Anthea – Tales Untold (Rockshots Records)

Wednesday, 24th August 2022
Rating: 8 / 10

Making a strong impression with their symphonic metal debut album Illusion in the fall of 2020, California’s Anthea did not waste any time writing, recording and releasing the follow-up record for Tales Untold. Intertwining influences across the spectrum of music score composers like Hans Zimmer, John Williams, and Danny Elfman plus a host of symphonic / melodic death metal veterans, there are nine original tracks plus a movie soundtrack cover from the late 80’s that provides that left field curve ball ending.

Offering two vocal styles between the smooth, clean melodies of Diego Valadez and the glass melting screams from guitarist Juan Pina ensures that aggression next to soaring seesaw elements working hand in hand to catchy main musical components that keep “Empyrean” and the title track top of mind. The cinematic, keyboard flourishes from Diego sitting in tandem to the driving guitars allow these musicians to straddle multiple aspects of their sound – conveying an obvious love for the work of classic Roy Khan-era Kamelot or Nightwish just as much as Wintersun or Children of Bodom. The heads down rhythms and masterful double kick/ transitional shifts courtesy of Peter Vasquez during “Sunder Heart” will cause fist waving madness, quieter contrasts allowing the subsequent heavier/melodic sequences to possess that much more impact or aural force. The open bass/keyboard main parts during the calmer verses as well as guitar/keyboard interplay make “Ascendence” an easy standout, the simple yet effective chorus containing those surefire earworms that could make this an Anthea staple concert-wise for eternity. Diego’s range resonates with the elite artists of this genre – while unafraid to occasionally using distant computer effect textures in small measures to give “Song for Winter” a haunting, older gothic vibe against the slower, tribal drum movement.

Those of you that may remember the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure from the late 80’s will be familiar with “In Time” – originally performed by Robbi Robb. Diego channeling all his multi-octave strength into the emotional-laden verses and powerhouse chorus, the musicians add slightly more girth to the arrangement, while paying homage in a respectful manner to the track. Anthea continues to develop a sound that encompasses a wide array of symphonic metal influences, being tasteful as well as extreme in appropriate spots so that Tales Untold avoids any sophomore jinx that others face.

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