RAINTIME - TALES FROM SADNESS - ARISE
Unfortunately, I have to rain on Raintime's parade to some extent. The debut album of the Italian quintet could have been a good metal release were it not for the keyboards. The newcomers have a couple of good chords, nice and impressive soloing and a singer who exudes feeling. In fact, the band is not lacking musicianship or maturity on its first album. The band would have been a nice proposition in the heavy metal realm were the Dream Theater-influenced keyboards not constantly meddling. Tales From Sadness, far from being a doom metal release sees alternating segments between keyboards passages and metal parts and melodic riffs. The same thing goes for the vocals which vary between menacing growls (say a la Dimmu Borgir) and high-pitched melodic vocalizing a la Stratovarius. A song like The Experiment spotlights even more vocal ranges (all of which are impressive) and in-between the bouts of synthesizeism has some very keenly aggressive metal wizardry. Chains Of Sadness is very commercial and sounds like a ballad performed by a prog band. It is well done too. Daily Execution/Paradox Defeat has a fantasy sounding riff a la Freedom Call, Blind Guardian et al. There is not anything on this album that is revolutionary, yet Tales From Sadness could have been a contender this month had it looked within its soul and decided which direction it wishes to take with the music. Nevertheless, the band somehow manages to shuffle a number of influences and styles without sounding weird. As things stand Raintime is a band with lost potential, yet with a singer who emits a lot of feeling and versatility. - Ali "The Metallian"