Italian prog-metal act Soul Secret return for the sophomore effort, titled Closer to Daylight, and as with their debut, it's a powerful and spirited affair from start to finish. They've had some line-up changes recently, so currently it looks like Luca Di Gennaro (Keyboards and Programming), Claudio Casaburi (Bass), Fabio Manda ( Vocals),
Antonio Mocerino (Drums and Percussions), and Antonio Vittozzi (Guitars), with Claudio & Fabio being the new recruits. As on their debut, the framework is early Dream Theater and Vanden Plas, so if you like sizzling melodic progressive metal, you've come to the right place.
Tracks like "River's Edge" (featuring guest guitar solos from James LaBrie's axe-slinger Marco Sfogli) and "Checkmate" are exciting prog-metal fare, filled with impressive chops, complex passages, symphonic elements, and soaring melodies, just about everything most want from the genre. Anna Assentato guests on vocals on the majestic "If", performing a grand duet with Manda, who is a great choice for singer of Soul Secret and fits right in here, though his Italian accent is pretty heavy at times.
"The Shelter" is a catchy number with plenty of hooks to go along with the musical thunder, as is the near 10 minute "Pillars of Sand", which contains no shortage of crunchy riffs, symphonic keys, and blazing guitar & synth solos. " Behind The Curtain" is just fantastic melodic prog, while the closing near 17 minute epic "Aftermath" is the CDs tour-de-force, and features another guest star in Arno Menses (Subsignal, ex Sieges Even) on vocals. Stunning musical passages on this one (love the little jazz-fusion solo section at about the mid-way point), as well as vocals, making for a lengthy tune that really works as it takes you through its peaks and valleys.
Real nice stuff overall on Closer to Daylight, and while Soul Secret won't be winning any awards for prog-metal originality this is still expertly crafted and delivered music that will instantly appeal to those who fell in love with the scene back in the early/mid 90's.
1. Checkmate (5:51)
2. River's Edge (6:48)
3. If (3:48)
4. The Shelter (7:52)
5. Pillars Of Sand (9:09)
6. October 1917 (3:34)
7. Behind The Curtain (8:46)
8. Aftermath (16:43)