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.