Out now on Lion Music
Back with their second album, Twinspirits led by keyboard whiz and general musical genius Daniele Liverani follow up the debut album “The Music That Will Heal The World” with another progressive metal offering in “The Forbidden City”. With one line up change happening between albums, the band welcome in new vocalist in Swedish powerhouse Göran Nyström, whose vocals are simply superb. The rest of the line-up is “as you where” with the Italian contingent of the aforementioned Liverani handling all keyboards, guitarist Tommy Ermolli, bassist Alberto Rigoni and drummer Dario Ciccioni.
Our glowing reviews of the bands debut (here) ended by saying it would be interesting to see where the band headed on their second album. Well in short, Twinspirits have consolidated their own sound which was evident in a number of places on the last album. New vocalist Göran Nyström plays a big part in this with superb range, yet an original tonality and deserves a lot of praise. But then you also get the impression Liverani had a clearer idea of where to take the bands sound. So essentially all is good, the production is superb, a great powerful sound, great separation between the instruments and excellent clarity, arguably one of the years best so far.
Musically the band still plays accessible progressive tinted metal with a strong melodic edge. Whilst not overloading the album with overly extended instrumental segments like DT, Twinspirits use their instrumentation skills for purely for the song and the flashes of musical brilliance are there to enhance the proceedings.
Opening with the ten minute title track is a bold move, yet the track “The Forbidden City”, is strong enough to maintain your interest throughout. In initially teasing the listener for close to 3 minutes building the track instrumentally Göran Nyström makes his grand entrance and instantly you feel he is a better match for the band than his predecessor. This is a voice which is rich, powerful and quite original in character, similar in power to Jorn Lande but with a different tonal slant more in tune with say Bruce Dickinson. “Taste The Infinity” brings the tempo down to a soothing dark ballad, lone piano starts and once again Nyström makes his mark on this subtle, yet captivating track.
“Number One” is a fast paced track with intense riffing, vocally the track is interesting due the different voices Nyström uses to add character. “Everything” is back to the classic prog sound, those that heard Liverani’s last Cosmics album will instantly feel at home here as the musical reminds me a lot of that release. Building nicely, with keyboard working heavily over simple power chords the impact is impressive before working to another dark riff for the verses. The track has a great chorus, powerful and melodic.
Guitarist Tommy Ermolli gets to shine on “One Of Us”, arguably the most commercial number musically speaking on the album, its powered along with a very tasty riff from Ermolli, simple yet melodic with Liverani layering keyboard and organ textures to enhance the sound further. The pre-chorus is quite unique in character, with an ascending chord progression before the luxurious main riff charges in hard for the chorus. Ermolli also delivers a glorious solo, yet is painstakingly too short. A massive track.
The instrumental “BTR” plays around with exotic time signatures and again the mix of guitar and keyboard work incredibly well. The rock solid bedrock of Dario Ciccioni and Albert Rigoni is highly impressive on this track as well. Ballad number two “Hide This Feeling” is a much more joyful affair than the “Taste The Infinity”, presented in a major key tonality the track features Nyström duet-ing with Irene Ermolli who also possesses a superb voice. “My Future” presents itself as a nice fusion of metal and modern musical styling, dark and home to a mysterious quality that is quite unique, yet I find it strangely alluring and captivating, and after repeated spins has become a favourite.
The closing duo is started with “Reaction” which comes across in the early stages like modern Deep Purple before the band mold the track into a melodic metal direction. Again highly melodic and Nyström gets the chance to show us what he can do in more straightforward rock waters, and again he impresses, the commercial is reminiscent of the heavier numbers from Journey i.e. interesting melodic structure. Tommy Ermolli goes a little Marty Friedman meets Neal Schon in the songs solo, exotic melodies mixed with sustained melodic content – nice. Another 10 minute epic “I Am Free” closes the album in even more fine style. One of the heaviest numbers on the album with numerous segments which work well to form a solid cohesive unit finishing with a big finale.
With “The Forbidden City” Twinspirits have passed the often tricky second album with flying colours. As already mentioned the album builds upon the debut in every department and this album deserves all the praise I can see it getting from the prog metal crowd. Whether this will translate into mainstream media remains to be seen, yet any metal fan with an open mind will find a great deal to like. Daniele Liverani has penned a number of great albums over the last few years but this has to be considered his Magnum Opus. This collection of 10 tracks is pretty much superb from start to finish, with nothing that sounds surplus to requirements. In short, if you like your metal well played, with strong melodies and delivered in a great sound then Twinspirits have the album for you.
Hot Spots : Taste The Infinity, One Of Us, My Future
Rating : 95%