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Lunarsea - "Bio Ashes Halo" (CD/EP)

Lunarsea - "Bio Ashes Halo" CD/EP cover image

"Bio Ashes Halo" track listing:

1. Beside The Driver
2. Dead End Road, He Walked
3. Solstice Woman
4. Tales of N.D.E.
5. Truth Hits Everybody (Cover Police)

Reviewed by on July 15, 2010

"This band was touted as melodic death metal but every track is tainted with a solo that is loaded with notes, tapping and sweep-picking approaching Dragonforce speeds."

Italy’s Lunarsea was formed in 2003 from members of a progressive power metal band Hollowearth including Fabiano Romagnoli (guitar and synth), Cristian Antolini (bass and vocals), and Angelo Musmeci (lead vocals). In 2004 they released their second demo “Bio Ashes Halo.” This 5 track EP includes four original tracks and a cover of the Police’s “Truth Hits Everybody.”

The album kicks off with “Beside the Driver,” a song that sounds inspired by the work of bands such as Children of Bodom and Kalmah using rapid interplay of guitar and synth elements. This song is really a mixed bag with styles shifting from power metal lead guitar to rapid black metal style picking and Musmeci’s vocals alternate between a black metal style where he sounds as though he’s vomiting out the words and clean-ish vocals somewhere in the realm of Darkseed or recent Sentenced.

“Dead End He Walked” starts off as strongly with an At the Gates style intro which shifts to some clean guitar and a tempo change that kills the energy. The highlight of this song is a pretty catchy chorus where you can actually detect an Italian accent! Shocking! A fairly extended spacey synth solo is featured before the guitars kick in again. This song is followed up by “Solstice Woman,” a ballad that is slightly confused. It starts off with some shimmery guitar (think “Remember Tomorrow”) with a serious psychedelic vibe but then shifts to crunchy power chord driven metal. The death metal growls don’t really work in over-top of the clean guitars and again, the tempo slows too much on this track.

"Tales of N.D.E." is the standout track on this album. It’s solid melodic death metal, rapid drumming, melodic lead lines paired with vocals and harmonized guitars and it is missing the confusion of other tracks on this disc. Finally, they close it out with the aforementioned Police cover. The main riff from this song actually sounds pretty good with some distortion and it works as a metal cover.

The main issue with this album is the guitar solos. This band was touted as melodic death metal but every track is tainted with a solo that is loaded with notes, tapping and sweep picking approaching Dragonforce speeds. Please leave that kind of stuff for the power metal bands.

Overall, this album shows a band in its infancy and is more of a snapshot of their roots rather than a must-have disc. Judging by their recent material online, I would recommend checking out their newer albums, as it appears the band has evolved into something better than I heard here.

Highs: The fourth track “Tales of N.D.E.” finds this band at it’s most focused.

Lows: Guitar solos are bloated with poor structure that detracts from the songs.

Bottom line: Skip this early release and go listen to their newer stuff - they’ve improved.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)