Review: Antonio Pantano – Arcandia

Posted: June 28, 2015 in Reviews
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Antonio Pantano - Arcandia

What’s that? Symphonic, cinematic epic metal from Italy? It’s Rhapsody. Or Rhapsody of Fire. Or Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. Or whatever they’re called now. But wait, its not, its a one man project by uber talented multi instrumentalist Antonio Pantano, whose debut record ‘Arcandia’ is a vast piece showcasing his skills.

And skills he has. ‘Arcandia’ is a well crafted, modern symphonic metal record with lots of variety and some geniunely thrilling moments. I was worried it might be a bit overblown and dramatic but its relatively restrained. Take the ripping ‘Hymn to Brave’ which pulls out some killer licks, or the powerful ‘Icy Tempest’, which takes off in a roar of guitars and drums, with some truly inspiring soaring orchestral flourishes. This is one of the most melodic releases I’ve reviewed in a long time, and it’s somewhat refreshing to be so uplifted by a metal record. It is largely instrumental, apart from spoken word sections that add an element of storytelling to the record.

The instrumental nature of much of the record actually aids it a lot. We’ve all had power metal records that are just too cheesy because of histrionic vocals, and Antonio Pantano avoids this by concentrating more on the music. ‘Arcandia’ is vast in its scope, from the orchestral ‘Heroes of the Mighty Castle’ to the solo tastic ‘Furia Divina’. ‘Arcandia’ is a true testament to how talented a guy Antonio Pantano is, both as a musician and as a composer.

However, there’s a bit too much on the cinematic orchestral front, and not quite enough metal. When the riffs kick in, the soloing and harmonies are brilliant, but they don’t appear often enough for my liking. ‘Arcandia’ is a great achievement on a purely musical basis, but it’s a bit too melodic for my tastes over a full record. I’m into bits of it, the rest just isn’t heavy enough.


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