|Review: Skylark - Dragon's Secrets|
Label: Underground Symphony
Year released: 1997
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: February 18, 2012
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
When I was nineteen, I went through a phase of loving Skylark. I'm not sure why. Perhaps during my quest to find the wimpiest Power Metal on the planet, I found delight in coming to the lightest end of the spectrum with Wings, the album Skylark released on Scarlet Records in 2004. It was a strange place, I'll admit: rainbows shooting through every marshmallow cloud, stuffed animals grinning in the arms of a princess sitting atop a castle made of pink sand. The point I'm trying to make is if you're looking for Power Metal that is artful, or has a little more depth (the kind fans of Tad Morose tend to love so much), then chances are you're going to hate Skylark. If you happen to like Crystallion on the other hand, then we can do business.
Part of the problem with 1997's Dragon's Secrets is the production. It has no bass. The whole thing sounds strained through earbuds. Apart from that, the keyboards have a Casio quality (the sort that orchestrated so many RPG games on primitive games consoles). Also, Fabio Dozzo's vocals are a little queer sounding at first, but actually, they fit the music well. High pitched and laced with vibrato, Dozzo's Kiske-esque wail is one of the most distinctive elements in Skylark's sound, and the more you listen to tracks such as "Creature Of The Devil" and the fantasy-laced "Skylark", you come to appreciate them for what they were back in 1997. The second core element is the keyboard work of band leader and sole composer Eddy Antonini. The guitars (I'm talking about that slightly annoying buzz in the background) play second fiddle to Antonini's faux orchestration, which performs all lead melodies in conjunction with pianos and harpsichords, much in the same vein as Highlord or Celesty.
What's nice about this album is the passion. Most Italian releases possess the ability to move me, at least a little, and there is a charm about Dragon's Secrets that never fails to get my motor running. Don't get me wrong; on first listen most will probably dismiss this as demo-quality plagiarism and nothing more. But slowly, the dragon reveals its secrets, and sometimes they glisten.
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