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DROPSHARD

Progressive Metal • Italy


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Dropshard biography
After several years of rehearsals and concerts, Sebastiano BENATTI (guitar), Tommaso MANGIONE (drums) and bass player Alex STUCCHI (ex-Antares) decided to set up the project DROPSHARD in September 2007. Their music is inspired by early GENESIS, PORCUPINE TREE and RIVERSIDE, to name a few. Through featuring at diverse festivals, like the Exprog in Mogliano Veneto, along illustrious names like MARILLION, Tony LEVIN's STICK MEN and LE ORME, as well as prog radio shows, the band gained a solid fanbase and critical acclaim.

Based in Milan/Italy they recorded two demo sessions, "DSI" and "DSII", and evolved through several line-up changes before taking the road to work out songs for their first full-length album, "Anywhere But Home". Finally Tommaso SELLERI (keyboards) plus vocalist Enrico SCANU completed the line-up to produce their recommended debut album at Frequenze Studios in Monza. It was released on UK's Sonic Vista Music in February 2011. The songs, an eight-movement suite plus a bonus track, offer a hybrid of prog metal, heavy rock and mellow charming elements decorated with nice vocal harmonies.

With, first, Marco ZAGO as new keyboardist, later replaced by Vallerio DE VITTORIO, DROPSHARD started working on a new album, "Silk", that would eventually be released in October 2014.

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DROPSHARD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DROPSHARD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 25 ratings
Anywhere But Home
2011
4.09 | 13 ratings
Silk
2014

DROPSHARD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DROPSHARD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DROPSHARD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DROPSHARD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
DSI
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
DSII
2009

DROPSHARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Silk by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 13 ratings

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Silk
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by JohnNicholson

4 stars As much as I love progressive rock, I have to admit that too many modern-day bands emulate a specific period - the first half of the 70's - a bit too closely. Sure, their work is always intricate and appealing, but they usually rely too heavily on tricks made famous by genre's leaders like Genesis, King Crimson, Rush and Yes. Few acts in the genre take notable pages from other eras and styles, and even fewer do it as well as Italian proggers Dropshard. Their second studio instalment is called "Silk," and it is a wonderfully diverse, joyous and complex journey that manages to meld vintage traits and contemporary vibrancy and superb, unique songwriting. It's a really great album.

Formed in September 2007 by guitarist Sebastiano Benatti, bassist Alex Stucchi and drummer Tommaso Mangione, Dropshard set out to "dropping into unconventional music." Their debut "Anywhere But Home" managed to make a good breakthrough for the band. But with "Silk" the band is ready to open new horizons by showcasing a work of significant variety, innovation and passion.

"Insight" is a wonderfully inspiring and original way to to start. The instrumentation is a hypnotic and robust journey from a subtle arrangement to an enticing buildup that carries the same blithe spirit and dazzling timbres as the music of the mentioned heavyweights of the genre crossed with its contemporaries (Haken comes to mind).

"Eyes" ventures into a surprisingly different direction, with alt-rock tones and a pensive, spacey atmosphere. Enrico Scanu layers his vocals exquisitely, adding a bit more emotion to the playing patterns. His vocal style is reminiscent of Anathema's Vincent Cavanagh. "Cell 342" begins on a similarly quiet and reflective note that echoes Anathema influences once again, but it soon piles on the progressive rock virtuosity and madness with frantic drums and synths, and equally spastic guitar work showcasing how eccentric and ambitious Dropshard can be.

"Seat," "Pepetual Dream," and "Get Out and Run" form a batch of shorter tunes (all under three minutes), opening space for "The Endless Road," the first out of two songs that clock over ten minutes. It builds slowly from a short ambient part, over through the beautiful Fender Rhodes passage to a real progrocker, what turns to be one of the most multifaceted tracks here, revealing every side of Dropshard in one magnificent package. The other epic, "Memento" builds on atmospheric motifs constructed around various narrative parts.

I could go on and on about Dropshard, praising every moment of every song for being confident, enticing, adventurous and hearty. "Silk" is a record that exposes more and more brilliant nuances with each listen. It's a wise and tricky balance that allows the album to feel charmingly familiar yet also extremely valuable.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by PH

4 stars 'Anywhere But Home' is the first full-length release of Italian band DROPSHARD. It has a variety of songs, from the pastoral 'Look Ahead' to despair laden 'Changing Colours', from acoustic 'Again' to closing track 'Look Behind'. There's darker edged bonus 'Freedom Supermarket' also. Their music is moody, sometimes uplifting, but always making good use of flowing melodies with superb instrumental and vocal harmonies completing the picture. Lots of light and shade in arrangements can be found. However these changes never sound forced. The result is a wonderfully atmospheric stuff. Everything comes together - Sebastiano Benatti's guitar work is exemplary, keyboards contribution of Tommaso Selleri is subtle, Alex Stucchi puts in a strong performance on bass, drummer Tommaso Mangione is spot on throughout and Enrico Scanu takes care of flute and lead vocals. This singer can reminds of Mariusz Duda. Obviously, the first gentle hint appears to be Riverside. Although you can hear traces of such renowned bands like Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, Quidam, Satellite. Well, influences are present but Dropshard have their own style. With 'Anywhere But Home' these Italian guys have created an album full of intriguing and high quality music. This CD should appeal to a wide ranging prog audience.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars A suite of powerful symphonic musicianship and prog metal.

I have had this album "Anywhere But Home" in my possession for a long time after the artists kindly sent it to me, and it somehow ended up on the bottom of a huge pile of prog, so apologies for taking so long to review it! My first impression is that it was actually heavier than I anticipated. The album cover almost looked a bit folk prog, an impressionist painting depicting a couple of kids dancing away from each other, and I was in more of a mood for a heavier style. So I was delighted that at least there were some great metal riffs to lock onto and a very distinct sound like Riverside or Porcupine Tree. The first thing that grabbed me was the very accomplished guitar work of Sebastiano Benatti that dominates throughout. The lead vocals of Enrico Scanu are crystal clean and very easy on the ears, reaching high octaves and maintaining powerful strong melodies. He also plays some flute and acoustic guitar. On bass is Alex Stucchi, backed up by well-executed percussion by Tommaso Mangione. The Dream Theater sound alike sections are mostly due to massive keyboard runs by Tommaso Selleri. For a young band the sound is quite mature overall and the album is a solid debut for Dropshard.

The music is dynamic, a suite of songs that run together with a concept, presented in huge blasts of metal juxtaposed with ambient swathes of symphonic keyboards. There is certainly a heavy texture with chugging distorted guitars but the everpresent keyboards underneath are reminiscent of Riverside's style, along with the pristine vocals. There are no epics to speak of, the longest song being the innovative 8:17 minute Changing Colours, and most of the songs are driven by melody or mood changes rather than complex or diverse time sig changes. Lead breaks are always something to look forward to and this album is no exception, with some exceptional shredding from Benatti.

One of the best tracks is undoubtedly the aforementioned 8 minute song, that builds in intensity from ambience to downright fierce axe work; the finale especially crunches and gains tempo to one of the heavier moments on the album. There is also a terrific heavy interchange of guitar riffing in A Cold Morning, a track that is well worth checking out to taste what the band is capable of cranking out. The low dense guitar sound is akin to Opeth or Dream Theater, a darker sound but always kept in balance with the crystalline uplifting vocals. A New Beginning is another outstanding track with melodic metal, and an infectious riff that locks into your skull. The running time for the album is only 34 minutes although the 4 and a half minute bonus track Freedom Supermarket enhances the album, ending it with some very heavy shades of metal. This track has a powerful keyboard motif augmented by lashings of intense metal riffing. The track also features some high falsetto work from Scanu. Overall the debut for Dropshard is a promising start to another new prog metal band, offering nothing that might be considered new as such, but nevertheless delivering a rock-solid album of symphonic nuances and advanced metal phrases. 3 and a half stars easily and room for improvement with a follow up album that the prog community should look forward to.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Cloudy day music with nice contrasts

Dropshard is a Milan based progressive metal/heavy rock band who have released an impressive debut album with "Anywhere But Home." The first band they reminded me of was fellow Italians Novembre whose "Materia" album also had a cloudy, grey sky melancholia which Dropshard also taps into. But it's a sonically lovely sadness when it comes. I think Riverside has to be an influence on these guys as well. The album's long suite is very guitar oriented with vocals and vocal harmonies that are often soothing to the music's heaviness (vocals are English btw). While the synths are often modern and atmospheric, even neo-proggish, what makes the experience for me are those little serene interludes that are reminiscent of Italian rock...the traditional piano, acoustic guitar, even a little bit of flute in there. The electric leads can be really soaring and emotional placing presence above any kind of shredding or bravado. The drumming rocks but is restrained enough to not take over the recording, something which spoils certain albums for me. My favorite moments come during the instrumental break of "A Cold Morning" featuring a lovely blending of the guitar solo with flute. "Anywhere But Home" is an engaging and recommended softer metal album which will please a wide variety of listeners. The debut also benefits from a 34 minute length which I love, most albums do not need to be 75 minutes long just for the hell of it. Kudos on the wonderful album cover art. A bonus track is also included. This would appear to be a band with good potential to go places compositionally, even commercially.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band DROPSHARD was formed in the fall of 2007 by Benatti (guitars), Stucchi (bass) and Mangione (drums). As the band evolved, their line-up was completed by Scanu (vocals) and Sellari (keyboards), and demo tapes were scored. "Anywhere but Home" is their debut album and was released by Sonic Vista Recordings at the start of 2011.

Italian act Dropshard has crafted a strong and elegant debut with "Anywhere but Home", a piece of progressive metal that should have a generally broad appeal. Moods and melodies are emphasized, the arrangements are dampened. and the compositions as such utilize elements from the art rock universe extensively. Well worth giving a spin, with fans of bands like Riverside and Sylvan a likely key audience.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There comes a time when every artist must forge their own path. Some do so better than others, some struggle, some seem to do it naturally. Italy's Dropshard are one of the newest prog metal artists on the horizon. Their debut album 'Anywhere But Home', released in 2011 shows immense promise and musicality, however it is also a flawed release for several reasons.

I'm not going to go into too many negatives here, for overall, I was more than impressed. However, I cannot help but feel that they wear their inspirations too close to their own chest. Now, I admire those who have an appreciation of the classics, both past and present. But it's another thing follow their lead. You could draw parallels to Dream Theater, Riverside, Porcupine Tree, Genesis here... it's fairly obvious where Dropshard draw their inspiration from. As I mentioned before, this isn't bad as per se, but shows a natural youthful naivety. One cannot be too harsh, after all, many of the compositions here are wonderful.

Now that's off my chest, let's get down to the music itself. Many of the compositions have mighty symphonic overtones, making use of classic 'prog' tones mashed in with modern metallic edges. The vocals and lyrics are wonderfully expressive, complemented by dynamic and challenging instrumental orchestration. Indeed, on more than one occasion the melodies developed are beautiful to the point where impulsive body movements become mandatory. I do feel that the guitar (especially on the solos) was mixed perhaps a bit too high for my liking - there is more going on here than just the guitarist showing off, but it can be a bit overpowering. The keyboards and synths are very good, perhaps the strongest suit in the album. Furthermore, the rhythm section carries the album very nicely without any real dramas.

There is a lot to laud here, make no mistake; but I must espouse that the base sound of Dropshard will need some refining if they are going to forge their own path. Whether intentional or not, their musical creativity should be capable of speaking independently, not simply as a rehashed neo clone.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Anywhere But Home is the debut full-length studio album by Italian progressive metal act Dropshard. The album was released in February 2011 through the UK based label Sonic Vista Music.

The music on the album sits somewhere between progressive metal, neo-prog ( I especially hear nods toward the Polish scene, but Steve Hogarth-led Marillion is also an influence IMO) and progressive rock ( mainly mid to late seventies Genesis). Dropshard seamlessly blend their influences into a coherent style, that may not be revolutionizing, but certainly is intriguing. It´s obvious that all four musicians playing on the album are very skilled, and besides their considerable instrumental skills, I´m pretty impressed by the great harmony vocals on the album. Lead vocalist Enrico Scanu masters both soft mellow vocals and louder more powerful vocals too.

The 38:29 minute long album consists of 9 tracks. The first 8 tracks on the album are a concept piece ( or a suite) while the last track on the album called Freedom Supermarket is a stand alone piece. The songs are dynamic and explore both harder edged progressive metal riffing and more mellow progressive rock pieces. This makes for a very varied listen and at no point do the band fail to entertain.

The production is professional and fits the music.

Anywhere But Home didn´t impress me like I had hoped the first time I listened to the album, but upon repeated spins the album has grown on me and I´ve ended up really enjoying the album. A 3.5 star rating is deserved.

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars DROPSHARD attracted my attention due to an interesting mix of (prog) styles in general. And indeed ... although labeled as a heavy rock respectively prog metal band, in my opinion they often come close to Mirek Gil's Believe project in style. This means, when listening to their debut, you'll stumble upon powerful impressions with heavy guitar riffs as well as many sections built-up by more charming melodic elements. No matter what happens ... Enrico Scanu's vocals are convincing in any case.

Basically 'Anywhere But Home' is made of two songs, the eponymous suite consisting of eight segments plus one additional bonus track. Not that this should be important for me ... but I can't find anything which would point to their Italian origin. First they Look Ahead when offering a melancholic intro with great vocal harmonies and orchestral keyboard strings. This fades into the core segment decorated with a memorable main melody - and sums up my introduction from a stylistical point of view - virtuoso moments featuring crashing guitars and powerful rhythm branch are alternating with heart-wrenching melodic impressions - fantastico!

And this basically perpetuates furthermore. Well put keyboard, piano, synth input by Tommaso Selleri all over, which manifested finally because I took the time for several listening sessions. Images Of Mind comes up with some really tricky moments. Acoustic guitars and nice vocal harmonies again are dominating the short ballad Again where A New Beginning comes from the metal side of life distinctly. The bonus track superficially bears a more straightforward rocking behaviour then, but you won't miss some complex and cunning approach too.

All in all this thoroughly could also be labeled as heavy neo prog, if you ask me. Technically played on a high level 'Anywhere But Here' is a recommended output, entertaining due to a carefully thought out concept concerning the musical flow. Fans of Polish neo prog should have a try here, as well as lovers of heavier bands in the vein of Riverside and Dream Theater - solid 4 stars finally, basta!

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 Anywhere But Home by DROPSHARD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.53 | 25 ratings

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Anywhere But Home
Dropshard Progressive Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Italy is a country that's always had a pretty strong prog metal scene, and Dropshard is now the latest addition to that list. Taking influences from the traditional American school of progressive metal and then adding plenty of influences from neo-prog and atmospheric rock, this band has definitely gotten off on the right foot with Anywhere But Home. The band was formed in 2007 and completed two demos before releasing their debut full-length, Anywhere But Home, in 2011. This is a strikingly mature and beautiful work of art that can be looked at as one of the best progressive rock/metal debuts in recent memory. People who enjoy progressive metal with touches of ambient and a neo-prog flavor will definitely want to check out this top-notch band. This album took a few listens to really "grab" me, but it was certainly worth every single one.

Anywhere But Home is an album that doesn't seem too original on the surface, but, in reality, Dropshard's sound is quite unique. Taking the atmosphere of Marillion's masterpiece that was Brave and seamlessly blending it with the sound of progressive metal legends like Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation, Dropshard has successfully created an album that significantly distances itself from the seas of Dream Theater clones. The music itself is highly enjoyable, and filled with memorable compositions, instrumental prowess, and beautiful harmonized vocals. Picking a highlight is difficult since the album (aside from the final bonus track) forms a conceptual story that feels more like one piece than 8 separate tracks. In terms of musicianship, I especially have to give a nod to Enrico Scanu for the terrific vocals. The atmospheric keyboards from Marco Zago are also impressive; his playing style can often be compared to Mark Kelly (of Marillion fame). The guitar playing from Sebastiano Benatti is pretty diverse - he can transition from metal riffs to Gilmour-influenced solos in the blink of an eye. The rhythm section isn't too shabby either; the bass playing from Alex Stucchi drives the band perfectly, and Tommaso Mangione's complex and refined drumming is also noteworthy. Overall, this band sounds professional and experienced. It's almost hard to believe that they're so young, and that this is only their debut album.

The production is also very professional, while maintaining a raw and clean sound throughout. This is the perfect sound for virtually any progressive rock/metal album.

Anywhere But Home really took me by surprise. Every now and again an obscure modern group will pop up on your radar that really has something special; Dropshard fits this description like a glove. Although I'm confident they will improve even more as time passes by, this is certainly a far-above-average album well deserving of 4 shiny stars. People who enjoy bands like Marilion and Pain of Salvation should definitely give this promising Italian act a spin - you won't regret it.

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