TRAGODIA – Mythmaker
Based on what I’ve read about this Italian band, their previous albums (2007’s "The Promethean Legacy" and last year’s "Theomachy") were more in a gothic vein compared to what I hear on "Mythmaker". The five-piece have every right to explore new sounds and territories, because in today’s world you only get one chance at life so you might as well create what the mind, heart, and body desires. As such, the 11 songs on this third studio full length seem to cross-pollenate between progressive metal and power groove with a slight edge to Scandinavian gothic strains a la Sentenced.
After a slightly spacey guitar/ keyboard led intro, the main riff to "A Cry Among the Stars" kicks in and I feel like I’m taking in Nevermore meets Psyco Drama (does anyone remember this Colorado progressive metal band?), while the multiple vocal harmonies swirl in and out in a beautiful way. Guitarist/ keyboardist Francesco Lupi and fellow guitarist Riccardo Tonoli has this intuitive sense of knowing when to layer their breaks and riffs and when to work off of each other to paint an aurally expansive picture. Sometimes the ending segments flow into the next explosive arrangement of a follow up: which occurs on the second song "The Oracle and the Muse" with these low tuned staccato crunch parts that then flow into a beautiful acoustic transition before returning to electric progressive power.
Tragodia also excel in tender moments- "Tidal Waves of Greatness" is a power ballad that will align well with those into Orden Ogan and Blind Guardian, drummer Daniele Valseriati performing some interesting offbeat cymbal/ snare triplet maneuvers during the verses that drive the dramatic waves of emotion home. Yes, there are certain segments where you feel that the symphonic parts can get a tad on the over-theatrical side in "The Stone and the Idol", but once the guitar kicks in all is forgotten and you remember that the band is still ‘metal’ to the bone.
When most Italian bands go off on tangents or try to be technically sound, Tragodia lock onto the right riff/ chord combinations and keep the arrangements moving within 4-6 minute constructs. A fantastic effort overall, "Mythmaker" should be a solid choice for those into progressive metal with power and groove parts done the right way.