Virtual Symmetry – Virtual Symmetry Review

Virtual Symmetry plays a very classic style of prog, often along the lines of Dream Theater and Symphony X during extended instrumental portions, and sometimes similar to Seventh Wonder...

Released By: Sensory Records

Release Date: September 16th, 2022

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: https://www.virtualsymmetry.com/

 

Line Up:

Marco Pastorino – Vocals

Valerio Æsir Villa – Guitars

Alessandro Poppale – Bass

Mark Bravi – Keyboards

Alfonso Mocerino – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Virtual Symmetry

2. My Story Unfolds

3. The Paradise of Lies

4. Come Alive

5. Butterfly Effect

6. Fantasie Di Verità

7. Rising

8. Insomnia

 

Sometimes, my first impressions of a band can be very misleading. The first time I heard Swiss/Italian progressive metal band Virtual Symmetry was with their debut Message From Eternity, which I tried getting into multiple times, but for some reason, it just never clicked for me. I had pretty much written the band off at that point, but after seeing some interesting reviews for their second album, Exoverse, in 2020, I decided to give it a shot, out of curiosity. Not only did I end up loving that album, but I soon discovered the band’s vocalist was none other than Marco Pastorino, who I of course also know from Temperance, Fallen Sanctuary, and several other bands, so knowing he was involved only got me further interested in the band’s music. Their self-titled third full-length release is coming later this month, and after several listens, it has hooked me in just as much as its predecessor did.

Virtual Symmetry plays a very classic style of prog, often along the lines of Dream Theater and Symphony X during extended instrumental portions, and sometimes similar to Seventh Wonder when it comes to the vocal melodies. The music often switches quite seamlessly from being intense and heavy, to calm and relaxing, which is especially effective on longer tracks. Guitarist and founding member Valerio Villa is the biggest star of the show, displaying some at times very heavy, complex riffs, along with otherworldly good melodies, and of course, the solo work is also brilliant. Heavier parts tend to fall somewhere in between the chunkier parts of a heavy DT track, or the speedier, more power metal-centric SX tracks, often settling into a nice middle ground somewhere between the two. As good as he is, though, keyboardist Mark Bravi certainly does not lag behind either, often laying the backdrop for the music with his atmospheric keys, and he is also allowed to go all out with some more flashy parts, as well as some fantastic solos of his own. And of course, Marco Pastorino is in top form as always, sounding powerful and intense when needed, while also doing some nice softer vocals at times, fitting in perfectly with the music. Production is also top-notch, handled by DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni.

In a way, this album feels almost like a reversal of Exoverse: Where that album slowly built up to its massive, 24-minute closing title track, this album places its 20-minute title track right at the beginning, with the rest of the album almost feeling like bonus material, after how packed that opening track is. Indeed, while I love the entire album, I do feel the opening track sets expectations perhaps a bit too high, and while everything else is still great, nothing else quite reaches the heights of that opener. Many of the tracks almost feel like mini-epics of their own, though, changing tempos a lot and throwing in all kinds of different passages to mix up the usual verse-chorus formula. For the most part, that approach works out well and helps create a fresh and dynamic-sounding album, though there are times when I find the songwriting gets a little bit messy, most notably on “My Story Unfolds”.

Before I get into any of the other songs, though, it’s time to tackle that 20-minute mammoth head-on. Unsurprisingly, it has an extended intro, with some beautiful piano melodies leading the way, enhanced by slight symphonic backing, and the full band kicks in after a couple of minutes. From that point, the intro continues, with bursts of heaviness, some more epic keyboards, and brief solos, before the pace picks up around the four-minute mark, leading into the first vocal section. The early portion alternates nicely between mid-paced vocal passages and an up-tempo, somewhat power metal influenced chorus, which stands as one of the highlights of the track. From there, the song continues, frequently alternating between calm and heavy, fast and slow, with many fantastic passages. My favorite sequence comes around 12-13 minutes in, where the riffs get especially thick and heavy, mixed in with a very cool, technically impressive keyboard solo, and then shortly after that is a section where the guitars get very sinister and complex, and that passage is absolutely killer. The softer vocal passages in the second half are also excellent, with an amazing late song chorus, and then the track closes out with a sort of overture sequence, offering up previews of some of the melodies that will be appearing on the remaining tracks. It’s an absolute stunner of an opening track, full of impressive moments both musically and vocally, and from a songwriting point of view, everything comes together perfectly. While the title track of Exoverse was already impressive, this is easily the band’s best song to date, and I think they’ll have a very tough time trying to top it.

Following such an epic opening was always going to be tough, so perhaps that’s part of the reason the next track, “My Story Unfolds” is probably my least favorite on the album. It opens up strongly, with some nice, groovy riffs, and it has some nice instrumental work throughout, as well as an excellent chorus, but I find it to be a bit uneven, with some passages not quite fitting in nicely. The beginning of the opening verse in particular uses a sort of echo effect, and quite honestly, it drives me crazy, making it hard to get into the song until the aforementioned chorus appears. The rest of the song is better, but it never reaches the heights of most other tracks here. Things pick up again with “The Paradise of Lies”, a more upbeat track, with a very classic DT feel to it. Following a brief keyboard intro, it picks up the pace with a fast-paced instrumental section and some nice melodies, before slowing down for a calm, but highly enjoyable opening verse. The pace picks up again for a wonderful chorus, which goes into full power metal territory, and is one of my favorites on the album. The extended instrumental section in the second half is stunning and has some of my favorite passages on the album, with both the guitars and keyboards being given plenty of room to shine. It’s an excellent track overall and is set to be released as the third single.

The first pre-release single is “Come Alive”, another up-tempo, power metal influenced track. On this track in particular I notice some strong DGM influence, both in the guitar work and vocal melodies, with the chorus being slow and very melodic, while the verses move at a much faster pace. It has some excellent instrumental work as always, but it’s also a more straightforward track, easier to follow than most of the others here, which makes it a great pick for a single. Next is the second single “Butterfly Effect”, and if the album has any traditional ballads, this is it. There’s a bit of heaviness here and there, especially during the intro, but there’s a lighter feel to it overall, and once the first verse hits, it quickly turns into a beautiful, piano-driven ballad, where Pastorino’s vocals take center stage. It’s an entertaining track throughout, with some nice instrumental work, an excellent, very emotional-sounding guitar solo in the second half, and of course, the chorus is where the vocal melodies are at their absolute best, and Pastorino delivers some of his best vocals on the album.

From this point on, the album largely calms down. There are still some explosions of heaviness here and there, but I find the second half of the album never gets as intense as the first half. This is very much the case with “Fantasie di verità”, a lighter-sounding, keyboard-driven track that falls into melodic prog territory. There is some heavy guitar to be found, but it’s largely in short bursts, and it’s a very melodic track overall, with both the guitars and keyboards being a bit dialed back in their intensity, instead giving room for the vocals to shine. At the same time, there is a bit of a classic prog feel to some of the instrumentation, especially with how the keys sound at points. The chorus is the highlight, though, with Pastorino getting to sing in his native Italian tongue, and he sounds fantastic.

The last heavier track is “Rising” which opens up with an intense, very guitar-driven instrumental passage, before settling into a nice melodic prog groove. This track is heavier than the previous one, with a few explosive sections throughout, but it still mostly stays more laid back and relaxed, and has a fantastic chorus, as well as some excellent instrumental passages, with the faster sections especially being great. Closing out the album is “Insomnia”, a very quiet track that does have a few vocal parts, but it feels less like a full-on ballad, and more like an outro, never really developing into much beyond that. It’s nice enough for what it is, but it isn’t one of the more memorable tracks on the album.

Despite a slightly underwhelming ending, Virtual Symmetry is a fantastic album overall, as well as a perfect representation of what the band stands for. The 20-minute opening track in particular is an amazing demonstration of the band’s talents, covering the full range from heavy, to soft to somewhere in between, and it allows all of the musician’s plenty of room to shine, along with the vocals. The songwriting throughout the rest of the album doesn’t quite reach the same heights, but it’s still an excellent album overall, and one any fan of more classic-sounding progressive metal should check out.

 

Ratings: 9/10

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.

 

Tell Us How You Feel

Comments

 
Virtual Symmetry - Virtual Symmetry
9
Virtual Symmetry - Virtual Symmetry
The Good
  • Classic Progressive Metal
  • Simone Mularoni
  • For fans of Dream Theater, Symphony X and Seventh Wonder
  • 9
Categories
Album ReviewsNews
Five Finger Death Punch, Megadeth & The Hu @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, Ny On September 12th, 2022
Five Finger Death Punch, Megadeth & The Hu @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, Ny On September 12th, 2022

Five Finger Death Punch, Megadeth & The Hu @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, Ny On September 12th, 2022

Photo Credit: Dhruv Kumar

Ayron Jones - "Filthy" (Official Music Video)

RELATED BY

UA-20474228-2