Released by: Limb Music
Release date: November 20, 2020
Genre: Neo-Classical European Melodic Hardrock/Metal
Marco Pastorino (lv, bv) Cristiano Filippini (lg, rg, k, ar, or) Michele Vioni (lg, rg, ag) Giorgio Terenziani (b) Paolo Caridi (d)
The Force Within (1:44)
We Fight For Eternity (6:47)
Far Away (5:41)
Against The Hellfire (6:05)
Always With You (5:35)
Dying For Love (5:26)
Finding Yourself (5:27)
Lightning In The Night (5:37)
Missing You (6:04)
Moonlight Phantom (5:00)
The Angel And The Faith (6:49)
Ab Angelis Defensa (2:09)
Missing You (Acoustic Version) (CD only Bonus Track) (6:13)
Italian guitarist/producer/composer CRISTIANO FILIPPINI released a couple of instrumental solo albums in the past 10 years besides performing with an Epic Symphonic Orchestra in Italian opera houses and churches, but eventually, it was time do something more with his talent. The result is this first album under the moniker CRISTIANO FILIPPINI’s FLAMES OF HEAVEN, which was released through LIMB MUSIC in November 2020.
The idea started in 2018 and led to this massive project, because a lot of other musicians are involved in this album, including members of bands like ARTHEMIS, SHINING FURY, HOLLOW HAZE, and the singer of TEMPERANCE, Marco Pastorino. Mastered at the famous Finnvox Studios by the legendary MIKE JUSSILA (STRATOVARIUS, NIGHTWISH…), this is a wonderful huge sounding record that combines the best of Neo-Classical Melodic Metal and 80s/90s Melodic Hardrock, with sometimes memories of classic LABYRINTH and VISION DIVINE, and superb songs like Far away and Against the hellfire are sensational uptempo Neo-Classical Melodic Hardrocksongs with a sorta 90s kinda feeling (SONATA/STRATOVARIUS).
Back in the 1990s in especially Japan, this mixture was very popular, with bands like STRATOVARIUS, SONATA ARCTICA, KAMELOT, VISION DIVINE, LABYRINTH, and such reaching superstardom over there. In Europe, there was less coverage by the press, but in the underground, these bands were also quite popular, which always brings my thoughts back to a legendary concert of KAMELOT/SONATA ARCTICA in an old Montmartre Theater Hall in Paris, France in the early 2000s when the crowd went completely crazy during both concerts, in contrast to calmer Dutch gigs of these bands. 20 years later there are not that many bands creating this particular style, but this excellent debut album of CRISTIANO FILIPPINI’s FLAMES OF HEAVEN is an exception to the rule, and dare I say that it is even perhaps the finest release in this genre since the early 2000s!
Other highlights besides the 2 mentioned songs are Dying for love (80s keys, soaring guitar solo, and a catchy hook/melodic chorus, basically this is classic AOR/Melodic Rock that is close to SHY/80s MALMSTEEN), the ballad Missing you (with a SCORPIONS guitar solo), the keyboard friendly uptempo Moonlight phantom and Lightning in the night (excellent Melodic Power Metal like LABYRINTH, WONDERLAND, and SONATA ARCTICA combined).
Without a doubt, this is a highly recommended album to any fan of Neo-Classical European Melodic Hardrock/Metal in the style of KAMELOT, STRATOVARIUS, SONATA ARCTICA, LABYRINTH, etc., etc., which is thanks to superb songwriting, an excellent production/sound, picture-perfect musicianship and of course the lovely vocal work of Marco. You get a lot of value for your money because it has a playing time that almost reaches 70 minutes, so make sure not to miss this wonderful CD.
Written by: Gabor Kleinbloesem
Ratings: Gabor 9/10