SOUL SECRET – Babel
"Babel" is the fourth album from Italian progressive metal band Soul Secret – a conceptual piece covering love and religion in an intergalactic mission with cutting edge technology a primary focus. Difficult to tell these days what is truly progressive metal – as the definition broadens depending on the age group and exposure – but this quintet live in that Dream Theater/Vanden Plas definition of longer arrangements, time signature moves, varying feels from jazz to djent to heaviness beyond the progressive rock/metal interplay and outstanding melodies and harmonies.
Vocalist Lino Di Pietrantonio has a magnificent, vibrant range – reminding me of Dennis De Young from Styx meeting headfirst into the younger James LaBrie years. Often the guitar/keyboard work has an interesting dual bob and weave feel – throwing out killer jazzy passages or unison breaks that keep ears pinned for "What We’re All About" while Lino floats over the top in AOR/mesmerizing charm. Acoustic guitars and electric axe work melds together for an atmospheric "A Shadow on the Surface" follow up, Antonio Vittozzi making the most of his economical lead passages. A cappella harmony vocals deliver the first verse of "Awakened by the Light" – proof that Soul Secret can achieve massive hook potential in the softer shades just as much as the progressive, off kilter musical proceedings that take shape as the arrangement moves forward. Two of the songs ("Entering the City of Gods" and "In the Hardest Times") exceed 11 minutes, a dream for fans of intricacy, shifting dynamics, and expanding of thoughts – the band always keeping in mind that there need to be vocal hooks or small semblances of repetition in the chord progressions for long-term retention.
It’s obvious as you partake multiple times in "Babel" the fact that Soul Secret take some killer Latin/jazz vibes into the conventional progressive rock/metal landscape and make these songs very interesting without losing average consumers who may feel exhausted otherwise. Proof that you don’t have to be technical or speedy all the time to capture attention in this realm.