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Inner Core - Dark Chronicles Award winner

Inner Core
Dark Chronicles
by Andrew Harvey at 10 January 2022, 8:53 PM

INNER CORE are a 5 piece gothic rock or symphonic metal band from Germany however they have had a few changes in the lineup since their formation. Originally the lead singer SIMON FEZZO was joined by drummer MANUEL KOPP along with 3 more members but then this changed in a few years since 2013. In April 2016 that the lead singer ANNA ROGG joined in, the other remaining members who joined as part of the original lineup were; MASSIMO GIARDIELLO on guitar, RICARDO ECHEVERRIA on bass guitar and ARTUR SCHALL on keyboards/vocals.

The band only recorded one EP in 2015 with their original singer which was titled 1ST EP released independently featuring 4 tracks. In 2017 they came to releasing SOULTAKER, their debut album released through Echozone, with a total of 10 tracks. After four single releases earlier this year, they are now here once more with their second studio album, DARK CHRONICLES with 12 tracks. First up is “Kingdom of Mirrors” where we hear the wonderful voice of ANNA ROGG introducing the filtered drum beat into full unison.

We can also hear maybe elements of folklore sounds, piano with a glissando effect and chorale backing voices. Guitar leads the other melodic part but vocals guide guitar along for other instruments to follow. “Morning Shots” opens with interesting but beautiful lead vocals once more with the symphonic atmosphere of all instruments. But dynamically it gets quieter for vocals to blossom but then is joined by the other elements of this symphonic/gothic rock band. Lead vocals contribute more than before yet guitar is melodic and drumming is majestic as is keyboards. A slight twist where the guitar revolves towards the end is charismatic.

“Bloodlines” has a more operatic feel and is well orchestrated with a symphonic intro led by guitar, bass and keyboard before lead vocals take the spotlight. More of a percussive element underlining the lower end of the audio spectrum where guitar highlights the color, texture & tone of this track. Lead vocals embellish at the end after a short solo and other elements give their full support. “Desert Snake” opens up a symphonic melody of strings, keys and folklore sounds almost like a land of little or nothing, perhaps a desert in mind or imagery of the sands of time.

Tempo sets a nice pace with drums, vocals and dynamics make this track stand out more. This guitar is quieter than before but allows vocals to shine through with Eastern or non-traditional sounds. “Symphony” is exactly what it is: a symphonic motif and beautifully arranged track with classical piano, drums and lead vocals glowing brightly. The melody shines brighter and is portraying or conjuring up the image of a colourful bird, a phoenix or firebird flying through the air. “The Dark Chronicles” a shorter segment of operatic vocals, chorale chanting and percussive rhythm.

This is but the taste of bittersweet joy and sudden tension at the same time with mixed textures giving much more. “The Queen I Am” speaks up with lead vocals conveying an authoritative role but nevertheless vigorous. The constant string hits or percussive jumps or accents is very musical. The operatic sound comes in also and lead vocals with the symphonic elements crashing or shouting. Even hints of metallic clashing or a sword of justice and mercy coming down in pure majestic counter attack.

“Lionheart” follows on now with classical elements. Piano once more bringing vocals to the fore with marching rhythms but then vocals crescendo with more to come. Guitar elevates the narrative and vocals work in conjunction to achieve holy, sounding joy. Then calms to a harp and gorgeous vocal line so quiet + subtle before we go into “Unholy”. A more symphonic intro, cymbal hits and guitar carries the storytelling along the way. Piano glides through brightly, vocals sing and guitar reflects the richness of the track's warmth and tone.

Vocals work hard to bring the other instruments in, like a track should and then we are into “Crystal Sky” with slight mellow guitar playing and angelic backing of the gothic tones of all other instruments. “Home” with beautiful piano then symphonic triumphant sounds of vocals calming down with drum patterns. Guitar goes wild and screams with harmonic blasts coming into the final track, titled “Jane” is just vocals to start with. Very little here but that is a good way to finish as the lead vocals conquer the audio spectrum, plus a rhythmic line which is subtle but closes out the album very nicely and smoothly too. This album is extraordinary and just brilliant, definitely recommend these guys and just top class as well, no joke of course. Stunning and beautiful!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Kingdom Of Mirrors
2. Morning Shots
3. Bloodlines
4. Desert Snake
5. Symphony
6. The Dark Chronicles
7. The Queen I Am
8. Lionheart
9. Unholy
10. Crystal Sky
11. Home
12. Jane
Anna Rogg - Vocals
Massimo Giardiello - Guitar
Ricardo Echeverria - Bass Guitar
Artur Schall - Keyboards, Vocals
Hendrik Edelthal-Hammer - Drums
Record Label: Metalapolis Records


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Edited 17 August 2022

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