Secret Sphere
Portrait of a Dying Heart
Style: Power Metal
Release date: 26 November, 2012
Playing time: 58:20

With the entrance of new singer Michele Luppi (ex-Vision Divine) the expectations are rather high. This is the 7th album by this Italian progressive power metal band. Michele is an excellent singer and the band knows that because his vocals are rather in front of the mix and he uses his powerful voice very often. Besides heavy tracks there are quite a few balladesk parts like in the tracks "Lie to Me" and "The Rising of Love". In those parts he steps down a little and uses his emotional voice more. Then you can really hear what a fabulous singer he is. The sound of vocalist Michele reminds me a bit of Ian Parry (Elegy).

Opener "Portrait of a Dying Heart" is an instrumental track in a kind of Dream Theater style. The other songs are very bombastic with nice keyboard parts, which sometimes remind me of Kamelot. In general the album has a heavy sound with good riffs like for example in "The Fall" and "Healing". The shredding of Aldo Lonobile is very tasteful and as the most important songwriter he has topped himself. The songs never sound too cheesy or too catchy and that makes this a rather powerful album. Michele puts a rather big stamp on the sound of the band, but for me that isn't a problem at all. The best track is "Secret Fear", an epic track with a lot of variation and all ingredients (you need) involved. A lot of albums start with the best tracks and get less interesting towards the end. 'Portrait of a Dying Heart' does the opposite.

This is surely one of the better progressive symphonic power metal releases this year. I am inclined to say that this is their most mature and best balanced album to date. I don't think that there is a progressive power metal fan that will dislike this one. Almost an hour of music worth wishing for X-Mas.


01. Portrait of a Dying Heart
02. X
03. Wish & Steadiness
04. Union
05. The Fall
06. Healing
07. Lie to Me
08. Secrets Fear
09. The Rising of Love
10. Eternity

Label: Scarlet Records
Distribution: Scarlet Records
Reviewed by: Reinier de Vries
Date: 25 November, 2012