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Heavenblast: Flashback
Power/Progressive Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Italian prog/power metal band Heavenblast's 'Flashback' nearly never saw the light of day. Sure, they had an eponymous release in 2003 which pretty much flew under the radar. 'Flashback' was recorded in 2006, but only picked up by Italian label Underground Symphony in the last year. Give Heavenblast a gold medal for simple perseverance! This is typical Italian power and progressive metal. So, frankly, there is nothing new here except for their fine compositions, hardy determination and the addition of some great female vocals. We're introduced to Giulia D'Orazio and Federica "sister" De Boni (formerly of White Skull) on vocals and they do a fine job.

To their credit, Marco La Corte is no slouch on vocals; his voice is strong, though predictable, due to his average range. And both Donatello Menna and Alessandro Saponaro on guitars exceed expectations for such a young band. Additionally, Francesco Di Giandomenico adds great atmosphere on keyboards. Together with Diego Chiacchierini (drums) and Lorenzo Colucci (bass), Heavenblast has the makings of a powerful metal band. I just wish they would break out of the Italian metal fold as did The Dogma. I think with time and experience, Heavenblast has an exceptional future.

As for the songs, the best tracks include (read on for more details) 'The Abyss,' 'Start All Over,''Winter Falling,' and 'Soulraiser.' Now, to be more specific: on 'Winter Falling,' Mr. La Corte is at his peak and the guitar work is phenomenal. 'Soulraiser' tricks you with its mellow opening and then proceeds into a great power metal tune with prog elements. Mr. Giandomenico shines on 'Opposite Poles;' his keyboard work is enthralling. Again, Corte delivers smooth vocals, finally touching his obvious capabilities. The guitar work is subtle and enchanting. As I said before, composition and arrangement is Heavenblast's strong point. This could be the best number on the album.

'Why?' is an exceptional tune that blends metal with ballad. It is a strong number with great vocals and vocal harmonies. Again, our guitarists excel when called upon to simmer and then explode in solo. Just for fun, history, or simple appreciation, Heavenblast covers Queen's 'The Show Must Go On.' Frankly, Mr. Corte is no Freddie Mercury, but I cannot fault his enthusiasm: he does a good job. Even though I enjoyed this, overall, Heavenblast should have left this alone and maybe chosen something else.

Heavenblast are newcomers to the prog/power metal field (even though their roots go back to 1995) and they show great promise. I don't know what the future holds, but they're moving in the right direction. Possibly with better direction (production, et al), Heavenblast could save Italian metal from its inherent mediocrity. They have the skills and talents to rise above their peers. Find 'Flashback' and check it out; I think you will be pleased.
  - Craig Hartranft

In Short

Heavenblast is another Italian metal band that has the skills to rise above their peers. With the strength of musicianship and compostion, they can do it. This is a fine album worthy of your consideration.

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