Secret Sphere - Liveblood (The Studio Session)
Frontiers Records
Melodic Power Metal
7 songs (35:08)
Release year: 2022
Secret Sphere, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Ben

While watching the YouTube video of this performance I realized that 3 / 5 of the band are original members and have been there since the beginning, way back in the mid - late nineties. Yea, the vocalist was gone for about a ten year stretch, but still the tripod of Andrea Buratto, Aldo Lonobile, and Roberto Messina have recorded like seven albums together. Andrea and Aldo, ten. This is a big deal because not too long ago there were only 2 / 6 original members. There has been a noticeable shift in the band and their performances and momentum from the Luppi years, and that comes from having a dominating part of the group play together for over twenty years.

This most recent release from the bad ass Italian Metal band Secret Sphere is a digital only release that I stumbled upon while browsing Spotify. Liveblood was recorded uhhh, live, in the studio and can basically be seen as Secret Sphere's late contribution to "lockdown" vids. Although unlike the vast majority of "lockdown" vids, the whole band is in the same room with this one. But there's no crowd. So, I guess it still fits. This being an exclusively digital release also seems to buffer the fact that four of Secret Sphere's albums are missing from Spotify: A Time Never Come (original), Heart And Anger, Archetype, and Portrait Of A Dying Heart.

Four of the seven songs here are from the stand out Lifeblood album, and this EP gives us a good idea of what an opening setlist would be like out in the wild. There really is a dramatic difference in the band's overall sound with this being live with only one guitarist. Secret Sphere, despite having five members (recently Aldo has been the only guitar guy), rarely create songs that are unplayable live even if they had fifty guitarists. at their disposal. There are a few orchestral albums with songs represented here that get things stripped down, but there isn't a huge noticeable drop in quality when the band is in a live setting. Vocalist Roberto actually sounds better live I think. In the live environment, he brings a smidgen of extra emotion that pushes the songs impact up a notch. His delivery is also really smooth. Ever since the 2012 recording of Legend, his projection, flow, breathing, and melodies have all been climbing up and up. Plus, seeing as there isn't anyone else in the band doing any kind of backing vocals or harmonies, Rob is flying solo all on his own. He's not even using delay or anything it sounds like on his mic either, just a dude singing. Also, there are no piped in guitar tracks either. When Aldo is soloing, there's just bass and keyboards backing him up and it sounds so cool and raw. Is,is everything really live? It sounds like it to me.

As mentioned, the bulk of the songs are from their recent amazeballs Lifeblood release. They sound remarkably like the studio versions, albeit rawer and with only one guitar and one voice. Every one of them is a fun listen. It's the other songs though that I need to talk about. The Scars That You Can't See is from Archetype and was also released as a live single when Michele Luppi was singing. However, despite this, the version here is still essential. There's a whole lot of piano and this combined with the pureness of Rob and Aldo going at it solo just elevates the vibes exponentially. Rain is from the wayback album Scent Of Human Desire and is one of the best tracks from that particular release. Since this was released in 2003 the improvement in Rob's singing is just astronomical. If this was fucking bad ass in 2003, then in 2022 it's an absolute rager. Keyboard parts are slightly changed since OG bad ass Antonio Agate handed over the keyboard reins somewhere in 2007, 2008. The new guy does a pretty good job and delivers when he needs to. Legend is from the classic A Time Never Come and, well, even though this is as close to a signature song the band has, it's been released about five times already! There's the original, the 2012 version, the re-recorded version with Michele Luppi, the live version with Luppi, and now this. I'd be down to her Oblivion (!!!) or Under The Flag Of Mary Read which would be a fine closer too. My only real complaint here is that because this song has been recorded so many times, they find little things to change here and there over the years. For instance, the 2012 version had a little bit of bending the original vocal melodies. This one has different keyboard sounds and one patch actually sounds kinda bad. The little keyboard run right before the vocals kick in sounds like a Joust arcade standup farting out a crash screen. Should have just kept it on the piano setting brah. Other than that however (and I say that as a huge fan of the band), this is a typically high standard performance. I guess I can say that this version is notable for having just one guitar in it but man... Oblivion would have ruled so hard.

What might seem like a throwaway release at first is actually a pleasant listen for hardcore fans of Secret Sphere. The simple fact that the way they approach live shows is this stripped down version is notable in itself and should be listened to if only to hear what true professional musicians sound like. Practically naked vocals, just one guitar with no backing tracks, these guys are flying live with no net and a jetpack held together by duct tape and sticky bong resin. Just wish there were more songs of course. This whole show is also available to watch on YouTube for free. Liveblood is available on Spotify.

Killing Songs :
Lifeblood, Against The Odds, Rain, The Scars That You Can't See
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by Secret Sphere that we have reviewed:
Secret Sphere - Lifeblood reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Secret Sphere - Portrait Of A Dying Heart reviewed by Ben and quoted 86 / 100
Secret Sphere - The Nature Of Time reviewed by Ben and quoted 69 / 100
Secret Sphere - Archetype reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Secret Sphere - Sweet Blood Theory reviewed by Ben and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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