MISTHERIA – Messenger Of The Gods

MISTHERIA - Messenger Of The Gods


Lion Music
Release date: 2003

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Italian keyboard virtuoso Mistheria debuts with a flabbergasting album: Messenger of the Gods. Actually, this can hardly be called a debut: Mistheria has been around for years, and is a highly profiled performer in several compilations, as well as collaborations, both on CD and on stage. With this album, he proves he has earned his high profile reputation, and delivers a splendid collection of songs that will surely be welcomed and appreciated by a large group of fans worldwide.

Messenger of the Gods is no solo album. With him, Mistheria has some 30 odd performers, or “guests,” as he calls them. Some are well known to us (John Macaluso, Rob Rock, and Alex Masi just to mention a few), while the majority makes up a list of who-is-who in Italian Progressive Rock today. Check out his website for details!

Style-wise, this is an album in the Neo-Classical branch of Progressive Metal, with a generous dash of German Power/Speed Metal. Melodies, harmonies, and chord progressions are kept well within the tradition of Neo-Classical music. Rhythms, however, are from time to time very complex, and this adds an intriguing aspect to the music, just as one should expect from Progressive Metal. The lyrics deal mainly with mythological characters and their tales … perhaps not the most mind-boggling words, but indeed so in line with the Neo-Classical and German Power/Speed Metal tradition, that it’s hard to imagine how anyone could have done this any better.

One of the most appreciative features of this album is Mistheria’s respect for the music and his fellow musicians. How often have you heard guitarists spoil an entire album with their masturbatory licks? Or drummers beat the freaking shit out of a perfectly good song? Or singers cry their heart and lungs out so hard (anatomically speaking), that it leaves you with a consuming desire to listen to instrumental elevator Muzak? All of this for the sake of having their own name listed on the cover of the album? Mistheria is above it all. He is the creative and directive mastermind, but is generous enough to let the artists speak their own mind too (through their instruments, of course). This results in music with remarkable honesty and emotion.

Standing out from the crowd of guests on this album is undoubtedly singer Max Romano … he runs up among the finest of male Metal vocalists today. Romano and Mistheria go way back together, with a number of Dream Theater tribute performances in Italy under their belt so far. One can clearly hear Romano’s Dream Theater influence, but he is second to none when it comes to establishing a unique sound of his own. This fellow can give you Goosebumps big time …

Among the other all-excellent performers — Andrea Scala (drums), Emilio Di Marco (bass), Leonardo Porcheddu (guitar) and Maria Pia Di Gioia (soprano vocals) — all deserve some extra credit for their rock-solid craftsmanship and gracious musicianship.

Mistheria himself plays his keyboards just right, too, of course. Like a group of ballerinas, his fingers dance on the ebony and ivory keys, and he moves elegantly from the subtle background soundscapes to brilliant solos. But most important is his efforts as composer and arranger. Having more than 30 people involved with an album is no guarantee for success. Just imagine if you had some 30 people coming over to your house to make you an omelet. Some come early and some come late. Some are pastry chefs, some carry a lifetime of experience in cooking at home for their spouse, and others swing the knife at the local burger joint. Unless you take charge yourself and become the head chef, that omelet will not likely make it to your plate. Mistheria grabs the magic conductor wand and stitches up a musical quilt worth admiring! With regards to this, and to the before mentioned performers, Mistheria makes a smart move in keeping the same singer, drummer, guitarist and bass player for the majority of the tracks, thus creating the kind of unionism required for an album like this, as if this is a band and not a kitchen party gone astray.

But this is not a flawless album, in spite of a dozen great songs and all the excellent individual and collective performances. Since all the 12 tracks are quite long, they simply run short of time, as a CD can hold no more than 80 minutes of music. This results in a couple of very embarrassing fade-outs (such as in songs “The Beast of the Maze” and “Dragon’s Teeth”). Also, the album tends to be quite over-produced, especially on the vocals side. Max Romano is an excellent singer, but he falls terribly short as his own backing singer when harmonies are added to the melodies. It’s not that he doesn’t hit the notes, it’s just that it becomes too much … sort of like chocolate-chip brownies with chocolate frosting coated in caramel sauce. Finally, the symphonic parts on the album sound lame as they are poured out from Mistheria’s computer controlled sequencers and synthesizers. In the end, there is no substitute for real strings and horns and reeds.

Still, with 10 equally good songs and 2 instrumentals, it’s really hard to pick any absolute favorites, but perhaps the 3-piece instrumental suite, “Messenger of the Gods,” is worth a few moments alone in the spotlight. It’s truly rare to hear this kind of variety and dynamics in Modern Metal. Truly a masterpiece!

If by now you haven’t already ordered the album on the internet or at least figured out what a major lift to the skies this CD is, let me make it clear to you: this is manna from the heavens of the gods; these are the vital words from the Messenger of the Gods.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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