Released: 2016, Sleazy Rider Records
I have always been a fan of Overtures more muscular brand of power metal compared to what the majority of their fellow Italians typically embrace. ARTIFACTS is the fourth release from the band that formed in Gorizia, Italy in 2003. The bound has downsized to one guitar for this album, with former guitarist Adriano Crasnich absent and Marco Falanga putting his impressive stamp on guitars this time. Led by the fantastic and soaring vocals of Michele Guaitoli, ARTIFACTS is an album that grabbed me immediately with its potent blend of melodic, progressive and aggressive riffs.
Album opener “Repentance” is notable for the fact that it does not open as a cinematic instrumental, which has now become de rigueur for beginning a power metal album. The verse riffs are start and stop before leading into a connecting chorus. The title track though is what the band should have led with because it belongs near the top of their catalog. With an opening and winding riff that recalls Angel Dust’s “Come Into Resistance.” The vocals are top notch and the lyrics thoughtful, poignant even. “Artifacts” is just one of many strong songs like “Gold” that signal Overtures vast growth, offering a range of depth and variety that surpasses all of their previous efforts. “Profiles” displays precise and quick riffing in the opening before moving mid-tempo.
The drum work from Andrea Cum helps propel the speedier passages on the album, while Galanga repeatedly offers inspiring solos and rhythms. Above it all is Guaitoli’s comfortable range that strives for, and usually finds, the right vocal melodies to complement the music, especially come chorus time. Bassist Luka Klanjscek keeps things grounded and rhythmic, helping to compensate for the one less guitarist on this album.
The last three songs of the album find the band straining to maintain the momentum of the first eight tunes. The ten minute plus epic “Teardrops” has the band trying to do too much, still offering an enjoyable if somewhat less focused and disjointed tune. “Animals” is likewise is a bit of an experimental departure, with Guaitoli really testing his upper range while including spoken passages and screams. Strategically placed near the end of the album, it comes at the right time, and while not a personal favorite it, does reiterate the album’s diversity. “Savior” finishes the trio, being more keyboard driven and semi-balladic without the fire of the rest of the album.
Ultimately, ARTIFACTS is quite strong, tracking at eleven songs of high quality power metal. The whole package from the artwork and booklet is commendable and the lyrics are an overlooked strength. Fans of Secret Sphere, Edguy, and Angel Dust will find Overtures presents many similarities to these bands with their own individual flavor. Definitely recommended if this is your style of metal.