Secret Sphere - Archetype 3.5/5

Reviewed: 12-1-10





Tracklist:

1. Pattern of thought
2. Line on fire
3. Death from above
4. The scars that you can’t see
5. More than myself
6. Future
7. Mr. Sin
8. Into the void
9. All in a moment
10. Archetype


Italy’s Secret Sphere has only been on the up and up ever since releasing their breakthrough CD ‘Scent of human desire’ back in 2003. Moulding and evolving their sound throughout the subsequent releases ‘Heart & anger’ (2005) and ‘Sweet blood theory’ (2008), Secret Sphere really hit the nail right on the head with the latter CD, with a superb performance.

Incorporating a vigorous blend of aggressive and melodic European power metal, with a powerful “Italian style” symphonic and atmospheric elements, Secret Sphere have quickly made huge strides in the metal community with many metal fans taking a large interest. I consider Secret Sphere to be one of the top 3 Italian melodic power metal bands, and so it is with great excitement now in 2010, that the band has returned to deliver their 6th full-length release, entitled ‘Archetype’. Since we last left Secret Sphere and their ‘Sweet blood theory’ CD in 2008, a few line-up changes have occurred. Leaving the group after 13 years is keyboardist Antonio Agate and guitarist Paolo Giantotti, who were both original members of the band since their inception in 1997. Their replacements are keyboardist Gabriele Ciaccia and guitarist Marco Pastorino (Timesword/Shining Fury).

Jumping off the supposedly sinking ship that is the Dockyard 1 label since the release of ‘Sweet blood theory’, Secret Sphere have signed with Italian label, Scarlet Records. While Scarlet Records is a great local Italian label, it is not as big as the other larger European labels, so I found locating this new release to be more difficult than when they were with Nuclear Blast and Dockyard 1. Not much of a gripe, I know, but tracking this release down took longer than originally thought and it also makes me think that the distribution world-wide would not be as strong. In my opinion, believing that ‘Sweet bloody theory’ was Secret Sphere’s best CD to date, I went into spinning the new CD with confidence and anticipation. I also went into it not expecting anything, as sometimes having a higher expectation of a CD can drastically change the way you feel about it particularly if the CD falls short of your own high expectation. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised once again as ‘Archetype’ is yet another very solid Secret Sphere release.

I really like the sound they have currently settled on, as not only is it hard and heavy, but also quite melodic and symphonic in parts. And it wouldn’t be Italian influenced melodic power metal without blistering and boisterous guitar solos throughout each track on the CD (besides the ballads of course). I do believe that lead guitarist Aldo Lonobile is very much underrated, as his work getting this band to where it is today has been tireless and dedicated. The same can be said for vocalist Roberto Messina, who is a traditional Italian metal styled singer, who is emotional and definitely exuberant.

The CD gets off to a flyer (after the orchestral build up intro) with the first track entitled “Line of fire”. Quite speedy and ferocious in nature, the double-bass gets a pummelling, while the track is a fine way to start the CD. Further fast tracks can be found with exceptional songs “Future” and “Into the void”, the latter in my opinion to be the best song on the CD. “Mr. Sin” is a more slower and melodic track, simple in structure but very catchy and entertaining. “All in a moment” is a nice ballad where female vocals are also used. Ballads are Roberto Messina’s bread and butter, it’s where he shines the best and on “All in a moment”, he does an outstanding job.

‘Archetype’ also contains 2 bonus tracks on the European release. Both tracks are very good and I wonder why they both weren’t just full tracks for the CD. The first is a beautiful and slow ballad entitled “Vertigo” (if you’re into ballads, this is a great song) and the other is a metal version of the 80s pop rock song “The look”, originally recorded by Roxette. You might be thinking “they covered what?!” but I can reassure you that Secret Sphere’s metal version of “The look” at actually quite good and deserving of being on the release.

Overall I can say with confidence that ‘Archetype’ is yet another great release by Secret Sphere, maybe a half notch or so down from ‘Sweet bloody theory’, but still definitely worth picking up. Not only by Secret Sphere fans, but also fans of European melodic power metal and symphonic power metal fans.



SEAN




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