”Existence” marks the ’bands’ 4th full-length album, and it is clearly their most impressive and ambitious release to date. With a vast array of guest musicians, this release is one of THE Melodic Metal/Rock albums of the year, even though it was released in 2010 elsewhere, we pick the North American dates for our top 10 lists.
With this double album, Beto Vázquez has managed to put together a very eclectic mix of musicians and each of the 20 songs combines powerful melodies with outstanding vocals. While the guest musician list is huge, is not as impressive as the ones from bands/projects as Star One, Ayreon and Avantasia. Most of the guests in this album, with the exception of Timo Tolkki, might be considered from the ‘B list’ of Metal, but they are equally talented and are just a bit less known that the ones on the ‘A list’ of Metal. We particularly like this approach since it allows the listener to discover lesser known bands due to the performances of their vocalists.
Opening with “Shadows Fall”, CD 1 delivers a solid Power Metal aural assault. On “Council of my Dreams” Sonya Scarlet (Theatres Des Vampires) delivers a nice performance and showcases her vocal abilities. The next ‘highlight’ comes with the name of “Existance”, in this song Mr. Tolkki delivers solid guitar sections and pairs wonderfully with the band’s own vocalist: Jessica Lehto. The majority of the songs in this album are very good, but some are better than others and we will focus our writing on those particular songs that made us play them over and over.
Our absolute favorite track has to be the mesmerizing “Celestial Meeting”. In this highly emotional song, Mikki Straatsma (Viveynne) delivers a truly haunting vocal performance. Greatly aided by the atmospheric keyboards and weeping guitars, Mikki’s vocals steal the show since the beginning of this song and will make you get goose bumps. While this song is near perfect, some of the vocal track layering sounds a bit overdone, but still makes up for one of the best songs we have listened to in quite a while.
Slava Popova (Operatika) vocals and the guitar work of “Future City” make for another song worth noting. To start the second CD we have Dominique Leurquin (Rhapsody of Fire) blow listeners aware with her operatic vocals on “Eyes of Destiny”. Our favorite song from the second CD has to be the folk-ish song “Arwen Song”. In this track we have again some masterful weeping guitars and the vocals of Jason Droguett paired with Jessica Lehto. While not as magical as “Celestial Meeting”, this track has enough charm and melody to catch the listener’s ear instantly.
A thing to note of the second CD is that most songs focus on the actual band and do not use many guest musicians. We think this is a very smart approach since they get the listeners hooked with the guest appearances and then they deliver their ‘real’ own songs.
Overall, Beto Vázquez and company have created 20 magical tracks that merge influences from Power/Gothic Metal with Folk and Rock elements and when paired with the brilliant vocals of the guest musicians, they work majestically. The band is top notch and all instruments are very well used and executed, greatly laying out very solid foundations for the songs in this release. The production is very nicely balanced and does not sound over pretentious and ridiculously polished, allowing the songs to be very natural and effective. If you are a Gothic/Power Metal fan strapped for cash and want to get the best value for your money go and get this release, you will not regret it for a second.
|Band: Beto Vázquez Infinity||Album: Existence|
|Label: End of the Light Records||
Release: April 5th, 2011 (North America)
|Genre: Gothic/Power/Melodic Metal||