MSA Project from France was founded in May 2008. The band consists of Serge Barbaro (vocals, bass), Michel Fontes (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Alex S Garcia (lyricist). Michel Fontes has been playing since 1990 when he joined his first band Burning Eyes. He has also been a member of notorious bands like Paradise, Styl and Overdrive. Multi-instrumentalist Serge Barbaro has already released two solo albums. Istree is a concept album, but it hasn't got a linear plot as the approach is very close to a TV-series and similar to an episode in that show.
The fifteen songs on this album are in fact rather simple compositions and in my opinion they all sound too much alike. The songs are somewhat predictable and the progressive elements are really hard to find. The album opens with Beginnings And Endings that features a fine melodic guitar solo followed by keyboard-layers which make this song really bombastic. The next one Masquerade is a mid-tempo rock song, in which you get acquainted with the nasal voice of Serge for the first time. Well, his vocal performance is truly mediocre. Songs like Rebellion On Planet V and Space Mountain slightly remind me of bands like Dokken or Winger, while a track like Eternal Istree is typical AOR-music and has influences of Tyketto. The more songs I heard, the more I got bored especially when I came to the obligatory ballad Like The Wind, a true cliché rock ballad and totally redundant.
After a while I realized that this album lasts much too long and that the MSA Project is nothing more than a mediocre rock band. I think it's really tough for this band to survive in the crowded and competitive music business.
** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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