2010COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Pier Gonella - guitars * Giorgia Gueglio - vocals * Steve Vawamas - bass * Alessandro Bissa - drumsTRACK LISTING:
01 Event Horizon * 02 Misr * 03 Wild Spell * 04 Last Desire * 05 Away * 06 Space Trip * 07 Jade Star * 08 Great Heaven's Climb * 09 Cat House * 10 Toxid Radd * 11 La Serenissima * 12 ScarlettRATING: WEBLINKS: www.myspace.com/mastercastle
For me, one of the better metal albums from 2009 came from Italian outfit Mastercastle, led by the duo of Labyrinth
main-man Pier Gonella and vocalist Giorgia Gueglio. 'The Phoenix' had some great songs, played over a Yngwie Malmsteen
like backdrop. Back by popular demand, Mastercastle deliver album number 2, and it's another corker! What can I say? I actually think 'Last Desire' is better than 'The Phoenix'. Certainly from a musical perspective. Gone are the Malmsteen comparisons, so in that sense it appears to be more of a well rounded effort. Thankfully also it's a purists metal album, just because Giorgia is up front doesn't mean this becomes some Dutch/Scandi goth metal affair by default. Mastercastle keep it traditional, with the music being put together by Gionella while Gueglio wrote all the lyrics, based on the theme of 'desire'.
'Event Horizon' fires the band up into top gear in next to time, Giorgia's clean soaring vocal stuns from the outset as Pier tugs on a few deft fretboard manouvres of his own. 'Misr' is second up, a heavier affair with multiple vocal parts happening simultaneously. Soundwise it might compare to other female fronted metal outfits doing the circuit, but Mastercastle easily have their own identity. 'Wild Spell' is a hard driving affair, quicker tempo with Pier keeping it tight with some chugging rhythm guitarwork along with the energizer bunny drums. Great track. The title track 'Last Desire' grooves with an exotic feel, and though the solo might have a touch of Malmsteen, it doesn't deviate to neo-classical wank. Pier gets the wah pedal working overtime on 'Away', another slightly different sound with Giorgia sounding great yet again. 'Space Trip' is the first instrumental, and if Tony MacAlpine
style guitar overdrive is your thing, then you'll like this. 'Jade Star' floats like a cloud on the aether, not exactly will 'o the wisp, but close enough, it's probably the lightest track on the album. 'Great Heavens Climb' is as majestic as the song title suggests, full, operatic, powerful and no let up with tempo and intensity. Just what you need to climb a mountain! The interestingly titled 'Cat House' is a fantastic little rocker in the vein of Halestorm
with its commercial appeal and cool strutting guitar lines. For something a little different, Pier digs into his book of Pagans Mind
guitar riffs for the unusual 'Toxie Radd', not sure what it means, but hey, I'll run with it! 'La Serenissima' is the second instrumental and displays Pier's skill, caught somewhere between Neal Schon
and Joe Satriani
, though others might hear differently. Finishing up the album is 'Scarlett', and follows in the style of the opening track and 'Wild Spell'. I'm loving it, the whole thing is tightly kept together, with some wah-wah guitar lines adding some colour.
Before writing this review, I had a look around the Net to see what other people's opinions were. Most were good, some way too technical to take any serious notice of, and a few completely way off base - it's as if they were listening to a different record altogether. I guess that's what opinions are for - everybody's got one. The album sounds so much more cohesive than 'The Phoenix', and though it is a metal album from start to finish, there is a high percentage of elements that are commercial, and therefore makes it appealing for a melodic rock audience. And as for that voice.. it won't be too long before Giorgia Gueglio will become one of the premier female vocalists in heavy metal. You read it here first. From our perspective at GDAZE, it's very easy to recommend 'Last Desire', in fact, it becomes our album of the month for August 2010.
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