Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura (Scarlet Records)

Wednesday, 19th June 2019
Rating: 9/10

It’s always helpful to have a certain amount of street cred when developing a newer band these days. Forming in 2018, Moonlight Haze contains members and ex-members of Temperance, Elvenking, Sound Storm, and Overtures among others – signing to Scarlet Records and releasing their debut album De Rerum Natura. Considering the versatile of the previous bands and the styles from symphonic metal to folk and power/traditional strains, curiosity abounds before pressing play as to what direction this material will take. It seems that these ten tracks traverse symphonic power metal pastures – alluring through dynamic and atmospheric textures that maintain levels of strength in melody, theatrical when called for but never overreaching for dramatic effect.

Guitars and keyboards swirl in classical arpeggio syncopation during the instrumental section of the otherwise catchy “The Butterfly Effect” – certainly bringing Nightwish to mind in their commercial aspects. Marco Falanga and Alberto Melianto lay down some punishing axe rhythms and gallop-intense accents to allow vocalist Chiara Tricarico to shine – even gaining some guest growls and operatic assistance from Epica’s Mark Jansen and MaYaN’s Laura Macri on “Time”. Drummer/keyboardist Giulio Capone knows where to place the orchestral sweeps and ivory touches – setting the stage with thunderous double kick versatility on the opener “To the Moon and Back”, while setting up some Far Eastern cultural nuances, light jazz, and cinematic tension on the nine-minute plus epic “Dark Corners of Myself”, where bassist Alessandro Jacobi provides some forward-thinking bottom end lines to aid the cause. The modern development when it comes to electronic/cyber-enhanced sounds opens horizons that Moonlight Haze use to their best effect – check out “Deceiver” for a second half spotlight in that regard. Most people will be mesmerized by the seamless blend of symphonic, melodic power metal musically and Chiara’s soaring voice – which contains pop and operatic tendencies.

Intertwining aspects from their Italian heritage like Labyrinth and Vision Divine along with Kamelot and Nightwish, De Rerum Natura is quite an impressive first foray for Moonlight Haze. There’s enough splendor and excitement without overwhelming bombast – ideal for those who want to make sure that there’s enough aural layers and hooks.

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