Italian record label Frontiers Records has been well known for pairing well known artists within the prog and power metal community for special projects most notably, the Allen/Lande albums featuring vocal powerhouses Russell Allen (Symphony X) teaming up with Jorn Lande (Masterplan, Jorn) along with the songwriting talents of guitarist Magnus Karlsson pf Primal Fear. The success of the debut album The Battle spawned two follow ups, The Revenge and The Showdown (we won’t discuss the fourth Allen/Lande album which had former Stratovarius axeman Timo Tolkki replacing Karlsson as guitarist/songwriter with mixed results). Since Allen/Lande, Frontiers has tried to capture lightning in a bottle with other collaborations over the years. The latest, which is being hailed as he Italian equivalent of Allen/Lande, features Alessandro Conti , the singer of the Italian power metal band Trick Or Treat and also the lead singer in Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, when the two founding members of Rhapsody, Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli decided to part ways and create their own versions of said band. Conti teams up with the original voice of Rhapsody, Fabio Lione to form Lione/Conti, along with DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni serving triple dutyas the songwriter/guitarist/producer for the album. The debut also features Filippo Martignano on keyboards and Marco Lanciotti on drums.
The first track, the melodic mid-tempo Ascension starts with a great guitar riff and, of course, fantastic vocal work from both singers, whose voices blend together perfectly. Conti’s vocals have a higher range, at times sounding like Michael Kiske of Helloween.
Next up, the heavy and fast paced power metal of Outcome with a very DGM-esque riff (gee I wonder how that could happen?). Once again, Conti and Lione are flawless here with some beautiful harmony vocals throughout the song. Mularoni gets to show his considerable chops with some tasty solo work.
The albums first single You’re Falling is a groove-laden, moody song with a powerful and memorable chorus. The vocals are softer during the verses and more powerful as the song progresses. One thing I noticed after repeated listens is that the verses have a similar melody and pattern to the Queensrÿche classic, The Mission.
The album slows down for the beautiful piano ballad, Someone Else. Both vocalists get to show their softer singing styles and convey powerful emotion as the song builds to a fantastic crescendo during the chorus. Everything about this song just screams perfection from the vocals, the song structure, and the guitar work.
Misbeliever is a faster song for the power metal purists that has an old school Kamelot vibe to it. It may sound repetitious at this point, but once again the vocal work by both singers is just amazing and the guitar work is stellar. From beginning to end, this song is my absolute favorite on the album.
The power continues on Destruction Show which starts off at a fast pace but slows down to a mid-tempo and some great melodic vocals from Lione and Conti. The chorus is another standout and Mularoni shreds during the solo section.
Glories is a song that will cause classic Rhapsody fans to do backflips. Double bass drums, chugging guitar riffs, blistering solos, and soaring vocals. This song has everything that made Rhapsody one of the most popular symphonic power metal bands in the history of the genre. Conti’s higher pitched vocals are standout here and Lione’s vocal compliments them perfectly.
Truth is another mid-tempo metal song with plenty of melody, a powerful and memorable chorus, and a killer guitar/keyboard solo section. Gravity is, in my opinion, the heaviest sounding song on the album.A fast paced power metal anthem with great guitar work and Conti and Lione’s blended vocals are a delight. The rapid fire double bass drums will have you furiously headbanging along.
The albums final song, Crosswinds, has a slower Middle-Estern vibe to it, with a softer, more deliberate vocal approach from Lione and Conti that fit the atmosphere of the song perfectly. At times the main riff reminds me of the classic Kamelot song Nights of Arabia, but again not a carbon copy, just a slight resemblance. All in all, a perfect choice to close the album.
For fans of Rhapsody in all of its different incarnations, this is the album you have been waiting for with two of the greatest vocalists in symphonic power metal today. I can’t recommend this album enough!