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Secret Sphere: Blackened Heartbeat
Secret Sphere - Blackened Heartbeat Art

Secret Sphere: Blackened Heartbeat

Symphonic Power Metal
4.5/5.0

Some 20 years ago, when I was recovering from the sordid Nineties and the rise of grunge, alt rock, and nu-metal, I discovered classic heavy metal was still alive in Europe. I welcomed Edguy, Blind Guardian, Primal Fear, Gammaray, among others, into my musical life. Everything became right with the world.

Then, several years before I began reviewing music, I also discovered Secret Sphere, formed by significant guitarist Aldo Lonobile, in the early 2000s. Specifically their debut Mistress Of The Shadowlight (1999), A Time Never Come (2001), and Heart & Anger (2005) were personal favorites. Now, another 20 years on, Secret Sphere returns with their tenth studio album, Blackened Heartbeat.

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Secret Sphere

As in the past, this album is a concept album. Vocalist Roberto Messina explains: Dr. Julius B, the brilliant psychologist, is adrift due to a profound depressive crisis; unable to generate own emotions, he ... works compulsively plundering the unconscious of his patients to drain vital lymph and feel again ... the "blackened heartbeat" pulsating in his veins. Creepy, huh?


Musically then, Blackened Heart and its story is fleshed out in Secret Sphere' signature symphonic power metal written and arranged by Aldo Lonobile, and featuring his dramatic and impressive guitar work. You get a pleasant taste of his acoustic work at the start with The Crossing Toll, then later within the ballad, Anna. Otherwise, his solos are impressive throughout, often teamed with Gabriele Ciaccia's keyboard work. Notable eruptions arrive within Aura, Bloody Wednesday, and Confession.

After these things, one general observation can be made about this album: mostly this is fast and heavy power metal, perhaps with lesser progressive metal nuances. Songs like the aforementioned Bloody Wednesday, but also One Day I Will, Confession, Blackened Heartbeat are raucous power metal romps. Particularly frenetic is the aptly titled Psycho Kid, which rages and race from the gate. The accelerator is not merely put to the metal; it's pushed through the floor board of the Ferrari.

All said, Secret Sphere's latest and tenth album Blackened Heartbeat is another roaring romp of their customary symphonic power metal, perhaps their heaviest to date, with Aldo Lonobile fine fret at the forefront. Easily recommended.



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The Take Away

Secret Sphere's latest and tenth album Blackened Heartbeat is another roaring romp of their customary symphonic power metal, perhaps their heaviest to date, with Aldo Lonobile fine fret at the forefront. Easily recommended.

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