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Soul Secret - 'Closer To Daylight' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/6f/7e/fc/2334_soulsecretclosertodaylight_1339776111.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 15, 2012    
 
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A solid if unspectacular release that will reward with repeated listens.

‘Closer To Daylight’, the second release by Italian progressive metal band Soul Secret, has had a difficult gestation. Just when work was about to begin on the drum tracks founding member, bassist Lucio Grilli, upped and left at a time when the band were still searching for a new lead vocalist to replace Michele Serpico who had decided to step aside as a result of a long illness. The remaining members, Antonio Vittozzi (guitars), Antonio Mocerino (drums) and Luca Di Gennaro (keyboards), soldiered on and eventually brought in vocalist Fabio Manda and Claudio Casaburi on bass. With the new band in place they went back to the drawing board radically reworking the whole album to make sure that everyone contributed to the song writing process. So has all the upheaval been worth it? Well yes and no!

When I first listened to the album all the way through I was decidedly underwhelmed. It just sounded a bit like any other progressive metal album and contained all the usual clichés. Lots of tempo changes; a proliferation of double bass fills; plenty of guitar and keyboard interplay... You know the type of thing I’m sure! This combined with a dense, muddy guitar sound made it a hard listen to begin with but repeated spins have proved to be rewarding as the intricacies, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of the complex musical arrangements have gradually revealed themselves.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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In many ways I’d compare this album to the dense, impenetrable feel of Symphony X’s 2007 album ‘Paradise Lost’. But whilst Fabio Manda is a solid vocalist he’s not in Russell Allan’s league that’s for sure and this is where this album falls down for me. It all seems a bit overwrought and heavy handed in places and Manda’s slightly one dimensional vocals struggle to compete. The end result being a collection of songs that are technically brilliant but are devoid of any heart and soul and there is not one single chorus or melody line that has stuck in my head even after repeated listens.

The album does come to life near the end though, particularly on ‘Behind The Curtain’ and Aftermath’, where Vittozzi trades his dense staccato riffing for more in the way of intuitive melody lines and all of a sudden the true potential of the band becomes apparent. None more so than on the 16 minute album closer ‘Aftermath’. Its sonic twists and turns as well as a guest appearance by Subsignal’s Arno Menses, make sure that ‘Closer To Daylight’ finishes on a high.

All told this is a solid if unspectacular release that will reward with repeated listens but the problem is I’m not sure how many times you will go back to it in years to come....

Alister Strachan

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