|Musical Style: Melodic Metal||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Ulterium||Country Of Origin: Greece|
|Year Released: 2009/2016||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 40:55|
Black Fate is a band that defines melodic metal, with soaring lead vocals, extensive use of harmonies and accessible songwriting rooted in ample melodies and the engaging chorus hooks to match. The Larissa, Greece based act, much to its credit, eschews the form inherit to the eighties - with its fixation on hair, hair and more hair, spandex and the wave the lighter in the air power ballad - for a more up to date, current (and if I may say so) mature take on the genre. Consider, for instance, how Black Fate imbues its material with a heightened (and quite flattering) keyboard emphasis, pronounced guitar penchant and keyed up rhythm section imbued with touches of double kick drum. To label Black Fate ‘melodic power metal’, as a result, would not be far from the mark.
Despite releasing its most recent album Between Visions & Lies (on Ulterium Records) in 2014, Black Fate got its start in 1990 when founded by drummer Nikos Tsintzilonis, guitarist Elias Tsintzilonis and vocalist/bassist Heracles Fanarakis. Two demos followed in Black Fate (1992) and A Piece Of Dream (1993) before line up changes - Maravgakis Giorgos was added on keyboard while Albertos Oikonomou and Stelios Papakostas supplanted Fanrarakis on bass and vocals respectively - led to the nine year hiatus that preceded 2002 full-length debut Uncover. Following a 2003 re-release of its demo material under the A Piece Of Dream title, Black Fate regrouped with a new roster for 2009 sophomore album Deliverance Of Soul: joining holdovers Nikos and Elias Tsintzilonis are returning bassist Albertos Oikonomou and new additions in guitarist Giannis Theologis, keyboardist Achileas Moschioulis and vocalist Vasilis Georgiou.
Originally released on Asiral Records but re-issued with new cover art by Ulterium Records in the spring of 2016, Deliverance Of Soul finds Black Fate settling into a signature melodic metal meets power metal groove in which it combines intrinsic melody and clear cut heaviness in just the right amounts either way. Helping set the album apart is new front man Vasilis Georgiou, whom brings a deeper and richer middle register style that contrasts with the high end flavorings often inherit to many vocalists within the segment. To describe him as Rob Rock with a lower timbre might not be far from the mark when factoring the talent at hand.
“Angry Silent Screams”, with its heavier power metal lacings, fits well with his abilities in joining a darker complexion with symphonic keyboards and portent rhythm guitars in abundance. He reaches down particularly low for the crunch heavy verses only to exhibit the full range to his voice upon acquiring the expansive chorus backed by rapid double kick drum. This one walks a fine line between Symphony X and Magnitude 9.
“Dying Freedom” is another favorite, quintessential melodic metal with its catchy as all get out guitar riff and non-stop and up-tempo demeanor throughout. Energy is elevated as it gets, as are the engaging hooks of a near radio friendly nature.
Nikos Tsintzilonis adds to the ardent scene with his compact timekeeping abilities, while Georgiou again exhibits his trademark heart, guts and soul vocal wise.
“Blood Red Sky” proves another showstopper. This one explores mid-tempo territory, with its verses pulsating to Oikonomou’s unmistakable bass line and chorus uplifting as it inquires of the listener “Can you see the Blood Red Sky tonight?” in stylish fashion. Instrumental moments stray into an every bit as exquisite run of exciting lead guitar. Again, what we have here is another choice example of defined melodic power metal done Black Fate style.
In a similar vein is “The Conscience Of The Brave”, smoothly transitioning between warmly tinctured guitar harmonies and sturdier rhythm guitars that impel things ahead to an onslaught of full force momentum. The galloping low end helps lend to the dauntless feel at hand. “If The Silence Was Gray” also delivers its share of variety. The song starts calmly to acoustic guitar only to pick up force as copious guitars cut in and provide for some of the albums most pronounced heavier moments. Initiative occasionally decelerates as acoustic guitar returns to make another placid statement.
Taking things in an upbeat heading is “Thorn In My Hand”. Straightforward and resolute as it gets, the song romps front to back to full on initiative only to lighten (even if slightly) for the reverberant refrain upheld by another unwavering bass line. Creative instrumental moments run the gamut from sweeping keyboards to classically influenced orchestration. This is close as it gets to neo-classical metal as far as Black Fate is concerned.
Slowing the tempo is “Inner Warning Of My Soul”, maneuvering its reticent verses with guitars recoiling in and out of the mix only to break out for the flowing chorus in which Georgiou again exhibits the full range to his voice. The rap based breakdown at the halfway point, however, might not ruin the song but proves a distraction nonetheless. “Fallen” maintains the mid-paced leanings. Heavier with its forward guitar slant, the song takes a darker stance as somber guitar harmonies and light but premonitory keyboards accent the undisguised scene. Rounding things out is albums best stretch of fleet lead guitar.
Also tempered but of a more commercial nature is “Rain Of Paradise”. A short stretch of cool psychedelic guitar gets the song underway before it slowly drifts its remaining laid-back distance, touching upon melodic hard rock with its graceful keyboards and every bit abated guitars tones. Refrain upholds a fitting pop basis. “Wicked” follows suite as a short (2:11) ballad upheld by warm acoustic flavorings and flattering classical keyboards. Basic but good is the feel at hand.
Deliverance Of Soul might not feature the big budget production feel to Between Visions & Lies, a project mastered by Erik Tordsson, but gets the job done all the same. Low end delivers the salient goods with plenty of separation allowing bass to stand out, while guitars and keyboards make there mark all the same. Lead vocals likewise receive a proper place within the mix.
It was wise on the part of Ulterium Records to re-issue Deliverance Of Soul, a project deserving to be heard again due to strengths in the areas of songwriting and band performance. I find the album to feature three great songs in “Dying Freedom”, “Blood Red Sky” and “Angry Silent Scream” with its remaining material quite good- lone possible exception being “Inner Warning Of My Soul” due to the mid-point rap breakdown. Deliverance Of Soul stands out equally for being the first Black Fate project to include talented front man Vasilis Georgiou; when placed alongside Between Visions & Lies it only lacks the virtuoso qualities that new guitarist Gus Drax brings to the table. Still, if a fan of Black Fate or melodic/power metal in general then make the re-issue a priority purchase.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Children Of Aniramas” (1:34), “Dying Freedom” (4:35), “Blood Red Sky” (5:17), “Angry Silent Scream” (3:57), “The Conscience Of The Brave” (4:15), “Rain Of Paradise” (4:18), “If The Silence Was Gray” (4:50), “Wicked” (2:11), “Thorn In My Hand” (2:57), “Inner Warning Of My Soul” (4:39), “Fallen” (3:56)
Vasilis Georgiou - Lead Vocals
Ilias Tsintzilonis - Guitars
Giannis Theologis - Guitars
Achilleas Mochloulis - Keyboards
Albertos Oikonomou - Bass
Nikos Tsintzilonis - Drums