Evil Wings is an Italian prog metal band formed in 1989 and they've released four studio and one live album so far. Colors of the New World is their third album (released in 1999) and sees Evil Wings blending a myriad styles into complex compositions borrowing elements both from 70's classic rock and melodic metal. This time the music isn't grounded purely on technique as on their earlier releases. Rather, the band emphasizes melody with impressive control over their instruments. Franco Giaffreda does all lead and backing vocals and all guitars. He's clearly from the school of 70's rock bands such as Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Queen. His singing on Colors of the New World sounds more refined and mature as opposed to their 1994 debut or its follow-up, Brightleaf. Drummer Walter Rivolta is also a very key element in the music. His constant use of polyrhythms and great cymbal work shows that he is deeply rooted in prog as he continuously exhibits styles of many 70's Italian bands as well as bands like King Crimson and Gabriel-era Genesis. The other members' impact seems less crucial, though Giovanni Bellosi's six-string bass figures should not be overlooked. The band does use keys and piano, but they're more employed to add texture and color to the tunes, rather than keyboard-driven melodies. Also, keyboards serve the purpose of laying the background, sort of like Pink Floyd, though not as subtle. The song "Starship" exemplifies this description as Giaffreda sings slow, emotional lyrics with the accompaniment of a female singer (his wife?).
Most songs are rather short for prog tunes, ranging in the 2-4 minute mark. This makes them more visceral and accessible, but there are also longer, more complex numbers on this disc. Take the 8-minute "Searchin'" for instance. There are significantly more keyboards and synths on this track with a long, experimental section of instrumental brilliance. The other epic piece, "The Secret", clocks in at over 18 minutes. It starts with a solo piano and is quickly carried to a more energetic context thanks to Walter Rivolta's tasteful drumming. After about four minutes into the song, we are offered a technically impressive, intensively heavy instrumental experiment. The six-string bass adds profound rhythms as Franco Giaffreda uses his Ibanez to provide fluid guitar lines. The song is equally impressive from its lyrical perspective; the band uses "the mirror" as a metaphor to depict the insanity of a man and his tragic confrontation with death. The mirror metaphor works great as the protagonist sees his alter ego in the reflection and begins to question the validity of life and existence.
The album continues to show its diversity through songs like the technical piece "Big Old Roundabout" with its various shifts of mood, the intimate "20th of May" inspired by the birth of Giaffreda's son, the nostalgic LP-like muffled mixed "Stageline" and its heavy counterpart "Sell My Soul". The reprise of the title track wraps the almost 60-minute album up ending with a nice Hard Rock vibe.
Evil Wings are an extremely original, unique and underrated group, and I would recommend them to anyone who likes technical prog metal with melodic sensibilities.
1. Colors Of The New World
6. Big Old Roundabout
7. The Secret
8. The Stageline
9. Sell My Soul
10. th Of May
11. Colors Of The New World (Revisited)