It’s no secret that Italian progressive and symphonic heavy metal bands grow on trees. That’s exactly the reason there are so many of them coming from the Mediterranean country. Kidding aside, for a symphonic heavy band to stand out is fairly difficult. The latest addition of My Refuge and their debut album are no exception. With the likes of Rhapsody (of fire), Angra and many more, lesser known bands, an album like My Refuge’s should be ‘A Matter Of Supremacy’.
With a ten track album the Italian guys of My Refuge are seeking theirs in a solid mix of dark, progressive, symphonic metal. None of the tracks are under four minutes long and most of them even hit the five to six mark. With the lead taken by vocalist Davide Vella, who combines various vocal styles to make them their own. Sometimes he pulls an opera sound, while at other times he a much rawer edge.
What’s interesting is the quality of the guitar play. The solo’s on ‘Calling Of The Wind’, for example, are utterly amazing. Never too technical and played with heart and passion. The abovementioned track is also one of the better on the album. It is, however, one of the tracks with a lesser vocal delivery. Vella seems to lack power on the bridges, which means he cannot really compete with the solid riffs. On the slower and softer ‘Empty Room’ you can clearly hear the Italian accent in Vella’s voice. It’s not annoying, it even gives his voice some more character.
Another one of those moments is found on ‘Living In Anger’, which is actually a very dark and gloomy track, but Vella doesn’t seem to be able to live up to these sounds. His higher pitched parts lack character, which he tries to hide with something rawer, but also more forced than his usual voice. It’s a shame as the rest of the band does a very solid job. An identical remark could be placed on the following ‘The Wall’.
In the end these ten, quite long tracks fail to really grasp your attention. I won’t say it’s impossible to listen to the entire album at once, but it’s quite hard to keep at it the entire time. Some of the riffs sound alike, which doesn’t make it easier either. You’d really have to force your attention onto the tracks later on the record.
Hadn’t it been for the solid foundation the band has been built on, ‘A Matter Of Supremacy’ could have been quite a lot worse. It’s not, however, enough to be genre defying. These Italians have still to improve and develop some of the things they do to be competing with the big guys. It’s a good start as a debut album, but it’s nowhere near to dominating the Italian music scene.
- A Storm Is Coming
- The Cage
- Calling Of The Wind
- Endless Night
- Living In Anger
- This Wall
- The Raven
- Empty Room
- On Wings Of Wax