Mastercastle - Enfer (De La Bibliothèque Nationale) - (8.5/10)
Published on November 6, 2014
This year seems to have been a monumental year for fans of female-fronted power metal; however, the majority of those releases have been populating the symphonic spectrum or the Japanese style, leaving little for the fans of the straight-up power metal fans. Along with MindMaze and Triosphere releasing albums, we also get the Italian band, Mastercastle, and their newest output, Enfer (De La Bibliothèque Nationale). Its translated title, Hell (From the National Library), seems to be very fitting, as this is definitely a heavier and no-frills alternative to most of the female-fronted albums released so far this year, and it’s an incredibly solid and enjoyable album.
Giorgia’s vocals here are the absolute highlight; not operatic, nor too rough, it occupies a very comfortable position in Mastercastle’s music, almost like that of the Romanian band, Magica. She really lets her vocal prowess shine through on “Let Me Out” and “Venice”, and the melodic music really allows her ample room to shine. At no times does there seem to be a conflict between the instrumentation; the neoclassical solos and the catchy hooks stay separate and distinct from one another. It’s not until the second half of the album that there are some dull moments, but the first five tracks on Enfer are memorable and strong showcases of the band’s songwriting abilities.
It’s the album closer, “Coming Bach”, and “Throne of Time” that will display the rest of the band’s technical skills, but ultimately Giorgia is the star here. Her pitch-perfect delivery and passionate punch are the best reasons anyone will have to listen to Enfer. Despite the album staying rather safe through its duration, it toes the line between “safe” and “redundant” well enough that it deserves a listen by power metal fans, especially those who aren’t afraid of a little speed and neoclassicism in their female-fronted power metal.