|Review: Oracle Sun - Deep Inside|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: February 23, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.57/5 (91.43%) (7 Votes)
An incredibly overlooked piece of work here from Italian Prog-Power sensations Oracle Sun, another of ex-Labyrinth stickman Frank Andiver's multitude of projects. Actually, this happens to be the best of them, and while it is more of the same, it is the style at its most enjoyable, inventive, and outstanding.
Featuring members of bands such as Shining Fury, Seven Gates, Angel Grace, and Sigma, Oracle Sun bring a lot of influences to the table, and the songwriting on this thing is so pure and fresh, it really takes a number of spins to uncover its full aural intensity. Every song is both unique and undeviating, retaining the genre's key principles and pushing them into territory rarely explored. A lot of bands can be heard in their sound, but the blueprint sits somewhere between Vision Divine and Vanden Plas. Stick in the Tolkki-esque riffing from Stratovarius (just check out the intro to "Light of Life" or the ever-changing speed fest of "Stand Alone"), the sweeping Dragonhammer-like keys, the tranquility of Rebirth-era Angra, and the unpredictability of Wingdom and DGM and you're halfway to describing the wonders of Deep Inside. By no means is the mix striking at first, far from it. It takes close inspection to bring these observations to life, but luckily the album is so easy on the ears it won't be long before you've clocked up thirty listens and have started to unwrap its many, gratifying threads.
As every moment of this, the band's only album to date, is a treat, there are no highlights as such. "New Sunrise" (with its harmonic verse) and excellent closer "Stone Angel" deserve special mention, as they always stand out but never pale against the onslaught of the remainder. Andiver has done a superb job with the production, which is warm and summery, and vocalist Val Shieldon brings this thing to life like no other could, crooning with a soft, breezy tenor throughout. From fast, triumphant Power Metal, to reflective Prog, Oracle Sun has it all, and if you're a fan of sophisticated melodic metal and still haven't heard this, it's you're next port of call. Trust me.
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