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Luppi, Michele (Heaven) - 2005 Strive



MICHELE LUPPI'S HEAVEN - STRIVE (2005, SCARLET RECORDS)
Michele Luppi - vocals, all instruments

Guests:
Michele Vioni
Alex de Rosso
Maurizio Solieri
Olaf Thorsen
Oleg Smirnoff


Background
A man with a ton of talent, and as it appears, a ton of work too. Not one to sit on his backside, Michele Luppi has been involved in music since childhood, and is heavily involved with numerous projects on the go. A graduate of the VIT (Vocal Institute of Technology) out of Los Angeles, Luppi has since consolidated his reputation by joining up with Italian prog metallers Vision Divine during 2003. He first appeared on 'Stream Of Consciousness' back in 2004. For the 2005 year, he finished off this album 'Strive', which was an accumulation of material written as far back as 1998 and recorded between 2001 and 2005, plus he was working on the new Vision Divine album 'The Perfect Machine' (see related articles). 'Strive' as a body of work is the equivalent of Luppi's artist palette. All of his musical colours are on show, whether it be pure indulgent hard rock, or some jazzy acoustic flavours. It is all here. The theme is melodic rock, and we are spared the HM excesses of Vision Divine, and kept within a framework that never strays to far away from home. Certainly if people had never heard of Luppi outside of his band, then they are in for a rude awakening, because this is damned good!

The Songs
Wow, what a start to the album with the incredible 'Trust', and this from a prog metal singer! Who would've thought? The vocal harmonies are everywhere, and the mix of cutting edge instruments adds to the overall sonics. 'If You Walk Away (Without You)' is a rock ballad that has generated repeat-play more often than not in this household. 'Feel Alive' ripsnorts in a southern-hard rock way, like Tora Tora or Tangier. The hamonica parts adding to the authenticness of it all. 'Tell Me About It' contains so much melody, the straight-forward arrangement sounding like a million bucks! 'Wasting My Time' is a song that weaves atmospheric tapestries. Sonic blasts of guitar, ethereal keys, jazzy interludes and an extended outtro to boot. Another album highlight for me is the fantastic track 'Stars'. Phew.. This is how melodic rock in the 21st century should sound. Grunty guitars, pitch-perfect keyboard runs, and vocals everywhere! This one reminds me of that classic 1992 Biloxi sound which Clyde Holly constructed way back when. Not far behind that is the equally enthralling 'Time For Love'. This one rollicks along with a ton of guitar-power, the neat synth sequences within are the icing on the cake. There are a couple of gorgeous ballads to complete the picture. 'The Castle Inside My Head' is a power-ballad but 'I Found A Way To Pray' soars to great heights. The CCM approach features acoustic guitar, piano, while Luppi's vocals reaches the heavens toward the end of the song. Stellar stufff indeed.

In Summary
2005 saw some great releases, but really, this one for me was the surprise package of them all. I love the production on this one, the way Luppi has multi-threaded his vocal parts in different ways throughout the songs. Not only is it a melodic rock album, but it is an album for vocalists too, particularly for those interested in multi-layering vocal harmonies. You'll get a heap of lessons listening to 'Strive'. Don't hesitate buying this, because in years to come it will become a much sought-after release.

URL: www.micheleluppi.com

Track Listing:
01 Trust
02 If You Walk Away
03 Feel Alive
04 Always Remember You
05 Tell Me About It
06 Wasting My Time
07 Stars
08 The Castle Inside My Head
09 Time For Love
10 I Found A Way To Pray

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