Secret Sphere - Sweet blood theory 4/5

Reviewed: 9-5-08





Tracklist:

1. Evil or divine
2. Stranger in black
3. From a dream to a nightmare
4. Bring on
5. The shadows of the room of pleasure
6. Welcome to the circus
7. The butterfly dance
8. Sweet blood theory
9. Feed my fire
10. All these words
11. Vampires's kiss
12. The day at the end of the world


One of the more successful and well known Italian power metal bands, Secret Sphere, have released their latest effort, entitled ‘Sweet blood theory’. This release is the band’s 5th full-length CD since their inception back in 1997. And just recently, the band announced a change of labels, going from Nuclear Blast to Dockyard 1. With all of Secret Sphere’s previous CD’s given good praise, how would the new ‘Sweet blood theory’ stack up? Read on to find out...

Secret Sphere are not your ordinary power metal band. With lyrical content typically ranging from life issues, love, reality and dark fantasy; Secret Sphere have also had a sexual tinge thrown into their lyrics. With previous song titles such as “Virgin street 69”, “Scent of a woman” and “Desire”; and CD titles such as ‘Mistress of the shadowlight’ and ‘Scent of human desire’; these lads from Italy have certainly opened new doors into lyrical content of European power metal bands. These persuasive song titles took a back seat, however, in the band’s 4th CD ‘Heart and anger’. This release was a “back to the roots” type CD, which recalls the first power influence of the band. The tracks were fast and furious, but mixed with melody and a symphonic aspect, which was backed up by a 50-piece symphonic orchestra. This ensemble formed for ‘Heart and anger’ was called “The Secret Symphony Orchestra”.

‘Sweet blood theory’ has taken the core of ‘Heart and anger’ and made a continuation of the band’s original power influence, making it their new musical direction. This latest effort by Secret Sphere is a concept album based on the novel “The Vampire” written by John William Polidori in 1814 and is regarded as one of the early novels with a vampire character, even possibly the very first. This concept is perfect for Secret Sphere as their dark fantasy content can flow freely with the concepts of the novel.

The first thing I noticed with the new release, is that Secret Sphere are now much more aggressive. Not overly aggressive however, but still quite melodic and symphonic as well. The tracks, bar one, are all mid to fast-paced with a lot of double-bass pummeling, chunky riffs and memorable solos. Secret Sphere’s use of keys has been like their musical signature over past releases; and with ‘Sweet blood theory’ this is no exception. The keys and symphonic elements really balances out against the more aggressive side, giving more feeling and emotion to each track. Add to that, Roberto Messina’s wonderful and melodic vocals, which drives the feeling of each track. His range is exceptional, while his delivery has improved a lot over the years. One track on the CD which really shows off Messina’s abilities, is the ballad called “The butterfly dance”. Soulful and emotional, it is one of the better metal ballads I’ve heard in quite some time.

I also must say that Secret Sphere’s songwriting, arrangements and song structures have improved quite a lot. On ‘Sweet blood theory’, I am impressed with the creative songwriting, in which no way seem predictable or done just “by the numbers”. Each track has its own feel, identity and intensity; and does not seem to go by any previous song structures. Secret Sphere have really pulled out all the stops on this release, putting everything into this CD. And the best thing is, that it really shows. The evidence is right there in the music.

Although the whole CD kicks ass song-wise and I could easily list every track as a standout; some of the tracks worth mentioning here are “Stranger in black”, “From a dream to a nightmare”, “The shadows of the room of pleasure”, “Welcome to the circus”, “Feed my fire” and “All these words”.

I can easily and proudly say that ‘Sweet blood theory’ is by far Secret Sphere’s best CD to date. If you thought ‘Scent of human desire’ and ‘Heart and anger’ were good, then your Christmas has come early with this release. This band may be overlooked somewhat in the metal community, but with the move to Dockyard 1 and now with this opus, here is Secret Sphere’s bold statement to the metal world. ‘Sweet blood theory’ will be one of the top metal CDs of 2008 and anyone who loves European melodic power metal will most certainly enjoy this.



SEAN




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