Mistheria

Messenger of the Gods

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Messenger of the Gods by Mistheria is an Eerie or Creepy comic magazine come to life. Beginning with "Praeludium Opus 71," a two-plus-minute instrumental track performed with the Heroic Royal Orchestra, the story really begins with "Zeus Will Storm the Earth," six minutes of hard-hitting prog metal featuring Neil Zaza on guitar. There are so many guests on Messenger of the Gods that it is a veritable who's who of shred meets progressive. Problem is, for those not aware that Mistheria is not only a person but an Italian keyboard sensation, the music sounds like Mistheria is a big band, with the keyboards shoved somewhere in the background. Boston synth player Lord Manuel Smith would blast his notes all over a recording in the '70s, but here the star of the show, Mistheria, takes a back seat to sometimes overwhelming sound. "Dynasty of Death" is 11 and a half minutes of Max Romano's voice and four guitar soloists and at least one rhythm guitar. Rick Renstrom, Ron Thal, Tommy Denander, and Jeff Kollman are listed on the Mistheria.com site as the prime suspects, with Leonardo Porcheddu also listed as a guitarist. It's an amazing musical excursion, but if the listener isn't a total devotee it could tend to sound like one big noisy mess. Therein lies the problem with the entire "debut" album by this veteran musician. Messenger of the Gods is overindulgence plus by as many musical friends available to come to Mistheria's party. Winterlong's Thorbjorn Englund performs the solo on "Titans," with backup by Max Arminchiardi, who performs the solo on "Children's Heaven," one of the most accessible tracks on the disc -- Romano back on vocals (he performs on seven of the 12 tracks). Hubi Meisel sings on and lends lyrics to "Eternity," Rob Rock pours his voice over "Who Will Storm the Earth" and "Titans" with soprano vocalist Maria Pia Di Gioia bringing a bit of operatic Queen to "Witch of the Demons" -- which actually gives Mistheria a chance to play some keys upfront. The work is top notch, but very limited, and without the scorecard on the musician's website, only an obsessive metal head could have a chance at figuring out who is playing what on this adventurous set of recordings.

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