Sphinx (Rus) - Ghost 4/5
2. Valley of dreams
3. The ocean
6. On the wings of the wind (part 1 - Day)
7. On the wings of the wind (part 2 - Night)
8. Everything in the past
Highlighted by beautiful cover artwork, 'Ghost' is the first official full-length release from the Russian band Sphinx. They actually recorded a full-length album in 2003, but it was never officially pressed/released, and is considered to be a demo. As you have probably already guessed, 'Ghost' is a Russian-language CD, and the title and tracklist have been translated, as usual.
One of the things I've liked a lot about metal the last few years is that many bands have been releasing CDs that greatly suit my tastes. Sphinx is no exception, as not only are they a Russian-language band (which I'm totally into these days), they're also a female fronted symphonic power metal band. Regular readers of Metal CD Ratings know that we cover just about every female fronted symphonic power metal band out there, and just like with the obscure Citadel debut 'The game of light and shadow' that I reviewed last month, I'm proud to bring 'Ghost' to your attention.
Though 'Ghost' does contain some clear male vocals on a few songs (which are well performed), Sphinx is fronted by 2 stunning female vocalists, Natalia Telykh and Elena Eskina (both of the soprano type), and their twin vocal attack is similar to that of Coronatus or Kapel Maister. Other general comparisons for Sphinx would be Nightwish, Visions of Atlantis, Adrana, Rosa Ignea, Overdream, Dreamer, Legenda Aurea, Arya, and maybe Amberian Dawn.
So how does Sphinx differ from these other bands? Well, besides the Russian language, the only other things that really come to mind is the fact that this CD is quite bombastic and the orchestration is powerful. Yeah, I know other bands in my list of comparisons contain these elements too, but not all of them, and this is definitely something that has stood out. There is also a slight gothic edge at times (much of track 7 "On the wings of the wind part 2 - Night" for a quick example), but most of the CD is symphonic with some speed, and there are many catchy songs throughout. The truth is, the vocals and music are balanced out nicely, and not one seems to lead or dominate the other. Thankfully, there are some excellent guitar solos, a few short but sweet keyboard solos, and just like with most Russian bands that I've experienced, there are some wonderful melodies.
I don't have a favorite song, as the entire CD is consistently fantastic, but I will mention that track 9 "Ghost" is a lovely slow song (which does pick up) that finishes the CD in a memorable manner. So I'm very pleased with all areas of this CD and if you're a fan of some of the bands listed as comparisons (and especially if you enjoy the Russian language), you'll be happy with this CD. Personally, while I've come across many CDs of this type, 'Ghost' is one of the better ones and is surely going to get many listens.
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