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Stranger Vision - Wasteland Award winner

Stranger Vision
Wasteland
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 30 November 2022, 12:32 PM

After such a long time and commercial success (and the following invasion of countless bands doing the same thing) of the mix between Melodic Heavy/Power Metal with Progressive Metal in the final years of the 90’s, this formula became eroded. It’s hard to play such form of Metal without falling in the traps like ‘I-already-heard-this-before’, but some bands still try to do something fresh, and the Italian quintet STRANGER VISION did such thing on their second album, “Wasteland”.

As the words above states cleanly, the quintet uses the old mix between Heavy/Power Metal with Progressive Metal elements, but in a personal form that, even bearing influences of some acts as ANGRA, RHAPSODY OF FIRE and others, the music sounds fresh, grandiose and full of a different life (it’s not a sin to say that the tunes of the vocals help a lot in this sense, because they evade the thin high-tuned tunes, using something more aggressive and in a normal singing). The clichés are in the album of course (they are what show that the band trails a specific Metal genre), but in a way that the fans will be able to check that these guys are working seriously. Simone Bertozzi (producer, recording) and Simone Mularoni (mixing, mastering) are the ones who built the sonority of “Wasteland”, doing something clean and defined, but in a way that things sound heavy as well, and allows the orchestral arrangements to sound clearly to the ears. And what a lovely artwork created by Gustavo Sazes. And as guests on the vocals, here are Hansi Kürsch (of BLIND GUARDIAN) on “Wasteland”, and Tom S. Englund on “The Deep”.

The band sounds great, but giving the idea that they’re only beginning to define their own musical work, what means that their future seems to be great. But for now, the experience of hearing songs such as “Wasteland” (a perfect balance between weight and melodies, with excellent vocals, because Hansi and Ivan tunes contrasts in an excellent way), “Handful of Dust” (elegant and refined on its orchestrations and with tender tempos, the silk work of the guitars is really fitting perfectly), “The Road” (a fine aggressive touch tempers the melodies, again with very good vocals), “Desolate Sea” (a climatic song based upon crescendos and contrasts, with some QUEEN-like backing vocals and a very good technical playing on bass guitar and drums), “Under Your Spell” (a melancholic and tender ballad where the vocals and clean guitars are perfectly fitting on the orchestral arrangements), “Fire” (where the aggressiveness is improved due the guitar riffs and arrangements), “The Deep” (a very good set of melodies inherited from NWOBHM can be heard, again with charming vocals’ contrasts) and “The Thunder” is enough to show that even now they’re really a great act.

“Wasteland” is a very good release, indeed, and is pointing that STRANGER VISION really can be aiming for new horizons for the genre.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. At the Gates
2. Wasteland
3. Handful of Dust
4. The Road
5. Desolate Sea
6. Anthem for Doomed Youth
7. Under Your Spell
8. Fire
9. Neverending Waves
10. The Deep
11. The Thunder
12. Peace: The Mad Jester and the Fisher King
Lineup:
Ivan Adami - Vocals
Riccardo Toni - Guitars, Keyboards, Orchestrations
Daniele Morini - Bass
Alessio Monacelli - Drums
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music
     


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