Oracle Sun - Deep inside 3.5/5

Reviewed: 2-17-06


1. Lost in silence
2. Stand alone
3. Changes
4. Light of life
5. Everlasting
6. New sunrise
7. Your eyes again
8. Riding the sun
9. Stone angel

The words "Italian power metal supergroup" are always going to get my attention, and this is exactly what has happened here. Oracle Sun and their debut 'Deep inside' is made up of past and/or present members of Labyrinth, Wonderland, Shadows of Steel, Angels Grace, Sigma, Seven Gates, Mandragora Scream, Shining Fury and maybe even others. All of these bands are from Italy and all are in the power metal style except for Angels Grace, who are more of a progressive metal band, and Mandragora Scream, who are dark metal and a band I don't have. You may already know whether or not this debut is for you, but I hope to provide an idea of exactly what to expect from 'Deep inside'.

The first 2 songs are quite fast and they remind me of Shadows of Steel (especially with the keyboard parts in track 2 "Stand alone"), Labyrinth or the recently introduced Soulblaze. While these songs are solid Italian power metal, they don't really get me pumped as I thought the beginning of the CD would. Track 3 "Changes" is decent, but the CD really gets a lot better the moment track 4 "Light of life" starts, as its catchy guitar work is a real ear-grabber. This is also the song where it clicks who the vocalist is. It's Val Shieldon from the Sigma debut/masterpiece! Since Val is no longer with Sigma (he left because of "logistic problems") and isn't active in any other bands, I believe Oracle Sun is a new band with intentions of releasing future CDs, and not just a one-time project from popular Italian musicians. To my knowledge, Frank Andiver (drummer and the band's creator) is also innactive with bands he's been a part of, so this also leads me to this conclusion, even though some of the members are still active in other bands (keyboard/piano player Fabrizio Marnik is currently in the rare but great Seven Gates for example).

After "Light of life", which may be the best song on 'Deep inside', the CD becomes very interesting to me. Both track 5 "Everlasting" (which has a great chorus) and track 6 "New sunrise" have electronic/synthesizer parts that will be familiar to fans of the magical Wonderland. Track 7 "Your eyes again" is the one ballad, and although I didn't care much for it the first few times I heard it, it has since grown on me and I feel it's a nice addition to the CD. Track 8 "Riding the sun" is an awesome instrumental! It's fast, heavy, full of fantastic riffs, and having both guitar and keyboard solos is always a way to win me over. Fans of Italian power metal are going love this song! The final track "Stone angel" really has me thinking of the Sigma debut, as Val's method of singing and hitting each note (when he sings "never close your eyes" for example) brings back the many memories I have of the debut dominating my car stereo on the way home from work a few times a week back when it was released.

'Deep inside' has really been a breath of fresh air for me, as the many musical elements (from familiar bands) and Val's vocals have been very satisfying. But although the CD is a fine example of well played/performed Italian power metal with a nicely polished production, the band hasn't broken any boundaries and those who are no longer interested in what the many mentioned bands offer will not miss out by passing up on this CD. I for one, feel like the band's effort is strong even though their sound is more of the same. But now that they've made their introduction, hopefully they can try to add a dose of originality with their next CD and climb out of safe mode. I know I'll be first in line to find out.




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