Italy’s Moonlight Haze are back for a sophomore full-length outing, with ‘Lunaris’ swiftly following their 2019 debut, ‘De Rerum Natura’. While their self-proclaimed genre of symphonic power metal might make many run a mile, and many more instantly lap it up, there’s a lot more going on here than your standard album in said style, so I truly hope it reaches the wide audience it so utterly deserves. On the surface, it might be kind of derivative, but these Italians have packed their compositions with some subtle, and not so subtle, twists and turns that elevate them well above the usual sympho-power fare. They’ve also loaded their songs with an incessant stream of addictive and alluring melodies that have been spinning around my head long after each occasion I’ve finished listening to the album. Moonlight Haze certainly know how to write a very decent tune.
Beyond their compositional abilities, these Italians have brought their songs to life with an ardent Mediterranean passion throughout. This is most emphatic within Chiara Tricarico’s impassioned performance. And the former Temperance vocalist shines here, with her wide ranging voice that has power at the low-end, spine-tingling qualities at its highest register with some refined soprano styled singing, and excelling at everything in-between.
A lot of effort has evidently gone into songs’ arrangements, too, as repeated listens reveal further depths and subtleties within the perfectly mixed layers (a fantastic mix by Simone Mularoni)… be it backing vocals that suddenly become more apparent, guitar/bass nuances, clever keyboard melodies or infused sample within the exquisitely forged instrumentations. To be honest, it took me a few listens before I was fully able to appreciate the true essence of this album, and the hard work and skill that’s evidently gone into making it. Like I said at the start of this review, there’s a lot more going on here that isn’t necessarily apparent at first. And it’s an album with many highlights, but I’m kind of addicted to ‘Enigma’, which is sung in their native language, and an English language version is also included for all the non-Italian speakers who want to sing along!
And you know what? I’ve been harping on lately about certain releases this year that are the perfect escapism for our current pandemic-related anxious times; albums that have some kind of mystical romanticism and transportive power that have taken me to a place of reverie. But, sometimes, to alleviate anxiety, a good old dose of unmitigated metal merriment is what’s required, and the inherent entertainment value of ‘Lunaris’ offers the perfect antidote to all the virus related angst. It’s 53 minutes of anxiety alleviating, pure revelry and musical bliss.
Review by Mark Holmes
12th June 2020
1) Till the End
2) The Rabbit of the Moon
4) Under Your Spell
6) Wish Upon a Scar
7) The Dangerous Art of Overthinking
8) Without You
9) Of Birth and Death
10) Nameless City
11) Enigma (English Version)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"On the surface, it might be kind of derivative, but these Italians have packed their compositions with some subtle, and not so subtle, twists and turns that elevate them well above the usual sympho-power fare."