Insatia - Phoenix Aflame
Pitch Black Records
Symphonic Power Metal
10 songs (37:17)
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Joel
Phoenix Aflame, is the follow up release from Insatia, led by the very talented Zoe Federoff. I have followed her and the band since my review of Asylum Denied, a few years ago. Truth be told though, much like the mystical creature mentioned in the release's title, this is a rebirth of the band. Gone are two of the members, leaving Zoe as the only original member, with a talented group of musicians behind her. Now on the Pitch Black Records label, the production, as well as performances, will hopefully catapult this American/Canadian band(should we just call them a North American band?).

First thing I know noticed, was the crisp production, instead of a DIY job on the last record, and how every note of Federoff, comes off clear. Land Of the Living, is a short intro, but it is not your typical Symphonic Metal classical intro piece. Sure its epic and leads, right into Act Of Mercy, but it does something other bands don't with the intros. It's not a filler track, for the sake of opening the disc. Act Of Mercy, I noticed the power of Zoe's vocals immediately, also with some solid guitar work. A heavier than average symphonic metal riff, not drowned by keyboards, but just enough accent by them to add a dynamic. Memory of a Sapphire, you can watch the video itself HERE. It is definitely a highlight track on the entire disc. Zoe's higher pitched vocals, will be loved by some(myself included), or ignored or “Not metal enough” to others. Her vocals are equal parts melodic and powerful here, and could be compared to such singers as Charlotte Wessels of Delain. The haunting cellos(and I believe violins as well) of Sacred really set the mood of the song. A solid heavy groove, with the ethereal vocals already heard. A few riffs are unexpected, and not just straight ahead, something that I can appreciate and know are not being done for flash, but to add a dynamic to the song. A slower to mid paced galloper in We are the Grey is next, with a memorable chorus with staccato strings(keys), that really accent the vocals. This is definitely a more symphonic/keys dominant song, but yet the guitars are never lost in the mix, just they take a back seat at times.

The title track, is one of the fastest and heaviest songs right off the bat, and the playful keys are original over the fast palm muted riffs. I think this could be the fastest power metal song on the disc, and its a damn good one in my opinion. I do like the stop and go riffs, and the various synths and lead guitar work as well on this song. As a title track should be, one of the best songs on the disc! The guitar solo on this song is definitely memorable. Not My God I did a double take, not at the beauty of the song or Zoe's vocal(which are very moving and beautiful!), but that the male vocalist on it, was Apollo Papathanasio of former Firewind glory. Its truly a beautiful song, and definitely not ballad filler, but a powerful emotive song, with a message worth listening too. Captor and Captive reminds me of the Delain reference I used earlier, in melody and Zoe's vocals. This is not to say they are infringing someone else's music, but using their influence to create their own melodies. Original? Nope! Not at all, but Insatia makes it all their own. An uplifting melody, that again metal elitist, may not enjoy, but those who enjoy a sweeping melody, with great musicianship, may enjoy. Velvet Road is ballad number two, and its an acoustic number. Somber, ethereal and maybe even a little haunting. Folky, repetitive, but powerful all the same. This may be the one track, where after listening to the disc, you may say to yourself, “If it was not on here, would it have mattered?” I personally think its a great change of pace, and makes the discs closer, Healer Of Hatred, even more epic(not in length, but in what is delivered). Healer Of Hatred, is power metal, it has progressive moments, its heavier, its melodic, and etc, or in other words it has everything you heard in the previous songs, wrapped in a four in a half minute closer. It may be last on the disc, but its definitely a highlight, and a great way to close things out. The only thing I could wish for was at least three more songs, cause this ends just under forty minutes long.

Again as I said the mystical creature in the albums title, is a perfect way to look at Insatia, a band reborn, re-energized, and with a singer, whose ability and desire can elevate the band, much in the way the musicians themselves can and will. I give the smaller label, Pitch Black Records, a lot of credit, for seeing the talent in Insatia, and knowing they may have a gem on their hands. I wish I could make this my Surprise Of The Month tag, but I did that with this band already. I look forward for what comes in the future for Insatia, cause they can only grow, and keep setting their own bar higher.

Killing Songs :
Memory Of A Sapphire, Sacred, Not My God, Captor and Captive, Healer of Hatred
Joel quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Insatia that we have reviewed:
Insatia - Asylum Denied reviewed by Joel and quoted 85 / 100
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