Noemi Terrasi - Black Seagull - (9.5/10)
Published on March 12, 2019
Genre:Progressive Rock / Metal
Noemi Terrasi is an Italian guitarist and composer that I first saw mentioned in a post on a Haken fan-group. And she’s probably one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve ever uncovered through a random click. “Black Seagull” is her debut four track EP and it displays an impressive palette of musicianship and creativity. She’s a multi-tasker, having handled everything on this EP by herself apart from the mix and mastering and the bass recording on the last two songs.
“Black Seagull” is an instrumental effort combining a classic rock/blues style with modern progressive metal which makes it sound both familiar and accessible as well as innovative and fresh. To address the centerpiece of the record, the guitar playing is amazing showing flawless technique and control over the instrument placed against a fabulous delivery of emotion and a seamless connection between the two. There is a strong Dream Theater influence especially in the shredding department that screams of John Petrucci but she skillfully avoids becoming a copycat with melodic leads and progressive grooves that are very much her own, putting together a playing style with lots of originality and virtuosity.
However, what makes this EP a true gem is that it isn’t a “guitar EP” but a complete piece of music. Keyboards and piano have a very important role in conveying an atmosphere and giving a unique touch along with the very satisfying bass sound and the clean guitar. Snippets of piano may come to the fore-front every now and then, giving a nice twist and a lot of flavor. And I have to commend her songwriting skills. Every song has a kind of evolutionary pattern, keeping a very good flow from start to finish and that also goes for the full EP. While each song works great on its own, when putting them together they somehow connect like pieces of puzzle to a bigger picture because each one is very different from the others. The first song “Black Seagull” is a steady build-up from a bluesy ballad to a bigger, more rhythmic and energetic sound with a distinct air of melancholy around it. The second one, “Steel Eyes” is probably the heaviest and darkest with less leads and more use of riffs and progressive patterns. The third one “Ice Wind” is the most diverse, going through different phases like movements in a story, taking you just a bit into the movie soundtrack area. And the closer “The Way Home” is like ending on a positive note. It’s the slowest one and has this incredible calming effect with a more optimistic vibe and a sense of clarity.
The production does justice to the music with a very full sound that feels somehow palpable and uses the keyboard string background to somehow blend the instruments together. The best thing about this EP is that it’s honest and heartfelt. Every one of the different elements that come together gives the music direction and a sense of purpose. And there’s a concept behind that, with the original inspiration coming from an ecological disaster and digressing towards human emotions and her honest views about it. It’s a really interesting and meaningful idea and I recommend you watch the video below for a deeper insight into it. When it all comes together, I feel like this is one of the most complete, diverse and rewarding things I heard in a really long time. It works great for soul searching or relieving stress and is equally enjoyable when used for background music as it is when you listen to it actively making for one of the best and most relevant instrumental pieces I’ve heard.