If you’re familiar with Italy’s Trick Or Treat – this new effort, Creepy Symphonies, is the band’s seventh full length, so there’s a fair chance you are – you know exactly what to expect. Pardon me if I speak over your heads to people who may not have come into contact with the happy metallers from Modena before.

If you are new to TOT, then strap yourselves in for one hell of a ride; basically the band’s plan is this: weaken the listener early on through smile-and-headbanging-induction via superb, gloriously cheery material like the semi-title track or the utterly OTT Crazy, wherein Gamma Ray circa Heading For Tomorrow turns out to have been fronted by Michael Kiske rather than Ralf Scheepers, and then beat them into submission with more straightforward (though no less worthy) material like Escape From Reality. It’s a pretty simple plan – but it works. Oh my word, it works…

You’ve got to have a lot of front – not to mention talent – to completely replicate the sound of an already-famous band (or in this case two already-famous bands), but vocalist Alessandro Conti and company clearly have the requisite amount of both to make this album work on every level. At times you’ll be gobsmacked at the brazenness of it all, and then you’ll look down and see the involuntary double kick drum assault your legs are doing in tribute to Luca Setti‘s titanic drumwork. And then, having unplastered the hair from your face, you’ll realise the smile you’re wearing stretches form ear to ear as you wail along to the infectious pop metal of Falling Over The Rainbow. Luca Venturelli and Guido Benedetti will have your fingers cramping up as you air guitar manically through the whole thing, stopping only to press play again in order to keep the crazy train rollin’… I kid you not, this album sucks you in from minute one and doesn’t let you go for one second!

Cynics will say it’s all been done before, and that a band as clearly talented as Trick Or Treat would be better off spending their time doing something less obvious, but to them I say… bollocks! I haven’t had as much fun listening to an album in it’s entirety as I have had listening to Creepy Symphonies for a long, long time – more power to you, boys, and thank you very much for cheering up my year! Salut!

Creepy Symphonies releases on April 1st.