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Mastercastle: The Phoenix

Mastercastle are a brand new band featuring Pier Gonella of Labyrinth and Necrodeath on guitars, Giorgia Gueglio on vocals, Steve Vawamas on bass and guest Alessandro Bissa of Vision Divine fame on drums. Their debut album, The Phoenix, is a very good slice of power/neo-classical metal along with traditional melodic metal elements. As you might expect this is a very guitar driven album and Gonella is up for the challenge. From acoustic flourishes, melodic leads and chunky rhythms, Gonella demonstrates skill and precision. Perhaps the strongest performance here are the lead vocals of Gueglio. She has a very nice tone and excellent pronunciation of the English language which is a definite plus. She does exhibit a slight Italian accent but it does not detract from her singing whatsoever. Her accent is more pronounced in the one spoken word segment. Whether performing dramatic power ballads or harder edged power metal Gueglio's voice is ideally suited for the metal genre and is one of the best new singers I have heard in a while.

According to the promotional material the album's running theme is human nature, quite a broad topic to be sure. Since the lyrics were not provided I will not comment directly, however the words flow nicely together, with nothing seeming out of place.

Most songs are up-tempo melodic/power metal rockers that contain the necessary crunch needed to drive these ten songs. Although there are some nice guitar solos scattered throughout this is far from a shred fest. While not overtly over the top, the guitar playing is very well done, providing many tasteful and melodic leads.

The album begins in true power metal fashion with the fast and heavy "Words are Swords" but never forgoing melody in the midst of the heavy riffs. Gueglio's voice is very strong as it is throughout the entire disc. Watch out for the tasty lead when the frantic pace briefly slows down. The melodic metal anthem "Princess of Love" with its slow burning tempo and really catchy chorus is another winner. The slower pace allows for more atmosphere especially in some of the guitar parts. "Space" mixes power and traditional metal and makes for another fine offering. Again the pace slows allowing the crystal clear voice of Gueglio to shine. The instrumental "My Screams" features rapid guitar runs and some effective string bending creating some cool effects. The beautiful power ballad "Lullaby Noir", provides a nice change of pace, but even it has some lightning fast leads.

This was a nice surprise, and considering this is a debut album, very well done indeed. If you are a fan of strong female fronted bands and appreciate the melodic/power metal genre this should be a safe purchase.

Track Listing:
1. Words Are Swords
2. Princess of Love
3. Space
4. My Screams (instrumental)
5. Lullaby Noir
6. The Phoenix
7. Greedy Blade
8. Dawn of Promises
9. Memories (instrumental)
10. Cradle of Stone

Added: April 23rd 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2897
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Mastercastle: The Phoenix
Posted by Daniel on 2009-05-17 09:15:31
My Score:

Really a great album and a promising band

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