Soul of Steel – Journey to Infinity (Bakerteam Records)Wednesday, 15th May 2013
Power metal can be a movement very hit or miss with this journalist. The definition has changed so much through the years: growing up acts like Helloween, Liege Lord and Riot (especially with the Thundersteel release) fit the bill, but later in the 1990’s with an injection of keyboards and symphonic atmosphere artists like Blind Guardian, Edguy, and Labyrinth charted their own course in this sub-genre.
Italy’s Soul of Steel subscribe to the latter outlook with this second studio full length Journey To Infinity– even grabbing Labyrinth/Vision Divine guitarist Olaf Thorsen to produce and a couple of guest vocal/ musical appearances from fellow Italian power metal musicians to allow their ideas to come to fruition. Trouble is, if your keyboard tones are very thin and more toy Casio-oriented than substantial, such as what’s heard in “Neverland,” my interest wanes due to an extra factor of unintentional cheesiness. Vocalist Gianni Valente will not set the skies ablaze with his soaring melodies, he is more of an adequate power singer with a decent mid-range, albeit with occasional struggles for proper English enunciation.
Soul of Steel does possess two fluid guitarists who know their way around neo-classical lead breaks and understated melodic power themes, so hope is present that Valerio De Rosa and Nicola Caroli can help the band break away from the Labyrinth, Vision Divine, and Sonata Arctica influence shell into something more distinct. Lyrically, a concept album delving into a dreamlike journey of one man’s attempt to escape his demons, there are too many obvious clichés that make this an easy sale for some or an even easier album to avoid for others.
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