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(51:22, SG Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Falling 6:09 2. Letter from a Dead Man 5:48 3. Follow Your Desires 4:39 4. Shadow Games 3:30 5. Just a Dream? 6:11 6. Searching for… 6:26 7. When Everything Comes to an End 0:58 8. Renaissance 5:39 9. Lifend 9:00 10. Light 3:02 LINEUP: Davide Gabriele – vocals Davide Perruzza – guitar Matteo Raggi – bass Marco Aiello – drums Gabriels Shiro – keyboards With: Andrea De Paoli – keyboards
Prolusion. The Italian band METAPHYSICS was formed in the fall of 2005, its members deciding from day one that their aim was to create and perform their own material. A demo was made and released at the start of 2007, which brought positive attention to the band. 2011 saw them hit the studio to record their debut album, and in the summer of 2012 the end result was released as "Beyond the Nightfall" on the Italian label SG Records.
Analysis. Progressive metal is a type of music that has been around in all my adult life. I witnessed and listened to the genre developing in my own youth, and have been more or less carefully monitoring it ever since. A few years lost to music in general due to establishing a family and stuff like that, years I suspect I have made up for and then some since I started writing about music back in 2006. I'm no stranger to this part of the progressive rock universe to put it that way, and after 20 or so years keeping track of events I guess my taste for some of the varieties of it has become a tad jaded. Which is why I won't join the choir praising this Italian band’s talents, at least not at this stage in their career. Metaphysics’ approach is one that fits quite nicely into the Dream Theater school of progressive metal, with a certain emphasis on the "Awake" era of that veteran act. A band and an album that have inspired countless others over the years, and with a sound as thoroughly explored as that it takes a band skilled in all departments to manage to create material of that nature that manages to come across as fresh or even convincing. And in the case of "Beyond the Nightfall", this is a production that isn't quite there yet. This Italian band does have a few peculiarities of their own admittedly. A recurring feature throughout this album is the manner in which their compositions are set up: as a blend of fairly typical progressive metal utilizing keyboards and guitars to craft majestic arrangements, harder hitting energetic passages with aggressive riff constructions at the core and light toned, gentle sequences with more of a ballad oriented sound. All compositions that stretch beyond the 4 minute mark, which is the majority, contain these three basic thematic approaches and switch back and forth between them. The material has been carefully planned with a nice, natural dynamic throughout, but the songs are rather predictable due to this uniform song construction. On occasion the gentler sounding themes have a slight Rush sound to them that does add an element of the unpredictable to the table, but not in a grand manner. A second identity marker for Metaphysics is the general tendency to utilize the instrumental movements for shredding, and more often than not to a neo-classical inspired variety. It does add a touch of individual identity to the proceedings, but is a gain/trait that does become somewhat predictable, and unless you're really fond of shredding it does get slightly tiresome too I might add. The songs as a whole are fair enough – good melodies, some intriguing details here and there, and quite a few nice and effective riff constructions. But I couldn't really find anything that really made me tap my foot on this disc: no songs that managed to maintain or develop a stronger interest. And while vocalist Gabriele has a strong, emotional delivery, his talent isn't well enough developed to be able to elevate any of the songs to a higher level either. The end result, at least for me, is a production which is pleasant at best with a few underwhelming moments. An album whose level of interest will be determined by just how much music of a similar manner the listener has previously encountered, with those who are very well versed in the Dream Theater school of progressive metal the ones least likely to find this disc to be any more interesting than others of its kind.
Conclusion. How much or not you'll enjoy Metaphysics’ debut album "Beyond the Nightfall" depends very much on how deeply you have explored bands that take on the sound of Dream Theater in my opinion, and how much you generally enjoy music of that specific nature. If you have a deep love and affection for early 1990's Dream Theater and songs that blend calmer, ballad-oriented themes with majestic sequences and the occasional harder edged, aggressive insert, then this is a disc I suspect you'll enjoy quite a lot. Others may want to approach this one with a slight bit of caution.
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