Mastercastle - The Phoenix
Lion Music
Neo-Classical Heavy/Power Metal

Release year: 0
Lion Music
Reviewed by Thomas

Well, this is actually the third female-fronted band I check out in roughly a week. The scary thing is that I do not despise any of it, and am worried that I might starting to enjoy this to a much wider extent than I used to. Mastercastle is another great band of Lion Music, and the side-project of Labyrinth-guitarist Pier Gonella. The Phoenix is obviously their debut, and a rather strong one. I was more or less caught off guard by vocalist Giorgia Gueglia, as I didn’t expect female vocals, and definitely not of that quality. Although I feel that this is more a display of Gonella’s skills than anything else, Gueglia manage to stand out as something you’ll remember aside from the excellent and compelling guitar-playing. This is a nice slab of neo-classical influenced heavy metal that’ll do well in pleasing the average Yngwie Malmsteen-fanboy. I, for one, consider this better than Perpetual Flame, though it should be said that I’m not his biggest fan. Anyway, the backbone is completed by the relatively unknown Steve Vawarnas and Vison Divine-drummer Alessandro Bissa.

After a riff-laden introduction, Words are Swords picks up in pace and sets an energetic mark for the start of an album that would surprise me in many ways. Obviously, the first thing that struck me was the vocals, and the fact that I actually enjoyed it. Gueglia possesses a rather thin yet comforting voice and a pleasing range. She’s slightly poppy, which makes this pretty easy to get as well as throwing in some rough twists and turns here and there to increase the excitement she has spawned. The melodies she creates and perfectly executes are a major contributing factor to why I really enjoy this. They’re catchy as a certain burning place, and Gonella’s great guitar-work matches it to create a unbeatable double-team that slices and dices and that will undeniably leave you a positive mental stamp. Nothing new or particularly innovative to find here, yet still not the kind of band you, or at least I, stumble across every other day. This is lively heavy metal filled to the brink of catchy melodies, blazing guitar-solos and lots of pure and simple fun. Nothing you’d not want to hear in other words.

To be honest, I didn’t take any instant notice of the guitar-playing being in center before I heard the instrumentals My Screams and Memories. He makes for an interesting mixture of Guthrie Govan, Steve Vai with a touch of Joe Satriani. The wank-factor is high, and if you’re not particularly interested in these guitarists or shredding in general, these songs might put you off. On the other hand, I am too really skeptical towards shredders nowadays, but this guy is really a breath of fresh air with beautiful melodies, rocking riffs and an overall warmth and compelling tone that’ll grab you from the first moment on. The momentum is kept throughout, and with the solid musicianship put forth and the quality song-writing this is definitely something to write home about. Recommended for fans of straightout power metal, and folks that don’t mind female vocals (which I have turned out to become), and people that want fun, yet proper music to rock out to.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Princess of Love, Space, My Screams, Dawn of Promises
Thomas quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Mastercastle that we have reviewed:
Mastercastle - Enfer (De la Bibliothèque Nationale) reviewed by Andy and quoted 74 / 100
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