I listened to 03:30 without any preconceived ideas and was rewarded by a fascinating mix of the old and new from this group, who have a cultured line in fantasy-themed storytelling.
Hailing from Turin, these Italian metallers have just issued their debut long player. The band consists of Fabrizio Balliano (Vocals), Riccardo Balliano (Lead guitar), Roberto Deblasio (Rhythm guitar), Gabriele Gilodi (Keyboards), Emanuele Lepredoro (Bass guitar) and Marco Turco (Drums).
03:30 Dehuman Rise is a complex story of metallic magic and reminds me of Helloween circa Walls of Jericho, albeit with less bombast. Fabrizio Balliano is a cross between Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen and that is no bad thing. The one element that shows a clear difference between this band and Helloween is the keyboards, which are far more prominent throughout this album.
Opener “Episode” sets the tone of the collection with its rapier rapid fire riffing and gloriously bombastic vocals. It is a nod towards “Eagle Fly Free” by Helloween and an acknowledgement of the lineage of this record. Other songs, such as “The Message” embody this spirit, but it is clear that there is a lot of love and no shortage of musical talent being brought to the table.
Energy of the Elements mix things up a little with “Abyss Within“, which pits some gruff Death-style vocals against the operatic opulence of the rest of the record. It works surprising well and adds a great dynamic to the sound. The guitar work on this song is top notch as well, cutting chords interspersed with shred-tastic spasms of super chunky riffing.
Other standout tracks include the choral anthem “Hiding Behind Shadows“, which again surprises with the mid-section of Death-like growling.
Overall the tracks are well conceived and executed. I suppose I was somewhat disappointed that the heart seemed to be somewhat lacking and the lyrics didn’t really grab my attention. However, as an overall body of work, 03:30 is an interesting collection and deserves to be heard if you like Power/Operatic Metal in the fine tradition of Helloween, Edguy or Blind Guardian. Certainly, Energy of the Elements don’t lack energy – doh!