There are few things I’d like more than to know when I hear a female-fronted Metal band, if the band truly thought she was the best singer, or if the band is simply trying to capitalize on the hype of having said female singer. Unfair I know, but in today’s Metal environment, I think it’s a very valid question.
While I obviously can’t give a definitive answer in the case of Italy’s RADIANCE, I would have to say that the rest of the band simply thought vocalist Karin Baldanze was the best for the job (I’m not sure I agree, but more on that later), as the music they play is hardly commercial. Thankfully we’re not faced with the thousandth LACUNA COIL or NIGHTWISH clone, but rather a riff-centric, Progressive Power Metal sound, that has far more, um, balls, than NIGHTWISH ever has. The music on RADIANCE’s self-released EP, “…And The Night Comes Down”, is powerful and moody at the same time, offering several shades and a decent grasp of dynamics along the way, Listen to “Moon On The Mirror” for the perfect example, with it’s more somber verses accompanied by a double-bass driven choruses. All the while the guitars do the talking throughout the proceedings, taking center stage over everything else – even when the vocals try to offer some competition. And unlike many of Italy’s similar bands, RADIANCE stays away from using keyboards, instead opting for something meatier to sink your teeth into.
Now, back to Baldanze, she’s certainly not a bad vocalist, but she’s also not even remotely polished. And I’m not talking about the good kind of unpolished, such as Mark Shelton from MANILLA ROAD, but more like someone who isn’t aware of her limitations and often tries to exceed them. With some vocal training, she certainly sounds capable of being very good; she’s just simply not there yet. The songwriting itself could also use some work on “…And The Night Comes Down”. While the songs are decent, they lack anything truly memorable, which a must for the genre. This is something that typically comes with time and work, so hopefully RADIANCE gets it straightened out some before their next release.
As far as self-released albums go, RADIANCE has put out a good and ultimately enjoyable offering. Given some time to grow – especially in the vocal department – and RADIANCE could be a band to keep an eye out for.
(Online August 17, 2009)