Label: Rockshots Records
By: Thorsten Hendriks
Astralium (Italian Symphonic metal band), called Black Roses before 2014. It features the following members: soprano Roberta Pappalardo, Giuseppe Pappalardo on bass, Emanuele Alessandro on guitar and Salvo Grasso (Hypersonic, Metatrone, ex-Denied) on drums.
Recording their debut album officially started in 2017 and Land of Eternal Dreams was released on August 23rd via Rockshots Records (worldwide release).
The album also features specials guests Tommy Johansson (Sabaton, Majestica), Jo Lombardo (Ancestral, ex-Metatrone), Andrea Martongelli (Arthemis), Stefano “Ghigas” Calvagno (Metatrone, NefeshCore), Adam Cook (A Hill To Die Upon), Davide Bruno (Metatrone, NefeshCore) and others.
The band describes this release as follows:
“First of all, we want to say that we are very excited about our debut album Land Of Eternal Dreams. Fans can expect an amazing album of great melodies, blended with cinematic, symphonic and classical music, along with metal guitar riffs and epic choirs. We believe that music evokes sensations, emotions and real fantastic worlds in our minds.”
Upon introduction to Land of Eternal Dreams and having a quick scan through the tracks, Astralium appear to be another Nightwish clone – HOWEVER their sound is very polished and well thought through compositions make their approach to the female fronted metal scene a very serious one.
The album starts with a 2 minute intro which attrached my interest and upon research it appears they used a full size orchestra and choir where others might have opted for samples and soundbites. This complements the whole atmosphere of the album and it slowly builds up to the the second track ‘The Journey’ which is their first single release. A fast paced symphonic metal track with recognisable riffs from other artists where they have taken their inspiration from. Roberta’s voice is clear and precise, she hits every note with passion and power.
‘Rising Waves from the Ocean’ is the next track and the rhythm goes up a gear. Very fast paced drums and guitars make it a very pleasurable song to listen to. Roberta’s and Guiseppe’s voices complement eachother on the various songs on this album.
The fourth track “Life is my Eternity” brings you back down to earth with an intro where they are implying they are using a 14th century clavichord, accompanied by strings which then culminates into a 6+ minutes epic symphonic musical piece.
“Whisper in the Silence” grabs your attention during the guitar intro which builds up to a full scale composition of orchestral accompaniement and basic metal sounds. This track is more ‘rocky’ is very reminiscent of the many bands which entered the symphonic metal scene during the 90s and 00s.
The intro of the 6th track “Hope is Gone” sounds, to my ears, a bit like Queen’s ‘ The Show must go on’, and – as an older Queen fan – this tickled my senses. Very balladic and a well structured composition make this song very welcoming amongst the faster tracks on this album.
This trend is followed in the next track “Breath of my Soul”, even more like a proper balad with romantic undertones. The soprano voice is beautifully combined with the instruments, where the orchestra has the upper hand this time.
Track 8 “A dream’s Legacy” – starts very bombastic but then quietens down to voice and drums with the guitars joining in a bit further down the line. This repeats itself several times over the duration of the song.
With ‘Seven Seas, Seven Winds’ we return to the fast rythmic guitars against an orchestral and choral background. This is the first song on the album where I can pick up that Roberta’s first language is not English, but this does not have a negative impact on the song. She copes well with the tempo changes and towards the end of the song she just sounds brilliant.
“Ethereal Voices From The Forest” starts softly , eerily and gives you the feeling you are walking through a misty forest after arriving by Viking ship on foreign shores. This song really shows Roberta’s skillful soprano voice. She hits every note perfectly and her tones are wonderful and clear. The songs continues into track 11 “The World of the Unknown” and speeds up to calm down to a superb ballad-like singspiel. The seamless combination of these 2 tracks confirm the feeling I described.
On the very last song of Astralium’s debut album ‘Hidden Conspiracy’ Guisepe’s voice is more prevalent at start but then we are treated to an excellent combination of his low voice versus Roberta’s high soprano voice in what I can only describe as a duet. The song ends with bombastic symphonic metal riff swith orchestral undertones which ends very abruptly and leave you wanting more after this 60+ minutes of pure genius.
A kind of “cliffhanger” making you hope that they will continue on this symphonic metal journey as a suberb band and, from my humble opion, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
- Roberta Pappalardo (Robie) – Vocals & Backing Vocals
- Salvo Grasso – Drums & Male Vocals
- Giuseppe Pappalardo – Bass & Backing vocals
- Emanuele Alessandro – Guitars
2. The Journey
3. Rising Waves From The Ocean
4. My Life Is My Eternity
5. Whisper In The Silence
6. Hope Is Gone
7. Breath Of My Soul
8. A Dream’s Elegy
9. Seven Seas, Seven Winds
10. Ethereal Voices From The Forest
11. The World of Unknown
12. Hidden Conspiracy
13. Hope Is Gone (Orchestral Version)