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5 stars I've been waiting months for this album to come out knowing who was going to be contributing

Vocalists :

Henning Basse

Ida Haukland

Matt Marinelli

Tezzi Persson

Tom Englund

MUSICIANS : Samuel Arkan - Virus IV

Julien Spreutels - Ethernity

Leo Margarit

Mike Lepond

Simone Mularoni

It's a continuation of the last album and it starts off with a beautiful interlude then kicks in with Tom Englund on THE ARCH this album has some fast ripping Rhythm tracks with superb soloing by DGM's Simone Mulroni and Symphony X's Mike Lepond the drums by Pain of Salvations Leo Margarit

I'm not going to review each song, but will tell you there is no fillers of any kind on this album each vocalist give's their all to each performance and that Jacob Hansen's production is SUPERB!! every note is heard and felt, vocalist's are crystal clear.

Sam Arkan has created a Masterpiece of Dark Prog/Power Metal I personally think this album is a notch up from the first, I can't imagine how he will top this one!

Some of my favorite tracks are the following:

Fantasmagoria The Black Parade Morning Rose Ravens Curse T.H.O.R.N.S Forgotten Symphony

If you loved the first album and enjoy the Darkside of Progressive Music then this is a "Must Have" album, I would even say one of the top 5 Prog Metal Albums of the year!!

Report this review (#1058309)
Posted Friday, October 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I suppose that, Samuel Arkan, Virus IV's guitar player, as almost all the co-creators that moving at the same prog metal parallel universes, must have so much stuff to express, so they are making one after another projects to drain their inspiration. So Samuel, stepping himself too over Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon idea, inspired by big musical productions, he gathered a summary of already certified musicians ( in spite of they aren't so well known outside of progressive metal style) and a few excellent vocalists and, after he corraled them in Hansen Studios, they all together worked upon his new "Fantasmagoria" album, a long- termed, 14 tracked concept set. In comparison with "Obsessions" debut, new stuff is a evolutionary step in every side you hear it, with multifarious compositions, excellent production and emotionally intensed. Having available high vocal personalities such as Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) (that he's contributing on 5 album's tracks) and Ida Haukland (Triosphere) (she actually shines on the self titled song), Arkan is developing intellectual, progressive metal, worth to be ambitious about the status is hoping to get.

You could take as disadvantage the number of the songs, refering on the total quality of the album, but this possibility just don't happens here. Songs aren't tiring, for instead they are well watched to their last details, with high leveled and mostly fresh ideas, creating a huge number of emotions.

I have to confess that, even after multiple listenings, I am not assimilated completely to the new stuff, but I separated many beautiful moments even from the first time of audition. By piano made intro "File 4180-2" and the following "The Arch" (truly, the building riff is a manic one), 'till "The Unreal" epilogue, I lived basically very good guitar sounds, heavy on their majority, building a compact wall upon to, Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) virtuoso keyboards, sonically imprinting concept's atmospheres while the Leo Margarit's (Pain Of Salvation) obviously progressive metal's drumming style, is almost undescribable of words. "Forgotten Symphony" and "The Inheritance", are two more tremendous songs but I hardly can find any of them inferior.

Of course, a big slice of this performance belongs to "Fantasmagoria"'s special guests. Henning Basse (ex-Metallium), Simone Mularoni (DGM) and Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence) on vocals, on drums is Leo I mentioned before, master Mike LePond (Symphony X) on bass "paints on canvas" as he has used us all these years and Matt Marinelli (Borealis) is good enough on sharing guitar parts with the central mind, Samuel.

"Fantasmagoria" is a complete release, surely worth to buy it by everyone who sets himself friendly to atmospheric, pomp metal. Has individual personality, songs are flowing as morning, alleviative pissing, doesn't tires you and fairly is a valued suggestion to the present of music industry. A forward step for this multi-talented musician called Samuel Arkan and the staring artist parade he invited for help. Ayreon and Avantasia can be sure that their offspring is as decent as they could expect.

Very good, highly recommended.

Report this review (#1071650)
Posted Monday, November 4, 2013 | Review Permalink

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