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Wonderland - Follow me 4.5/5

Reviewed: 5-27-05


1. Last time my memory
2. Follow me
3. Raise your wings
4. No resurrection
5. Eres tu libertad (bonus track)
6. Call my name
7. The promise
8. Winter silence
9. Hell and heaven

It's October of 2003 and the weight of the world is crashing down without a hint of letting up. Desperate for a mood change, I enter the basement, where powerful music fills the room and a feeling of hope is present. My focus drifts to the Italian section and the search begins for the perfect CD to fill the void within. But frustration quickly sets in, as the final letters of the alphabet are becoming near. Then, like the sun rising above the horizon, the last CD of the section appears. Aaaahhhh, the Wonderland debut...

Anticipation. It's a scary thing, as there's always a possibility of disappointment. Along with the new Kamelot and Power Quest, this 2nd CD 'Follow me' from Wonderland is one of the CDs I've been looking forward to most in 2005. I'm very happy to say 'Follow me' has lived up to my hopes, and is already getting the constant spins I had forseen. I realize I'm probably in the minority with strong feelings about the Italian Wonderland, as the vocals from Alexx Hall are very soft, high, and certainly not for everyone. For this reason, I'm sure there are many fans of the Italian style who haven't been able to accept Wonderland as one of the better bands. But I think they're brilliant, unique, and I find Alexx's vocals to be perfect for certain music cravings. He reminds me a lot of Max Romano from the band Heraldry, who's debut 'Shadows of the ancient skies' is another CD I enjoy.

Musically, 'Follow me' is very similar to the 's/t' debut, but the production may be a little better this time around. They still have interesting keybord work (many times in a progressive manner) reminding me of bands like Shadows of Steel, Labyrinth, Vision Divine, Concept, Projecto and Odyssea. There are also some wonderful piano and even some electronic parts, and the melodies Wonderland are able to produce are exceptional. From the very first track "Last time my memory", where I'm instantly reminded of the debut, I'm completely drawn to the music. Track 2 "Follow me" is great, and I love the fast-paced track 3 "Raise your wings" (which features a fantastic guitar solo) and track 4 "No resurrection", both containing brilliantly mixed keyboards and pleasant vocals. Track 5 "Eres tu libertad" brings back good memories, as it's the Italian version of the song "Summer waiting" from their debut. One of the best slow songs ever! Track 6 "Call my name", track 7 "The promise" and track 8 "Winter silence" (which is amazing!) continue without offering one average song, leaving me completely satisfied as we end the CD with the slow "Hell and heaven".

Everyone has bands that are special, that may be of no interest to other metal fans. So while I find it hard to believe anyone could not like the unique Wonderland, everyone has different tastes and nothing surprises me anymore. There are very few bands that can create such unbelievable melodies though, and while the band isn't very heavy (sitting nicely between melodic metal and melodic power metal), the music is mesmerizing at times. Whether the soft vocals will be appealing or deterring is unknown, but I'll continue to be one of Wonderland's biggest fans and hope they bless me with many more years of excellence.




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