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TRACK LIST: 1. Intro 1:07 2. Broken Hopes 2:39 3. 060501 4:23 4. Sleeping Coma 4:34 5. Snake's Game 5:32 6. Last Sunrise 4:55 7. Memories 8:09 8. Speed of Light 4:05 9. Declaration of a Cheat 4:11 10. Net Love 4:42 11. Rosanna 5:12 All music (but 2): by Shining Fury. All lyrics (but 2): by Neretti. Engineered by F. Pedichini at "FP Recording", Italy. LINE-UP: Francesco Heretti - vocals Ross Lukather - drums Alessandro Cola - bass Francesco Chelini - guitars Tommy Pelegrini - guitars Oleg Smirnoff - keyboards With: Robert Lukather - saxophone (7) Martin Kyhn - second bass (5) Terence Holler - backing vocals (6) Morby - backing vocals (6)
Prolusion. "Last Sunrise" is the debut of Shining Fury. The album has been recorded in Italy, and most of the band members are Italian. Nevertheless, changed names, such as Chelini instead of Celini, and some other things, including the signs surrounding me at the moment, incline me towards the thought that all these guys live in the USA. Besides, as far as I can remember, Tommy Pelegrini has been the main man behind Whiplash, the band from New Jersey that consisted exclusively of Italians (rather, descendants of Italian emigrants). I still remember their excellent "Cult of One" album from 1996. This, however, is another story altogether, and even if I am Vitaly, I am not from Italy and can't be completely certain in what I was talking about above:-).
Synopsis. At least on the whole, my attitude towards Hard Rock and Heavy Metal has always been positive, regardless of whether the music is progressive or not, and the only thing that can change it concerns originality or, to be precise, the lack or the absence of such. In short, I have an ambivalent feeling about the hero of this review. Not counting the symphonic, keyboard-driven Intro (1), which is the only instrumental piece on "Last Sunrise" and is good, all the tracks located in the first half of the album: Broken Hopes, 060501, Sleeping Coma, Snake's Game, and Last Sunrise (2 to 7) are more than merely unoriginal. Here, Shining Fury goes the path pioneered by Helloween more than fifteen years ago, and since then, trampled down the length and breath of it by hundreds of untalented bands, among which perhaps only Wuthering Heights can be regarded as the followers of that 'Teutonic' legend (with great reserve, though), and not just blind imitators of their idols. All the pseudo-hallmarks of mediocre, slightly Prog-tinged, NWBHM are evident here: the high-speed, yet, rather tasteless guitar riffs, the machine-gun-like, yet, sharply monotonous rhythm section, and the vocals constrained within a vulgar couplet-refrain scheme-cage. Very surprisingly and highly unexpectedly, the band has as if discarded the mask straight in the middle of this 50-minute album, and the remaining five songs turned out to be much better and, what's most important, more original than any of the preceding ones. On the whole, the music on Speed of Light, Declaration of a Cheat, and Net Love (8, 9, & 10) hardly suits the conception of Classic Prog-Metal, but the purely instrumental arrangements on each of them are unique and are exceptionally diverse and interesting. In all, these three are excellent songs. Even if Rosanna (11) is a bit more straightforward and is about Cathedral Metal with very few of the parts of keyboards, it sounds excellent as well. However, the most amazing track on the album is the 8-minute Memories (7), and one may even wonder how this band was able to write such a remarkable composition. Featuring varied, always diverse and tasteful arrangements, including very inventive interplay between passages of piano and acoustic guitar and solos of saxophone, all of which are available only here, Memories is a real gem. The music is a moderately slow, but definitely progressive Cathedral Metal with distinct elements of Symphonic Art-Rock and Jazz-Fusion.
Conclusion. Overall, Shining Fury's "Last Sunrise" (why not first?) is a good album, and while there is nothing new on the first half of it, the contents of the latter are very promising indeed. Well, this is the band's debut, so I can hope that they'll keep exclusively at their own sound in the future. From a commercial standpoint, this might be a very successful release, but this is out of interest to the reader and the author of these lines.
VM: February 11, 2004
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