"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Scelerata - "The Sniper" (CD)

Scelerata - "The Sniper" CD cover image

"The Sniper" track listing:

1. Rising Sun (4:40)
2. In My Blood (4:21)
3. Road to Death (5:01)
4. Breaking the Chains (5:09)
5. Unmasking Lies (5:12)
6. Must Be Dreaming (4:33)
7. Drowned in Madness (3:48)
8. Welcome Home (3:50)
9. 'Til the Day We Die (4:38 )
10. Money Painted Red (0:38)
11. The Sniper (9:39)

Reviewed by on November 2, 2012

"With a good four years between releases, the growth in musicianship shows and the members have ascended to the ranks of country mates Angra and Almah, as well as standing toe to toe with Europe’s finest."

Brazil may be the last stronghold where pure power metal isn’t scoffed at as a “tired genre” that lives in the fantasy world of dragons and wizards. Central and South American fans seem to appreciate all forms of metal, or so the festivals and videos from the region prove. So it should come as no surprise that some of the world’s finest come from the world’s fifth ranked population. As if destined to continue the tradition of Germanic power, Brazil seems like a self-sustaining metal scene with little need to move beyond its borders, though its acts are some of the most well known worldwide. Logistics and financials granted, it’s rare to see a North American tour unless the band name starts with “Sepultura.” Well, Porto Alegre’s Scelerata may come phonetically close, but the band has been playing picture perfect power metal since the beginning of the century. The third release “The Sniper” is the band’s finest, mostly due to the amazing vocal performance of “new vocalist” Fabio Juan, who has been with the band for the last two years.

“The Sniper” continues the tradition of the band’s previous efforts “Skeletons Domination” (2008) and debut “Darkness And Light” (2006), but Juan’s performance takes the group to another level along with much more mature song writing and the fetching melodies of guitarists Renato Osório (Hibria/Magician/Fighterlord) and Magnus Wichmann. Added to the mix is the stellar rhythm section of drummer Francis Cassol and bassist Gustavo Strapazon, and the most crystal clear production the band has ever acheived. With a good four years between releases, the growth in musicianship shows and the members have ascended to the ranks of country mates Angra and Almah, as well as standing toe to toe with Europe’s finest.

Now it is one thing when a band merely announces a guest appearance by a legendary frontman (yes, Paul Di’anno appears on “Rising Sun” and “In My Blood”), but it’s another when a legendary frontman writes a song written specifically for said band. So goes one of the album’s best tracks “Must Be Dreaming,” which Helloween frontman Andi Deris wrote specifically for this album. The duet between he and Fabio Juan is interchangeable, showing the true breadth of Juan’s range, which sounds a bit like a combination of both Deris and Mike Kiske (Ex-Helloween/Unisonic) with a tad of grit on the side. The song is a mid-paced groover that takes on the life of “Time of the Oath” era Helloween.

“The Sniper” is more than speedy odes to Helloween (“Rising Sun” “Unmasking Lies,” “‘Til The Day We Die”). “Welcome Home” and “Breaking the Chains” are mid-paced rockers with building bridges and sweeping choruses. The album’s best is the title track, a complex 9+ minute opus that represents the finest song Scelerata has ever written. One of the more interesting numbers is “Road to Death,” which has a distinct Angra feel until the 2:31 mark when it takes on a feel of Metal Church’s “Watch the Children Pray” all the way to 3:21 when it picks up in intensity, just before capturing the feel of Metallica’s “End of the Line” from 3:23 to precisely the 4:00 mark and then full circle for the rest. The song is one of the album’s most catchy.

Through “The Sniper,” Scelerata should raise the eyebrows of both power and traditional fans alike. Tight musicianship, memorable tunes and a phenomenal vocal performance is what awaits. With any luck, a Brazilian power tour could be fashioned to allow fans in North America to see bands who reside in the same hemisphere. Truthfully, that remains as distant as a “shot in the dark.”

Highs: Power metal's mature side: tight musicianship and crystal clear production.

Lows: The ground covered has been heavily tread upon.

Bottom line: 12 o'clock...north tower....Scelerata strikes your heart like a power metal "Sniper"

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)