Fallen Sanctuary – Terranova (AFM Records)Friday, 24th June 2022
The evolution of this act from a mutual love of late 90’s/early 2000’s European-style power metal into a full outfit is what we have here for Fallen Sanctuary. Vocalist Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) and guitarist/vocalist Marco Pastorino (Temperance) met on tour years back, keeping in touch to develop this set of material for their debut album Terranova. Drummer Alfonso Mocerino and bassist Gabriele Gozzi round out the lineup (although Marco handled all bass parts for the record). What we have on this record is a stirring example of fine-tuning a great era of power metal, where uplifting melodies, thunderous double kick action, shredding solos, multi-part harmonies, and this sense of unity engaged audiences far and wide.
How these members would differentiate this group from their main works is dialing deep into a love of specific artists from the past to create magnificent material that pays homage to those influences in a passionate, respectful manner. Georg and Marco layer numerous voices and registers into this prolific choir essence, the a cappella intro to “Broken Dreams” as well as the mid-tempo, Helloween-esque “Destiny” two shining examples of their professionality on that front. Speedier songs like the title track and “No Rebirth” illustrate trademark gallops, slamming tempos, and high register vocals that most associate with the best days of Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Edguy, and Rhapsody among others. Many listeners will also appreciate the AOR/arena rock nuances that creep in time to time, especially during the quieter efforts such as “I Can’t Stay” and “Wait for Me”, the latter an acoustic-oriented ballad that has the grace of classic Angra. Choosing to explore different topics such as drug addiction, environmental destruction and those wide-reaching concerns, plus non-violence and planet thoughtfulness also gives the record more modern appeal. Add in the rich, vibrant ranges of Georg and Marco vocally (that will serve well for live performances) and you can see this record has the total package out of the gate for ideal, memorable European style power metal.
The hopes are there for this to be as active as time, energy, and resources will allow. Given the renewed interest in all things Helloween-related for that reunion, Fallen Sanctuary should slot in very adequately for those yearning for fresh material from this talented set of musicians.