Etherna - s/t 3.5/5

Reviewed: 8-22-08





Tracklist:

1. Chained to the horizon
2. Dreaming of better days
3. Etherna
4. Tides of flowing time
5. Waterfalls of life
6. Rage
7. Rising darkness
8. Fury of islands
9. Free in your eyes
10. Eternal life


Although the label's CDs are usually hard to find, the fact remains that Underground Symphony is responsible for many of Europe's best bands. One of their latest acquisitions is Italian band Etherna, who's led by Alessio (aka Alex) Lucatti, the keyboardist of the long-running and popular Vision Divine. Obviously (being a huge fan of Italian power metal), I picked up their 's/t' debut as soon as possible, and as I had anticipated, Etherna belongs in the typical Italian power metal style, which was most popular in the late-90s and early-2000s.

One thing that jumped out at me right away with this debut is that it's very keyboard oriented, as opposed to Windrow's CD 'Trilogy' (that I reviewed a few weeks ago), which is much more guitar oriented. This makes sense, as the band is led by a keyboard player, but I must warn those who think that some Italian bands are over-the-top regarding the amount of keys. Thus is the case with this debut, though this is not a problem for me, as I love everything about the Italian scene, and hell, one of my favorite bands is Wonderland, who uses more keys than just about every other band out there. Anyway, because of the high amount of keys, some of the band comparisons that have come to mind are Oracle Sun, Skylark, Heavenblast, Labyrinth, Concept, Odyssea, Infinity, Highlord, and the already mentioned Vision Divine and Wonderland.

As you would guess, Etherna is fronted by your typical high-pitched (falsetto) vocalist, Giacomo Boschetto, who I certainly consider to be above average, yet not amazing. Thankfully, there is plenty of speed on the CD, but the band also provides some nice ballads (track 4 "Tides of flowing time" and track 9 "Free in your eyes"). My favorite song is definitely the rippin' track 8 "Fury of islands", which is simply awesome from start to finish. Overall, the CD is melodic, memorable, and will please fans of the many aforementioned bands if you're okay with a lot of keys.

So we end up with a keyboard-dominating Italian power metal debut, in a style that fans of Underground Symphony CDs have heard numerous times before. Therefore, the decision of whether or not you should pick this up should be simple. One thing's for sure, we here at Metal CD Ratings have reviewed many of the label's CDs and there's surely a reason behind this - they've provided us with a lot of impressive CDs that to this day are some of my favorites.



CLINT




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