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Starsoup: Castles Of Sand

Starsoup is a project of Russian musician/composer Alexey Markov. The band began in 2011 and released their debut album Bazaar of Wonders in 2013. His sophomore effort Castles Of Sand came out in November, 2017.

This is the first I have heard about this project so I had no idea of what to expect. Markov wrote the music and lyrics for six of the tracks and had help on the others from Artem Molodtsov, Cris Arens, Andrew Gryaznov, Lex Damien and Dan Mescheryakov.

This is quite a varied release forging a path of progressive metal, AOR and some nice ballads. With the opening track “The Catcher In The Lie”, a neat play on words, the beginning mood laden keys gives way almost immediately to heavy progressive metal riffs. The vocal style is quite gruff, matching the intensity of the music. Dmitry Ignatiev provides a scintillating pyrotechnic guitar solo. The multi-part vocals are also designed quite well. Over time this one has grown on me more and more. The heaviness is toned down for the catchy rock of “Into The Woods”, a much softer track including pretty acoustic guitar and piano coursing through its center. More progressive metal can be heard on the Eastern themed “Brother’s Plea”. The vocals have a bit of James Hetfield angst and work rather well. The flute , provided by Oleg Mishin, gives the tune an added dimension. With “Your World Is Dead” the mood varies from soft to heavy including a majestic guitar solo and nice orchestrations. The female vocals are very nice. Pretty acoustic guitar and a surprisingly poignant melody makes “Rumors Of Better Love” another fine track. On “Escapist” the rap-like vocal style remind me a little of Pain Of Salvation and the keyboards offer a hint of sadness to what is a fairly heavy track. On the mostly acoustic “Light Up The Stars” the catchy Celtic theme is quite memorable as is the peaceful “Moon On The Shore”. The disc ends with the bonus offering “Road To Sunset (Piano Version) which first appeared on the debut. I can’t comment on the original version but this is a really pretty track with a lovely piano melody.

So there you have it. Quite an impressive release with a bit of everything. This is a professionally done disc, from the music to the packaging and it is clear a lot of work went into this album. I really enjoyed it, I hope you will too.

Track Listing:
1. The Catcher In The Lie
2. Into The Woods
3. Brother’s Plea
4. Your World Is Dead
5. Rumors Of Better Love
6. Escapist
7. Winter In Shire
8. Castle
9. The World That Has Moved On
10. Light Up The Stars
11. Moon On The Shore
12. Road To Sunset (Piano Version)

Added: June 23rd 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Facebook Page
Hits: 811
Language: english

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