Review: Moonlight Haze “Lunaris” [Scarlet Records]

Review: Moonlight Haze “Lunaris” [Scarlet Records]

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Italian Symphonic Power Metal band Moonlight Haze was formed not a long time y, in 2018, yet already next year their debut album De Rerum Natura was released. And now, in 2020 the band’s second album called Lunaris is ready to see the light of the day.

Actually, such promptness could be explained easily: all the band’s members are not newbies in music. Before Moonlight Haze all of them played (while someone still plays) in other bands for a long time. So, Moonlight Haze is: keyboardist and drummer Giulio Capone (ex-Temperance), bassist Alessandro Jacobi (Elvenking), guitarists Marco Falanga (ex-Hammered) and Alberto Melinato (ex-Teodasia) and vocalist Chiara Tricarico (ex-Temperance, ex-Teodasia).

Frankly speaking, I missed De Rerum Natura, just heard Chiara and Giulio when they were in Temperance, so I’ve approached to Lunaris with fresh eyes and no expectations. And that was really good for me because, looking ahead, this album is full of surprises.

Lunaris starts from dynamic “Till The End”, Symphonic Metal piece with some light touches of electronic samples at the start. Fast rhythm section with smooth and sprightly guitar riffs and synths make the song similar to some Nightwish works from Oceanborn era; fast and technical guitar solo is also worth to mention. Chiara plays with her voice greatly, transmitting lots of emotions. Next one, “The Rabbit Of The Moon” with stunning, catchy melody tells an ancient, indefinitely heartwarming legend about moon rabbit and Buddha Amida: musically it is emphasized with light, almost invisible Japan motives. And tenderness in Chiara’s voice, seems like it can melt the hardest ice.

Once Lunaris gained the listener’s attention completely, it goes fully to the Symphonic Metal territory. Self-named “Lunaris”, started with acoustic guitar and flute, quickly transforms to the fast paced song with great keyboards and orchestral samples. Chiara continues to surprise with her vocal diversity: at some she starts to sing with classic operatic vocals. The same thing happens in “Wish Upon The Scar”, fast and catchy either, with powerful drums and bass. The disparity in vocally transmitting moods is so huge that sometimes it seems like there are two vocalists here. It’s really interesting how will Moonlight Haze perform it live. “Enigma” in its turn is a typical fast paced Power Metal where Chiara sings in the band’s native language, Italian (although there is a bonus track with English lyrics). Also there is a great keyboards solo in this song, turns to a guitar one. And of course folk-ish “Of Birth And Death” with acoustic guitars, percussion and Fabio Lethien Polo’s (Elvenking) beautiful violin is also worth to mention.

“The Dangerous Art Of Overthinking” starts in the epic way, with choirs and orchestra; joined later guitars emphasize this pathetic mood as well. The song goes about two minutes this way before the vocals join also; now they are much more tough and, in some moment, you can hear some growl (Chiara, is that you again?). But there are plenty moments of operatic vocal here as well. The mood changes several times during the song, main theme also, but overall, all this richness sounds very heavily. Seven minutes long “Nameless City” could easily become a great soundtrack because of it cinematic, fairy-tale sound. The melody with Oriental touches with heavy riffs, drums, lavish keyboards and diverse vocals make this “fairy-tale-ness” deeper.

The only thing that embarrass me in this album is the ballad “Under Your Spell”. It’s romantic and good itself but somehow, I can definitely hear “Listen To Your Heart” in its chorus (Within Temptation‘s “Angels” also comes up somewhere in the back of my mind). But I really want to think that the band made a deliberate nod to, let’s say, Roxette and not something else.

All in all, Moonlight Haze managed to create a diverse, melodic and very impressive album with stunning female vocals. Also, musicians are not afraid to experiment and it’s working. So, if you’re a fan of Symphonic/Power Metal, don’t miss this really great album!

Lunaris will be released on June, 12th via Scarlet Records.

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