Aug 302018
 

Sit back and put your feet up when you listen to “Fist of the Seven Stars – Act 2 (Hokuto Brothers)”. Gabriels, a composer and keyboardist from Italy, creates musical stories on a grand scale. Some of you may be familiar with his rock opera, Prophecy, dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States. He is also known as a seasoned session musician, having served as arranger and keyboardist on amongst others, the “Vivaldi Metal Project”. For this album, he again involves a large cast of talented performers to continue the story inspired by “Hokuto no Ken”, a Japanese anime by Tetsuo Hara and Buronson.

One thing is for sure, he makes the keyboards wail! When I listen to this album, and appreciate how sweeping a production this is, I cannot help but think of Finnish band, Dark Sarah. While Dark Sarah is more clearly symphonic in its brand of metal, both bands share what I would call an “old world grandeur”. This lavishness is evident for me in a track like “End of Cobra”. I truly enjoy the layered vocals, the massive synths and that guitar solo – out of this world! It’s like this production would be at home in both a stadium and in a theatre, with elaborate costumes and kick ass lighting design.

I caught myself swaying along to “I see again”, and I like how the guitar and keyboards double for one another on this ballad. One would be tempted to call “Fist of the Seven Stars…” progressive rock only, but the vocal delivery on “Scream my name” for instance pushes it towards the operatic. What I appreciate about Gabriels’ playing is that he carefully picks when to support the other performers with his synths, and when to break out into a solo. I get a sense of his compositional strength in “Miracle land”, where he colours the song with the sounds of a synthesized orchestra.

Did you ever listen to Europe? There is something of the “War of Kings” album in the way “I’m a genius” is styled. Gabriels is not all sweeping synths; he carefully picks each instrument’s tone to add to the production. I was pleased to hear what sounded like the warbling notes of a Hammond B3 organ popping out in the mix.

One of my favourite tracks is “Looking for your brother”; especially the carefully timed flourishes that drive the song to its climactic end. The other favourite is “Myth of Cassandra”, a track with such attitude! Anyone like me, who is listening to Gabriels for the first time, might find it valuable to trace the story of “Fist of the Seven Stars – Act 2…” back through Gabriels’ discography to
the 2016 offering, “Fist of the Seven Stars, Vol. 1: Fist of Steel”. I wonder if Gabriels’
involvement in Italian metal band, DenieD, and their EP release “Seven Stars”, was the precursor to the rock operas to come?

But back to the present, and “Legend of fear” moves the album towards metal and is a welcome heavier turn in the sound. While the album finishes with “King of fist”, don’t skip over the bonus track, “Heart of madness”. It’s a great tribute to the soundtrack music of “Hokuto No Ken”, and you can listen to the original here.

“Fist of the Seven Stars – Act 2 (Hakuto Brothers)” scores 7/10.

Written by Karakul

Tracklist:

01 – The search of water bird
02 – Cobra clan
03 – End of Cobra
04 – I see again
05 – Scream my name
06 – Miracle land
07 – I’m a genius
08 – Looking for your brother
09 – Myth of Cassandra
10 – Reunion
11 – Legend of fear
12 – King of fist
13 – Heart of Madness (Bonus Track)

Line-Up

Gabriels (Vivaldi Metal Project, Platens, Metaphysics, Aldaria): All the keyboards, composer, arranger and Producer.

Cast of characters:
Wild Steel (Shadows of Steel) as Ken
Jo Lombardo (Metatrone, Ancestral) as Ray
Rachel “Iron Majesty” Lungs as Mamiya
Dario Grillo (Platens, Violet Sun) as Toky
Alfonso Giordano (Steel Raiser) as Wiggle
Iliour Griften (Beto Vazquez’ Infinity, Clairvoyant) as Amiba
Antonio Pecere (Crimson Dawn) as Raoul
Dave Dell’Orto (Drakkar, Verde Lauro) as Jagger
Beatrice Bini (Constraint, Vivaldi Metal Project) as Aylee
Matt Bernardi (Ruxt) as Cobra Boss

Guitars:
Antonello Giliberto
Francesco Ivan Sante dall’ò
Stefano Calvagno (Metatrone)
Antonio Pantano (Arcandia)
Tommy Vitaly
Frank Caruso (Arachnes)
Daria Domovik (Concordea)
Andrew Spane
Stefano Filoramo

Bass:
Dino Fiorenza (Metatrone)
Beto Vazquez (Beto Vazquez’s Infinity)
Adrian Hansen
Fabio Zunino
Arkadiusz E. Ruth (Path Finder)

Drums:
Mattia Stancioiu (ex-Vision Divine, ex- Labirynth)
Simone Alberti (Gabriels)
Giovanni Maucieri (Gabriels)
Michele Sanna (Coma)
Salvo Pennisi

Record Label: Rockshots Records

Release Date: 31th August 2018

Gabriel discography
Solista/Solist:
Gabriels & Alex: “Non dirmi addio” (Self Produced)
Gabriels: “Call me” Single 2009 (Rock, Self Produced)
Gabriels: “The legend of a Prince” 2010 (Rock-Opera Self Produced)
Gabriels: “The enchanted wood” 2010 (Electroacustica, Self Produced)
Gabriels: “Prophecy” 2013 (Rock-Opera, Independence Records)
Gabriels: “Black Gate” Single 2014 (Power Metal, Independence Records)
Gabriels: “Fist of the Seven Stars Act1” Fist of Steel 2016 (Rock-opera, Diamonds Prod.)

Bands:
Denied: “Seven Stars” 2010 (Power Metal, Self Produced)
Metaphysics: “Beyond the Nightfall” 2012 (Prog Metal, SG Records)
Platens: “Out of the world” 2014 (AOR, MelodicRock Records)

As Guest:
Antonio Pantano: “Arcandia” 2014 (Metal-Opera, Self Produced)
Drakkar: “Run with the Wolf” 2015 (Power Metal, My Kingdom Music)
Vivaldi Metal Project: “The Four Seasons” 2016 (Symphonic Metal, Pride and Joy Music)
Fabiano Andreacchio: “Living de Groove” 2016 (Electronic Metal, Sliptrick Records)
Deshody: “89th” 2016 (Hard Rock, Self-Produced)
Aldaria: “Land of light” 2017 (Power Metal, Pride and Joy Music)
Choirs of Veritas: “I am the way, the truth and the life” 2017 (Symphonic Metal, Underground Symphony)
Tommy Vitaly: “Indivisble” 2017 (Classical Metal, SG Records)

Weblinks: Facebook

Lyric video for ‘End Of Cobra’

 

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