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Stranger Vision – Poetica Award winner

Stranger Vision
Poetica
by Rachel Montgomery at 08 April 2021, 6:37 PM

STRANGER VISION is an Italian melodic metal band who bases their sound “on powerful riffs enriched with melodic and orchestral arrangements” per their site. Their fifth studio album, Poetica, is out on shelves now and if you’re a fan of power metal with strong musical harmonies and genuine talent behind it, look no further. This album is amazing. Granted, it’s long, but the tracks are heaven to listen to.

The opening track, or “Awakening Prelude” is a promising jaunty intro with soft guitars and background chords making this a rich but short track. The heavier melody kicks in and it’s still good, but the tuned-up guitars give the sound a more artificial tone. Of course, this intro is designed to go into the second track, “Gates of Tomorrow”, but the second track doesn’t quite connect with track one, which is unexpected, a little jarring but not a total dealbreaker.  On first listen, it’s a typical epic fantasy song, but on further inspection, the background work propels this song to another caliber. The guitar solo works to bring the listener different techniques.

Soul Redemption” Deserves a special look since it has a “deep version” at the end of the album. Indeed, it’s the album’s single. The deep version has more melodic and acoustic elements with a softer ending. However, the opening has a soft, melodic version of the chorus as its opening which showcases the singer’s abilities wonderfully. The harmonies between the soaring melody and the steady, rhythmic guitars behind it are executed well, though some people may say the vocals are too far forward. “Before The Law” also deserves a special mention for the brilliant vocal harmonies throughout. The deep low tenor/baritones act as a response to the higher, scratchier tenor’s call in a way that invokes medieval castles and chanting.

The album’s short tracks, the interludes and outro, also push this album from good to memorably awesome. The second interlude is executed much more neatly, as it leads straight into the next song. I actually prefer it to the intro because it contains 100% natural-sounding instrumentals. The song it leads into has hymnal vocal construction and haunting, echoing background vocals, giving the song a massive, cathedral-like quality. The quiet refrain showcases the clear vocal quality the singer possessed and of all the songs, this track is the best at showing full vocal potential.  Finally, the outro “Invictus” is the cherry on top. The narration and instrumentals call back to the opening track, giving the album a circular quality. A pause between the first and second stanzas of the narration close this album well, distinguishing the track from an intro despite the swelling music later.

The album tracks feature beautiful, unique openings for each one that set the scene and allow the songs to showcase the great talent behind them before diving into epic romps. Each song adds harmonic dressing or futuristic or experimental flair to give them that edge from ordinary to extraordinary. The songs sound like typical power metal on the surface, but the extra effort to put beautiful background constructions in the track puts it a step above most fantasy metal work coming out now. The band’s musical talent is abundantly clear and this album alone makes me want to dig deeper.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Awakening Prelude
2. Gates Of Tomorrow
3. Human Change
4. Soul Redemption
5. Never Give Up
6. Memories Of You
7. The Dying Light
8. Rage
9. Over And Over
10. Before The Law
11. Wish
12. Defying Gravity
13. Hero Of The New World
14. Invictus
15. Soul Redemption (Deep Version)
Lineup:
Ivan Adami – Vocals
Riccardo Toni - Guitars
Gabriele "SSSSarti" Sarti - Keyboards
Daniele Morini - Bass
Luca Giacopini - Drums
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music
     


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