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Articles Home » 2005 Articles » Secret Sphere - 2005 Heart And Anger
 
Secret Sphere - 2005 Heart And Anger


SECRET SPHERE - HEART AND ANGER (2005, NUCLEAR BLAST)
Roberto 'Ramon' Messina - vocals
Aldo Lonobile - lead guitars
Paolo Giantotti - guitars
Andrea Buratto - bass
Antonio Agate - keyboards
Dave Simeone - drums


Background
We're up to album number four with these metal merchants from Northern Italy. If classically constructed progressive metal in the vein of Blind Guardian, Rhapsody and Stratovarius is your thing, then these boys are well worth a listen. They tend to dip their feet into many genres, so the 'mixed veges' approach to playing metal can't be better illustrated than with the music that Secret Sphere are playing. Perhaps that is what I find so appealing about these guys. Sure, from a purists perspective they may not be in the same league as Pagans Mind or Kamelot for instance, but I know that, and I try not to make comparisons along those lines. Musically, the guitars shred, there are clever time changes, keyboards are utilised where necessary, while the symphonic presence is always around. Yes, the use of a full Orchestra is not only challenging but damn right outrageous! Well done boys! The production of Achim Kohler gives the band dynanicism where it is needed.. which is usually EVERYWHERE!!

The Songs
The intro on 'Endless' sets the scene perfectly. Orchestral backing leads into the drum battering presented to us on 'Where The Sea Ends'. Even then, we still hear orchestral passages hovering in the background, in among the aural barrage! 'First Snake' has moments of speed and melody; the mid-section alternating between slow and fast passages, all in the space of a few bars. 'Loud And Raw' takes on a definite power metal edge, those guitars have an A-Grade Steel rating, and the way everything comes together on this track is impressive. Epic is one word to describe 'Set Me Free'. I listen to it and imagine the conflict and contrast. The aggressive riffing representing the clash, the soaring voices and classical phrasing combine to create the aural soundscape of confusion. Secret Sphere present us with a hard rock number with 'I Won't Say A Word'. Even so, this sounds better than what most 'hard rock' bands can deliver. 'Lights On' is a fantastic metallic aural assault. The way these guys combine thunderous riffs, speed drumming, and classical voicings needs to be heard to be believed. Through the middle, the pace loosens off slightly, but you just know they could take off at any moment, which invariably they do. The band pay tribute to 'Leonardo Da Vinci', in a style that I'm sure would make the old fella turn his head in confusion. Yes, Paganini was a bit of a speed merchant in his day, and if Da Vinci had heard him he too would've been suitably impressed. Speed/prog metal from Secret Sphere? I'm not too sure about that.. lol!! The band (dare I say it) venture into AOR territory with 'You Still Remain', a piano based power ballad. Damn nice it is too, in the vein of 'Rage For Order' era Queensryche. 'Bad Blood' as the title suggests gets back to the heavy handed delivery. The drums giving the metronome a real work-out, while the album closer 'Faster Than The Storm' epitomises everything in a songtitle.. You guessed it, all instruments on overload with vocals on 'shrill alert'.

In Summary
Despite this, I think we could safely say these Italian boys are still on a lower rung of popularity when compared to some of their contemporaries in the prog metal genre, but they are getting better while their appeal is on the rise. They have some great ideas, and in time, they will be in a position to integrate these components into something special. Watch out for their future releases to be absolute killer! However, what they do, they do with conviction, and the intergration of classical components into a prog metal environment is something only the Italians have been able to master. Consider 'Heart And Anger' to be a true smorgasbord of metal, taking into account speed metal, melodic power metal, thrash, symphonic metal, and hard rock. It's all here, and is far as I am concerned, it makes for a good listen. This one will be in the CD deck for a few weeks yet!

URL: www.secretsphere.com

Track Listing:
01 Endless
02 Where The Sea Ends
03 First Snake
04 Loud And Raw
05 Dance With The Devil
06 Set Me Free
07 I Won't Say A Word
08 Lights On
09 Leonardo Da Vinci
10 You Still Remain
11 Bad Blood
12 No Reason Why
13 Faster Than The Storm

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