It’s hard – incredibly hard – to find any wiggle room in the World of symphonic/operatic metal. The scene now is so saturated – and not only saturated, but saturated with high-quality acts to boot – that there seems nowhere to go for any new bands trying to add their voice to the choir if they have no point of difference beyond their own individual take on the genre.
So what are we to make, then, of the ‘sleek celestial symphonic metal’ of Greek newcomers Mystfall? Can a band that sounds like a mix of the less memorable bits of Xandria and Epica make a go of things in the current overheated climate?
On the face of it, they shouldn’t be able to, but there is something lurking in the shadows of this band that suggests they might indeed be able to slip the pack and join their heroes in the Pantheon of Symphonic metal greats.
That ‘something’ is still largely indefinable, as tracks like the rollicking Freedom Path – essentially Edenbridge meets Nightwish circa 2003 – are still too generic to waste too much ear time over. Pleasant yes, but hardly essential. And yet the classy delivery of Marialena Trikoglou suggests greatness; She lives for the most part in the higher reaches of the vocal world, like obvious comparison Tarja Turinen, yet she sings with a power and assurance absent from many of her rivals. In harness with the pompous keys Dida Racotoarison and the solid battery of Panagiotis Leontaritis‘ axe work, she sounds like a genuine contender, a singer ready to make the world sit up and listen.
The kitchen sink approach only takes the songs so far, and at times the sheer amount of activity in all quarters is a bit distracting, especially when Kostas Mexis adds his death metal vocal presence to the mix; it’s not a bad idea to add a bit of counterpoint to Trikoglou’s soprano warblings, but the trick is to know when to do it. However that is a minor complaint in the great scheme of things, especially having noted the band desperately needs little flashes of difference to make real headway. Trikoglou is the x-factor this band needs – now they just need some truly memorable material – more in the vein of the excellent third track, Centuries, perhaps – to harness the magic…
Celestial Vision releases on July 21st.