Back in the 90s when progressive metal was very much still a niche genre as opposed to a dominant force within prog music, Symphony X and Eldritch were at the more extreme end of the scale. Eldritch’s 1997 outing ‘Headquake’ in particular, was very much a headcrusher in places, with the band’s blend of prog metal and power metal taken to extremes. Ensight brings together ex-Eldritch keysman Gabriele Casale, drummer Raffahell Dridge and ex-Fallen Angel vocalist Antonio Cannolletta, in a union which works exceptionally well indeed. The eight songs (plus intro) on this debut album should appeal to ardent fans of Symphony X, Aeon Zen and Silent Call, as well as potentially appealing those open to some very technical and rather heavy riffing.
Veronica “The V” Freeman will be familar to some as the vocalist with power metallers Benedictum, a US/Euro outfit who often favour bombast over decent songs. Her first solo release, 2015’s ‘Now Or Never’ (released via Frontiers Records, home of the previous two Benedictum discs) retains a fair amount of heaviness, but brings in a much welcome melodic element. The dozen featured numbers hark back to the days of classic eighties sounding metal, with tunes regularly casting Freeman in a Doro Pesche-esque mould.
Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson will be familiar to some rock fans as a collaborator on Jorn Lande and Russell Allen’s trilogy of albums, having lent some meaty musical chops to the works of those powerhouse vocalists. ‘Free Fall’ – Karlsson’s solo debut – follows in the melodic power metal tradition, with a roll call of impressive vocal talents helping to breathe life into his material, as well as some killer lead guitar work throughout.