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Moonlight Haze – Animus Award winner

Moonlight Haze
Animus
by Thomas Kumke at 20 March 2022, 8:04 PM

MOONLIGHT HAZE hailing from Northern Italy were formed in 2018 by Chiara Tricarico and Giulio Capone (both ex-TEMPERANCE). They are a symphonic Power Metal band and “Animus” is their third full-length album. It was recorded by MOONLIGHT HAZE, mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at Italian Domination Studio. The album has a length of about 42 minutes and it was released via Italian label Scarlet Records which has a number of Power, Thrash, and Heavy Metal bands among their roster.

MOONLIGHT HAZE have been pretty busy since their start as a band. The starting line-up still remains the same, and the band wasted no time to write and release music. Album number three is the third full-length release in as many years, not counting the single releases in between. Prior to the release of “Animus”, four singles have already been dropped. As for the music of MOONLIGHT HAZE, the former TEMPERANCE duo Chiara and Giulio have established a diverse symphonic Metal sound that maintains a good balance between orchestral arrangements and Metal instruments and “Animus” continues with that path.

The album starts with “The Nothing”, a mixture of powerful guitar riffing, cool bass lines at a relatively fast tempo, very versatile vocals which are supported by a choir, and symphonic features that are mainly kept in the background. The melodies are catchy, even more so in “It’s Insane” which has anthem-like features in the chorus and a very contributing lead guitar solo. The symphonic parts are more equal to the Metal parts, and the vocals of Chiara Tricarico are more driven by her Rock voice compared to the opener where her voice was more adapted towards a soprano range. “It’s Insane” is one of the video releases and the YouTube link is given below.

Kintsugi” continues with the fast paced rhythm, but it has more complex textures. The melodies maintain the catchiness of the previous tracks and the symphonic elements are piano dominated. The title song is more towards mid-tempo. It is driven by heavy guitar riffing supported by the string section. “Animus” is the first song with more melancholic vibes. The lead guitars are again very contributing and the vocals include a few growling parts at around the medium end of the guttural range.

The Thief And The Moon” is again one of the faster songs on the album and the guitars are driving the track forward. The orchestral arrangements are kept mostly in the background and the longer the track goes on, the more the lead guitars take over. “Midnight Haze” keeps the energetic sound going. The rhythm is a classical mid-tempo and the chorus melodies are sing-alongs. The guitars are again dominant, even though there are a few slow piano driven parts. Chiara Tricarico vocals are excellent here particularly during the transitions. “Tonight” keeps the orchestral arrangements well in the balance with the Metal instruments, but overall, the track is below par.

Never Say Never” and “We’ll Be Free” are full of energy and tempo. Both tracks have a very good interplay between strings and guitars. “Never Say Never” adds a few double-bass drums to the mix. The melodies in “We’ll Be Free” have all the catchiness it needs to become a fan favorite, and I am sure, it will be a regular on the live set list of MOONLIGHT HAZE. Overall I noticed, that the final third of the album has more Power Metal inspirations and if it needs a proof, “A Ritual Of Fire” is the song to go: fast pace, tight guitar riffing, excellent lead guitar solo, and traditional Power Metal textures. If there would not have been a few symphonic additions, it could have been a HELLOWEEN song. “Horror Thunder” closes the album and it is another dynamic and fast song with the bass lines carrying the song forward. Chiara Tricarico has some male support here which fits nicely into the track. The lead guitar solo is again excellent, but highlight is the subsequent bass solo. “Horror Thunder” nicely fits into the mood of the album and it is good way to close “Animus”.

MOONLIGHT HAZE deliver a dynamic, positive and very energetic album. “Animus” is a huge step forward. The sound of the album is mature, melodic, catchy, easy to listen to, and has the right balance between Metal and orchestral arrangements. Highlights are the excellent vocals of Chiara Tricarico, which are basis for the diverse sound of the album. She keeps it all together with her versatility. The songwriting has improved compared to previous albums, in particular the compositions show a greater maturity. The album is very well produced. MOONLIGHT HAZE leave a mark in the symphonic Metal arena and “Animus” should belong to the album collection of every symphonic Metal fan.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Nothing
2. It’s Insane
3. Kintsugi
4. Animus
5. The Thief And The Moon
6. Midnight Haze
7. Tonight
8. Never Say Never
9. We’ll Be Free
10. A Ritual Of Fire
11. Horror Thunder
Lineup:
Chiara Tricarico – Vocals
Marco Falanga – Guitars
Alberto Melinato ­ Guitars
Giulio Capone – Drums, Keyboards
Allessandro Jacobi – Bass
Record Label: Scarlet Records
     


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