Sometimes you play an album for the first time and realize that what you are hearing is very special. Such is the case with Souls of Diotima. There is nothing out of the ordinary about a female fronted symphonic metal band but when you hear the vocals of Claudia Barsi it will become clear that there is something special about her and this group. Backing her is a pair of guitarist that can take you from the very heavy to neo-classical shredding that Malmsteen would be proud of. All together you have the makings of a band that is going to find themselves in the upper echelon of the progressive metal field.
Maitri could be considered their debut disc as it is the first time that Claudia was in the forefront of the band. Even they say that the first album they released was just kind of a fun time and nothing that was really serious. Let me tell you, when they decided to get serious, this is a band that ranks up with the best. Their abilities on all fronts are just outstanding and you will find yourself getting swept away by the majestic nature of their music. I found myself wishing that this disc would never end. It is one of the few that I put on repeat to continuously play over and over.
Souls of Diotima's brand of high energy music is simply irresistible. My favorite song on here the title track "Maitri" is a fine example of their work as it starts out with a Middle Eastern feel before the guitars add a very catchy melody and then Claudia adds her delightful vocals. All this is done upon a light layer of orchestration which is the cherry on top of the sundae. There are a lot of groups who try to pull this off but few succeed. This band has blending all these elements and makes it work and work well indeed. When this is done right it is music that is hard to resist.
Most bands of this type seem to rest on the singer and forget about the music behind him/her. Souls of Diotima are as much about the music as anything else. To emphasize this fact the band closes out the album with the instrumental "Nox". The last impression you get of the band is not the voice of Barsi but the duel guitars of Salvo Moretta and Marco Fozzi set against the dynamic keyboard work of Andrea Pinna. This is a band that is like a jigsaw puzzle. They have all the pieces but must integrate them in the proper way to complete the picture. Souls of Diotima has it all together!
Now as for the vocal ability of Claudia Barsi. About the only thing I can say is she has an earthy quality that is absolutely charming and then she will let loose with a soaring passage that sends shivers down your spine. I cannot say just what it is about her vocal style but it is perfect for this type of music. "Killing My Enemies" is a very good example of her range and power. Listening to this one will make you realize just how much of a special talent she has. She will be a voice that we all will be hearing a lot of from now on.
This is one of those albums where there is just too many reasons why it is so appealing. There is so much going on musically you are just mesmerized by the overwhelming and epic nature of the disc. It is one of those that belongs in the must have category and is a shoe in for the year end best of list.
3. Freedom Inside You
5. Anti Asceticism
6. Deaf Humanity
7. Killing My Enemies
8. For Getting Back