|Review: Secret Sphere - Heart and Anger|
|Heart and Anger|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: October 5, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
for:Heart and Anger
No matter how competent an album "Scent of Human Desire" was, it seemed unlikely that Italian power metallers Secret Sphere were going to break from their country's stifling unoriginality. All the more ironic then that they have done exactly that by completely eschewing the bouncy, over-sentimental prog metal that won them the deal with Nuclear Blast in the first place, and instead produced an album full of the fast, catchy, melodic power metal only the Italians can manufacture so soberly. Therefore, the band's fourth full length "Heart & Anger" isn't terribly imaginative in origin, but does manage to be a damn sight more enjoyable than most, with every polished track beaming with shiny hooks, neck-breaking leads and thunderous double bass. A firm rhythmical section provided by Mind's Eye stickman Daniel Flores lays the foundations for a storming buffet of power metal delicacy, brushed down nicely by guitar wizard Aldo Lonobile and Alkemyst vocalist Ramon Messina; adding layer after layer of subtle melodies, intricate arrangements and heart-wrenching, soaring vocals.
Like a gigantic kick in the proverbial, "Heart & Anger" is a simpler, shit-lashing improvement on their refined style, making this a full blown, gloriously theatrical Italian metal album. This simplicity is beneficial, because the progression is used so sparingly compared to the sporadic leanings of its 2003 predecessor. Make no mistake, this is Labyrinth-influenced-Euro metal by numbers, but the fine, ornately carved structures and sinuous development of the album genuinely holds your interest throughout the entire running time, and a shift of mood ensues as each track progresses. From the rapid opening of "Where the Sea Ends", to the catchy "Dance with the Devil", there is a side of the genre for everyone, and those who like emotional balladry - when it's convincing - will find a gem in "You Still Remain", which is legitimately quite moving.
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