Label: Underground Symphony/Soundholic Records/Renaissance Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Italy’s Skylark have quite a history. The band has been around since 1994 and If I’m not mistaken, this is actually their eighth album (not including EPs, singles and compilations). Female lead singer Kiara joined the fold at the end of 2003. Joining Kiara in the band are: Roberto Potenti (Bass and guitar), Eddy Antonini (keyboards), Fabrizio Romani (Guitar) and the drums are played by Alejandro Vasquez Cortez. They play what can be described as a blend of classically influenced progressive power metal. With their latest album “Divine Gates Part III: The Last Gate” the band continues their Divine Gates saga. It is a complex story with different characters that almost resembles a movie screenplay. The opus begins with the 30-second spoken word “Intro” featuring two of the stories’ characters, Captain Of The Warriors (played by Bob Gram) and Princess Of The Snow (played by Kiara) and than leaps into the track “The Scream”. Right away you here a little bit of a Keepers-era Helloween influence. This song also features some very nice guitar work and has an overall energetic feeling that really does its job in sweeping away the listener into the story. The next song “Soul of the Warrior” is a definite highlight. It has a pretty strong straightforward, galloping guitar riff that is apparent throughout the song. Next is “Dying Inside”. This is another strong number that keeps up the consistency of the CD. Kiara‘s vocals are really powerful and passionate here and the musicianship is top notch. The inclusion of some male vocals are also a nice touch as they go perfectly with Kiara‘s. The instrumental “Hurricane” is next. It is only about a minute and a half long, but they really get the most out of that short amount a time. This simply smokes and set up for the next track, the ballad-ish “Believe In Love”. There are good ballads and then there are bad ones. I would say this is one of the good ones – and the vocals of Kiara really shine once again. She’s got a great style and sings with a great deal of passion and energy. “All Is Wrong” kicks things up a notch. More male vocals are featured here supplied by keyboardist Eddy Antonini, playing the character The Guardian Of The 3rd Gate. “Time” and “The Heaven Church” follow and are two more strong tracks. “The Heaven Church” is another ballad that features some really cool orchestration in the beginning and then just piano and the beautiful vocals of Kiara, before getting heavy at the end – this is a very dramatic and cinematic sounding song. “A Story Not to Tell” wraps up the story part of the CD on a powerful note and does a good job in bringing closure to this epic masterpiece. This is probably the heaviest track this CD has to offer as the band really go for it. The final two songs on the CD are two different versions of the same song. We have “Mt. Fuji” an electric version and then an acoustic version. Overall, I liked this CD a lot. The CD artwork and packaging is cool and the booklet gives you a synopsis of the story and where each song fits into the concept – it certainly makes for some interesting reading and it is obvious that a lot of thought and dedication went into the story. Definitely a winner. So, if you enjoy your metal in a conceptual setting, than give Skylark a chance.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Intro
  2. The Scream
  3. Soul of the Warrior
  4. Dying Inside
  5. Hurricane
  6. Believe in Love
  7. All Is Wrong
  8. Time
  9. The Heaven Church (New Version)
  10. A Story Not to Tell
  11. Mt. Fuji (Electric Version)
  12. Mt. Fuji (Acoustic Version)

 

Line Up

  • Kiara Laetitia – Vocals & Lyrics
  • Fabrizio “Pota” Romani – Guitars
  • Dan Profitt – Guitar
  • Eddy Antonini- Keyboards, Piano
  • Roberto “Brodo” Potenti – Bass 
  • Alejandro Vasquez Cortez – Drums (Guest Musician) 

 

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