Solisia - UniverSeasonsThere’s not really much to say about the latest album from Italian band Solisia, “UniverSeasons” . Mostly mid-paced and fast songs with vocals that rise and fall like a sine wave  as heavy symphonic power metal pumps along in the background with the obligatory middle eight solo. It loses much of the inventiveness of their debut of a few years ago, although it does retain plenty of proggy ideas, technicality, and the music is not hidden behind the vocals.

Opener ‘UniverSeasons’ starts with the sound of winding a clock which is a good metaphor for what follows over the whole record. Songs are  mechanical, not particularly dynamic and power along until they starts to wear down, as opposed to a deliberate act to create contrast. Most of all though, it really has very little soul and you miss a lot of what’s there because it’s easy to let your concentration wander.

In many ways it’s a bit Eurovision with less memorable hooks and longer songs. There’s an air of grandeur and cheesiness that calls for a giant fan blowing Elie Syrelia’s hair about her face as she pumps out her lines with booming voice, raised head and arms outstretched. “Booming” is probably a bit generous but Syrelia’s voice is strong enough with good range, slipping effortlessly up into falsetto and back to her lower natural register. It’s at its most interesting during songs like ‘The Guns Fall Silent’, where she packs a bit of growl in contrast to the soaring refrains typical of music like this.

Most of the songs, including ‘Kiss The Shy’, ‘Symbiosis’, ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’, ‘The Queen’s Crown’ and ‘I Loose Myself’ (yeah I’m pretty sure that’s meant to be “Lose” unless it’s a pun I couldn’t get), all start with strong synth or field recording tones before exploding into drums and guitar and it’s hard to see just why that approach is used so often. ‘Mind Killer’, on the other hand, gets straight into it and benefits from the solid start, dropping into some bouncy, proggy riffs and drumming before the chorus. All of the songs finish abruptly with little thought given to creating  epic, or in some way satisfying endings – this continues to be something that separates the really good bands from the rest.

Solisia have the elements and foundations of great music all there – great vocals, skilled guitar, drums, bass and synth, and the desire to create something symphonic. Sadly, it just doesn’t come together…

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