CRIMSON WIND – Last Poetry Line
Italy has established a healthy presence in the power metal marketplace through the years, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that since 2008 Palmero’s Crimson Wind are another entry hoping to breakthrough with their symphonic power wares. "Last Poetry Line" is their second full-length album, and first with their latest vocalist Guido Macaione, a 10 track effort that runs the gamut from Kamelot-like theatrics to conventional, domestic power and grace that Labyrinth, Sonata Arctica, and Vision Divine have been known for.
Opening on a more progressive, neo-classical note out of the gate, "Black Shelter" allows guitarist Giuseppe Taormina and drummer Claudio Florio a chance to flourish through their speed runs and bombastic fills/ double bass parts while keyboardist Diego Galati duels during the instrumental sections for the requisite energy and excitement boost. A somber, reflective ballad like "The Hills Gaze in Silence" gives Crimson Wind that added drama dynamic necessary to launch into bigger horizons, Guido offering tenderness in his lower register during the first verse but then flexing his upper pipes for the duration of this arrangement. A lot of the qualities in his phrasing and control reminds me of Roberto from Labyrinth meets Tony of Sonata Arctica – and he is the perfect singer for the band.
"Last Poetry Line" doesn’t always feel the need to be speedy, and often the mid-tempo tracks like "Still" or the 9 minute shape shifter "Heirloom" pack the most cerebral punch, because the band truly explore all facets of the riffs, melodies, and instrumental passages to offer a symphonic-oriented power metal style that never is overbearing or forsakes the ‘metal’ aspect. The snare tone choice can be a tad too open for some consumers, but I think it’s a minor quibble in the overall final outcome.
Given that this is my first exposure to Crimson Wind, I’d say that the future is hopeful in terms of their approach. Plus adding a second guitarist recently in Piero Virzi could add different counterpoint/ harmonic possibilities for the next album. For now, "Last Poetry Line" gives the symphonic power metal fans another album to savor.