NO GRAVITY – WORLDS IN COLLISION

Out now on Lion Music

No Gravity are a new progressive power metal outfit and the brainchild of renowned guitarist Simone Fiorletta. Their debut release ‘Worlds In Collision’ features some of the most illustrious vocalists in the Italian power/prog metal field with  Michele Luppi (Killing Touch, ex Vision Divine), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine), Mark Basile (DGM), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth) and Emiliano Germani (Moonlight Comedy), along with German Andy Kuntz (Vanden Plas) providing the vocal angle.

Fiorletta may of ( it could be argued) played it safe by allowing the vocalists to devise their own melodies and lyrics, but this could also be seen as a wise move as you are essentially getting trademark performances from all involved.  To label the album notable for its vocalists alone is however doing a disservice to the music on offer, which whilst  mostly progressive is also heavy with even some modern techno elements.  Instrumental leads are perhaps not quite as forthcoming as one would expect from a guitarist of Fiorletta’s stature despite 8 of the 9 tracks clocking in at over the 5 minute mark, so full compliments to Simone for delivering a strong song based release.

Highlights come in the guise of “The Killer”, the middle east tinged “Religious Beliefs” and the Andy Kuntz led “Can’t Dream Anymore” which will please all Vanden Plas fans immensely; yet all track serve up enjoyable moments.

Shortcomings? I preferred Fiorletta guitar tone on Moonlight Comedy’s “Dorothy” album, and the production is a little raw in places but otherwise it’s a solid effort from start to finish.

The host of guest vocalists is initially bound to draw intrigue from fans, yet ultimately No Gravity serve up an identifiable sound no matter who the singer on “Worlds In Collision”, which overall is a very good foundation to build on with future releases.

An enjoyable debut.

Rating – 85%

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VANDEN PLAS – THE SERAPHONIC CLOCKWORK (ARCHIVE)

The German melodic progressive metallers are one of the longest running bands on the scene, with a pedigree of delivering quality output. Their last effort “Christ O” was arguably their best and their new effort has just seen the light of day on Frontiers Records. Once again a concept is in place with story written by vocalist Andy Kuntz and tells about a journey in time. With the main protagonist, who lives in 16th century Rome, coming under the spell of an Old Testament prophecy. He travels back to Jerusalem in the year 33 anno Domini where he must face his God-given destiny. Its all quite intense stuff but luckily you don’t need to follow the story to enjoy the album.

“The Seraphic Clockwork” could be described as text book Vanden Plas – Heavy riffs, elaborate keyboard and orchestra arrangements plus catchy hook lines come together in a very strong manner. However, for the first time I feel a little outside influences coming into the fray from the at times Symphony X-ish feel of opener “Frequency”. “Holes In The Sky” is fuelled by an opening riff not a million miles from Dream Theater’s “Pull Me Under” but it’s moves into its own territory and is arguably a highlight. “Scar Of An Angel” sees the pace drop a little but is a classy melodic number, the riff count is kept high in “Sound Of Blood” (another highlight) whilst “The Final Murder” sees great use light and shade and is classic Vanden Plas in every sense. The more morose “Quicksilver” plods along until halfway through when a nice acoustic guitar motif breathes some life into the track which then builds into a very nice offering. The ten minutes of “Rush Of Silence” are well served whilst the epic of the album “On My Way To Jerusalem” is another highlight, yet one that takes a few listens to fully reveal itself. The bonus track of “Eleyson” is unfortunately nothing to get too excited about lacking the class and feel of its predecessors but then as not part of the actual concept we’ll overlook this one.

Overall Vanden Plas have delivered another fine effort. Whilst maybe not as good as “Christ O” to these ears it may well achieve that distinction with further listens. However it shows a band that deserves to be better known and hopefully Frontiers can push the band towards a new audience. The album is home to a strong powerful production with good performances from all involved. A very strong return after a 4 year absence and a recommended purchase for melodic progressive metal fans.
 
Hot spots : Holes In The Sky, Sound Of Blood, On My Way To Jerusalem
Rating : 90%