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Sound Storm - "Immortalia" (CD)

Sound Storm - "Immortalia" CD cover image

"Immortalia" track listing:

1. Immortalia (1:58)
2. Back To Life (4:14)
3. The Curse Of The Moon (5:42)
4. Blood Of Maiden (5:15)
5. Faraway (4:57)
6. Promises (4:18)
7. Call Me Devil (6:25)
8. Seven Veils (6:33)
9. Watching You Fading (5:05)
10. Wrath Of The Storm (4:06)
11. The Portrait (9:14)

Reviewed by on August 1, 2012

"Like Parmigianino painting a beautiful landscape in the 1500's, Sound Storm paints its own masterpiece with each band member adding broad strokes to the soundscape of 'Immortalia.'"

Somewhere in Italy there lies a well. In that well, there exists a special water that most Italian musicians drink from to obtain the gifts that few possess in the music world. After hearing Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody reach the sky with “Ascending to Infinity,” I thought it was nearly unattainable for any band to come close to it ever, let alone within months after its release. In fact, I thought the only band with a shot to match it would be Rhapsody of Fire....until now. Suddenly up from the fires of Hades...er, the former Olympic city of Turin, rumbles Sound Storm with its sophomore effort, “Immortalia.” Rather than presenting its form of symphonic power as “Rhapsody straight up,” Sound Storm serves it up as “Rhapsody and Wuthering Heights with a twist of jalapeño.” With its own modus operandi, Sound Storm expands the sound by adding a touch of extreme, which to me spells pure excitement.

Like Parmigianino painting a beautiful landscape in the 1500's, Sound Storm paints its own masterpiece with each band member adding broad strokes to the soundscape of "Immortalia." Melody upon melody, the album is relentless in its ability to wrangle the imagination of the listener. The mesh of masterful guitar work from Valerio Sbriglione and the perfect atmosphere cast by keyboardist Alessandro Muscio, amid the thundering rapid fire drumming of Federico Brignolo and bass work of Massimiliano Flak, set up the devastating vocals of Phillippe D’Orange (a/k/a Filippo Arancio). The huge standout is the band’s use of harsh vocals a la Sbriglione, which accent D’Orange’s soaring “Fabo Lione meets Nils Patrik Johansson” range in a way that surpasses the male/female “beauty and beast” style.

With Sound Storm’s unique approach, there is something for everyone within this 58 minute opus. Here the band covers an element sorely missing on many European power metal releases - a nod to the extreme. After witnessing Fabio Lione screeching near black metal on Rhapsody of Fire’s dazzling “Reign of Terror,” it hit me that symphonic power acts could add this little touch and change the very complexion of an album. It certainly doesn’t need to be overpowering or draw any attention away from the pageantry. On “Immortalia,” Sound Storm employs this tool as a secret weapon on songs like “Call Me Devil,” “The Curse of the Moon,” and “Faraway,” the latter of which is one of the finest on the album. It took some time to pick the winner when every song shines, but the rapid fire riff reminiscent of Rock N Rolf on “Wrath of the Storm” completely satisfied an undying hunger for speed.

One of the things I really appreciate about this album is meticulous attention to the smallest of details. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the sweeping majestic symphony of the album, but there are tons of little sounds, time changes, and little inflections that come out from nowhere to grasp the listener. Few albums gave me so much enjoyment from start to finish because of this. Right then, you want examples: how about the stunning duet of D’Orange and guest vocalist Ilaria Lucille on both “Blood of Maiden” and “Call Me Devil” with Sbriglione’s evil grunts circling them both like a serpent. Or perhaps the “modern day Beethoven” composition in the middle of “The Curse of the Moon,” or the little psychotic guitar whips on the main verses of “Promises.” Add to those the beautiful piano interlude at the start of “Faraway,” and the heavily Middle Eastern influenced “Seven Veils.”

“Immortalia” quite simply puts the band’s debut “Twilight Opera” to shame. The song writing and compositions are truly remarkable. There is no doubt “Immortalia” will top my list for 2012, as it has already crept into the same company as some of my all time favorite releases...just like that.

Highs: Some of the most breathtaking compositions in symphonic power metal.

Lows: Fans who desire less orchestration will find this gaudy.

Bottom line: Sound Storm's sophomore effort is undoubtedly "Immortalia."

Rated 5.0 out of 5 skulls
5.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)