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Soul Of Steel - Rebirth

Soul Of Steel
by Tiago Masseti at 19 November 2019, 11:19 PM

Long have Italy presented the world with accessible, radio-friendly, Prog-sprayed Power Metal. Carrying the torch lit and nurtured by bands like LABYRINTH, VISION DIVINE and DGM, the Italians in SOUL OF STEEL show an exciting record with fun moments and good melodies. Although the name of the band might suggest a more traditional style of Heavy Metal, this is definitely a contemporary Italian Power/Prog Metal piece, filled with keyboards and mid-range singing. With some known names involved in production and arrangements and a couple of veteran guests, “Rebirth” is 51 minutes of homage to a style that’s strongly consolidated in their country.

The journey starts with “Dracarys”, a typical orchestral piece filled with digital percussion and synth strings that will most definitely serve as a show intro for the band to walk into the stage. Next up is “Oblivion”, a song that presents a groovy competent band with a nice modern mix and loaded on keyboard textures and leads. When the singer Gianni Valente comes in, we know Italy is in the house! His pleasant tone and controlled performance give the album a joyful atmosphere. The strong accent combined with the heavily-processed mix and master makes the lyrics pretty hard to understand throughout the record, but somehow grant a nice degree of authenticity regarding the band’s heritage. Over-the-top virtuoso singing might be expected, due to a long lineage of powerhouse Italians, but this is not the case. The singing is contained, respectful and very song-oriented.

“Brothers In Arms” is the strongest song on the record and also one of the heaviest. Here the band plays a fairly dangerous game. Bringing two guest singers, LABYRINTH’s Roberto Tiranti and DGM’s Mark Basile, might sound as a great PR strategy and a big accomplishment in a band’s bio but showing up so early in the track list and with such prolific singers, the group's lineup end up to be outshined. On top of that, the song features two guest solos from guitarist Simone Mularoni and keyboardist Andrea Di Paoli. Although the party of guests makes it a great tune, the contrast adds a tad of boredom to the rest of the listening experience and the next track “Sailing To My Fate” loses some of it’s brightness.

“Blessing In Disguise”, “The Devil’s Bride” and “A Margin Of Life” play nicely to reinforce the band’s strengths: good performers, catchy choruses and song-driven playing. There are no moments of excess and the balance between the musicians' abilities sound pretty stable. The heavier segment on the last one of the three followed by the great solo sequence is one of the album’s highlights. “It’s My Turn” is a welcomed change of pace in the album’s landscape. With a haunting keyboard intro, melodic guitar leads and a waltz-like 3/4 time signature, it breathes some life into the rest of the track list and allows the singer to shine a little more. It is also the one with the most unconventional chord progressions, at times reminiscent of bands like ANGRA and SEVENTH WONDER.

It leads well into “Trail Of Death”, the lengthiest and more varied track on this record. Its catchy chorus, alternate solos and cadenced verses could do a great job of ending the experience on a high satisfactory note. But some inexplicable decision made the band finish the record with a cover version of LADY GAGA’s “Perfect Illusion”. It does nothing for the record and exposes the band’s greatest weaknesses in a clearly uncomfortable Metal rendition of a great Pop song. Whether it was something they did for fun or in an attempt to gain momentum by taking advantage of GAGA’s popularity, the only good thing about this version is that it is shorter than the original.

Despite some minor odd decisions and a couple of bumps on the road, “Rebirth” is an album worth listening. Especially if you’re familiar with previously-released Italian Power Metal. The musicianship is commanding and controlled in a very mature manner, the melodies are catchy and the production is well-handled. It’s not an easy task to reform a band lineup as SOUL OF STEEL had to do recently and it sure is a good start to their new chapter.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8


3 Star Rating

1. Dracarys
2. Oblivion
3. Brothers In Arms
4. Sailing To My Fate
5. Blessing In Disguise
6. The Devil’s Bride
7. A Margin Of Life
8. It’s My Turn
9. Trail Of Death
10. Perfect Illusion (Lady Gaga Cover)
Gianni Valente - Vocals
Salvatore Destratis - Guitars
Nicolas Coppola - Guitars
Alessandro Saracino - Bass
Lorenzo Chiafele - Drums
Record Label: Revalve Records


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