France has never really been a hotbed for prog-metal bands, but a certain ensemble called Rest in Peace has really started to make a name for themselves in the last few years, with a sound that is very indicative of the scene in Italy. The groups second opus, titled "Evilution", is a tight and mature release strong on power, melody, and instrumental fireworks.
Lead vocalist Eric Bevilacqua leads the charge with a very strong voice that hits the high notes when needed and carries the lower register on the slower, more atmospheric moments. He fluctuates both styles on the raging "Another Rebirth", a Dream Theater-ish rocker that has thick walls of guitars and keyboards, chugging rhythms, and great harmonies. The crisp guitar work of Laurent Rabatel drives "Widukind", as well as the atmospheric "The Funeral", a track also noteworthy for the powerful drum work of Aldo D'Introno. "Diary of a Merchant Man: Part 2" is one of the year's best prog-metal epics, as the vocals lead this majestic metal anthem to great heights. It's all here, sledgehammer guitars, symphonic keyboards, and a solid rhythm section, augmented by catchy melodies. Those great melodies also show up on the commercial sounding "Heroes of Antartica", a track with majestic vocals, sumptuous keyboards, and a killer guitar solo. The band launches into the creepy, multi-part "The Werewolf Trilogy", recalling vintage Iron Maiden-meets-Pain of Salvation, and goes for the jugular on the brutal power metal stomp of "Urban Bluesy Night."
There's some great artwork on the booklet cover, as well as inside, which greatly accentuates the fantasy and religious themed lyrics. Rest in Peace has put together a very solid follow-up to their debut, and one that will please most ardent prog-metal followers.