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Sailing to Nowhere - To The Unknown

Sailing to Nowhere - CD Review
To The Unknown

To The Unknown 




CD Info
Bakerteam/Scarlet Records
9 tracks
English lyrics

I have covered a lot of Italian bands in my time with Sonic Cathedral, and that is one country that just keeps giving in the female fronted metal department. This latest find of mine, Sailing to Nowhere hails from Rome, a fine city I have actually visited - a long time ago on my obligatory university years European backpack trip. I was a little more interested in the food and the architecture at the time - and all the stray kitties! - but now I find myself wanting to go back just to catch metal shows from some of the bands I’ve covered.

Signed to a label known for quality female fronted metal, Bakerteam/Scarlet Records, Sailing to Nowhere, came out with a debut album last year after forming in 2013. Calling themselves “melodic power metal with aggressive rock” I would also posit that there should be more emphasis on the “melodic” rather than the “power” because I don’t think they’re quite fast enough to fill the power metal bill. But what’s in a label? We could debate that all day. Either way, after spinning this album many times, I found I was able to check off all the boxes on my internal checklist of stuff I like I like to hear in this genre. There are catchy choruses, complex compositions, awesome keyboard and guitar solos, powerful vocals by a pretty good male-female duo, and a generous amount of headbangable moments. There is also a nifty cover song included on the release, which I’ll talk about later.

First, I’d like to address the vocal duo I mentioned above. On the album, it consists of Marco Palazzi and Valentina de Iuuis, and they are a pretty impressive pair, though my one critique of the vocals is that there isn’t as much differentiation between styles as I like to hear in this genre. I would also liked to have heard more creative harmonizations between the two vocalists. Since the album’s release, Valentina has left the band and was recently replaced by Federica Garenna. I have not heard hear sing anything with the band yet, but I look forward to hearing how she sounds with them when I get the chance to check her out on YouTube.

To the Unknown shows off the many strengths this group has as a band. For on thing, their keyboardist, which, if I understand the band’s Facebook page correctly, where performed by Valentina on the album. Now that she’s gone, I don’t know who will be filling in, if anyone, but she did a fabulous job of adding great melodic moments to the song, and the album also included a few keyboard-guitar duels that were very enjoyable. I love it when there are solos done by instruments other than guitars because it’s a nice change from the norm. Guitarist Andrea Lanzillo acquits himself very well, too.

The introductory track on the album is “No Dreams In My Night”, which clocks in at over seven minutes, and includes an instrumental into before revealing the aforementioned talents of the band, and whoever writes the music. It’s a galloping piece with all the expected elements, performed well and very enjoyable. As always, I believe the first track is the most important on the album because it’s usually the first impression listeners are going to get of the band’s sound, style, and approach, and it sets up what’s yet to come on the album. Sailing to Nowhere hit the mark with this introduction.

Other songs I really liked on this album were “Lovers On Planet Earth” a gentler, slower-paced song with some ballady overtones. It’s quite lovely and memorable. I also really like the title track, “Sailing to Nowhere”, which has a catchy chorus that picks up on the melody in the opening tune.

But my favourite song on the whole album was the cover song I mentioned, “Left Outside Alone”, which was originally an Anastacia tune. It took me a few listens to clue into the fact that this was a cover to begin with, but once I did, I immediately became very impressed. I had never heard of the original before, and indeed had never heard of Anastacia; now I’m a little hooked. This is a great song, and Sailing to Nowhere does it justice with Valentina alone on vocals. It has a great set of riffs added to it along with some strong chugginess, and has been transformed into a pretty neat metal anthem. I love it!

My one main issue with To the Unknown has to do with production quality and/or mixing. Sometimes I found the drums sounding very hollow in some parts, and sometimes I found the general mix very off, mainly with drums, sometimes with the bass and vocals too. At times the vocals were too prominent in the mix, and sometimes I found the bottom end sort of drowning out other instruments.

Sailing to Nowhere has released a music video for their title track, which you can see here. They are currently doing some local touring and have opened for Alestorm, will be heading to Germany in March, and have had airtime on Italian radio. I wish them the best of luck because they are a very talented band with a lot of potential.