The Chronicles Of Israfel is the solo project of vocalist and guitar player Dominic Cifarelli, a musician who has played with a wide range of musicians; like System Of A Down alumni Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan in their band Scars On Broadway, he recorded bass and guitar for Billy Ray Cyrus and also participated on a Magna Carta Rush tribute album. A Trillion Lights is the successor of Starborn - Tome I, which was released nine years ago. In 2014 Dominic started the writing process for this follow-up and with help of several musician friends, Tome II was recorded.
A Trillion Lights is an album that shows a nice diversity of styles, the opener Colors Of The Energy Construct is a short mandolin/ guitar part that basically contrasts with the following composition, for the equilibrium just lacks here. Nevertheless Goddamned and I Remember are perfect powerful metal songs where Dominic's guitar skills dominate. The amazing drums are the driving force and the subtle middle eastern hints go pretty well with the trashy guitars. Vocal wise parts of Kontrust (I Remember) are combined with more harsher parts, creating some beautiful accessible songs. Musically Nightmare reminds me a bit of the debut album of Haji's Kitchen, powerful, creative and filled with nasty riffs and strong vocal parts. The regular voice nicely works with the delicately used harsh parts. When the following song Spirit Carousel starts, the flow I was in is brutally disrupted, because of the gentle female vocals and folky atmosphere. Nice, but perhaps not best suited to this powerful CD. With Life I Know, the pace of the first couple of songs returns; powerful headbangers with a very accessible touch to them. In Ruins has some softer parts, but here the balance just suits the other compositions. Hatred In My Heart emphasises the softer side again, not a bad composition, but personally, I prefer the more brutal powerful compositions on the album. Although Violet Empress (Last Love) has a soft opening, this turns out to be a real progressive rock composition, where all the fine elements are fitted together; melody, rhythm changes and a fine combination of regular and harsh vocals. Greet The Sun is a soft acoustic ballad style composition; another song that creates the feeling of two different styles that are presented on this album. A Trillion Lights lacks the absolute power of the first part of the album, but can be seen as a pretty impressive song on its own. Perhaps obligated, but Incendia represents the soundscape style tune which were not represented. Just when the mixed feelings about the last couple of songs, makes me wonder what to think about the album in its totality, the final track kicks in, The Turning Of The Heavens turns out to be the absolute killer of the album; wonderful riffs, progressive rock melodies and basically instrumental, this track combines the best elements I have heard on this album.
After the final track, the balance turns out positive, nevertheless the album shows several faces of Dominic Cifarelli, which is fine, but I would have preferred to present those faces on separate albums. For me the first set of heavy songs are the most impressive, but the final track makes me wish for an all instrumental album by Dominic
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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