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Asterise - Two Worlds

Asterise
Two Worlds
by David Hough at 23 January 2023, 10:55 PM

The members of ASTERISE describe their sound as operatic power metal. The international  online project that would become “Two Worlds” was conceived by Bartlomiej Mezynski and Dionysis Maniatakos. Their sound fits in well with bands like AVANTASIA and STRATOVARIUS. I also detected the influence of early HELLOWEEN.

The album has an overarching narrative described as:

“The lyrics are about a person being trapped between two worlds. Souls being locked between good and bad sides. It tells a little story about different states of minds. Showing a journey from being lost, being deceived by own desires, searching for home and finally reaching the top of the world and fulfilling the destiny.”

It is a straightforward and well-executed concept that is easy to follow. It is an inventive take on the “hero’s journey” trope.

For me to enjoy a power metal album, I have to forgive a certain degree of cheese. This album is full of over-the-top vocals, hyper synth lines, and plenty of guitar noodling. I don’t see this as a negative; instead, I find that albums like this are lots of fun.

After a pleasant intro and the first proper song, “High Above The Horizon,” this album gets going. “Eternal Flame” has lots of fanfare, galloping triplets, a tasteful amount of noodling, and wailing vocals. Those are all of the tenets of a great cheesy power metal track.

By the time “Promised Land” comes along, this album hits its stride. There are both male and female vocals as well as a backing choir. The acoustic guitar melody fits well in the song. I did not care for the synth element, but that is only a small part of a great song. I was impressed by the arpeggio-filled guitar solo and the boisterous wailing vocals though.

Falling Stars” also has a lot of high points. The instrumentation is exciting and had me hooked from the first synth notes. The operatic vocals hover just slightly above the “cheesy” threshold. It feels like a rallying cry to get everyone on board with the concept and it worked for me. This is my favorite track on “Two Worlds.”

Masked Parade” is equally as fun as “Falling Stars.” At times, the vocals have an abrasive touch that serves as a welcome complement to the otherwise clean vocals. A strong synthesizer solo precludes a slower passage that makes the song drag. ASTERISE is best when at their most hyperactive. There’s a big swell in the song after the slow piece, but the bland ending afterward didn’t do it for me.

When it comes to the more operatic side of power metal, I find that I have to be in a certain frame of mind to fully enjoy the music and concept. This is true with AVANTASIA and STRATOVARIUS, but not the case when it comes to ASTERISE. “Two Worlds” is an accessible introduction to high-concept power metal. I still tend to gravitate more toward acts like BLIND GUARDIAN and POWERWOLF when it comes to this style of music, but this album has proven to be the exception to the rule.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. High Above the Horizon
3. Eternal Flame
4. Frozen Lake
5. Promised Land
6. Falling Stars
7. Masked Parade
8. Top of the World
9. Funeral of Souls
Lineup:
Slawomir Siwak - Drums
Bartlomiej Mezynski - Guitars, Bass, Composition, Lyrics
Dionysis Maniatakos - Keyboards, Orchestrations
Jimmy Hedlund,  Andi Kravljaca, Mateusz Karmelita - Guest Guitar Solos
Lukasz Watroba - Acoustic Guitar
Aleksandra Mezynska, Lea Diekmann - Guest Choirs
Tristan Harders, Arnaud Menard, Katharina Stahl - Vocals
Tristan Harders - Mixing
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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Edited 06 February 2023
 

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