Rosa Ignea - Ancient eyes 3.5/5
2. Alone in paradise
4. Silent universe
5. Ancient eyes
6. When dreams come true
8. Eyes on Firmament
9. Steps 'till myself
10. Frail innocence
Sometimes I wonder how many bands would not be in existence if it wasn't for the almighty Nightwish, as many new bands have followed the formula (female opera/soprano vocals with power metal) they created way back in the late 90s. Would we have Visions of Atlantis, Kapel Maister, Midwinter, Magica, Operatika, Imperia and Star Queen? I doubt it, and if this is the case, Rosa Ignea (from Brazil) can be added to the list. This is a good thing in my mind though, as I greatly welcome bands in this style all the time.
But a few problems are created right from the start when a band has a sound/style very simlar to the exceptional Nightwish (or any other band for that matter). For one, many metal fans need a lot of originality in order to be satisfied (although I'm usually not one of these fans). Secondly, it's hard for a band just starting out to immediately match the quality already set at an ultimate high by Nightwish. Nonetheless, music is about memorable songs and is here for our enjoyment, so both of these "problems" are completely thrown out the window if the new band is able to succeed at providing us with great music.
With Rosa Ignea's full-length debut 'Ancient eyes', it's the pace that I like most. The songs are mostly fast and exciting, so lumping them in the symphonic power metal genre in line with Nightwish and Visions of Atlantis is certainly accurate. The intro "Magnificat" and the start of some of the songs (track 4 "Silent universe" and the closer "Frail innocence" for example) do provide us with some slower moments, but only track 7 "Eternity" should classify as a ballad. Special mention must be made of track 5 "Ancient eyes", which definitely is the CD's highlight, as it features the catchiest guitar work and even some brief choir parts. I also really like the short keyboard instrumentals in track 6 "When dreams come true" and track 8 "Eyes on Firmament". This young band truly consists of very good musicians and their future should be bright.
As for the vocals, Isabela Santos does a fine job, although I do find her to be a bit out of sinc with the music at the beginning of the CD (most specific on track 2 "Alone in paradise"). Her vocals seem to get better as the CD continues on however, and by the end of the CD she leaves me plenty satisfied. Overall, I would call her a step down from Nicole Bogner (ex-Visions of Atlantis) and Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), both in quality and probably octaves as well, but she's sure to improve with time, as she's quite young to my knowledge.
So it's simple really. If you're no longer into the style of female soprano vocals with power metal, pass on Rosa Ignea and their debut 'Ancient eyes'. But if you're like me, always in search of solid new bands of this ilk, pick this CD up right away. As a final note, I want to comment on how much I love the cover-art; the way the artist has taken something as simple as a rose and surrounded it with the perfect colors and detail is absolutely beautiful.
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