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Cristiano Filippini's Flames of Heaven - The Force Within Award winner

Cristiano Filippini's Flames of Heaven
The Force Within
by Kevin Lewis at 18 January 2021, 6:03 PM

CRISTIANO FILIPPINI’S FLAMES OF HEAVEN is a band made up of many prominent Italian musicians. Conceived in 2018, the project is the brain child of Cristiano Filippini, a seasoned veteran of the power/symphonic metal scene. This is an epic story in musical form. The Force Within is the first album by this supergroup and was released on November 20, 2020 through Limb Records

This is a at its’ most basic an epic love story. With tons of keyboards and orchestration, it fits the mold of symphonic metal, but the musical composition fits more into the power metal realm. At a little over 69 minutes, this is not a quick listen type of record. It takes a number of playthroughs to get the feeling for everything it has to offer. The introduction to the story is “The Force Within”, an instrumental that showcases both the symphonic and power elements.

After that, “We Fight For Eternity” proceeds to go straight to power. With rapid fire guitar work, soaring keyboards and a pounding rhythm highlighted by some impressive double bass drum work, the vocals have a wall of sound the meld with. The vocals are clean and exclusively male in the lead role. In today’s musical world, having a sole male vocalist seems the exception, not the rule anymore.

Later on, “Against The Hellfire” uses the keyboards to give a bit of a futuristic sound, straying a little more into the sci-fi realm, but stays in the epic archetype. So many epic tales are set in the
Against The Hellfire” starts with futuristic sounding keyboards, going to a more sci-fi theme than many epic songs. SO many epics focus on the past, that again this feels a little different from the standard. “Always With You” is one the power ballads of the record. Showing the softer side of this band. Again, the keyboards and orchestration provide layers of sound that really fill the space.

“Lightning In The Night” is one of the few songs to start with a guitar riff and the only one that begins with guitar only. It has one of the heavier feels on the record. Straight out of the Power Metal playbook, this song rips from start to finish. The drums and bass are definite powerhouses under the guitars, giving this the distinction of being the most “solid” piece of work. Even when out front, this is the only song that does not seem to be dominated by the keyboards.

The record wraps with another instrumental that has the feel of an epic journey. “Ab Angelis Defensa” sounds like it belongs on a movie score. This sounds like a trip to the past, almost like a Greek or Roman epic tale, balancing out the sci-fi feel from earlier on the disc.

The Force Within is an epic tale with a mixture of sounds and feels. It has a lot of elements to it, including tons of sound. It sounds like there are eight people in the band. Overall, it is a good record. There is nothing groundbreaking or truly outstanding about this album, but it is good. Fans of Symphonic and Power Metal will likely either love its’ bold takes or not like it because of the same reasons. The production is good and the compositions are solid, even if a little disjointed at times (futuristic versus ancient).

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. The Force Within
2. We Fight For Eternity
3. Far Away
4. Against The Hellfire
5. Always With You
6. Dying For Love
7. Finding Yourself
8. Lightning In The Night
9. Missing You
10. Moonlight Phantom
11. The Angel And The Faith
12. Ab Angelis Defensa
13. Missing You (Acoustic Version
Cristiano Filippini – Guitar/Keyboards/Orchestration
Marco Pastorino – Vocals
Giorgio Terenziani – Bass
Paolo Caridi – Drums
Michele Vioni – Guitar
Record Label: Limb Music


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