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On disc: Soulspell

Act II: The Labyrinth Of Truth - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

Act II: The Labyrinth Of Truth

Act II: The Labyrinth Of Truth
(Inner Wound - 2010)

Soulspell is the brainchild of Brazilian drummer Heleno Vale who wanted to do a metal opera and the first part (A Legacy Of Honor) was released in 2008 in Brazil and Japan. At the first part mainly Brazilian musicians were involved, but now he gathered an international cast. Act II: The Labyrinth Of Truth will be released via Inner Wound Records and so will have a larger audience.
Heleno Vale contacted singers / musicians who he thought would suit the album and so he got e.g. Jon Oliva, Zak Stevens, Blaze Bayley, Tim 'Ripper' Owens and Edu Falaschi for this ambitious project. If you are curious about the story, then head over to the bands website, coz the story is too complex to tell in a nutshell.
Every fan of epic / symphonic power metal should give it a try. You not necessarily have to be a lover of metal operas, coz the songs can stand on their own. Dark Prince's Dawn shows the different sound elements, mainly a fast power metal tune with neo-classical guitar elements and complex passages, the song also offers mid-paced parts with catchy vocal passages. Slowly Amon's Fountain starts, but then the song explodes and becomes an up-tempo progressive power metal track which shines due to the different voices. Piano and vocals lead you into Into the Arc Of Time (Haamiah's Fall), then a guitar joins in. Slowly the song develops it's beauty, picks up speed and heaviness. Outstanding performance of former Savatage singer Zak Stevens and Savatage mastermind Jon Oliva, actually it's a tune Savatage could have done for one of their conceptual albums. But it also has elements you wouldn't find in a Savatage tune. Another track kicking off with piano is The Verve which also features female and male vocals in the opening part and the way the song develops has a TSO-ish touch, but is heavier and more progressive. The closer A Secret Compartment is like The Verve and Into the Arc Of Time (Haamiah's Fall) a highlight of Act II. The 70's hammond sound in combination with heavy riffs and aggressive vocals is just great. And it's twists and turns make listening pure fun.
An very ambitious project which get ennobled by some extra-ordinary musicians, but the songs don't need this extra push, but for sure the album will get more attention with this international cast. As the first part wasn't available in all territories it would be a great idea to release a box set incl. a story book.

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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