Released by: Scarlet Records
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Genre: Progressive Heavy Metal
Fabio Lione: Vocals
Nick Savio: Guitars
Dave Cestaro: Bass Guitar
Camillo Colleluori: Drums
2.Watching In Silence
4.No Rest For The Angels
5.Life Has No Meaning
6.We Must Believe
8.Il Tempo Del Fuoco
9.A Fading Angel’s Life
10.Countdown To Revenge
11.The Gate To Nowhere…
Italian band Hollow Haze was formed in 2003 by guitarist Nick Savio. Since then the band has released 4 full-length albums. In February 2013 the band joined famous singer Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire, Labyrinth, Vision Divine). He performed vocals on the band upcoming album ‘Countdown To Revenge’ Revenge’ which will be released 10 September 2013. The album also features collaborations with keyboardist Simone Giorgini aka “Antarktica” aka “Nightbreeder” and his Wintermoon Orchestra. Also well-known producer and sound engineer Sascha Paeth have mixed the album and so it has an excellent sound as expected.
Hollow Haze music is Progressive Heavy Metal with significant Symphonic and Power Metal influences. Previous albums are often compared with Savatage but the introduction of Lione has influenced the band’s sound and now some similarities with Rhapsody of Fire could be noticed. However ‘Countdown To Revenge’ is more progressive and not as fast as Rhapsody albums. Anyways Fabio has done a great job with his performance here showing all the variety of his high and clean voice.
The music is bombastic and magnificent; “Antarktica” performs very good orchestral arrangements which are perfectly combined with mighty guitar riffs and intensive choruses. In almost each song Nick Savio recorded outstanding melodic guitar solos, I enjoy them very much, he is a superb guitarist. And another intriguing thing – some oriental elements could be found over the music, which remind me of “Kashmir”.
I won’t say that the music is very complex and it not pure Progressive Metal but all songs have several different parts. All tracks are worth listening. There are some songs that vary from mid-tempo to up-tempo, like “Watching in Silence” and “No Rest for the Angels”.
There are also slower songs: “Life Has No Meaning” is not a ballad and has a weird suddenly breaking solo at the end; and “The Answer” – mid-tempo, with good choruses and shredding solo and some changes of melody.
From my own personal tastes, I always enjoy fast Power Metal-influenced compositions. “Still Alive” is memorable portraying some impressive orchestral arrangements and powerful riffings, a nice short atmospheric break in the middle and beautiful guitar solo. Moreover it is featuring very special guest vocal by Rick Altzi (Masterplan, Thunderstone, At Vance). “We Must Believe“ is another good Progressive Power Metal composition with intensive drumming, fast and bright. The third up-tempo song is “Il Tempo del Fuoco” and it is closer to Rhapsody than any others, I could should also highlight some nice choruses here.
Two epic songs are placed at the end of the album, both complicated and varied. “A Fading Angel’s Life” begins very fast but then slows down, including beautiful piano part and melodic guitar solo in Axel Rudi Pell style. The title track “Countdown to Revenge” is even more diverse, featuring short orchestral intro, mid-tempo epic parts, an acoustic break that suddenly turns into extreme Black Metal (!) part with harsh vocals, then comes Power Metal part, slow piano and calm section and finally the song concludes with it’s grandiose end. Very good track, though some moments I prefer less than others.
Dark restless atmospheric outro “The Gate to Nowhere…” repeats the intro “Room 212”.
So ‘Countdown To Revenge’ is a solid work, the band slightly changes their music, it becomes less heavy but more symphonic, driven and melodic. This album should be recommended not only to all fans of Fabio Lione and Rhapsody of Fire but for those who like good mix of Progressive, Power and Symphonic Metal.
Written by Egor “EG Power”
Ratings Egor 8/10