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FlowerLeaf - Stronger Award winner

FlowerLeaf
Stronger
by John Paul Romero at 26 November 2018, 7:33 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you symphonic/melodic power metal duo FLOWERLEAF. FLOWERLEAF is a product of love and musical collaboration of two well experienced musicians from Brazil, Vivs Takahashi and Marcelo Kaczorowski. Their debut single, “Firesoul” first came out earlier this year (April to be precise) and signaled the kick-off of their musical exhibit. Three months later, a second single came out, “Girl in Pearls” (you might have actually stumbled into its video on Youtube via Youtube suggestions) which became their stairway into the big stage. The two aforementioned tracks are included in their debut album “Stronger” which was released November 9th of this year. The album contains ten strong and elegant tracks, with a lot of back stories. The topics mostly reflect on life, acceptance of reality and the musicians’ personal experiences. All the lines are infused with motivational and inspirational messages. These elements create the personal appeal of the songs which truly touches the heart and mind of the listener.

Speaking about the totality of the album, the album’s strongest foundation is the vocals. Vivs’ voice has a very powerful and theatrical enigma, and her singing style catches the characteristics of gothic and power metal attack on vocals. Imagine combining the voices of Ailyn, (ex-SIRENIA) Tarja Turunen (ex-NIGHTWISH), Sharon den Adel, (WITHIN TEMPTATION) and the most eminent vocalist in gothic rock, Amy Lee (Evanescence) and you get an impression of how she sounds like. However, it does not end with her excellent vocal quality. She also plays with it very well. She could swing from highly energetic notes into a calmer and emotional approach. The way she sings the lines is so majestic, as if it brings the lyrics into real life. Another extravagant and vital part of their music is the beauty of the keyboards. Most power metal bands rely on this instrument to bring magic and life to their sound, and this band is no different. The constant presence of the keyboards is key to the surrealism that the music creates. It also played a major role in the creating the elegance of the songs. And last but not least is the lead guitar. Each of the songs has an equal share of eargasmic guitar licks, may it be a short passage, a solo or a mere riffs. The sound of the guitar is a kind that would remind you about X-JAPAN’s “Art of Life” without imitating it.

Although predominantly symphonic and power metal, the album also showed its diversity with the track “Not My Fault” which featured guest vocalist Mylena Monaco (SINAYA). Just when you had yourself surrounded by a shroud of arcane mist brought by sleep paralysis-inspired and hyper energetic song “Paralysis”, the shiftiness and awesome licks and solos of “Firesoul” and the emotional-slow rock “Grain of Sand”, “Not My Fault” comes in and blows your face away. Unlike the first three songs, this song is heavier by tons. The chuggy riffs of the intro arrived like a warning to a storm which is Mylena and her beastly harsh vocals which would really remind you of SIRENIA and/or NIGHTWISH. Vivs sang the choruses and the bridge which clearly is a smart tactic. The contradiction of vocal styles present in one song is a brilliant idea. Not only that, it was perfectly accompanied by the catchy tune of the instruments and an epic solo!

Of all the songs, the track “Girl in Pearls” has the most interesting back story. According to the duo, it is about a girl that they saw in a wedding. The people there were well dressed, and there was a girl who was with the guests but forgotten in a chair. She looked beautiful in a pretty dress and a pearl necklace but no one seemed to remember that she was there; and she was very unhappy about it. This interesting but rather sad back story reflected very well in the narration format song. They have managed to create a figure of the girl’s loneliness in a first person point of view, putting the listener in the shoes of the singer (as a character) who could actually reflect Vivs herself. The heavy emotions, the dramatic tunes, the intense singing and the heartwarming message of the song are exceptional. No wonder how this song brought the band into the spotlight. This song could be determined as the heart and as well is the zenith of the album.

The shortest entry “Desert Winds” never fell short of beauty. The two and a half minute song could be the band’s equivalent of “When Angels Unite” by PAGAN’S MIND. It is indeed very short, but it is all about catchiness. It has a very catchy chorus and the entirety of the song doesn’t have any high notes making it an easy sing-able ballad. The peaceful vibe of the instruments is what makes the song a perfect lullaby. The album as a whole is a graceful display of symphonic-gothic-power metal. It is a complete package – the traditional symphonic metal is there, the gothic touch is there and the magic of power metal is there. The track “Not My Fault” is a statement of the band’s versatility, showing that they are not only about operatic music, but they can also go heavy and dark. They also have their share of power ballads and a lullaby, which is essential to the genre they play. Lastly and most importantly, the songs in the album are not just for their own sake. The songs has got awesome stories behind it, and sends strong messages to the listeners that you can be Stronger, as the album title says.

What makes everything even more thrilling is that this is just the band’s debut release, and we could expect more material of the same or even better quality. That is also a reason why FLOWERLEAF is definitely a band to watch out for. Metal temple approves!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Paralysis
2. Firesoul
3. Grain of Sand
4. Not My Fault
5. Girl in Pearls
6. Tupana
7. Rise Again
8. Desert Winds
9. The Flower and the Leaf
10. We Will Stand
Lineup:
Vivs Takahashi – Vocals
Marcelo Kaczorowski – Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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