Athena – Twilight of Days
The year? 2001, the place? Italy, the style? Power metal. Yes, I’m sure those Italian power metal afficionado’s amongst you already have an inkling as to what Italy’s own Athena sound like. Take a dose of Labyrinth, a sprinkle of Andre Matos era Angra, a whisk of Ramon Messina bands Alkemyst and Secret Sphere as well as a swirl of Stratovarius.
Athena’s Twilight Of Days is a hearty helping of some of the finest second/third tier power metal around. Part of the Noise Records roster before the label sadly ended, which I always found a little strange due to Noise’s tendency for German heavy/power bands; I feel Athena would have been perfect for Underground Symphony. But I digress, on to the actual music now.
The album opens up in pure Labyrinth/Vision Divine style with building harmonies, moving into a march then delving into an Alkemyst style lead, eventually the band fully kicks off and it’s pure Labyrinth season. Their vocalist Francesco Neretti boasts DNA strands of Ramon Messina, Rob Tyranti and Andre Matos, giving his voice quite the endearing quality – while he pales amongst the majesty of the aforementioned vocalists – his charm and of course that endearing quality results in a singer who is warm on the ears and good for the music.
Athena also show heavier shades to their music, certainly uncommon of their regional scene. “Till The End” displays their heavier side quite well, and reminds in places Secret Sphere although a slight touch raunchier (maybe that was what interested Noise). Tracks such as “Hymn” also shows the band can play a more traditional meat and potatoes style of heavy/power metal, and “Falling Ghosts” shows the band in typical speedy Italian form that surprisingly has more in common with Helloween than Labyrinth which is cool.
Everything from production to performance is generally quite good here, and while I never find myself truly craving Twilight of Days it is still, for the most part, good. I think where this album comes a little short is in its length, as I feel this could have been cut down to around 40/45 and served as a much more enjoyable release.
All in all Twilight Of Days is a good slice of power metal, although nowhere near essential. I’d suggest picking this up if you can find it cheap, which is what I did. While there is nothing glaringly bad about this, a lot of bands do it better.
Chris’ rating: 3.5 out of 5