Dienstag, 19. Februar 2019

Floating beauty

When guitarist Dario Bortot teamed up with bassist Fabrizio Zilio in 1998 to form ALTHEA, the two initiators clearly envisioned a very special PROGRESSIVE ROCK/METAL project, which should have its own unique sound. And deviating from the standards it should be.
Immediately the two Milanese brought Marco Zambardi to the keyboard. Various demo tapes were produced, accompanied by the first live shows, which subsequently extended to many stages in Northern Italy.
Drummer Sergio Sampietro and vocalist Alessio Accardo entered, completing and stabilizing the cast of the group. Concert activities were intensified. February 2014 finally saw the release of the first EP „Eleven“, which produced enthusiastic reactions.
In 2016, ALTHEA expanded its studio activities and worked on 16 new songs, which became the concept album „Memories Have No Name“, released in 2017 by Sliptrick Records.
Both the listeners and the music media confirmed the high quality of the exceptionally tasteful material and the increased maturity of the soulful band in the Art Rock area.
Along with the release of the album, Andrea Trapani joined as bass guitarist to replace Fabrizio Zilio, who, like keyboarder Marco Zambardi, left the line-up to pursue new paths.
Alessio Accardo • Vocals
Dario Bortot • Guitars, Keys, Synths
Andrea Trapani • Bass Guitar
Sergio Sampietro • Drums
ALTHEA subsequently began on Italian and European stages to present the songs of „Memories Have No Name“ to a wider audience.
And the resonances on it were not only extensive, but also fully pleasing and confirming. ALTHEA played with well-known bands like Breath Of Nibiru, Kaledon, Vulture Industries, Overtures and many more.
Without interrupting their heartfelt live activities, ALTHEA finally started recording the new and third album with the intriguing title „The Art Of Trees“.

Cover Artwork: Federico Rebusso
Official release date of „The Art Of Trees“:
January 8th 2019.
01 For Now (4:05)
I. Denial
II. Anger
III. Bargaining
IV. Depression
V. Acceptance
02 Deformed to Frame (4:59)
03 One More Time (5:20)
04 Today (5:10)
05 Evelyn (8:58)
06 Not Me (5:26)
07 The Shade (4:41)
08 The Art of Trees (9:21)
09 Away From Me feat. Michele Guaitoli (6:53)
10 Burnout (5:46)
total: 60:34 min.

Ten new tracks with amazing arrangements and an impressive sound vision are presented artfully. „The Art Of Trees“ is characterized by a really unique-sounding, very personal tone.
With all the lyrics and atmospheres, ALTHEA evoke a multitude of imaginative pictures that can be far away in space, yet which are clear and touching in the life of each one of us. (Markus Eck)

ALTHEA • Online:
19 / 20
„… full of ideas and they are expressed very well … most of the tracks are compact affairs but even when they go for something longer it doesn’t sprawl, instead it is genuinely progressive … they merge the upbeat with the moody, and combine a whole range of ideas very smoothly … at times it’s ethereal and others more direct, the passages in between are smooth and the transitions natural … there’s a lot to like here.“
(The Rocktologist)
90 / 100
„… ALTHEA not only confirm the excellent, unforgettable ‚Memories Have No Name‘ out of 2017, but go further, producing an authentic album, without frills, played and sung damn well, with great sensitivity … especially valuable and that, although apparently simple to listen to … hits from the first listen … really captures … focused on musical writing and texts … a beautiful work, really beautiful …“
90 / 100
„Musically we could think of a tricolor version of Ray Alder’s Fates Warning, with that mixture of immense class, compositional genius, superfine arrangements and a lot … so much sensitivity … we could talk for hours on every single track, but it would be like describing a painting … you could try to visualize it in your mind, but when you see it with your own eyes, the emotion will expose your every fantastic construct … here you just have to listen … listen … listen …“
(Loud And Proud.it)
9 / 10
„… a refined and elegant sound … absolutely progressive but with many facets ranging from Rock to Pop with Metal nuances … managing to keep the listener always glued and never tired and offering different stylistic solutions … marvelous melodies that are never ordinary or even discounted … perfectly balanced with a very high technical level … the great amount of emotions that ALTHEA are able to make feel with this new work is really amazing … do not miss this album!“
(Giornale Metal.it)
9 / 10
„The Italians are showing that there are also promising prog bands in the land of Catenaccio and Ramazotti … I’m really excited about their great melodies and fantastic harmonies … the year starts harmoniously and with a lot of emotional music for me … Thanks ALTHEA … masterpiece …“
9 / 10
„… a brilliant record, magically progressive with huge amounts of musical talent on display … there looks to be a lot of Prog coming this year but ALTHEA could be very well one of the best.“
(Musipedia Of Metal)
8,5 / 10
„… instead of simply showing off their technical skills to the world, they let the emotions come from the voice of Bortot and the beautiful melodies of songs like ‚One More Time‘, ‚Evelyn‘, ‚The Art Of Trees‘ and ‚Away From Me‘, in order to take the listener by the hand and accompanying him on this beautiful journey back in a life that could be that of each of us.…“
8,5 / 10
„With their now third album … the Italians approach the big names of the scene such as Cynic and Threshold with ease and make in a direct comparison even better … emotional Prog Metal with a high degree of successful variety … surprised from the first run and builds in the further course to a high-quality record that one would not have thought so for ALTHEA … respect!“
81 / 100
„… shows the best ALTHEA ever … beautiful melodies, diverse layers of musical events, juggling technical enhancements, matching orchestrations and a stunning piano contribute to this … ‚The Art Of Trees‘ has many great ideas and great plays … and being a Progressive Art Rock album, too, it has everything you need: a high artistic note and well-made progressions.“
(Via Nocturna)
8 / 10
„… some are musically reminiscent of Dream Theater, but brilliant with a very strong, emotionally charged chorus … extremely spherical and some even reminds me of the Canadians Rush … but ALTHEA know where their main strengths are … touching moments, with melodies that are totally for themselves … heart, what more do you want … has a lot of solid ProgRock, but can also exist in harder spheres very well … very strong album!“
(Rock Castle Franken)
8 / 10
„… although clearly playing Progressive Metal, are inserted in a more hermetic slope … do not stop having enough melodic hooks imbued in the jazz riffs – ‚Deformed To Frame‘ is a good example of this. However, it goes beyond ‚complexity by complexity‘ and there is the sense of having real themes with great melodic potential … with many points to make us come back again.“
(World Of Metal)
8 / 10
„Heavy atmospheres blend with enveloping chants, simple episodes in the structure are sophisticated in the arrangement, electronic sequences and performances alternate seamlessly giving the best of themselves in the title-track, almost ten minutes of never banal ideas exhibited in a masterly manner.“
8 / 10
„… the men from Milan fascinate with their intelligently arranged, soulful third work also from the singing so that the listener sympathetically thinks of the velvety moments of James LaBrie … with dreamlike refrains … yummy saxophone is also here.“
8 / 10
„… a particularly attractive Progressive Rock album, which you have to give a few listens. Because after each turn you will discover details that you had not noticed before. ‚The Art Of Trees‘ is a melancholy voyage of discovery in the forest of life, which will surprise and deeply touch you after every listen. Thanks to the particularly intensive way in which the songs touch your heart, in a very special place and in a very simple but equally intensive way.“
7,5 / 10
„… viele gefühlvolle, fast schon balladeske Passagen und weitläufige Keyboard-Teppiche … im Vordergrund steht der etwas an James LaBrie von Dream Theater und Ray Alder von Fates Warning erinnernde Gesang … aber ALTHEA klingen auch zeitgemäß, was Freunde von Bands wie Porcupine Tree oder auch Tool ansprechen sollte … es ist also alles breitgefächert und für jeden etwas dabei … die Produktion ist glasklar und druckvoll, aber auch modern gehalten …“
(Crossfire Metal)
3,5 / 5
„The Italians are not a purely cognitive Progressive machinery … the songs need some time to unfold in the auditory canal of the listener … but this is well maintained and apart from the well-known norm a good head-cinema for advanced Proggies is offered.“
(Metal Underground.at)
„What Italian ALTHEA do on their new album ‚The Art Of Trees‘ is magical … playful guitars in ultramodern chorus as well as outstanding, soulful and incredible rhythm work by bassist and drummer … so and not otherwise should sound catchy, not to overdone Progressive Metal … a disc to fall in love with.“
„… ambient … filled with interesting melodies … to really get things moving … a little bit like Dream Theater … interesting progressions … depth …“
(The Median Man)
„… technically perfect … an incredible level of perfection … an album with strong melodies … near Art Rock … with the right dose of emotion … Music is emotion, as I always say …“
(Metal Addicts)
„… characterized by a strong progressive sound with drums and guitar that meet disproportionately at the same time until everything merges into a smooth melodic whole that effortlessly captures the imagination and has some elements of the Beatles … ALTHEA proves a sense of intensity and emotion building.“
„… a really good and interesting album … my highest acclaim … an interesting mix of Prog-Metal with Neo-Prog … I am particularly impressed by the really pleasant voice of singer Alessio Accardo, who is a real enrichment to me in this genre … yet to mention is the more than fat production at the highest level, so that I can recommend the CD unrestricted …“
(Prog Rock.info)
„… characterized by sensitivity, melodic alignment, atmospheric sound … they don’t hide their basic influences: Porcupine Tree … and the delightful, stylish melodies of Marillion, seem to be ideally suited … or the shadow of the most Prog Rock dispositions of Dream Theater … the title song is a rich Prog Metal adventurous episode, full of turnovers … significant chapters on this journey in time are the most nostalgic parts, such as the beautiful single ‚Today‘ …“
„… with successful guitar riffs and synth creations enough variety is provided, so that no boredom sets in … the mostly very soft, but incredibly expressive voice of Alessio Accardo is often the supporting element, and can convey different emotional worlds … so if you like music to relax and unwind then you should give ALTHEA a chance!“
(Metalmamas Neuigkeiten)
„… ALTHEA not only confirm the excellent debut (the unforgettable ‚Memories Have No Name‘) but go further … an authentic album … without frills … played and sung damn well … with great sensitivity … especially valuable … hits from the first listen … really captures … a beautiful work …“
„… technically perfect … ALTHEA dudes handle their instruments flawlessly to reach an incredible level of perfection … with strong melodies … near Art Rock … the bounce of hard and delicate makes it … ALTHEA really knows to balance those moments and fill them with the right dose of emotion.“
2014 Eleven (full-length)
2017 Memories Have No Name (full-length)
2019 The Art Of Trees (full-length)

Montag, 18. Februar 2019

Experimental. Variable. Unconventional: Some attributes which perfectly describe the sound of SOBER TRUTH. The sound of this band is quite unique, a break of most musical conventions.

From the start in 2007, narrow-minded folks and rigid ears have been struggling with the edgy sound of the PROGRESSIVE GROOVE METAL formation.
On the new album buster „Psychosis“ singer and guitarist Torsten Schramm, lead guitarist Aaron Vogelsberg, bass-witch Jules RoCkwell and drummer Sam Baw go so massive in the full as never before.
01. Solitude (04:03)
02. Akardos (04:12)
03. Dark Valley (04:14)
04. Ode To Reality (01:06)
05. Riven (05:11)
06. Horizon (04:48)
07. Utopia (04:05)
08. Sober (ReArranged) (03.22)
09. Dying Dreams (01:22)
10. Psychosis (06:24)
11. Collapse Unplugged (04:27)
total: 42:58 min.
The quartet’s most mature work to date presents a truly eruptive burst of modern Metal music that takes its listeners into another world.
The combination of melancholic rich sounds, energetically resounding guitar riffs, driving drums and punchy bass-lines can excite fans of Progressive Rock / Metal, Groove Metal and Thrash Metal alike.
The hard and groovy guitar riffs on „Psychosis“ are a powerful base to bring out the driving choruses and the very versatile vocals along with rough shouts.
Blastbeats, tappings, clean parts, the 2019 palette is quite wide. But the accurately targeted diversity in the tracks also includes rousing played, very variably accented drums.

[ Pic: Jonas Steingraeber • Freylin Fotografie ]
Torsten Schramm • Vocals & Guitar
Aaron Vogelsberg • Guitar
Jules RoCkwell • Bass
Sam Baw • Drums
Lyrically, SOBER TRUTH have gone to so much trouble for „Psychosis“ to compete with a contemporary concept. (Markus Eck)

The band commented about: „What do we see in the human being facing us, does he show us his truth or a mask? The inner grief changes him, imperceptibly, cruelly, tearing him and scarring his psyche. Everyone knows the feeling of powerlessness, at first timid, then with force flooding our consciousness, unstoppable and mercilessly.The wave ebbs, leaving behind a trembling, naked body, the worst is yet to come: fear …“
More: „With titles like ‚Akardos‘ (Heartless), ‚Solitude‘ and especially the title track ‚Psychosis‘, we enter a personal universe of grief, loneliness, doubt that many people know. With ‚Psychosis‘ awakens maybe a truth that we repressed … but also hope, power and confidence. SOBER TRUTH takes us on a mental rollercoaster ride that lets the last track roll out congenially. We’re changing every day, all our lives. The new album picks up where we start to repress. ‚Psychosis‘ looks at our scarred psyche and tells our story.“

[ Pic: Jonas Steingraeber • Freylin Fotografie ]

Short bio:
Founded in 2007 in Bonn, Germany as a band of rebels, the members were intent on following their own vision: constant change. Not only do they overcome all musical stereotypes, singer and guitar player Torsten Schramm, bass witch Jules Rockwell, lead-guitar player Marvin Creek and drummer Samir Al Baw break down all musical walls inside your head as well.
Their success is obvious: since their formation the band has followed its vision without any hesitation and has played more than 250 shows so far, sharing the stage with well known bands like Crematory, The Sorrow, Sodom, Copia, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Sister Sin, Contradiction, Cripper, Rabenschrey, Monstagon and Eisbrecher while gathering many new and faithful fans during their gigs.
Furthermore, SOBER TRUTH graced many popular festivals like Rheinkultur, Metal Franconia, Metal For Mercy, Til ́Someone Cries und Ragnarock Open Air with their powerful live-performances. Local radio stations, for example WDR–Radio Bonn-Rhein-Sieg as well as other online radio stations feature them quite often as guests.

2008 Riven (Full-length)
2009 Outta Hell (Full-length)
2011 Outta Hell (Full-length • Special Edition)
2014 New Slavery World (EP)
2017 Locust ▽ Lunatic Asylum (Full-length)
2019 Psychosis (Full-length)

►► Psychosis • Album 2019 ◄◄
10 / 10
„… ‚Psychosis‘ der Nachfolger des großartigen ‚Locust Lunatic Asylum‘ … definitiv noch eine Schippe draufgelegt … Gesamtkunstwerk …“
9 / 10
„Mit diesem Album übertreffen sich SOBER TRUTH in allen Belangen … alte Fans werden sofort Zugang zu ‚Psychosis‘ finden … ein musikalisches Meisterwerk.“
(Metal United Bonn/Rhein-Sieg)
9 / 10
“ … voller Überraschungen … extrem sauber produziert … groovt richtig gut und kann bereits beim ersten Hördurchgang begeistern … äußerst erfrischender und junger Metal, dem keine Grenzen gesetzt sind und der ein tolles Maß an Energie versprüht … das kann eigentlich nur eine Underground-Band machen, die einfach nur Bock hat geile Musik zu produzieren und sich sonst um nichts schert.“
(Time For Metal)
„SOBER TRUTH delivers a very great album with ‚Psychosis‘, which is recommended for sure!“
(Dutch Metal Maniac)
►► Locust ▼ Lunatic Asylum • Album 2017 ◄◄
5 / 5
„… ein richtig gutes Album am Start, bei dem alles stimmt, dass sowohl fordernd als auch einfach gut zu hören ist.“
(Harte Musik.de)
5 / 5
„Die Songs gehen ins Ohr und die Scheibe bietet viel Abwechslung und einiges an textlicher Tiefe.“
(Stage Reptiles)
9,5 / 10
Stimmlich befindet Sänger Torsten Schramm sich hier die kompletten 45 Minuten in höchsten qualitativen Sphären, und die Instrumentalfraktion ist perfekt eingegrooved.
4,5 / 5 – episch
„Wer es daher gerne hart mag, Melodien und Stimmung jedoch nicht missen möchte, der sollte der nur auf den ersten Blick unkonventionell erscheinenden Stilmixtur von Sober Truth definitiv eine Chance geben.“
8,5 / 10
„In knapp 46 Minuten zündet SOBER TRUTH heuer ein amtliches Riff- und Groove-Feuerwerk ab …“
12 / 15
„„Locust Lunatic Asylum“ steht für absolutes Champions-League- Songwriting und erschafft ein Album, an dem man sich mit Freuden abarbeitet.“
80 / 100
„… very well written and produced … clean, powerful sound with a careful composition of melodies.“
(Insane Voices Labirynth)
8 / 10
„Die Scheibe bietet den Fans von Prog Groove Metal in 46 Minuten alles was das Herz begehrt.“
(Mostly Harmless)
8 / 10
„… hier gibt es Groove wie ihn die alte Schule beibringt …“
11 / 15
„Im zehnten Jahr ihres Bestehens wagen SOBER TRUTH immer noch Experimente und gewinnen auf ganzer Linie … nichts weniger als eine der momentan spannendsten Underground-Combos in Deutschland.“
7,5 / 10
„‚… has a certain atmosphere and at the same time, shows a modern, finished style.“
7,5 / 10
„… können auch bei traditionellen Metal-Fans punkten, was daran liegt, dass SOBER TRUTH immer noch genügend Thrash Metal-Elemente in ihrer Musik haben … handwerklich gut gemacht … die Songs bleiben immer gradlinig und treten gehörig Arsch … und obwohl hier viel passiert, bleibt hier immer alles nachvollziehbar.“
(Crossfire Metal)
7 / 10
„Als Erstes fällt bei SOBER TRUTH die überdurchschnittliche Professionalität auf …“
7 / 10
„Fette Gitarrenriffs, Synthieklänge, tanzbare Rhythmen.“
„… spieltechnisch absolut sauber und perfekt … selten hörte ich ein Album, das mit einem derart dichten Sound produziert wurde und bei dem die verschiedenen Elemente aus den Bereichen Progressive Rock/Metal, Groove Metal und Thrash Metal derart miteinander verschmelzen … ein ausgewogenes Gesamtbild. Abwechslung scheint eines der Trademarks von SOBER TRUTH zu sein, und so dürften einige Wochen oder Monate vergehen, ehe man sich satt gehört hat.“
„The band manages to mixture several elements in order to form easy listenable compositions and full of Groove, in which I want to highlight the drums with their strong presence and the voices.“
(Metal Em Portugal)
„In a few words we can conclude that this is a very decent edition of the German underground scene. It sounds unusual, yet familiar. They can make a number of references to other artists, but it does not harm the music because nothing is copied.“
(Metal World.info)
„… a robust blend of various influences … the songs exude a nice rhythmical stability, have stylistic variety, have interesting exacerbations and remissions …“
(Flight Of Pegasus)
„Music is very diverse … thrashy, groovy sound and plenty of good riffs going on this album … „Locust Lunatic Asylum“ spins many music narrations and is far away of being monothematic: music or lyric wise. In this, I find a karma for me.“
(Monarch Magazine)
„Good production, everything sounds powerful and entertaining, and for those who do not know this type of music, I will say that there are no intros or others or keyboards, no silly stuff. Everything goes directly to the Prog Groove / Thrash of the hardest, bluntly, by a band that will not disappoint. Candidate to disc of the year.“
(Rocka Rolla)



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