Sticking to a formula can be a bit tricky at times, and more so when your emphasis on following the formula makes you forget to add something that will make it stand out among the others. The lack of uniqueness makes this album a bit forgettable. While the musicianship is top not, the band’s approach to follow on the road that others have paved before made them nothing extraordinary at the end.
A Portrait of Memories is the debut of Walls of Babylon, but shows quite enough maturity of the band. The song writing is tight, the guitar works are very professional with melodic rhythms and expressive solos. The bassist and the drummer also do quite well in implementing their own presence all throughout the album. But, when it comes to the vocals, Valerio Gaoni rather does a bit of an odd job, he sticks too much to the highs, which seems rather misplaced at times. Despite the production being clean and crisp, this weakness in the vocal performance makes a somewhat sour note on the overall experience.
The structure is quite nice for this album with one intro and nine songs each written quite proficiently. It is quite apparent that these guys have been working together for a long time (Fabiano Pietrini, Francesco Pellegrini and Valerio Gaoni used to work together in Death Riders), from their professionalism.
But, nothing really sticks out, and while the listening was enjoyable while it lasted I never felt the reason return for a replay. The bands over eagerness to stick to generic power/prog formula rather fail to attach their unique signature or flavor to the experience. Although, fans of the genre might find this professional approach quite enjoyable, I am sure.
The above mentioned flaws make the album rather average, failing to reach the pick that could have been possible with just a bit more effort. I do have hopes for the future of these guys though, considering how skillful they all are in their specific departments, especially since this is only their debut.
Standout tracks – ‘Starving Souls’, ‘My Disguise’ and ‘Let Me Try’ were quite enjoyable and had beautiful composition. Trying out these tracks will be enough for anyone interested in the album to understand if they should try the whole package.