|Review: Etherna - Etherna|
Label: Underground Symphony
Year released: 2008
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: June 15, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 2.8/5 (56%) (5 Votes)
A very typical release from the somewhat decent Underground Symphony label, the debut by Italian Prog-Power crew Etherna is good in places, at times quite pleasant, but if you're at all familiar with the style (the Italian version of it, in particular), then you will have heard every trick this quintet throw at you before, and will be able to anticipate their moves.
From the same mould that brought us bands such as Highlord and Pandaemonium, Etherna's melodic debut is as derivative as they come, boasting the same fey, whimsical, and at times rather romantic brand of Prog-Power you've heard a thousand times from Labyrinth, Vision Divine, Oracle Sun – take your pick. It's not played as well as it could have been, with some sloppy guitar work and an odd production that at times really sounds like the real thing (on the catchy "Waterfalls of Life", for example), while at others having an unmixed, wavering quality. The band do manage to hammer through some pretty exciting parts, keeping their pace unfixed and allowing them to jump from slower, more meditative segments to full on double-kicking delights. As usual with this part of the world, the music is very keyboard-heavy and relies a lot on those thick synth-leads to carry through, but it doesn't mean the rest of the band can't compete. Just check out speedy opener "Chained To The Horizon" or the memorable "Dreaming of Better Days" to hear Etherna at their peak.
Vocalist Giacomo Boschetto has the Rob Tyrant-wail down pat, but it could be better performed, which is, apart from the dodgy production, the downside here. But apart from that, Etherna is a listenable Power Metal record fans of Killing Touch and the like will dig; it's just unoriginal as hell.
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