Are you a fan of symphonic metal, the instrumental brilliance that transcends the soul to the astral plane on masterful riffs? If your answer is yes, then this album is definitely going to peak your interest. If you’re not familiar with this genre, open up your mind for spiritual movement.
Sound Storm is a symphonic metal band from Turin, Italy, whose sound has been likened to bands such as Nightwish, and Kamelot. In the early days of their inception they were known for covering classic heavy metal songs from iconic bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Savatage. Their third studio album, ‘Vertigo’ is hitting shelves October 13 via Rockshots Records, and OVERDRIVE were fortunate enough to get their hands on it before release and give you all the rundown of what’s to be expected.
Sound Storm is comprised of band members Fabio Privitera (vocals), Valerio Sbriglione (guitar), Rocco Mirarchi (secondary guitar), Massimiliano Flak (bass), Elena Crolle (keyboard), and Alessandro Bissa (drums).
The album opens with the title track, ‘Vertigo’, which is just over a minute of instrumental brilliance drenched in brooding undertones. It not only sets the tone for what’s going to be expected throughout the rest of the album, but it sets up the transition into the next track.
‘The Dragonfly’ is everything you expect a symphonic metal track to be; the culmination of perfection through heavy riffs, transcendent backing vocals, and lead vocals that hit every note with deadly precision. Privitera’s vocals are flawless, as is the instrumental performances (particularly those of Sbriglione and Mirarchi on guitar, the drum work of Bissa, and the slick keys of Crolle). The backing vocals are choir-like which lends somewhat of another-worldly atmosphere to the track. Absolutely brilliant.
You were probably thinking after listening to ‘The Dragonfly’, they couldn’t get any better … if that was the case, you were rudely mistaken! Continuing the almost angelic backing vocals we experienced in the previous track, ‘Metamorphosis’ is yet again a display of nothing but pure talent. Privitera is a God, without a shadow of a doubt. The low notes transcend with each bellowing burst, as well as the high notes that hit the sweet spot every time. Instrumentally solid, yet again, however it’s during the guitar solos mid-track that they pack the most punch, and it’s sure to be a one hit knockout!
‘Forsaken’ opens up to a much heavier tone than the previous tracks, which isn’t to be disregarded; it’s almost like whatever sound that Sound Storm touches they have the ability to turn it into gold. It’s not long before the manic tenacity of the instrumentals comes back into the fold, returning the tempo also to where we have been located for most of the album thus far. I’m just blown away by the consistency of the album, and the band’s performance as a whole. Instrumentally and vocally brilliant, just as the tracks before it. If you’re a fan of symphonic metal I don’t know how you’re going to be able to put this album down.
Opening with keyboards and a much more sombre demeanour, you can liken ‘Original Sin’ to a ‘calm before the storm’. It’s completely polarised to the rest of the album, however being packed with overtures of angelic backing vocals, instrumental mastery, and Privitera’s other worldly vocal abilities makes it feel like it belongs. Get ready, because after the calm the storm intensifies!
I warned you! Don’t say I didn’t! Laced with dark undertones, ‘The Ocean’, although opening to similar tempo and tone to ‘Original Sin’ returns to the more manic performances we’ve seen throughout the album. Heavy riffs, solid, instrumental performances (Crolle’s keyboard work stand out with dominance), and yet again flawless delivery of lyrics through Privitera (is there anything this man can’t do?). Just wait for the guitar solos, and thank me later!
Privitera takes the backseat in ‘Spiral’, allowing the instrumentals to display their talents without anything but some overtures of backing vocals here and there, and it’s absolutely brilliant. This is what symphonic metal is at its core, and there’s nothing to hate (but everything to love) with this track. Each band member is given the spotlight in parts, showcasing how masterful a group of performers Sound Storm really are. Close your eyes when you’re listening to this track, and watch your spirit leave your body and transcend to a whole new place. Unbelievable!
Opening with Crolle’s soft keys, ‘Gemini’ slows down the tempo of the album without losing the Sound Storm integrity; heavy riffs, manic drums and Privitera even lends some growling into the mix. Wait until the instrumental break backed by some bass-heavy slapping from Flak, you’ll be wowed by their brilliance yet again!
‘Alice’ is a combination of two things that are demonstrated superbly; instrumental deliverance that although stripped back is as solid as they’ve been throughout the whole album, and the angelic choir-overtures of the backing vocals. Once again lending the ‘calm before the storm’ atmosphere, it grounds the listener back to reality before what I’m sure is going to be an absolutely dominant performance to round out the album.
‘The Last Breath’ is aptly named, because Sound Storm laid everything they had left on the line until the final second. Privitera’s vocals, as we’ve been gifted throughout the album, are as superb as ever. The instrumental deliverance is brilliant; every key touched by Crolle, every riff that is delivered, every bass note that’s slapped – take a bow! When the track hits the midway mark, prepare for an in-your-face musical assault that will have your jaw dragging along the floor! What a way to round out such a brilliant album!
‘Vertigo’ might just be one of the best (if not the best) symphonic metal albums you pick up all year, so be sure not to miss out!