Review Summary: This work is a perfect mix of outstanding vocals, brilliant neo-classical guitar, vivacious arrangements, and a solid rhythm section to create exciting and memorable melodic heavy metal. Very recommended
The mastermind behind Mastercastle is the guitarplayer Pier Gonella (who also played in Labyrinth, Necrodeath, Odyssea and more), and he has created a fantastic melodic metal band in the neo-classical tradition. Gonella may be the creator, but the beauty, brains (she brought the lyrics: see additional info below), and the star is the mostly unknown Italian vocalist Giorgia Gueglio. She has a very nice tone and excellent pronunciation of the English language which is a definite plus. Whether performing dramatic power ballads or harder edged power metal Gueglio's voice is ideally suited for the metal genre and is one of the best new singers I have heard in a while. We find also Steve Vawamas as bass player, and Alessandro Bissa as drum player. Those guarantes a solid and powerfull background along all the album.
The album begins in true power metal fashion with the fast and heavy "Words are Swords" but never forgoing melody in the midst of the heavy riffs. Gueglio's voice is very strong as it is throughout the entire disc. Watch out for the tasty lead when the frantic pace briefly slows down. The melodic metal anthem "Princess of Love" with its slow burning tempo and really catchy chorus is another winner. The slower pace allows for more atmosphere especially in some of the guitar parts. "Space" mixes power and traditional metal and makes for another fine offering. Again the pace slows allowing the crystal clear voice of Gueglio to shine. The instrumental "My Screams" features rapid guitar runs and some effective string bending creating some cool effects. The beautiful power ballad "Lullaby Noir", provides a nice change of pace, but even it has some lightning fast leads. On guitarist Gonella's side, you will find him ripping up the fret board throughout 'The Phoenix,' and so demonstrating his creativity and expertise. There is is a little falling into mundane power metal on 'Dawn Of Promises.' However, on both this is easily overlooked thanks to the strength of the total arrangement, Gueglio's vocals and Gonella's solos.
According to the promotional material the album's running theme is human nature, the words flow nicely together, with nothing seeming out of place.