Twilight Gate [Italy]
Among the different styles of power metal, the European style has always been one that has had a constant appeal to me. Bands such as Firewind and Edguy have had a stronger hold over my musical taste compared to power metal bands of American origin. Despite forming back in 2008, it is only this year that Italy’s Twilight Gate releases their debut EP, with the band promising a nice fusion of classical heavy metal and power metal, along with some progressive influences in their songwriting. Spotting a cover of the Rainbow classic Catch the Rainbow got me all the more excited, being a fan of Dio and his works.
The Scent of Twilight greets the listener with sounds of the rain and thunder in the background, as an acoustic guitar helps in setting a rather melancholic atmosphere in the music, though things start to get slightly warmer towards the end of the introductory track, a silver lining in the dark grey sky. Fate hits the listener at full speed, as the band wastes no time in presenting their melodic and energetic style of power metal to the listener. The influences from pioneering German power metal bands such as Helloween are clear, from the vocal styling of Stefano to the playing style of guitarist Rossiello. Apart from the brilliant rhythmic work on the guitars, Rossiello also often shows off the technical abilities with the lead works on the album, alternating between face-melting, neo-classical inspired shred sections on songs like Portrait of the Warlord and soaring, melodic moments. Rossiello also handles keyboards in the band, and fortunately, unlike many other bands that have incorporated keys into their music, Twilight Gate avoids the pitfall of drowning the entire band under synths, with the light usage of keys at the background providing just the right amount of atmosphere in the music.
The progressive elements that the band are also clear at times, especially in the way the band constantly shifts between tempos on the track. The ability for the band to constantly remain tight throughout further displays the capable musicianship that is present in the band, and is definitely a nice touch to the music. Furthermore, there are also moments on Starlight Memories when the Rossiello uses a slight organ effect on the keys, giving a nice, 70s-prog feel. For the most part though, it is hard to not admit that Twilight Gate contains numerous cheesy moments, especially the obligatory ballad Starlight Memories, which is perhaps the least favourite moment on the album and is all the more wasted considering the band’s technical abilities which could have been put to better use on faster and more energetic songs, though it is also on this track that Rossiello displays the emotional side of his playing.
When bands cover songs that have been done by greats like Dio it leaves me slightly apprehensive, especially since Catch the Rainbow could easily be one of my favourite Dio ballads of all time. Fortunately, the band does not screw up, and props have to be given to Rossiello especially for being able to execute every single note that Ritchie Blackmore laid down on the original, and sufficiently capturing the emotions that are on the original. And while Stefano’s vocals are a far cry from Dio‘s, he fortunately doesn’t butcher the vocals on the track, and instead has managed to infuse some of his personal style, making the track a nice and fitting tribute to a great track.
Few power metal bands are able to really capture my attention these days, with myself often going back to bands that I have listened to in my early ventures into metal genre whenever I need my power metal fix. However, Twilight Gate has managed to do so, and though it may be biased, the band’s decision to include the Rainbow cover has definitely helped in making the release all the more enjoyable.