Saturday, August 27, 2011

Infinita Symphonia - A Mind's Chronicle (2011)

This is an album of European symphonic power metal. Wait. Don't stop reading because you think you've "heard it all before." Infinita Symphonia may sound like "just another band" doing "the same old thing." But for a band that is merely three years of age, it isn't safe to assume anything. This Italian four piece sound like masters of the genre, and they have two guest vocal spots that may have you believing "A Mind's Chronicle" is a power metal album for the ages. Don't let your preconceptions fool you. Just listen.

The album opens with strings and horns aplenty, in the short but blaring "Intro(verted)." The melody could be torn straight from a movie score, each measure building into the next. It leads directly into the double kick beatdown of "Lost In My Own Brain." The guitar riffs are immense, paired alongside a tight bass line. The soaring vocals of frontman Luca Micioni are operatic when necessary, but containing the proper amount of grit and power. The keyboard melody in the breakdown is the perfect compliment to the screeching guitar chords. The air of triumph scattered throughout the outro is breathtaking.

What asserts this album into your consciousness is the ability to be versatile, as in the opening moments of "Mighty Storm." A rather blackened scream accompanies the normal winding guitar parts and thumping drums.Then all is quiet. Short bursts of bass, drum and guitars are the foundation for a vocal melody. Micioni's vocals are daring, bringing to mind the best the genre has to offer. His finesse is remarkable. Layered guitars and keys come together in a charging breakdown, driving the tempo into overdrive. The taste of the melodic comes full circle in "The Illusion," a track that begins with an acoustic passage so delicate, you would expect it from masters of folk rock.

There is something so invigorating about the precision the band displays on "Planet Universe." This is the progressive splash you have been waiting for, with syncopated drum beats and dodging keyboard solos. The vocals are rich with harmonies, all placed on top of the bed of guitar mastery. Nothing pretentious about a good, rocking solo. A pair of incredible features await in the next two tracks, the first by vocalist Fabio Lione of Rhapsody of Fire fame. His signature tone graces "Here There's No Why," a stunning vocal duet that will bring chills. This is pure power metal, stacked on top of power metal. The unity of keys and chords is dazzling, the perfect background followed by the perfect lead. The second track, featuring Tim "Ripper" Owens, is a lesson on the heavier side of power metal. Owens voice, honed from years with Judas Priest and Iced Earth, tears the track to shreds, with his high pitched screams and raspy growls shattering your preconceptions of the genre.

Things slow down, an inspiring piano and keyboard solo opening "Lost And Found." The use of pure emotion is what sets the good bands apart from the mediocre, and Infinita Symphonia have that in spades. Micioni's talent is clear, especially here, when his voice stands alone. No distortion to hide flaws. As the track builds again, you may feel a slight sensation in your heart. Don't worry, that is normal. This is what ballads were meant to sound like. An acoustic guitar makes the transition to "From Earth To Heaven," another soft reminder of the beauty this band has to offer. Even as the drums come crashing back to life, it is the delicate guitar and keyboard tones that command your interest. A ripping electric solo erupts, driving this piece to a close.

Don't be fooled with the early orchestration on "The Equation Of The End," this one will not be a quiet affair. Guitars and drums roar in, and we are taken back to the power. The fills in this track will leave you dizzy, with kicks, toms and snares getting abused with the sheer thunderous blows. Underneath it all, the tickling of the ivory keys keeps the track from getting out of hand. However, the ridiculous drum roll that leads to the guitar solo may leave your hair standing on edge. All good things must come to an end, and "I Believe In You" is the perfect way for it to happen. Driving guitars, pulsing drums, and those staggeringly power vocals are here to take you home. The undercurrent of keyboards is just enough to be impactful.  In a mere seven minutes, you are treated to everything you need.

Sitting here in the Sorrow Eternal headquarters is like sitting at a veritable buffet of music. We digest so much, so often. But when a band like Infinita Symphonia comes along, it becomes clear that we need to push ourselves away from the musical table, and just enjoy. "A Mind's Chronicle" is satisfying in so many ways. It goes beyond cookie cutter power metal, and dances in the realms of symphonic glory and progressive punch. It isn't enough to say this one is good or bad. This album is special.


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