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Astralium - Land of Eternal Dreams Award winner

Astralium
Land of Eternal Dreams
by Joseth Radiant at 20 August 2019, 10:01 PM

Italian Symphonic Metal might seem like a subgenre that has nothing left to offer that is new and exciting. With titans of the genre like RHAPSODY (OF FIRE), FROZEN CROWN, and the like having a firm foothold on things, one has to ask if there is any room for some new blood to shake things up within the scene. I can most certainly say that ASTRALIUM is here to make its mark. Fans of the genre will find the familiar tropes of choir vocals, along with orchestras backing the band as it tears through each song. “Land of Eternal Dreams” is described as a concept album “about dreams and the astral universe, but also the fantasy world that lives in us. It's an inner journey through imaginary stories about myths and legends from the past.”

Even though “Land of Eternal Dreams” is its debut album, ASTRALIUM has been around since 2014 cutting its teeth and refining its sound by playing shows around Italy under the name BLACK ROSES. After a few personnel changes, changing its name, and solidifying the lineup by finding Salvo Grasso to hold down the rhythm section on the drums, work on its debut album began in September 2017. The quality of the performances on this album shows how all of the work that went into those early shows have come to complete fruition here. The overall result is an album that is enjoyable to listen to not only because of the stellar performances, but because it does take the listener on a journey that plays out in the mind’s theatre like a Hollywood blockbuster movie.

While Roberta’s soprano vocals are a fabulous highlight of the album, ASTRALIUM made the right choice in recruiting Salvo Grasso to not only be its drummer but to contribute to the vocals as a wonderful counterpart to her vocals. Roberta is undoubtedly a fantastic talent as a singer. She can go from a soaring Metal performance on “The Journey” to snippets of operatic drama on “The World of Unknown” to the ENYA-Esque atmospheric siren calls of “Ethereal Voices From The Forest”. Also, for a debut album, it has quite a few guest performances that are worthy of note. Tommy Johanssen of both SABATON and MAJESTICA provides his vocals on “Rising Waves Of The Ocean”. Vocalist Jo Lombardo of fellow Italian Power Metallers ANCESTRAL and guitarist Andrea Martongelli of ARTHEMIS respectively team up together on “Whisper In The Silence”. A HILL TO DIE UPON’s Adam Cook adds his dramatic growls on “Seven Seas Seven Winds” as well as speaking as the narrator in “The Journey”. Lastly, Davide Bruno of METATRONE contributes his unique growls to both “Hidden Conspiracy” and “A Dream’s Elegy”.

These guest appearances do not feel like they were clumsily pasted into each song. They fit seamlessly and are essential to each song. It’s an impressive feat that ASTRALIUM has been able to garner this top-tier list of guests on their debut album. Even the orchestral version of “Hope Is Gone” magnifies how strong the composition skills that it has at its disposal that isn’t easily found in other bands. These songs are put together in a similar manner of composers such as Bach or Vivaldi, where the music and the vocals are bound together to create either sheer beauty or terror. Overall, these are exciting times for ASTRALIUM and it has a lot of momentum going for itself. This isn’t another NIGHTWISH clone that more than a few bands in the Symphonic Metal have fallen victim to as of late. It has everything that fans of the genre enjoy while retaining a voice that stands out amongst the rest. Pay attention to this group as time goes on, and yes, as always, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Remembrance
2. The Journey
3. Rising Waves From The Ocean
4. My Life Is My Eternity
5. Whisper In The Silence
6. Hope Is Gone
7. Breath Of My Soul
8. A Dream’s Elegy
9. Seven Seas, Seven Winds
10. Ethereal Voices From The Forest
11. The World of Unknown
12. Hidden Conspiracy
13. Hope Is Gone (Orchestral Version)
Lineup:
Roberta Pappalardo – Vocals, Piano, Orchestral Arrangements
Giuseppe Pappalardo – Bass, Orchestral Arrangements
Salvo Grasso – Drums, Male Vocals, Orchestral Arrangements
Emanuele Alessandro – Guitars
Record Label: Rockshots Records
     


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