Moonlight Haze – Lunaris (Scarlet Records)Thursday, 11th June 2020
Quickly releasing a second full-length after an impressive debut in De Rerum Natura, Northern Italy’s Moonlight Haze issue Lunaris to the world. Featuring ex-Temperance members Giulio Capone on drums/keyboards and Chiara Tricarico on vocals plus current Elvenking bassist Alessandro Jacobi (guitarists Marco Falanga and Alberto Melinato round out the quintet), there’s no disputing the talent and songwriting prowess present among the members. It’s now a question of how they take their symphonic/modern power metal style and shape things into their own niche and take – and these eleven songs shine because of dynamic versatility and solid focus on the little details.
Never remaining stagnate or stuck in a specific gear, the record maintains a balance between more commercial leanings of a power ballad-like stature for “Under Your Spell”, folk-oriented charm during “Of Birth and Death”, and straight-forward power / symphonic leaning outings that contain orchestral keyboard splendor and flashy musical interplay between the soaring hooks and melodies as opener “Till the End” delivers. The pronounced keyboard hooks against the mid-tempo guitar churn within “The Rabbit of the Moon” of course have those Nightwish/ Delain textures, Chiara floating easily around her melodic comfort zone in the chorus as the subtle background harmony vocals give the track even more enduring qualities. Two versions of “Enigma” appear, in Italian and English language tracks – the song another highlight for its Labyrinth/Kamelot like power riffs and dramatic, semi-operatic melodies. Although most of the material is tightly shaped into five-minute and under windows, Moonlight Haze occasionally broaden their horizons with longer setups and epic unfolding measures – “The Dangerous Art of Overthinking” at almost seven-minutes a tour de force through it’s lighter to heavier veneer, Chiara again illustrating her impressive multi-octave range while darker growls and semi-blast beat measures come as a perfect surprise. Introspective lyrics that look into deep conscience/human relationships topics will provide plenty the listeners can relate to – and the outer universe cover also gives insight into what one would expect musically before even pressing play.
Lunaris continues the Moonlight Haze ascent at developing a symphonic power metal-oriented sound that isn’t afraid to also throw folk, cyber, and heavier textures to get all the ideas across properly. Plenty of consumers will champion this release – let’s hope the high-quality output keeps going for a long, long time.