In the constantly growing scene of female fronted rock and metal, the Italian band Fenix Tales released their album The Abyss Eye, which will be distributed by the highly acclaimed label Black Widow Records. The band consists of extremely talented musicians who have proved themselves in several professional bands and orchestras over the years. Founder, composer and keyboard player Marco started the project in 2008, initially combining classical melody lines with symphonic gothic metal. In the beginning of 2009 Marco's right hand Alessandro joined on bass, as well as one of Italy's leading violin players Federico. During the same year professional lyric soprano Lucia also entered, forming the steady base of the project. A few years later guitarist Niccolo joined to emphasize the metal element in Fenix Tales' music. In 2012 drummer Simone finally rounded up the line-up.
With The Abyss Eye the band absolutely underscores the classical element in their music. Their gothic metal is bombastic, but always stays in the safe zone. After the short opener; Once Upon A Time the album takes off with Friendly Darkness. A song that immediately sees references to Finnish Nightwish, the Tarja area. A bit less heavy, but highlighting their classical heritage, Fenix Tales scores their first points. When the album continues, the delicate Nightwish reference stays and elements from folk and Celtic music are, mainly by the violin, added to the musical range of Fenix Tales. Slightly different from the better known bands in the genre is the use of the metal guitar; it is absolutely present, but I think production wise, this powerful tool has been snowed under in the mix. What does stand out are the key elements of Fenix Tales music; the bombastic, theatrical keyboards and the absolutely great voice of Lucia. Only the weird short interlude; Paths and some sections of Dolls see prominent guitar, still I wished they would have given the guitar a more pronounced sound, it would bring a needed balance in the band's music.
Fenix Tales is a great addition to the aforementioned scene and I guess if this line-up finds the time to play live and continue to grow, they will shine on stage. The only negative part of the album is the quality of the production, the sound is too focussed on the classical elements, forgetting the most needed powerful backbone of the music. With a more equalised balance, this album could be a gem.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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