Solisia – UniverSeasons (Scarlet Records)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Let me say this from the top: I am not partial to female-fronted rock acts, especially when it’s power metal. It’s not sexist of me to say this, but it just comes down to a preference I have for male vocals for the genre. Now having said all that, Elie Syrelia is a competent vocalist and she just happens to front symphonic power metal act Solisia. Her take on this type of sound is a cross between what Nightwish and Epica strive to achieve with their respective outfits. These bands are at the top of the heap as far as most are concerned, but Solisia surely give it the ‘ole college try.

UniverSeasons is the title of the band’s sophomore release and it’s apparent Elie’s vocals are backed by some tasty riffs from guitarist Gianluca Quinto. The track “Mind Killer” quickly comes to mind because of the serious crunch on display, despite almost sounding like a Nightwish cover song. A number like “Dirty Feeling” will get your blood pumping hard with a satisfying riff throughout and if you are seeking that standout guitar solo, then “The Queen’s Crown” just might do it for you. Putting the riffs aside though, there are some nifty progressive elements that seep into tracks like “The Guns Fall Silent” and “From Dusk Till Dawn” giving this release some much needed variety.

Of course all roads lead back to Syrelia. Her strong voice is capable of hitting those high notes within the choruses, and she showcases a great range on the opening title track. Her versatility as a singer definitely shifts into ballad mode on “Betrayed by Faith,” allowing her to sing a soft passage in the opening moments. This song in particular is one of the slower tracks to be found here and Syrelia does it justice. The last track “I Loose Myself” is the lightest song on the album, especially when you factor in the piano and repeated electronic beat playing in the background. In some ways it leaves you flat when you consider how strong the opening number got things going.

Despite that little gaff with the closing number, UniverSeasons as a whole is a respectable release. The release was never boring at any point and oddly enough, I found myself liking Elie’s voice. It probably won’t sway me into liking more female fronted acts like this, but Solisia proved to me that it can work.

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