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Soul Secret: Flowing Portraits

Italy certainly knows how to churn out red-hot progressive metal bands, the latest being Soul Secret, one of the new stars on the ProgRock Records roster. Their debut CD Flowing Portraits reminds us of everything we loved about the genre in the early 90's-melodic vocals, crunchy guitar work, symphonic keyboards, and intricate rhythms. To add some veteran presence to this release, Threshold's guitarist Karl Groom performed the mastering, and former Mind Key singer Mark Basile came in to handle lead vocals. With six tracks clocking in at just under an hour, expect long songs (all are over 7-minutes with the exception of one, and the longest nearly 17) filled with bombast and chops galore. Those familiar with Basile's past work with Mind Key should already know of his commanding DC Cooper-meets-Jamies LaBrie-meets-Dennis DeYoung styled vocal delivery, and he's in fine form throughout Flowing Portraits. Check out his powerful yet melodic phrasing on the stunning "First Creature", a real symphonic metal piece that is also littered with textured guitar work from Antonio Vittozzi and layers of synths courtesy of Luca Di Gennaro. "Inner War" is a gorgeous prog track with a strong Dream Theater influence, Di Gennaro's piano and synth tones the highlight, but he also gets into some wild exchanges with Vittozzi on a few occasions. The epic closer "Tears of Kalliroe" is a melodic, symphonic journey into progressive metal heaven, alternating between sweeping orchestrations and dramatic metal, drummer & bassist Antonio Mocerino and Lucio Grilli completely locked in while Vittozzi's guitar provides plenty of crunch. Look for lots of solo spots and insane trade-offs on this one, and Basile's vocals are spot on.

Sure, Soul Secret rides the Images and Words era Dream Theater formula throughout Flowing Portraits, but it's so well done and enjoyable you can easily overlook it. The instrumentation is stellar, the vocals very strong, the melodies memorable, and arrangements well put together. It all adds up to a winner for Soul Secret, and the arrival of a new force on the progressive metal scene.


Track Listing
1 Dance Of The Waves 7:23
2 First Creature 7:34
3 Inner War 8:08
4 Learning to Lose 7:12
5 Regrets 4:28
6 Tears of Kalliroe 16:42

Added: March 24th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band's My Space Page
Hits: 4381
Language: english

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