Released By: AFM Records
Release Date: June 24th, 2022
Genre: Power Metal/Melodic Metal
Georg Neuhauser – Vocals
Marco Pastorino – Guitars, Vocals
Gabriele Gozzi – Bass
Alfonso Mocerino – Drums
2. Now and Forever
3. Broken Dreams
4. Rise Against the World
5. To the Top
7. I Can’t Stay
8. Trail of Destruction
9. No Rebirth
10. Bound to Our Legacy
11. Wait for Me
It’s always exciting seeing members of two or more of my favorite bands working together. It’s even more exciting when it happens to be two key members of two of my all-time favorite bands in their respective genres, which is the case with the new band Fallen Sanctuary, formed by Serenity vocalist Georg Neuhauser and Temperance vocalist/guitarist Marco Pastorino. Needless to say, when I saw the promo for their debut Terranova pop up in my inbox, and read who was involved, my curiosity gave in and I instantly decided to give it a listen and see what it was all about. After several listens I can safely say, Terranova, is well worth getting excited about, as it does a great job of incorporating elements from existing bands, while also doing enough to stand strong as its beast.
I was curious to see exactly what kind of sound Fallen Sanctuary would go for since Serenity has a fairly traditional symphonic power metal sound, which has evolved somewhat over the years, but generally stayed close to a classic Euro power metal sound, while Temperance has more of a modern melodic metal style, with some power metal elements, so I was curious to see whether this new band would lean more towards one style or another, or do its own thing entirely. In the end, I’d say Terranova strikes somewhat of a middle ground, generally having a much more modern, less symphonic sound than Serenity, while also being much more power metal-based than Temperance overall, as well as not being quite as varied or genre-bending as the latter. Which isn’t to say the music here is exactly predictable, either: There is quite a bit going on, but for the most part it falls into either power metal or melodic metal territory, without any attempts at extreme metal elements, trance, or anything else experimental.
Moving away from comparisons, though, what matters is whether or not Terranova is an enjoyable album in its own right, and in that regard, I’d say it’s a huge success. Neuhauser is in top form as always, his voice is as smooth, powerful, and charming as ever, while Pastorino excels both with his very melodic, often beautiful guitar work, as well as adding in some of his intense, powerful supporting vocals in quick bursts, as he often does with his main band. The overall sound is quite powerful, with the vocals and guitars especially sounding great, though I do think the mixing is maybe slightly off, with the keys often being fully buried and overshadowed, to the point where I needed to wear headphones to be fully sure they were even there on certain tracks, or if I was imagining them (they are there, just to be clear.) For the most part, this is a more guitar-driven album, with some pretty heavy riffs from time to time, lots of fast playing, and some fantastic melodies throughout, as well as some fairly simple but very nice sounding guitar solos. Keyboards are almost always a secondary feature, mostly being there in the background, aside from on lighter, more AOR-inspired tracks like “To the Top” and “Trail of Destruction”, where they’re a bit more prominent.
The songwriting on Terranova is excellent throughout, and is quite varied, with a mix of fast-paced power metal, mid-paced melodic metal with occasional AOR influences, as well as a couple of ballads. I find the faster, higher energy tracks are generally my favorites, but everything is well done, and while there aren’t any huge surprises, the album remains fresh and engaging from start to finish. The title track kicks things off at a fast and furious pace, with some excellent melodic guitar work throughout, as well as some very high-energy verses and an excellent, extremely catchy chorus. The one thing I find a bit weird is that the upbeat, triumphant tone of the music feels at odds with the very dark message of the track (it deals with drug abuse), but in terms of the overall sound, it’s an amazing track. Next is “Now and Forever”, the first of several tracks lamenting the current state of the world, especially on a natural and environmental level. Musically, it’s another upbeat track, moving at a fast pace during the verses, with some hard-hitting riffs and intense drums, before slowing down a bit to give way for a very strong, very melodic chorus.
One track I instantly fell in love with is “Broken Dreams”, another power metal-influenced track, though it’s slightly lighter and slowed down just a bit compared to the first two tracks, with the verses, in particular, being quite subdued. It builds up momentum going into the chorus, though, which is insanely catchy and has some of my favorite vocal lines and lyrics on the entire album, being another track about the condition of the world. This is a track where the music has just slight hints of a darker tone to it, which fits in nicely with the lyrics. The hits continue with “Rise Against the World”, another slightly lighter, more melodic metal-influenced track with just small touches of power metal. It has some wonderful melodic guitar work and excellent vocal melodies, as well as a very fun chorus that references the Serenity album War of Ages (which fits in line with the band name Fallen Sanctuary also referencing a Serenity album.)
The first track I was initially a bit unsure about is “To the Top”. It’s a nice track on its own, but it took a while for me to fully warm up to it since it’s a much lighter, more AOR-influenced track. I find the early parts of it are a bit slow and not all that engaging, though the chorus is quite nice, and the track does become more intense and epic towards the end, with the last minute or in particular being excellent. Another lighter track is “Trail of Destruction”, which left a stronger impression on me right from the get-go. It’s a fairly slow-paced melodic metal track, and has the most noticeable use of keys for its main melody, while also having probably the most melodic and most memorable chorus of the album, as well as one of my favorites I’ve heard so far this year.
Going back to the heavier side of things, “Destiny”, “No Rebirth” and “Bound to Our Legacy” are all high-speed, high-energy power metal tracks, with excellent choruses and melodic guitar work throughout, with the first of those, in particular, being probably the heaviest song on the album, while the latter two are more melodic, but still very fast-paced and fans of classic power metal should love all three of them. There are two acoustic ballads on the album, “I Can’t Stay” and the closing track “Wait for Me”. I find the former to be solid, but nothing special, with the chorus being nice but not one of my favorites, while everything is just kinda there. On the other hand, the latter is a fantastic ballad, with some excellent melodies during the verses, while the chorus has a fantastic, emotional vocal performance, excellent lyrics, and very strong vocal melodies, to help make it one of the highlights of the album, as well as an excellent way to close out the album.
Overall, Terranova is a very strong debut from two of my favorite musicians in all of metal. It offers a nice mix of power metal, melodic metal, and a bit of AOR, as well as two ballads, one of which in particular is fantastic. Fans of either Temperance or Serenity should find a lot to enjoy here, while any fan of power metal or melodic metal, in general, is highly recommended to give this album a listen, as it has the kind of strong performances and excellent songwriting one would expect from a top tier album in either style. Fallen Sanctuary has a lot of promise, and with the songs for a follow-up written already, I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this unexpected, but very much welcome team-up!
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.