Raintime - Tales From Sadness
Arise Records
Progressive Heavy/Power with Melo/Death influences
8 songs (41:49)
Release year: 2005
Raintime, Arise Records
Reviewed by Ian
Surprise of the month

Italian band Raintime showed on my play list out of nowhere. As I said before I have a nativity-based soft spot for the Italian music so I always grab a chance to listen to some new bands coming from that side of Europe. True, the Italian Curse has hit many times (bad production, thick accent, plain weak music), but bands like Helreidh, Lacuna Coil, Beholder, Elvenking or Rhapsody are reward enough for my endless search through the Italian metal scene. So, I approached these newcomers cautiously, trying not to get my hopes too high but at the same time hoping for a good release.

After a couple of spins I was completely baffled by this album. The core of the band is heavy/power but it throws in so many more elements that with each song you find a new approach or a new style. Bodomish keyboards one one song turn into progressive leads or quiet atmospheric score sounds, harsh vocals combined with melo-death growls and clean emotional lines all provided by the one and the same person, the lead vocal and keyboard player Claudio Coassin. One thing though is present from the beginning to the end of this album: the wonderful melodic lines of each song, loaded with catchy guitar and keyboard hooks and wonderful choruses.

The first feel of the album on the opener Moot-Lie is the same I had when I first listened to the superb Lanfear quasi-debut album Zero Poems back in 1999: heavy riffs, an excellent keyboard hook, tight rhythm, clean vocals alternated with harsh brutal chorus. An excellent powerful and melodic opener, with a superb alternation between the clean guitar solo and the lightning fast keyboard lead. I have a hard time deciding if Claudio Coassin sounds better on his clean vox (a younger Fabio Lione) or on his black metal harsh vocals (a la Mark Jansen). Nevertheless, he uses both of them to the best advantage. Faithland is a heavy metal melodic tune again alternating the type of vocals, with the keyboards on a lead role, totally shredding, a Janne Warman (Children Of Bodom, Warmen) speedy melodic and mean type of playing. On The Experiment we get the full double riff treatment from the two guitarists Luca Michael Martina and Matteo Di Bon, with up-tempo rhythms, excellent drumming, background or secondary rhythm keyboards building to inspired double guitar solos. As the album progresses, the image of Keith Sudano (Eternity X) appears more and more in my mind, this Claudio Coassin really using his voice and his keyboard playing in so many varied styles that it’s almost chameleonic. For example, on Denied Recollection, he uses his keyboard leads to change the tempo from the double bass drum rhythm to a progressive hook with stellar sounds (much like Threshold’s anthemic Paradox), creating also a superb bridge between the guitars solos. The most progressive and varied song on the album. Entering the second half of the album we find the slow paced power semi-balladChains Of Sadness where (adding the alternative genre keyboard line, in the vein of Faith No More), Coassin shows his best vocal harmonies, nicely supported by the melodic guitar solos. Nearing the end of the album we discover the most complex and progressive songs of the album; Using The Light Forever is a power tune with clean vocals, a layer of score-like keyboards, good bass lines, nice flowing rhythm changes and complex drumming. Last track, Daily Execution/Paradox Defeat is a classic power/progressive tune with clean/harsh vocals, background wall of keyboards, complex structure, with the guitars leading the rhythmic pace and delivering the best melodic solos of the album, again bound by the keyboard intermezzo. Overall, the production of the album is very good to excellent. The vocals and the keyboards are right upfront but not detrimental to the double guitars. They complement the heavy and melodic (sometimes epic) sound of the music and they create a surround sound. The bass is separated and a little obscured by the other instruments. Nevertheless the rhythm section was excellent throughout the album but the drum takes the lead in this department with clean powerful sound and good style.

The beauty in this album resides in two places: first, it’s the catchy melodies that each song is loaded with, the complex connection between the vocals/keyboard and the guitars and the beautiful arrangements. Second, it’s the fact that with each song you don’t know where it’s gonna take you. It could throw a melo/death hook at you, it could catch you into a progressive loop or it could fly by you on a lightning fast keyboard beam. One thing is for sure: fans of melodic power or progressive tunes will have a blast with this album. One of the strongest contenders for Best Debut Album title in my book.

Killing Songs :
Complete album
Ian quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Raintime that we have reviewed:
Raintime - Psychromatic reviewed by Vrechek and quoted 45 / 100
Raintime - Flies & Lies reviewed by Chris and quoted 95 / 100
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