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Great Master - Underworld 4.5/5

Reviewed: 12-18-09


1. Eagles of 20th
2. Land of no return
3. Ghost ship
4. The battle of lost heroes
5. Millenium
6. King of the night
7. Circle of fairies
8. The guardian of signs
9. The lost secret... underworld
10. Epilogue (Canon)

Completed well over a year ago, but not hitting the streets until now, is the full-length debut 'Underworld' from Italian band Great Master, released through Underground Symphony. I must mention right away that this debut is not of the typical Italian power metal mold - with tons of keys and very high-pitched vocals. Instead, this CD is in the opposite direction, being traditional heavy/power metal of absolutely stunning quality. It's seriously shocking how much this CD has grabbed me, and I'm not even one of the reviewers (here at Metal CD Ratings) that regularly covers this style of metal. So I feel lucky, being one of the first reviewers out there to have this amazing CD in my hands.

Okay, so traditional heavy/power metal is a somewhat vague description, and could imply comparisons to several bands, but that's just it - this band is going to appeal to so many of you. Fans of everything from popular bands like Iron Maiden, Wolf, Ilium and Running Wild, to fairly obscure bands like The Vengeful Few, Denied, Syth and Gods of Fire, to the Russian-language band Aria, and even to the Polish-language band Monstrum. Yep, if you're even remotely interested in traditional heavy/power metal, this CD is going to impress you in so many ways.

The band features 2 superb guitarists - Jahn Carlini (who is also the bass player) and Marcus Mine, both of which are simply fantastic, offering up plenty of catchy rhythms, screaming guitar solos, and some of the best melodies I've heard in a long time. It doesn't take long for the melodies to stick, and none of them overstay their welcome, as there are numerous surprises (where the guitar work and/or solos turn in a different direction). The songs are upbeat, exciting, fun, and far away from being boring or monotonous. I can easily say that every song is an absolute winner, and could be the "highlight" on so many other CDs out there.

Vocally, Max Bastasi has a clear voice and he's very easy to understand. His vocals flow perfectly with the music too, and I suspect that the band has a lot of experience (even though I don't know of any familiar bands that they've been a part of), as the songwriting is of extremely high quality. It's truly amazing how many spectacular songs are present on this CD, and even the main instrumental (track 5 "Millenium", which is in the middle of the CD) is killer. Ending the CD is "Epilogue (Canon)", the popular Johann Pachelbel song (also an instrumental), which is an interesting ending, and I believe it's the only song with keys, as (at least from what I'm hearing) the remainder of the CD is completely without keys.

There's no doubt that this debut is highly recommended to fans of traditional heavy/power metal, and it's surely going to get regular spins from me for a long time. So check it out as soon as possible, as I'm positive it's going to hit some of you like it has me.




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