Scelerata – The Sniper
Oi! One look at that cover artwork and you’re probably as nervous as I was when it finally came down to listening to The Sniper. Truth is, I’ve found Scelerata to be a reasonably good power metal band, despite their somewhat odd taste in artwork (take a look at the cover for “Skeletons Domination” for another illustration), and The Sniper is no exception, even though it may look decidedly like something you DON’T want your kids listening to.
This is, in fact, a Brazilian power metal band playing largely in the power metal style that’s much more typical of Europe. Specifically, I would interpret Scelerata as a blend of the Swedish and German schools due to their balance of aggressive riffing and thundering rhythm with some speedy melodic neo-classical elements (including some harpsichord sounds on “Unmasking Lies”) and Olaf Hayer-esque vocals from Fabio Juan. Although this might not sound that remarkable, it’s another measured step from South America and specifically Brazil, whose power metal offerings inevitably draw comparison to power/prog progenitors Angra. While there are some similarities here to the Brazilian giants (especially early on the album), Scelerata sounds more like a heavier, less neo-classical version of Dionysus.
So, this is an odd release out on Nightmare, what with being pretty solid, no-frills power metal fare. The latter half of the album is a bit lighter (including the title track, which is interesting, given the gunshot that kicks it off). I’m particularly impressed with “The Sniper” because, like Theocracy’s “I AM” and Instanzia’s “The Desert Fox”, it manages to run for ten minutes as a relatively hooky multi-part power metal tune and not an attempted epic. Even with the slowdown and solo section in the midst of the song, the melodies keep flowing, and it may even be the band’s best track here. Really, aside from the useless 38 second instrumental prelude to the finale, nothing here lags far behind the best of the material. “Drowned In Madness” sounds like a classic Italian/Scandinavian power metal cut out of the mid-90’s, while “Unmasking Lies” bears some similarity to Edguy in their power metal heyday. Opener “Rising Sun”, on the other hand, sounds like a pure-power/speed infused take on Angra and Age Of Artemis. Most tunes on The Sniper are hefty enough to be called favorites though. All in all, I’d say it’s been a fair while since I found a straightforward power metal album of this style to be this consistently good.
Go grab The Sniper, definitely, if some more aggressive Pan-European power metal is just what you’re looking for. I don’t foresee anyone being disappointed. If you don’t dig this stuff, shovel off, because it’s more of the same, classy music that powerheads are always craving, with just enough of a classy Brazilian twist to make it remarkable.
Dan’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5