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Soul Secret - 4 CD (album) cover

4

Soul Secret

 

Progressive Metal

3.63 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another album---another vocalist. I feel badly for bands that just cannot seem to retain a lead vocalist. Italy's Soul Secret started out with a guest singer, progressed to Fabio Manda's amazing voice on their sophomore album, and now have turned to Lino Di Pietrantonio to lead them. This choice, much like the album, is a solid one, though flawed in some ways.

Soul Secret's third album is called "4", and, yes, that is confusing as hell. It represents a slight change in sound for Soul Secret, due not only to the change of singer, but also to the maturity of these guys as musicians. Indeed, I hear stylistic changes across the board. Soul Secret, if you are not familiar, are definitely a progressive metal band in the vein of Dream Theater, though I'm sure that's a shadow they don't want. Either way, though, it is the truth, as they rely on strong guitars from Antonio Vittozzi, sizzling keys from Luca Di Gennaro, foundational bass from Claudio Casaburi, and the ever present structure of Antonio Mocerino's drums.

Their styles have changed somewhat, though. I am a huge fan of their previous album "Closer to Daylight", and the band as a whole has moved on from shorter, more structured tracks to longer and more varied concepts. This is both good and bad, as you won't really find much to sing along to here, but you will certainly find incredible instrumentals to admire (something Soul Secret has always done well). In fact, it seems like each and every track has a noteworthy instrumental, and some, like "Traces on the Seaside", "On the Ledge", and "Our Horizon", have multiple sections that are incredibly sublime. This is partially due to the new sounds for this band, especially Luca's wonderful keys. He has moved on from the standard atmospherics so often found in prog metal to new heights of solos, even leading the music many times. Needless to say, I'm very impressed with the large range of key tones used, too. Besides this, I sense a change for Mocerino's drums, too, as he has opted for a more delicate touch than his blast beating past. In addition, Vittozzi's guitars seem much more deliberate and inspired in composition.

Thus far, we have a great third album called "4" that features some notable changes in sound. This is where my slight issues with the album appear. First of all, I do feel that it is a bit long. At 72+ minutes long, I feel like some of the incredible effectiveness of the first half of the album wears off by the end. Indeed, I feel like they realize it, too, as most of the really amazing rhythms are found in the first half. This is not to say that the latter half is bad. It's actually great, especially songs like the instrumental "Silence" or the addictive ending to "My Lighthouse". Heck, "Downfall" might be my favorite song on the album! The first few tracks, however, just gel so well that you barely notice the time pass.

My other issue with this album is the Dream Theater sound. This is primarily because of Lino's vocal performance. Indeed, I think the band actively tries to avoid the DT sound by including plenty of small oddities, like harsh vox, crazy synth, and a notable lack of overpowering guitar. Lino's voice, however, sounds SO much like Labrie's vox on "Images & Words". This isn't a bad thing, as I don't think Labrie has ever sounded better. Lino does avoid the pretentious wailing (thank God), but there are definitely a few times where I could have imagined that I was listening to DT.

Overall, though, this is another solid album from Soul Secret, and they really show their instrumental chops. Indeed, the ending epic "The White Stairs" opens with a fantastic groove that always makes me stop everything else I'm doing. For progressive metal fans, then, I don't think there has been a better offering so far this year. Be sure to get your hands on this album!

Second Life Syndrome | 4/5 |

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