The band Secret Sphere, formed in 1997, play Italian style power metal with a very strong symphonic, bombastic touch. Founder and guitarist Aldo Lonobile was accompanied by bass player Andrea Buratto from the very beginning. Initially the band had a very steady line-up, only the position on the drum kit could differ from time to time. In 2009 the band underwent a major change when the band gained a new guitarist and keyboard player; respectively Marco Pastorino and Gabrielle Ciaccia. In 2012 vocalist Ramon Messina was replaced by Michele Luppi, a vocalist who gained fame with bands like Vision Divine, Los Angeles and his solo project. In 2015 he also joined Whitesnake as a keyboard player and additional vocalist for their “The Purple Tour”. The final change came when Overtures live drummer Marco Lazzarini closed the ranks.
During the band's last Japanese tour, supporting the special re-recorded edition of the band's signature album A Time Never Come, Secret Sphere had the chance to record their show in Tokyo in its entirety, highlighting some of the most popular songs, like Legend and Under The Flag Of Mary Read, plus the melodic metal gems taken from the 2012 album Portrait Of A Dying Heart. The package includes the whole concert both on a double CD and a DVD.
The DVD is well recorded and shows the band from several angles. The venue and stage are rather small to hold the six headed Secret Sphere, but the ambience, both on stage and in the audience, makes this show a pleasant one to watch and creates a cosy semi-professional feel. The band plays a very tight set and are captured on a real high, the music sounds impeccable and the instruments really sound fantastic. As an Italian band, the bombastic, theatrical performance is inevitable, the band is very solid, but frontman Luppi really steals the show, interacting with the audience and band. I guess it's the Italian temperament that makes him blow kisses to the audience, band members, bar?, something a Dutch fellow like myself has its doubts about. During the final track Dance With The Devil Luppi hands over the microphone to keyboard player Ciaccia and makes him sing a part of the song. If you weren't convinced of Lupi's vocal capabilities, now you will be! What a difference!
As an addition to the CD, Secret Sphere added an extra track, a brand new song; Lie To Me, which sees Anette Olzon, formerly the lead vocalist of Nightwish, performing a duet with Michele Luppi.
Frontier Records did a great job to release this live performance of a very solid, enthusiastic band from Italy. Their powerful performance really is worth checking out. OK, some of Michele Luppi's theatrical elements are not for everyone to like, but the overall atmosphere is a great one.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Yvonne Kremers-Vermeulen)
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