Symphonity – Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack (Limb Music)

Wednesday, 25th May 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

What’s a symphonic epic power metal-oriented act to do when they want to develop a concept record for their third full-length? In the case of Symphonity, you reach back to the most famous traveler in medieval history Marco Polo for inspiration – both lyrically and musically – on Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack. Although very sparse in output (Voice from the Silence came out in 2008, while the follow up King of Persia hit the streets in 2016), the sextet has seen significant lineup changes take place that explain the delays beyond the pandemic for this release. In fact, four-sixths of the band is fresh for this record – including the two vocalists Mayo Petranin and Konstantin Naumenko – properly ensuring a deeper dive into how these performances stack up to the past records in terms of quality, songwriting, and abilities.

The atmosphere conveys a lot of exotic nuances that resonate to the globe trotting escapades Marco would take across Persia, Mongolia, Armenia, and China. Broken out into nine parts, there are three interludes or instrumental breaks positioned as “Part 1: Venezia”, “Part 4: Love Theme” and “Part 9: Venezia Finale” where the narrator also advances the story along in that theatrical manner to engage interest into the subsequent full songs. Large keyboard/ orchestration spots go hand in hand with the natural electric instrumentation – the ten-minute plus “Part 5: Mongols” a focal point, presenting killer guitar riffs, a bevy of power / traditional tempo offerings, a full-on chanting mid-section where bassist Tomas Sklenar shines, plus the dual voices taking on a mix of Russell Allen/Hansi Kursch-ish meets naturally semi-power/operatic stylings.

On the flip side, the storyline of course deserves a theatrical, poignant ballad track – which “Part 6: Dreaming of Home” fits that niche – guitarist/ keyboardist Libor Krivak delivering a momentous solo full of passion and tact even with the tapping and shred aspects. When the band go for the normal power metal combinations like “Part 2: Crimson Silk” or “Part 7: I Found My Way Home” – expect double kick/16th note nirvana, choruses that demand choir/audience support for propping things up to epic proportions, and the musical dance of instrumental flow where the sextet get to flex some of their abilities in this genre.

An international collective of musicians across Slovakia, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Sweden, Symphonity wisely kept the record quite short for this style at 41 minutes and change. Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack plays out as visually enticing as it is musically exhilarating – a mandatory must listen for those into Rhapsody, Blind Guardian, and Stratovarius during their prime.

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