The seventh full-length album by Italian Epic Power Metal band.
The band’s debut album, "Dragon’s Secrets", took place as one of the best Power Metal albums in fans' collections. Introducing the keyboard extraordinaire Eddy Antonini, the album was an excellent display of Symphonic, keyboard driven Speed Metal with good orchestral arrangements and catchy atmosphere. Of course, the production flaws, the sub-par sound and the not-so-brilliant singer took most of the magic away, but the potential of the band was clear and fans had the highest hopes for them in becoming one of the leaders of the Italian Metal scene.
This time Skylark sounds completely different than everything else they've released. The style of the band has changed from the aforementioned powerful and rich symphonic sound into an almost Pop orchestrated sound with some insignificant guitar parts, and overwhelming keyboards-piano-harpsichord leads, rhythms, hooks and just about everything else. Unfortunately, Antonini’s personality (and instrument) overshadows almost everything and doesn’t allow any room for the rest of the musicians to take the lead. This extensive use of keyboards and especially harpsichord should give an epic sound to the music but it just manages to push the music away from the epic/bombastic sound into a kind of orchestral Pop or an unhappy shadow of a true Power/Symphonic sound.
And now about the vocals… The new girl singer Kiera sings over half the album. Her voice doesn't sound like every other female singer in Metal. It's ok that Kiara was selected as a model (perfume) for Givenchy, but why she became the lead singer of this band? This lady can’t sing! Her voice is at best OK during the softer passages, reminiscent of Lisa Middelhauve (Xandria front woman) or even the beautiful Tracy Hitchings (Strangers On A Train, Landmarq) at times, but the moment she tries to come off as a soprano or even a high note singer, everything just goes down the drain and just makes you wanna break the goddamn CD. There’s no surprise that her best performance is on the cover version of Mike Oldfield’s Moonlight Shadow (another piece killed by the keyboard solo trying to mimic the godly guitar lead).
The production of the album is yet again built around the keyboard sound, pushed forward, with the rhythm section taking most of the damage, the drums being relegated somewhere in the background, with a muffled sound and the bass lines almost inexistent.
Despite all the flaws presented before, the album has its moments. The last two tracks with Fabio Dozzo leading on vocals are quite good. "Little Red Riding Hood", an 18-minute epic, have good complex composition, fast paced, good guitar solos and passable soprano lines. A reminiscent of the great complex compositions of the early years. "Love", the last track on the album, is a slow starting piece, with Dozzo’s quiet and emotional voice backed by clean piano licks ending with a full forced rhythmic passage of guitar/keyboard work.
There is a heightened display of talent from Skylark members that really does make this album quite a creative and refreshing performance... they just need to fix their production problems.
Fans of Melodic Epic Power Metal, approach this cautiously!
Scarlet Records, 2005 (SC 112-2). Used: very good.
1. Music 5:55
2. First Night 6:20
3. A Rose In Her Hand 3:04
4. Lions Are The World 11:34
5. I'm The Evil 4:36
6. Moonlight Shadow 3:09
7. Little Red Riding Hood 18:07
8. Love 5:07
Total playing time: 57:52