Hypersonic is a young female-fronted power metal band from Italy. Naturally this description alone attracted my attention immediately, so I thought I'd better give this CD a go. I haven't seen much publicity or review on this young band yet, but seeing them on the reasonably good Underground Symphony label dictated that they're probably worth a look.
The most immediately evident thing about Hypersonic is that the band has a rather excellent talent for writing smooth and catchy melodic lines. I'm talking about being on par with greats like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, and other such lofty company. The difference being of course, experience. While a very infectious album, Fallen Melodies is a very youthful one which shows its inexperience in a number of musical shortfallings. However, this doesn't prevent the album from being largely enjoyable.
First things first: when Hypersonic is at its best, the band is the equal of any of its brethren. Take for example the blockbuster “My Spirit Free”. I challenge any fan of Euro-power to give it a couple of listens and not retain it in the best way possible. This song is what attracted me to the album in the first place, I find it nearly worth the price of purchase alone. It's a seamless blend of sweeping vocal melody, almost inconspicuous double-bass work (is such a thing possible? Listen and see what I mean.), capable symphonic arrangement, and tight modern guitar work. “My Spirit Free” is one of the trio of songs on Fallen Melodies that sees a glimpse of Hypersonic really developing and laying out their own sound. In general, this means a moderately-paced blend of power metal with a few heavy, gothic, and even pop elements, defined by female singing in the high alto range and supported in depth by considerable amounts of keyboard. “Rebirth” and “A Lovely Creature” are also evidence of the band's more proficient and well-defined moments. I feel that if Hypersonic continue on the path laid by these three songs in particular, and avoid some of the more “filler” (albeit pretty) music, they'll do quite well for themselves in the future.
Fallen Melodies suffers from the typical ailments of debut albums from south European artists: the mixing leaves something to be desired (the vocals seem a bit withdrawn, and the percussion is decidedly lacking in punch), there's a bit of vocal wavering, and some difficulty with English pronunciation as well. With many of the songs, most metalheads will probably find themselves a bit bored with the generic female-fronted power metal that dominates Hypersonic's debut. Comparable to early Lunatica, perhaps Edenbridge, and a number of other similar artists, Hypersonic won't appeal to a terrifically wide audience if the majority of their work remains as general as it is now.
Despite it's seeming mediocrity, I rather like this debut. Sure they're a bit samey, but as mentioned before, the band has a good sense of melody (which is something difficult for many young artists to grasp). Hence, I give this reasonably good marks despite its shortcomings and lack of real distinction. I highly recommend looking into a few songs if this kind of music is your thing. I anticipate that Hypersonic will get good press and have another album out in the not-so-distant future that will display a good dose of maturity. Looking forward to it!
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The Protagonist's Rating: 7.0 out of 10