Tsakiraki with a splash of Tarja (circa 1996 demo track “The Forever Moments”). Opera style vocals are lovely, but even better when used as an accent against a more open and natural approach. Sometimes the style can be a little too overwhelming when used all the time. On “Ouverture,” Ely can soar perfectly to the rafters and sing a great strong low range, but she needs to widen her voice to achieve that perfect middle.

With that said, the EP does have some beautiful and soulful melodies with progressive and gothic elements that occasionally erupt into short controlled bursts of speed. However, drawing too many influences from other sources wears on the originality a band needs to stay on the side of distinction rather than extinction. “Ouverture” opens with the prototypical gothic intro (with slightly elevated synths in the mix) of “The End of Our Chapter,” which ends up sounding like a bonus track from “Angels Fall First.” “1000 Fading Lives” and “Choices” are a bit more progressive, anchored by those some bursts of speed. The best track on the release is “The Last Night of Ilion,” which has all the qualities of Nightwish’s “Sleeping Sun,” a pseudo ballad powerfully sung. The orchestration and solo work is done exceedingly well and Bonafè shines with her best performance.

On “Ouverture,” the band introduce a well traversed sound that is a solidly played effort, but lacking in originality. Hopefully with the next release, the band will seize the future and separate from the pack to really make a mark in the world of gothic metal.

Highs: "Last Night of Illion"

Lows: The gothic metal is too close to sounding like early Nightwish to set it apart.

Bottom line: Reasons Behind needs to shed the past and look more towards defining its own sound.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)