Seriously guys, if one more kick ass progressive metal band from Italy makes its way across my desk, I’m packing my shit up and moving there. I’m starting to lose count as to the number of brilliant new bands from Italy that have just stunned me, mesmerized me, or just blew my mind apart in the last few years. Now we can add Infinita Symphonia to the list, with their second, self titled album. OK, I’ll be honest, I’m not leaving the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area for pretty much anything, but damn Italy, what the hell is going on over there?
Let’s take a look at the band themselves. Infinita Symphonia was formed in 2008 by vocalist Luca Micioni and lead guitarist Gianmarco Ricasoli. Joining them was bassist Alberto de Felice and drummer Luca Ciccotti. After putting out their debut album A Mind’s Chronicle, they parted ways with Ciccotti and brought on Ivan Daniele. The core sound of the band is founded in power progressive metal, but the term applies pretty loosely here as these guys stretch out their immense talents throughout the album. Not to say that they are breaking ground with a new sound, there is nothing on this album that will sprout a revolution in metal, but they do draw from all over the rock and metal genres to create a sound that is pretty distinctive to them alone. The main elements that really fuel that are the emotionally crushing guitar work of Ricasoli and the tempered power vocals of Micioni, though the other members definitely add their own distinctive touch to the overall sound, with de Felice and Daniele forming a brutally effective rhythm section.
The album is a thematic one, dealing with lost moments and slivers of time between the active span of life, those empty moments when waiting for something that doesn’t come, in essence looking forward to the end instead of looking around at the now. The opener, If I Could Go Back, is a safe and straightforward rocker. It has a catchy pace and hooks, and showcases Micioni’s vocals well, something that continues throughout the album, and the song is highlighted by a quick but stellar solo by Ricasoli. This song is also the last time they play it safe as they roll into The Last Breath, a song that though only seven plus minutes in length has all the feel of a mini epic in sound and scope. With a steady and dramatic opening segment led by Micioni, the tension builds underneath as they begin to push the intensity without jacking up the pace. About halfway through the song though, all bets are off as they rip into a blistering and brilliant instrumental section that should drop the jaws of any self respecting prog metal fan. The rhythm section of de Felice and Daniele really shine here, the bass is pretty forefront in the mix and carries the instrumental well, and Daniele beats his skins with precision and fury. I feel that these instrumental moments are where the band truly stunned me, which is saying a lot with how much I loved the structured parts. Welcome to My World is a short and sweet rocker, with a fairly heavy hand, and a pleading nature to its thematic vibe. They don’t stick to a steady plan though, even in a song as short as this, shaking it up and building intensity, creating a wonderful set up for the rest of the album.
Drowsiness comes in as one of the longer songs on the album, and is a prog metal beast. The thundering chords are heavy handed on this one, and it moves, and changes, and runs. Then they decide to mess with us, and throw in a ballad, In Your Eyes. It’s a solid and passionate ballad, nothing super special, but a rock solid song. The next number Fly features the vocal talents of Michael Kiske, and is a solid and clean number with Kiske’s voice at front and center. This one is a bit more prog than metal, the crashing chords are toned down to highlight the vocal moments. As I said these guys jump all over the place, as shown by the next number, an instrumental called Interlude which features brilliant flamenco guitar work. The next song, Waiting for a Day of Happiness, carries hints and whispers of the flamenco tones in the beginning, but the band slowly morphs the sound into a more prog power ballad sound. It’s a pretty seamless and solid transition, and sets the stage for the final two songs. The first, X IV, is a build up instrumental leading into the final song, Limbo. The transition between the last four songs is tremendously smooth, a sign of solid songwriting carried out to its end. Limbo has a good ending tone, with epic hooks and solid power moments. They make no secret of the fact that it is the last song either. After a surreal sounding short middle segment moves into a classic album finish, full of repeated power chords and choruses that build in intensity to a climax.
First off, the last thing one expects out of a self titled album is a concept album, over 70 minutes in length that stretches all aspects of the band to their limits. The genre jumping is a little spotty but also at the same time insures that the listener won’t be tiring of this one quickly, since it doesn’t stay in one spot long enough to get old. A solid album, beginning to end, and another point for Italian prog metal. Keep it coming guys, keep it coming.