Sometimes a press release tells you everything you need to know about an album and that is the case with the Vivaldi Metal Project – The Four Seasons. Featuring more than 130 metal and classical artists, orchestra, string quartets, and three choirs, The Four Seasons is a symphonic metal interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s Baroque masterpiece of the same name, the likes of which is unprecedented.
Italian keyboard player and solo artist Mistheria (Bruce Dickinson, Rob Rock) started thinking in 2013 about making a metal version of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a piece he loved since childhood. After starting to play and record movements himself, he decided a metal version would be perfect and posted some clips online to engage metal musicians in the project. Not long after getting some initial musicians on board, he enlisted Douglas R. Docker to write lyrics for the instrumental works an in the end also brought in Rob Rock and Lance King to help out with lyrics. Ten arrangers were brought on board to combine the standard metal band with strings, choirs, and orchestra, and in the end a literal all-star cast of musicians ended up providing performances for the project that took over 2 years to complete. In the end, listeners will be treated to 14 tracks and over 74 minutes of incredible music.
To be honest, I tend to view project like these with a bit of incredulity, and really expect them to not live up to their potential as most don’t. I can honestly say that this literally blew me away and there is no way the review can do the project justice. Tackling a piece of classical music is not uncommon in metal circles, but to take on a task of this magnitude and even adding lyrics to previously instrumental pieces and then finding the vocalists to handle those songs seems like it would be an impossible task. Mistheria’s vision for the project and the selection of musicians and arrangers is nothing short of brilliant. Before even starting the cd, I was checking out the videos on the project and the one that really struck me was the clip of Rolf Pilve (Stratovarius) recording drums for the intro song “Escape from Hell” as the groove and drive and strength of the drum sound was simply amazing and really forced me to rethink my somewhat pessimistic view. For those with doubts, I encourage you to check that link.
Being one who loves guitars in metal, one of my concerns with the album going in is that in some similar projects, the personality of the performers tends to get lost and their unique tones and styles becomes overly produced and softened to the point they become indistinct and sound much like keyboards, but that is not the case here. Granted with the number of performers on the album, I couldn’t identify which particular guitarist was playing at a given point, but their sounds are certainly distinct and each solo and fill has that personal touch to it and the overall sound has a bit of an almost live edge.
With fourteen tracks and over 74 minutes of total music, especially music with complicated orchestral, string, vocal, and metal arrangements, one could dedicate a website for discussion of the intricacies on the album. As with the musicians, the selection of vocalists and choirs to provide backing is incredibly strong. A song like “Vita” is simply staggering with its driving metal beat and intricate riffs and fills supporting a full choir and several male and female vocalists. “Euphoria” follow up this masterpiece and had an extended section where keyboards and guitars trade solos, much like Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore in their prime and even has some characteristic Hammond organ sound thrown in for good measure.
The Vivaldi Metal Project is simply amazing and Mistheria’s vision and ability to bring in the talent required has left us with an epic blend of symphonic, orchestral, vocal, choral, and metal music, the likes of which I have never heard before.
Written by John Jackson
01. Escape from Hell 4:56
02. The Illusion of Eternity 5:04
03. Vita 5:42
04. Euphoria 6:08
05. Sun of God 6:10
06. Immortal Soul 4:41
07. Thunderstorm 5:32
08. The Age of Dreams 4:22
09. Alchemy 8:26
10. Stige 3:11
11. The Meaning of Life 4:08
12. The Final Hour 3:14
13. Grande Madre 4:46
14. Doomsday 7:22
Project includes over 130 metal and classical artists. Notable artists include: Mark Boals (Malmsteen, Royal Hunt), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire, Angra), Edu Falaschi (Almah), Rob Rock (Impellitteri), Mike Lepond (SymhonyX), Dani Löble (Helloween), Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation), Mark Cross (Firewind, Scorpions), Steve Di Giorgio (Testament), Rolf Pilve (Stratovarius), Victor Smolski (Rage, Almanac), Ruben Israel (Delain), John Macaluso (ARK), Marco Sfogli (James Labrie), Chris Caffery (Savatage), Mark Wood (Trans Siberian Orchestra), Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork), Atma Anur (Tony MacAlpine), Vitalij Kuprij, Anna Portalupi (Tarja Turunen), Sean Tibbetts (Kamelot), Martijn Peters (Stream of Passion) and many more.
Record label: Pride & Joy Music, July 2016
Video of Rolf Pilve drums for ‘Escape from Hell’
Lyric video for ‘Illusion of Eternity’
Official album trailer #2: