Sound Storm are an Italian symphonic metal band who… hang on, haven’t I said that somewhere else? Ah yes, only last week I was reviewing another Italian band in broadly the same genre. Or perhaps I should qualify that a bit and describe them as another excellent Italian band. Sound Storm are really rather good indeed. Right from the off “Immortalia” grabbed me and wouldn’t let go; it’s big, passionate, orchestral and theatrical.
“Immortalia” is their second album and is a concept based ‘on the quest for eternal life’ and ‘the immortality of the soul’. No half measures here then, and that goes for the music as much as it does for the concept. It’s a heady, heavy mix of prog and symphonic metal – think Symphony X, Dream Theater and Nightwish: you get the picture. There are plenty of heavy riffs, super fast double kick drumming, operatic vocals and some very nice orchestral touches. The end results are a glorious mix of pomp, circumstance and metal.
Sound Storm set out their stall with the eponymously titled first song, all operatic fireworks and orchestration, a short and suitably dramatic start before the heaviness of ‘Back To Life’ and then ‘The Curse Of The Moon’ kicks in. As well as the more obvious influences, this genre always strikes me as owing something to Yngwie J. Malmsteen and his neo-classical metal (maybe he’s about due for a symphonic metal renaissance); but back to Sound Storm who give this song a wonderful, sweeping piano mid-section, while the guitar/keyboard interplay works well too.
The harpsichord that introduces ‘Blood Of Maiden’, while not a surprise in this genre, is still a welcome addition to the Sound Storm sound. We’re at a point in popular music where nothing is out of bounds and bands are unafraid to try things they might have shied away from 10 or 15 years ago. The ferocity of this song recalls Symphony X but with the addition of operatic vocals to the usual, dirtier metal vocals. It’s a noisy, intense, beast of a song and thoroughly enjoyable as a result.
The album continues in a similar vein throughout, with a slower pace in ‘Faraway’, the fast and heavy ‘Promises’ and the twin-guitar harmonies and mid-section piano waltz of ‘Call Me Devil’. Never a dull moment and not a note wasted.
‘Seven Veils’ has an eastern feel to its rhythm and execution, as compositionally and arrangement-wise Sound Storm prove themselves to be clever and accomplished. The exotic feel is reinforced by a sitar sound as we’re treated to the story of ‘Salome’.
“Immortalia” delivers right up to the final notes of epic closer, ‘The Portrait’. There’s so much to listen to throughout, as metal, classical and operatic influences come together in a glorious display of passion, theatrics and musicality. Sound Storm have played a blinder on this album and it’s one should definitely make sure you listen to.