SHINING STAR - ENTER ETERNITY - NIGHTMARE
Shining Star is a Brazilian white metal band and... never heard of them before and can’t tell you about them. Enter Eternity, though, is one impressive hard, albeit pompous album. The last few years have soured this writer on Christian metal, what with George Bush’s assault on the planet and the Christian crusades here, there and everywhere. Furthermore, Shining Star’s full-time keyboardist, a.k.a. Dinho Zampier, signalled to the metal fan inside me that the Brazilian band would most likely be unappealing to a reviewer like me. Well, once again, Nightmare Records has surprised me.
Now featuring Nightmare head honcho Lance King on vocals, the Brazilian band impresses mightily with soaring vocals and amazing guitar lead work. The combination of King’s voice and the Blackmore-cum-Malmsteen-influenced axe work of Fabio Rocha is a potent mix and cannot be ignored. The quality is clear right off the bat when opener Nightmare (ha!) kicks in. The vocals are atypical here and resemble the snarl of Dave Mustaine with more high-pitched moments reminiscent of Sanctuary. The song is a tad too restrained and sadly features keyboards, but its class is undisputable. Next off is Insanity and is the first song that signals Shining Star’s Rainbow influences. Lush melodies, well-considered harmonies and the Ritchie Malmsteen-esque solos are a cut above. The cleanly sung and amazingly controlled vocals of King are quite reminiscent of Sacred Blade and the larynx of Jeff Ulmer here. From Now On takes me back to the days of Yngwie Malmsteen when Mark Boals fronted the band. This song is catchy, pompous, deep and classy (again). Dangerous Game is along the same lines, but the track has a nice Saga riff on it of all things, while remaining hard enough. Insomnia too is incredible given the vocals and backing vocals. The soloing is flowing, fast and faultless. The song slows down to open the way for the album’s first slow song, Never Too Late, which does not quite hit the same note as the rockier ones. Other great songs on the album though are No More and Travel Through Time.
Too bad about the keyboards, for which the band loses 20 points, but Shining Star is a beacon for this style of music and fans of Balance Of Power, Dokken, Symphony X, Rainbow or Yngwie Malmsteen owe it to themselves to check Enter Eternity out. Great artwork, by the way! - Ali “The Metallian”