The Chronicles Of Israfel
Starborn, Tome I



by soul27 USER (3 Reviews)
December 8th, 2007 | 26 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An excellent surprise package that deserves to be heard.

Band members/characters:
Dominic Cifarelli/Israfel - guitars, bass, voice samples
Americo Antonucci/Gabriel, Djinn, Appoloin The Destroyer - vocals
Vincent Cifarelli/Veloel - keyboards
Joey Ranallo/Zagzatel - bass
Joey Bastone/Jophiel - drums

Following the split-up of Pulse Ultra, guitarist Dominic Cifarelli created The Chronicles Of Israfel, an album which follows the main character, Israfel, and his journey towards discovering more about his inner self. Taking influences from Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Meshuggah and more, Dominic and fellow band members have created a dark, epic and very impressive debut album.

Track analysis

Starborn Part I: Empire Of Light - 04:46
The first part of the Starborn trio is one of the strongest tracks on the album. This track, like the rest of the Starborn trio, is fully instrumental, and is a showcase of Dominic's songwriting talent. The song is dominated by aggressive guitar riffs and some excellent lead guitar parts, making it one of the heavier and faster paced songs on the album. Gripping from start to finish, this is an excellent opening track. 5/5

Starborn Part II: Citizen - 01:24
This is a short follow-on track from part I, featuring a repetitive but addictive main riff, and a repetitive but addictive lead guitar riff over the top. It's simple and short, and is a great follow-on, but as a standalone track it loses its effectiveness. 3.5/5

Starborn Part III: On A Forever Road - 06:24
The final part of the Starborn Trilogy is a truly magnificent display of songwriting prowess. The diversity and scope of this song are incredible, ranging from a bit of spoken dialogue, some crushing riffs, a clean jazzy solo, more crushing riffs, and an aggressive and brutal ending. This is the pinnacle of Dominic's songwriting skills present on this album - a truly epic masterpiece. 5/5

Burning Day - 02:25
The album quietens down a bit after the excellent Starborn trilogy and presents the first vocal song on the album. Americo's vocals are solid throughout the album, with this song in particular being dominated by his vocals. Short, quiet, but solid. 3.5/5

The Equinigma - 04:27
Keeping the quiet theme going, this is an acoustic song, which again proves the diversity of Dominic's songwriting skills. Slow paced, and an intelligent song (if a song actually can be intelligent). 4/5

Laudanum - 07:51
Laudanum is the longest song on the album, and brings back the heavier distorted guitars. It is slow and epic which doesn't take any risks in complex guitar or drum arrangements, but instead maintains fluidity and solidity throughout. 4.5/5

Nation - 05:45
Excellent song here, which sounds a bit like a faster, heavier TOOL song. An eerie intro leads into one of the best riffs present on the album. Americo's vocals are a lot more aggressive in the chorus than present in the three previous tracks, and as a whole, the song impresses from start to finish, including a spoken interlude and a pulsating, heavy outro. An anthemic track which impresses greatly. 5/5

Born Fighting - 04:52
By far the heaviest song on the album which consists of two parts - the fast, heavy, kickass first half and the solo. The first half is fast and contains an insanely brilliant riff and a catchy chorus. Aggressive stuff indeed!

The end of this part leads directly into the solo which changes the complexion of the song completely. The guitar riff drones and crushes out the same note over and over in the background while Dominic's lead guitar takes centre stage. He quite simply has one of the greatest tones on his guitar I've ever heard. A terrific track, one of the strongest on the album. 5/5

Kill Division - 03:21
Spoken dialogue opens this track which helps to progress the story, which then leads into a relentless heavy assault, where heavy, catchy riffs dominate throughout. Fast, heavy and solid indeed. 4.5/5

New Mood Therapy Of A Medicated Babylon - 06:08
Despite having a ridiculous name, this is the 4th instrumental track on the album, and is a beautiful one too. The track consists of 3 synth keyboard solos, the third of which is just plain incredible. The song in itself just gets better and better and better, the further you delve into it. Just plain brilliant! 5/5

Eugenics - 05:22
Different. The song features vocals in the form of sung and spoken dialogue, along with piano arrangements and a more subdued guitar. The best thing about it is, it works; once again showing diversity and intelligence. 4.5/5

Home To Oblivion - 03:53
The song fits absolutely perfectly to the song title. A soft, slow piano plays a single riff that doesn't deviate, while an occasional explosion is heard in the background. Around the 1:13 mark, the guitar kicks in and the battle reaches a climax in the background. The song ends with another sweet solo. 4.5/5

Lacrima Christi - 02:14
The weakest song on the album by far, and a poor ending which doesn't compliment the other tracks. The acoustic guitar riff is ok, but the random voice over the top is bizarre to say the least. You definitely need lyrics to make any sense of this song. Let's just count this as an unnecessary anomaly. 2/5

Overall: 5/5

Excellent production
Diverse and gripping
The Starborn trilogy
Born Fighting
New Mood Therapy

Drumming doesn't quite match up to the standards set by the guitars
Lacrima Christi.

Final comment: a magnificent debut album, that unfortunately will go largely unnoticed, but for those who do notice it, there's a quality, surprise package that should definitely be heard.

user ratings (35)

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 8th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

I've just realised that my opening paragraph was actually really really short. Sorry about that :P

December 8th 2007


What country is this badn from? Not a fan of tbt's but a pretty good first review. And sounds interesting enough to check it out.

Digging: Midnight - Sweet Death and Ecstasy

December 8th 2007


This sounds like it could be cool and the itunes samples are pretty good, as long as their solos aren't extended wank sections I may like this quite a bit. Nice review for a first.This Message Edited On 12.09.07

December 9th 2007


Excellent production? Are you absolutely deaf? This is the worst attempt at a "well produced" album I've seen. The production completely killed this release for me...I couldn't get past the first track. Which was a shame, because there were some good ideas here.

If you want well produced, go listen to Fiction by Dark Tranquillity. That album has production that not only lets the band be heard, but actually ends up making the album much better by complementing the music.

December 9th 2007


great first review, welcome to sputnik!
i may check this out sometime.

December 9th 2007


Alright review, it could have been beefed up quite a bit. These guys are alright, but the vocals are awful and full of nu-metal angst. Have you ever listened to Sikth? These guys sound like they took a note from them.

December 9th 2007


Listened to the iTunes previews and it sounds pretty good.

December 9th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

this is something i will probably like. ill check it out

December 9th 2007


i cannot stand track-by-tracks but according to the comments it's decent enough. i need to check this out

December 23rd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

just downloaded this. i really like it so far. probably a 4 for me

January 23rd 2008


Album Rating: 5.0

To anyone thinking of checking this out, you definitely should. Don't be put off by sub-par comments.

As far as "Shattered_Future"s comment on the production, considering this is a release completely funded by the band under their own record label, a new label with no large label funds, the production values are nothing short of outstanding......but not flawless I'll admit. How on earth somebody could consider the production values being low enough to make this unlistenable is beyond me. Such a comment is absurd.....ever heard of the Beatles? Poor production values certainly didn't hinder them. Why? because of excellent song writing, which is every bit as applicable here.

As for "the_wizard"s comment on the vocals being awful....don't listen....they are completely top notch. Notice that this is a concept album, and that the vocalist is covering the role of 3 different characters, each one have it's own nuances. Not to mention the overall quality of his voice in general.

The each his/her own opinion....but both of those comments seemed completely ridiculous to me.

Also, i hear virtually no parallel with most you could say both bands focus on musicianship....that's about where the similarities end.

January 28th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

this album is very good, not classic but still up there with alot of other stuff: Kezia,

Coheed IV:Volume 1, and Tera Melos, the sound does crack sometimes but you can

get around that by just ignoring it. It is a solid recording and an impressing album.

and yes, the drummer could be a bit better compared to the guitar work.This Message Edited On 01.28.08

January 28th 2008


Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't been very happy with this review from the start to be honest - the main reason being that I did a track-by-track of a concept album and barely described the story aspect at all (and I was fanboyish I guess). I may only rate this as a 4 or 4.5 now, but I'll keep it as a 5 because I waited impatiently for this album for ages and have listened to every song at least 100 times (something which no other album has yet accomplished for me)! I may do a mass edit of this review sometime if I can be bothered :p.

March 11th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I have to agree with Shattered_future... the production on this album is near to some of the worst i have ever heard.

But don't let that stop you from giving this album a listen... it's one of those albums that can draw you in with the astonishing song writing and just as amazing guitar performance.

Yeah the guitar is that good....

March 11th 2008


^^^You are so right; it's honestly pissing me off majorly, cause this is actually very awesome but the terribly production just makes it hard to get into. I hope this band gets some notice, then maybe they'll put out a remastered version. Still, this is shockingly good. I love the base work in Born Fighting.

May 20th 2008


(Y) to this album.

...if only it could reach a bigger audience

November 21st 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

How can you say that the production is some of the worst that you've ever heard? That's just .... silly.

November 21st 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

The band is from Montreal

November 21st 2008


what a ridiculously stupid band name/ album name.

otherwise, i will be listening to this, as i loved pulse ultra.

March 6th 2009


this album sounds pretty darn good so far

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