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S91 - VolontÓ Legata CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.67 | 4 ratings

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4 stars From the streets of Montecarlo

After years poring through hundreds of Italian rock bands in the grasp of a most wonderful musical addiction, the last couple years have been spent listening to a wider range of things for sure. Still, when the chance arises I love to return to my adopted musical homeland. And when I find a band from a small town I love to tour their home on google maps to get an idea of their possible inspirations. Not often have my tours been any more rewarding than checking out S91's hometown of Montecarlo, in Tuscany. Could I use a summer in this gorgeous little village of thin streets, homey estates, and 14th century history in the air? Oh yeah.

S91 formed in Tuscany in 2006 and profess influences of Shadow Gallery and Stream of Passion, progressive rock, metal, and pop. Somewhat unusual for a metal band is that they are fronted by not one, but three female vocalists, and two of them, Tania and Maria handle the lyrics. The music is written by Frank and Franz, keyboardist Francesco Londino having played piano since he was a child. The members of the band have been friends and this camaraderie comes through in the music. It appears there have been some personnel changes since this work, we shall see once their upcoming second full length is released.

While advertised here as a metal band, S91 take a more balanced approach, their "metal" element on the lighter side of the spectrum. What I appreciate about them is that unlike the somewhat cold "mechanical" sound of some prog-metal bands who seem so hung up on intense heaviness, S91 has equal parts softness, human emotion, and obviously a heavy dose of the feminine. Being Italians, whether intentional on their part or not, some of their appreciation for RPI bands like PFM and Orme can be heard on the last two songs primarily. The blend of symphonic grandeur with metal intensities and RPI infusion make for an exciting aural adventure of modern and traditional elements, with plenty of unapologetic humanity shining through.

"What I appreciate about Volonta Legata is how it brings enough over the top progressiveness to appeal to those whose tastes range from Neal Morse to Pink Floyd to Shadow Gallery to Dream Theater and all things in will encounter enough complex songwriting and maze like twists and turns to keep most progressive aficionados interested for time to grew on me with repeated play." -Andrew Rockwell,

In a world so heavy with despair and misguided madness I find the band's Christian inspiration to be no problem, and in fact uplifting. Worry not, there is no browbeating of the audience here, just a band inspired particularly by Psalm 91 from which the band name originates. It would be foolish to let the Christian tag alone stop you from investigating this music, though no doubt some will. The vocals are a mix of English and Italian, naturally the Italian vocals work much better for this RPI fan.

Early tracks were engaging and energetic to be sure, but the highlight is the 18 minute centerpiece "The Seal of the Living God." A nice array of modern keyboard textures with some piano meet excellent guitar work. Sudden diversions and tempo changes along with a bombastic attitude set the table where lovers of "epic" tracks shall dine. There are breaks for both guitar and keys solos and both are beautiful and inspired--the guitar solo just slays me! The track begins with gruff male vocals before the instrumental breaks, then moves to lovely female harmonies and piano, and more killer lead guitar work. The closer "Spazio inconcepibile" just gets even prettier with acoustic guitar behind melodic piano and vocal harmonies. The songwriting in general is very melodic and appealing, shred never becoming more important than the listening pleasure.

Some will point out that it has all been done before by numerous Dream Theater/Nightwish clones and I understand. But S91 have their own vibe and they appealed to me where those other have not. This album is kind of special in its blend of benevolence and personality.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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