Are Insatia a band or a project? Only vocalist Zoë Marie Federoff survives on this second album from the lineup that recorded the band’s 2013 debut, Asylum Denied with the others, the enigmatically-monickered Jester and Duck nowhere to be found. Everyone else involved in the recording of Phoenix Aflame (including former Arch Enemy man Christopher Amott and erstwhile Firewind throat Apollo Papathanasio) seems to have lent their talents on a session basis, leading one to believe that the Insatia imprint may well be just a vehicle for the furtherance of Ms Federoff’s ambitions.
Nothing sinister in that, of course – she’s clearly a very talented singer. But on the evidence of what’s on offer on Phoenix Aflame she might have a way to go yet to attain the sort of notoriety she and those around her so clearly think she deserves.
In his recent Crusade of Power column my colleague Ferry Templeton was very effusive in his praise for in Insatia, and it’s easy to see why. Competent, at times exciting symphonic power metal is dealt out with unerring accuracy, Federoff sounding a bit like Simone Simons or Sharon den Adel in places, with the ‘band’ also offering folkesome ballads like Velvet Road to keep the listener on his or her toes.
Velvet Road is actually the most interesting track here, for the pure reason that it breaks things up a bit, and fans of more venerable acts like Blackmore’s Night would lap it up if they got the chance to hear it. Of the more metallic offerings, Healer of Hatred – a riffy, uptempo rocker of some appeal – stands out most, although as noted everything here is of a pretty uniform good quality. The title track and it’s immediate predecessor, We Are the Grey, are also worthy of your attention.
Not at all bad then, if a little samey in places, but I suspect it is Zoë Marie Federoff and not Insatia that will be the a name to watch for the future, even if personally I’d like to hear her toughen up her vocal approach a bit.
Insatia’s Phoenix Aflame is released by Pitch Black Records today (June 23rd)