I remember the first time I heard Sound Storm was on their Immortalia album when they signed a worldwide album deal with Scarlet Records in 2012. The album combined the dramatic flair of the theater, gothic, atmospheres, and powerful symphonic metal. The band has since made some major changes to their line-up, replacing original vocalist Philippe D’Orange with Fabio Privitera, drummer Federico Brignolo with Alessandro Bissa, and keyboardists Alessandro Musico and Davide Cristofoli with Elena Crolle, and now find a new label home on ROCKSHOTS Records.
Their latest effort, titled Vertigo,was engineered by Joost Van Den Broek (Epica, After Forever, Ayreon, etc.) at Sandlane Recording Facilities, and the artwork was created once again by renowned artist Gustavo Sazes, who’s working with the band since 2007.
The album begins with the title track, a brief piano intro by Crolle, accompanied with some eerie sounding electronic effects, setting the stage for The Dragonfly, a symphonic force of nature that features orchestral soundscapes layered over lead guitarist/composer Valerio Sbriglione’s heavy guitar riffs and pinch harmonics, fast paced double bass drums of Bissa, and the theatrical vocals of Fabio Privitera. The song has a massive groove thanks to the rhythm section of Bissa and bassist Sascha Blackice and a haunting melody with operatic choirs and swirling ascending and descending orchestrations that bring the Vertigo album title to life.
Metamorphosis is a symphonic headbanger with energy and Privitera’s theatrical vocals and some incredible backing choir vocals add to the atmosphere of the song. Sbriglione lays down some impressive guitar solos accompanied by Crolle’s swift fingers on the ivories. The chorus is a theatrical melodic work of art.
Forsaken is highlighted with a wicked guitar riff and pounding drum beat as the speed and intensity increases through the song and includes some harsh vocals as well. If I was going to describe Privitera’s vocal style to someone who has never heard him, I would say Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica is a fair comparison, just listen to his impassioned vocal performance on Original Sin.
Keeping with the Vertigo theme, the symphonic piano focused instrumental Spiral is another jewel on the album, filled with grandiose orchestrations and beautiful haunting melodies which blends into the heavy sound storm of Gemini, one of the albums heaviest moments and one of its best mixing clean and harsh vocals to great dramatic effect.
The slow build of Alice contains many theatrical sound effects to create anticipation and drama, including another eerie choir of soaring voices ensnaring and captivating the listener, this builds into the albums last track and its best, titled The Last Breath, this song has everything a fan of progressive, symphonic metal could ask for, heavy speed metal guitar riffs, crystalline Queensrÿche-esque twin guitar harmonies, driving quick double bass drum work, a strong chorus, and powerful soaring vocals, a fine crescendo to end Vertigo’s musical journey.
On Vertigo, Sound Storm has challenged themselves to create not only a metal album, but a multimedia work of art that spans not only music but visually with a multi-episode television series. It will be interesting to see how this all translates to a live setting in front of a rabid crowd of metal fans. One thing is clear, the music is definitely worthy of holding the audience in the palms of their hands.