Soulspell – Hollow’s Gathering
My only previous experience with Soulspell was an album I bought for my colleague Daniel Millard called The Labyrinth Of Truths. And, as I’m just safekeeping it for him, I haven’t even listened to it. So I started the Brazilian band’s third outing, Hollow’s Gathering, knowing nothing about them. Luckily the experience was pleasant and engaging, something I usually don’t expect from metal operas that aren’t Avantasia. [Editor’s note: As if you should doubt my impeccable taste!]
Of course, this being a promo and a sequel, I have no full grasp on the story (it features a dragon, though). I am also not familiar with every single guest star, although at least Matt Smith (Theocracy), Blaze Bailey (ex-Iron Maiden) and Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-everything) registered as recognizable voices. So all I’m good for is reviewing the music, apparently! Thank God that’s what I’m here for.
The hollows begin to gather in the title track, with a female vocalist’s fragile solo breaking open into a fast, sprawling epic. As soon as the Ripper enters, all hell breaks loose and Soulspell delivers some blistering power metal not unlike Germany’s Domain or Masterplan. The perfect implementation of Hammond organs with the rock ‘n’ roll guitar sound certainly reminds me of the former, but Soulspell is not easily compared to one particular act. Which makes them quite unique.
Mastermind Heleno Vale (any relation to Orden Ogan’s Allister Vale perhaps?) continues to bring the goods with firecrackers “Change The Tide” and “The Dead Tree”, but is not afraid of more contemplative work either. The Matt Smith-induced “To Crawl Or To Fly” beautifully evokes the feeling of the struggle to succeed, and its melodies carry you from ground to sky. Similarly “A Rescue Into The Storm” seems to offer shelter to the lost, as represented in the welcoming chorus. “The Keepers Game” is cut from a similar cloth, a song like a dream always meandering into new interesting movements.
At this point the lack of detailed plot stands in the way of the full experience, but one definitely gets the impression there is more to these tunes than just a haunting atmosphere. The balladry here doesn’t stick as well as the more power metal-oriented material, but overall Hollow’s Gathering never gets dull, and each listen loosens a little more of the peel. Definitely one to purchase, but however the blanks are filled in, Soulspell has delivered a gripping adventure that will soak into your skin. Or scales.
Arno’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5