The Chronicles of Israfel - Starborn, Tome I - 2007 - Bridge of Hands Entertainment
1. Starborn Part I: Empire of Light 2. Starborn Part II: Citizen 3. Starborn part III: On A Forever Road 4. Burning Day 5. The Equinigma 6. Laudanum 7. Nation 8. Born Fighting 9. Kill Division 10. New Mood Therapy for a Medicated Babylon 11. Eugenics 12. Home To Oblivion 13. Lacrima Christi
Back in 2002 I stumbled upon a CD called Headspace by Pulse Ultra. Wrongly labeled as a nu-metal band, Pulse Ultra constructed an awesome blend of alternative rock and progressive metal that produced an album of the year candidate - at least in my book. Several years later while eagerly awaiting their sophomore release, they broke up. Although frustrated by their premature demise, I knew that another project would soon come out of the Pulse Ultra camp that would once again turn heads.
Now here in 2007, former Pulse Ultra guitar maestro, Dominic Cifarelli, is bringing us his musical vision via The Chronicles of Israfel. The semi-instrumental debut album, Starborn Tome I, showcases a brilliant blend of progressive rock, metal, and everything in between to match the conceptual and visionary indiscretions of violent Japanimation. The first three songs, Starborn Part I through Part III, starts off like Rush (Farewell to Kings-era) progression before diving into a more-heavier Dream Theater style progression. The first vocal song on the CD, Burning Day, is a slower tempo rock ballad that begins the crescendo to the more aggressive, latter part of the CD. Laudanum, is a technical heavy piece that combines clean vocals, addictive melodies, and an overall rock persona that will have this track demanding multiple spins in your CD player. Nation continues the pace will elements of early Tool, while Born Fighting a faster, more aggressive piece with blistering riffs and powerful hooks that range from modern rock and metal to the progressive sounds of the 70's. Kill Division starts off with a short narrative before exploding into one of the albums most vicious tracks. Combining twisted guitar riffs, synthesizer-like vocals, and a crushing chorus, Kill Division is among the albums outstanding tracks. My favorite song on the CD, New Mood Therapy for a Medicated Babylon, is an instrumental, progressive masterpiece with atmospheric and progressive keyboards and masterful guitar work. This is the song that really showcases Dominic's talents as an up-and-coming guitar wizard. He definitely has the skills to stand amongst the current guitar greats such as Satriani, Vai, Romeo, & Petrucci.
Another great effect that adds to the quality of Starborn, Tome I is that the CD is packaged as a DVD. The whole packaging - inside and out - is designed just like a movie. Inside the package is a 20 page color booklet that dedicates a whole page to each song, packed with high-quality photos, lyrics, and scripts, this is definitely a collectors item worth getting.
Starborn, Tome I by The Chronicles of Israfel is a Progressive rock experience! From the visionary theme to the music diversity, this has to be one of the most important releases of 2007. While I've always pondered and wished for a possible Pulse Ultra reunion, I think I now have closure in the fact that Dominic has stepped out into a more adventurous and modern musical arena. With the help of his brother Vincent on keyboards, and the rest of the band, The Chronicles of Israfel can be well on their way to an explosive music career. For all prog rock and metal fans, check out this masterpiece collection ASAP!
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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