|Review: Lionsoul - Omega|
Year released: 2013
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: February 23, 2014
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 2/5 (40%) (2 Votes)
I've had a weird relationship with Omega. I think Lionsoul are a promising band, and as far as their material and style goes, it's everything I tend to enjoy concerning power metal. In saying that though, there are a few elements present here which turn me off, resulting in an overall experience that's fairly dismissible. A lot of this stems from the vocals, which I'll get to, although mainly I feel the material could do with a culling of excess.
It's not that Lionsoul offer anything considerably overblown, or that they pile the saccharine into a giant twelve tiered cake; it's that the songs just feel longer than they should be. Particularly when they're headed toward the six minute mark, as they follow a standard songwriting approach with little variation to warrant prolonging the run length; a majority of the material could be very happily cut down thirty seconds to a minute. This is an aspect all too transparent when the band settle into less exciting sections of songs, which could be intended as a dynamic break, although isn't quite utilized correctly. A good example would be "Shadow Of The Black Horse" which loses itself towards the end, despite having the DNA to grow into a solid up-tempo number, or "Atlantis" which despite housing the coolest moments in the album, isn't arranged all too well.
The general approach to the music is quality, though. Surprising for an Italian power metal band too, as Lionsoul largely avoid the Euro-cheese trappings common in their territory. I'd say they bear similarity to countrymen Athena or even Labyrinth (when they utilize their speed metal side). Very much guitar driven, with the keyboards being utilized more as a backdrop opposed to a lead instrument. The guitar riffs are cool too, with some being really enjoyable like in the aforementioned "Atlantis" or the blazing "Heavenly Ride", however at times they do verge into facelessness, although it isn't exactly bad, just standard fare.
Ivan Castelli's vocals are the clincher for me, and whilst it's not so much his performance as it is the vocal lines, either way I'm left feeling uninspired. His voice is likely the most atypical aspect of Lionsoul, and really, he's a dime-a-dozen Italian power metal singer, the likes of which could be heard regularly at the turn of the century. He does fare well in the propulsive sections, but when the band dial back I feel he sounds lost. If you want to hear Ivan at his best I'd suggest checking "The Prescient", and at his weakest I'd look towards "Tiger Of Gaugamela".
There are definitely good moments here, and some which verge on killer, "Liar" in particular is an ace tune, yet on the whole I struggle to sit through the album in one go. As a debut this delivers some promise, despite many pitfalls, and as such I can say I'd definitely be interested to see how they grow. As for now, I can't say I'll be returning to this one. Like I've said, there's some good stuff, but it's weighed down by songwriting which for the most part fails to inspire, as well as some less-than-great vocals. Interesting enough, but you don't really need to hunt this one down.
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