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Unmask: Sophia Told Me

Italian band Unmask formed in 2006 and have played a few festivals before concentrating on making their first album Sophia Told Me which I now hold in my hands. The band line-up includes Ignazio Iuppa (vocals, synths), Claudio Virgini (guitar), Daniele Scarpaleggia (bass), Dario Santini (drums) and Alessandro Lopane (guitar, vocals).

Upon my first listen of Sophia Told Me I have been rightly impressed. The band's mixture of alternative rock and prog has made for an exciting debut and the sound is fresh and vibrant. Occasionally the band slips into the progressive metal moniker but mostly this is heavy alternative rock with a progressive twist.

This is also a concept album of sorts which also adds to the music's progressive nature. The protagonist of the story is 'Sophia' and the concept delves into her inner self. It is an intelligent idea, although I will not go into detail as I do not have the lyric sheet. Voice samples of 'Sophia' are sprinkled here and there.

One of the strongest aspects of Unmask are the lead vocals of Iuppa; they are outstanding throughout the disc. He has a powerful voice which is both melodic and expressive. That said, the band builds its sound on the guitar playing of Lopane and Virgini. Heavy riffs inundate these ten songs and at times a psychedelic edge can be heard and while there are many powerful moments the band never loses its melodic edge.

The album starts strong with the hard hitting "Be Twin(s)" showcasing excellent drumming and powerful riffs until the music slows with atmospheric guitar effects. The guitar solo has a definite psychedelic edge. The moody "Maybe Tomorrow" is a little mellower with background synths and layered guitar and the overdubbed vocals are spot on. With "Voice Of Hush" the band's progressive approach comes to the fore with layers of guitar creating varying soundscapes. In "All I Need (reprise)", the album's longest track, Iuppa sings with passionate conviction and the guitar playing is clean and precise, some of the best on the CD.

Sophia Told Me is an excellent debut album from one of the more exciting new bands I have had the pleasure of hearing. It is an exhilarating listen that should appeal to many fans of progressive rock as well as those leaning towards a heavy alternative sound. Sophia Told Me comes highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Be Twin(s) (5:49)
2. Maybe Tomorrow (5:24)
3. All I Need (3:57)
4. Within My Soul (4:17)
5. New World (4:53)
6. Voice Of Hush (5:27)
7. Sleepless Night (5:18)
8. Walking (:38)
9. Forest Spirits (5:01)
10. All I Need (reprise) (9:37)

Added: March 28th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2146
Language: english

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