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Spirits of Fire: Embrace the Unknown

Once it was announced that Tim 'Ripper' Owens would no longer be part of the Frontiers Records heavy metal project Spirits of Fire for their second album, speculation began on who was going to take up the vocalist spot in this super-group. In walks Fabio Lione, formerly of Rhapsody and Angra, a singer who needs no introduction, and he's settled in quite nicely on Embrace the Unknown alongside guitarist Chris Caffery (TSO/Savatage), bassist Steve Di Giorgio (Testament/Death/Sadus/Charred Walls of the Damned), and drummer Mark Zoner (ex-Fates Warning). For this second album, the band have offered up 11 new hard hitting power metal songs, the first of which, "A Second Chance", sets the tone for the rest of the album in fine fashion.

Right from the start, it's pretty evident that Fabio has cranked things up a notch here on Embrace the Unknown, his ferocious, gritty tone not that much different from Ripper or even Ralf Scheeper of Primal Fear, and his potent metal lungs just soar over the top of venomous metal anthems like the lethal "Resurrection", "Into the Mirror", and the more melodic & hook laden "Wildest Dreams". Though this is a more aggressive Fabio Lione than we've seen in the past, his more traditional, operatic & melodic style does come out, like on the mid paced title track, the dark "My Confession", and the moody & atmospheric "Sea of Change". Caffery for his part, cranks out a never ending supply of massive crunch-o-rama on the riffs, and a wealth of flashy solos, sure to bring a smile to the face of any fan of '90s Savatage or his side project with Jon Oliva, Doctor Butcher. Di Giorgio & Zonder are completely locked in together on the barnstorming "Shapes of a Fragile Mind", a grinding metal thumper with some of the sickest, twisting riffs on the album, and the glorious "Hearts in the Sand" comes across as the long lost Savatage track that we'd all hoped we'd get at some point...heavy, epic, and melodic, with a fat bottom end and Caffery's buffet of pinch harmonics, blazing leads, and massive wall of crunch. "House of Pain" is another gem, a fiery Primal Fear styled fist-pumper, while the moody, acoustic based "Remember My Name" is a nice change of pace here, Fabio's crooning vocals and Caffery's scorching guitar solo perfectly placed in this melancholy track. The guys go all epic symphonic metal with the huge swells of closer "Out in the Rain" , 7+ minutes of emotional vocals from Fabio, Caffery's effective backing vocals, big riffs, orchestral keys, blazing lead guitars, pounding's a majestic way to end this very strong album.

Now two albums in, Spirits of Fire have amassed enough material to hopefully warrant finding a way to align the schedules of these four gentleman for some live dates to bring these songs to the concert stage. As solid as the debut was, Embrace the Unknown is on another level. Highly recommended.

Track Listing
1. A Second Chance
2. Resurrection
3. Wildest Dreams
4. Into The Mirror
5. Embrace The Unknown
6. My Confession
7. Sea Of Change
8. Shapes Of A Fragile Mind
9. Hearts In The Sand
10. House Of Pain
11. Remember My Name
12. Out In The Rain

Added: April 9th 2022
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 384
Language: english

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