|Musical Style: Power Metal||Produced By: Scelerata|
|Record Label: Nightmare||Country Of Origin: Brazil|
|Year Released: 2007||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 47:28|
The Brazilian power metal scene has produced its share of quality acts in recent years. Angra, of course, is the first to come to mind, a veteran outfit with six full length albums and one live DVD to its credit. Other worthwhile groups to consider include Ocean Of Soul, Aquaria, Dragonheart and Shaman while on the Christian side of the fence Adiastasia, Destra, Eterna and Shining Star (Enter Eternity era) deserve mention. One of the newer – and more talented – bands to come out of the area is Porto Alegre based Scelerata. A five piece unit that debuted in 2007 with the full length Nightmare Records offering Darkness And Light, Scelerata plays an up-tempo form of power metal with the occasional symphonic or progressive tendency. Fans of the previously referenced artists will be sure to embrace Scelerata as will those into Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Helloween, Sacred Warrior, Recon, Barren Cross, Septer and Theocracy.
Darkness And Light begins to a short intro (“Land Of Sins”) before launching into the upbeat “Holy Fire”. Other notable up-tempo numbers include the frenetic “Wings To Fly” and technical “Eminence” while a mid-paced heading is taken on the stately “The Spell Of Time” and instrumentally driven “Ethereal Places”. “Endless” proves a bottom heavy, guitar driven piece and the albums title track a poignant semi ballad. If you are looking for a progressive side to Scelerata’s songwriting skills, then check out the majestic “Spirits Looking For…” and heavy duty “Adonai (Sacred Melodies)”.
Vocalist Carl Casagrande brings a high end style that reminds me of Ray Parra (Sacred Warrior) but with a touch of Mike Lee (Barren Cross) and Dane McCartney (Septer) thrown in. In other words, the guy is very good. And that would also be the way to describe the guitar team of Magnus Wichmann and Bruno Sandri: the dual lead work contributed by the two on “Holy Fire”, “Ethereal Places” and “Wings To Fly” is nothing less than jaw dropping- these guys are definitely inspired by the genres best. At this point is must be noted the confidence Scelerata exhibits in its instrumental sound, making use of instruments not always associated with metal such as the harpsichord (“The Spell Of Time”) and key fiddle (“Endless”). Finally, Francis Cassol, to put it bluntly, is a monster behind the drum kit, shoring up “Eminence” and “Adonai (Sacred Melodies)” with his hard hitting double bass.
Production values are professionally done in adding just the right amount of polish to bring out the best in the bands sound.
While I would hesitate to call Scelerata a Christian band, in the albums liner notes three of its members openly thank God. Beyond that, tracks such as “Holy Fire” and “Adonai (Sacred Melodies)” are forthright in their lyrical direction: “Praise God/Believe in the prophecy/Time to repent” (“Holy Fire”) and “Everything ends and begins/You are eternal life” (“Adonai (Sacred Melodies)”). Other topics addressed include the search for truth, creation and fall of man and abortion.
The album begins to “Land Of Sins”, a mini (1:11) instrumental carried by a blend of acoustic guitar and militant drums.
“Holy Fire” immediately kicks into a storm of driving rhythm guitar and hard hitting drums. Plowing ahead unrelentingly, the song makes a smooth transition upon reaching an imposing chorus upheld by larger than life backing vocals. Wichmann and Sandri step forward with a fiery lead guitar dual. This one does a good job reflecting the faith of Scelerata’s members:
Triumph and justice are showing the way
Welcome to the future in the promised land
The fallen angels know they’re gonna die
For the glory of Light
The darkness is gone
Please believe in the prophecy – time to repent
“Eminence” starts slowly before taking off to a galloping double bass driven riff. The furious environs is sustained as the song charges through its verse portions, decelerating for its bridge only to regain the lost momentum for a chorus advancing at a catchy upbeat tempo. You have to enjoy how this one also makes use of choir-like backing vocals. “Eminence” seems to be talking about the fall of man after creation:
Since the first man got wisdom
Glorious taste had a price
Innocent forever, lost in the birth of mankind
Now, they don’t have any reason
They’re spreading evil and lies
Showing us the way without banishment from paradise
Angra vocalist Edu Falaschi makes a guest appearance on “The Spell Of Time”. The song is a stately number characterized by its creative time changes, ranging from quieter, piano driven passages to others in which the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix. A brief but emotionally charged chorus aligns stands in alignment with the technical scene. Instrumental wise, this one finds the band showcasing its musicianship in no uncertain terms- more dual lead guitar along with an Impellitteri-like harpsichord. “The Spell Of Time” brings a “Dust In The Wind”-like feel from a lyrical standpoint:
But money cannot buy
The day you’re gonna die
Against the spell of time
You know you cannot fight
It doesn’t matter what you do
You cannot hide
Oh, we are like grains of sand
We are the drops on the ocean
“Ethereal Places”, another technical piece of metal, moves in a mid-tempo heading in delivering a catchy hook and more of the bands propensity for its dynamic instrumental sound. The song proves quite intense, put over the top by its stalwart guitar riff and an energetic chorus that gradually builds in intensity. Again, there is a lot of drive here- I can see “Ethereal Places” sounding right at home on Wicked Generation (Sacred Warrior).
“Endless” opens to an instrumental introduction featuring a key fiddle which, to be quite frank, does not quite work. While I can commend the group for experimenting with an instrumental normally not associated with metal, the overall impression left is “out of place” if not disjointed. My best advice is if ever in doubt then stick to the basics. The song, otherwise, kicks. A bottom heavy mid-tempo work, “Endless” stands out with its steadfast guitar riff and chorus shored up by backing vocals that are nothing less than huge. It must be noted, nevertheless, the key fiddle makes a cameo appearance during the songs instrumental section.
The albums title track is the only piece here I struggle to get into. The song almost comes across in the form of a semi-ballad with its laid back ambience melding an acoustic guitar with occasional traces of piano. “Darkness And Light”, otherwise, is a bit too formula for my taste, failing to deliver that extra element of inspiration that would put it over the top- and prevent me from hitting the skip button in the process. I can see how others might get into it but I tend to pass.
“Spirits Looking For” commences to a symphonic instrumental opening that builds in impetus until breaking out for a guitar driven passage accented by moody keyboards. The majestic backdrop maintains itself as the song rolls through its verse portions, not evening out until acquiring a gripping chorus in which a near commercial setting is put into place. Great riff here along with a near perfect melding of the heavy and the melodic. Abortion is the topic to “Spirits Looking For”:
All in the name
Of fortune and fame
In service of vanity
Who are you to control
As long as nature calls
Science just ignores
The right to live
Live and let live
Please change your conception
You call it experience, I think its’ a crime
The cell has a soul connection
It cannot be denied
The short but tireless “Wings To Fly” proves a double bass driven romp racing its three minutes in mercurial fashion. A non-stop explosion of energy, the song takes a spirited chorus – highlighted by keyboards – and joins it with an instrumental section driven by a fast fingered run of lead guitar. “Wings To Fly” talks about the search for the truth:
My words, my signs, ain’t it enough?
Trying to reach what’s beyond
Maybe we can travel cross space and time
But we’ll never find the key to paradise
Wings to fly
Right now towards the sky
Love every day of your life
Scelerata saves best for last with the eight minute “Adonai (Sacred Melodies)”. This one represents by far the albums heaviest piece, aptly demonstrated in its introduction carried by a towering rhythm guitar underscored by pounding double bass (the overall effect brings to mind “The Heavens Are Calling” by Sacred Warrior or Jacobs Dream “Theater Of War”). The song does not let up as it muscles ahead, putting in place a progressive milieu as it mixes choir-like backing vocals, outbursts of rapid double bass, bluesy lead guitar and a brief deceleration to a piano. Lyrically, “Adonai (Sacred Melodies)” stands alongside “Holy Fire” as the most forthright piece here:
How could you believe
There is no God, the One who made the universe?
Science can’t explain this mystery
If there’s no Maker, can you tell me what came first?
Everything ends and begins
You are eternal life
Please forgive me for my sins
For my desperate rhythms
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Land Of The Sins” (1:11), “Holy Fire” (3:47), “Eminence” (3:52), “The Spell Of Time” (4:51), “Ethereal Places” (3:41), “Endless” (5:16), “Darkness And Light” (5:54), “Spirits Looking For” (7:00), “Wings To Fly” (3:34), “Adonai (Sacred Melodies) (8:22)
Lead Vocals – Carl Casagrande
Guitars – Magnus Wichmann
Guitars – Bruno Sandri
Gustavo Strapazon - Bass
Francis Cassol – Drums
Lead Vocals - Renato Borchetti