Mastermind Tyranny - Eternal Silence

Artist: Eternal Silence

Album: Mastermind Tyranny

Genre: Symphonic Metal/Gothic Metal

Release Date: October 19, 2017

Review by Samantha Wolstenholme

When symphonic metal is done right, it stirs the soul and immerses the listener in a vibrant, almost kaleidoscopic sonic experience. There is something so satisfying, and indeed enthralling, about the successful marriage of neo-classical melodic stylings and powerful, rhythmic electric guitars and drums. Italian symphonic metal powerhouse Eternal Silence have achieved just that with their third studio effort Mastermind Tyranny. Though it is let down somewhat by its rather muted production, the triumph of this album lies in its exhibition of diverse, inventive songwriting, and excellent performances from all members of the band.

Energetic opening track “Lucifer’s Lair” kicks the album off to a roaring start, and showcases the band’s ability to contrast a solid rhythm section with soaring melodies and elegant orchestral embellishments. After a short introduction of harmonised lead guitars, driving drums and delicate orchestrations, vocals swoop in in the unusual form of a clean male/female duet. Through all of these elements, the band demonstrate an aptitude for seamlessly intertwining various genres to craft their quintessential sound; for instance, there are clear stylistic nods to power metal amidst the symphonic soundscape in this bold opener. Second on the album is passionate ballad “The Fighter”, and it is here that the considerable technical capacities of both lead vocalists are really on display. Alberto Cassina’s charming yet powerful tenor is reminiscent of the great Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica, and it contrasts beautifully with Marika Vanni’s velvety smooth mezzo-soprano that gracefully soars over chorus chants and warring guitar and strings melodies like an eagle in the sky.

Following “The Fighter” is the defiant “Mashed”, where an instrumental breakdown section imbues the track with a heavier edge and briefly steers us away from more traditional symphonic metal territory. The stately yet emotive “Adagio” follows, showcasing the band’s knack for memorable, anthemic choruses – the male/female vocal duet particularly shines here. The skill of guitarists Cassina and Davide Rigamonti is highlighted in the dramatic fifth track “Game of the Beasts”, where the driving power-thrash opening riff takes things back up a notch and a well-executed guitar solo reigns supreme. The lyrical, almost tragic “Mystic Vision” precedes the driving seventh track “The First Winter Night”, which pulsates with a sense of urgency and desperation that gives drummer Davide Massironi a chance to shine both technically and creatively. However, this is one particular instance on the album where better production would have improved the overall quality and experience of the music – had the drums sounded crisper and punchier in this track, the overall impact in terms of heaviness would have been greater.

“Foreign Land” then follows, beginning in a frenzy of guitar riffage and arpeggiated strings then culminating in more powerful, catchy choruses. Mysterious, ethereal ballad “Icy Spell”, the penultimate track on the album, really does conjure up images of desolate snowy plains with its clever use of orchestrations, soaring vocal lines and gradually building tension. The album then ends with “Ashes of Knowledge”, arguably its most progressive track, drawing together the many stylistic influences touched on throughout the album to paint a vivid canvas of multi-layered texture and sound. Overall, “Mastermind Tyranny” holds its own against the stiff competition of prominent bands in its genre, and is a highly enjoyable, thoughtful and innovative work in its own right. However, its muted production lessens the impact of what could be a very powerful rhythm section. Given the calibre of musicianship displayed throughout this album, investing in sharper production would be all this talented band needs to become truly unstoppable.

8 out of 10.

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