For someone who struggles to fully appreciate the attributes and assets of power metal it has to be said Back To Live form Italian band From The Depth is one fun and thoroughly engaging release. Only the recent album from Powerwolf has previously thrilled the senses and leapt with a firm welcome into the ears as does Back To Life, power metal as a whole as with classic rock pushed aside for much harder pummelling genres. It has to be admitted though that From The Depth are a band that even with its distinct genre flavoured and expected sounds has an extra flourish and almost majestic feel that lifts up even the naturally dark emotions.
From The Depth formed in 2008 and with a few months and the release of their debut EP The Will To Be The Flame made a strong impression and mark in North Italy’s metal underground scene. This success led to the band finding themselves in impressive and important venues around the country building up their fan base and strong positive impressions. Rising Records signed the band in October 2010 soon followed by the worldwide distribution of their debut album. April this year saw the band start recording Back To Life with a brief interruption when chosen to take part in the “An Evening With Kamelot” event, sharing the stage with Kamelot, Sons Of Season and other special guests such as Simone Simmons and Fabio Lione. This month sees the release of the album and the start of an emotional bond with undoubtedly a great many new power metal and melodic rock fans.
Immediately the album begins, the biggest positives on the album reveal themselves to ensure full attention and focus over the album’s full length. The first thing and the most impressive is the keyboards of Davide “Fortress” Castro , the man is a maestro and without exception he enhances and lifts every track to heights they would not touch without his skilful and melodic imagination and ability. The opening instrumental and title track even with a length briefly over a minute unveils his skill and mesmeric play. From the off and throughout the whole album he conjures up melodies and sweeping sounds that do nothing less than enrapture the senses.
The following eager rampant power metal anthemic ‘Live For Today’ brings forth the other great things that makes Back To Life an album that demands attention. Firstly there is the energetic and formidable drums of Cristiano Battini, instinctive and with an inner primitive hypnotic pull in the ear he leads songs supported by the deep resonating tones of bassist Alessandro “Kara” Karabelas. Then there is the well written and presented melodic guitars of Alessandro Cattani, striking and never predictable they add extra biting texture against the keyboard sounds. Though Cattani does not often stray from classic and melodic rock familiarity he uses influences and flavours in an assured and varied way to give extra spice rather than repetition. Lastly there is the vocals of Raffaele “Raffo” Albanese, his clean and well balanced voice firmly in the hard/classic rock style but without indulging into the formula high pitched squeals and wails.
There is a slight inconsistency to the album but that is more down to personal taste with songs like the power ballads of ‘The Cruel Kindness’ and ‘Nenia’ plus the predictable and familiar rock sound of ‘You Just Have To Fly’ which plays quite flat in energy and vocally, not working as well as the other more impetuous and thrilling tracks. These moments are rare and soon forgotten by the catchy hooks and melodic endeavours from the guitars and especially the keys plus the irrepressible rhythms as in the likes of ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, ‘The Will to Be the Flame’, and ‘Nothing to You’ though everything is wiped away by the stunning instrumental ‘Lack of Emotion’, easily the best track on the album and one of the most emotively effective pieces of music found on any rock album this year.
From The Depth may not be the most flavoursome sound in theory to these ears but with Back To Life they have produced an album that enthuses and thrills even the hardest of rock hearts with magnetic power rock sounds.