|Overtures - 'Entering The Maze' (Sleaszy Rider Records)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Tuesday, 15 July 2014 03:20|
We at Uber Rock like to think that we're a full service website, so we'll start this review with a short geography/history lesson: so, sit up straight and pay attention at the back... Gorizia is a small town in the very far north-eastern corner of Italy, perched right on the border with modern-day Slovenia: at the end of the Second World War, it fell in a region subject to a territorial dispute between Italy and Yugoslavian governments, which resulted in the old town of Gorizia being ceded to the former and the latter settling for a new town, named Nova Gorica, built in 1947. Today, both towns (along with another Slovenian town, Sempeter-Vrtojba) are part of a unique trans-border metropolitan zone, administered by a joint 'council'...
Gorizia is also the home to Overtures, a quintet who trace their story back not quite as far as that post-war dispute, but just over a decade and three albums, of which this ten track offering is the latest to attempt to cross musical borders (as well as geographic ones, as the members are drawn from both sides of the international 'divide') and take the band from the shadows of the Julian Alps to the international spotlight.
'Entering The Maze' certainly is an album which does indeed cross boundaries in its ambition and scope: very much rooted in the particular style of power metal for which the Italians are known - more restrained, less bombastic than their German counterparts - it also touches on classic metal with a reverence many bands in this field have forgotten, while spicing things up with elements of modern groove and progressive technical metal - and to great effect.
The rhythm section of Andrea Cum on drums (is it just me or is there something weird with that little grammatical pattern?) and bassist Luka Klanjscek lay down the solid framework needed to allow twin guitarists Marco Falanga and Adriano Crasnich (who replaced founder member Daniele Piccolo last year) to stretch their not inconsiderable fretting skills to the limit. While the guitarists combine crunching riffs with soaring solos and meticulously manufactured melodies, vocalist Michele Guaitoli delivers a performance which is rich and mellifluous: his range is a lot deeper than many singers operating in the power metal spectrum, but he is still more than capable of hitting the high notes with the precision of a Night Watch archer taking down a Wildling at 100 feet.
This is a revelatory album, from one of those bands living on the outskirts of the metal community but who deserved to be warmly embraced and welcomed into the family home to enjoy the mutually beneficial feast.
* Physical copies of the album also come with a bonus DVD, featuring videos for the single 'Savior' and others, a live in-the-studio set and the band's cover of Running Wild's 'Pirate Song', as featured on a 2009 tribute to the German act - and jolly good fun it is too!