Rating:
8.7
Crysalys - The Awakening Of Gaia
23 September 2011


01. The Awakening Of Gaia
02. Butterfly Effect
03. Angelica
04. Scarlet Crusade
05. By Stars Revealed
06. My Will Be Done
07. When Sirens Sing
08. Time For Vultures
09. Lilium
10. ...And Let The Innocent Dream


A new voice in symphonic metal has arrived, one that is ready to mesmerize us all with voices of sirens and the destruction of Earth, and change the world with a movement as simple and decisive as a flap of a butterfly's wing. A demanding sense of purpose forces itself from the ground beneath as soon as the album begins, and unlike so many symphonic albums, this is not one that lets you carefully ease your way in. More like a wall of lava searing your skin and mind, Crysalys is at once fearfully vicious as it is thrilling to watch while the explosion of reds and oranges reflect and sparkle upon your eyes.

Much like the only warning Earth would give us before beginning her reclamation and rebirth, the title track and opener of The Awakening Of Gaia offers us a mere five seconds to gather our attention and witness the last of our home as we know it. A tightly-wound, harmonized passage of the keyboard and guitar, an eerie whistle, and suddenly a hypnotic rush of Chiara Malvestiti's operatic vocals overtakes it all, forcing the listener back like a unforgiving gust of wind from the planet's tallest mountain. As if the land around you is being grabbed back one monstrous mass at a time until you are left standing precariously alone in the middle, Chiara conducts a march of the four elements - earth, air, water, & fire - without reprieve throughout the song. The steady pace of Alessandro Camelo's drums and Fabio Amurri's unsettling synths are relentless beneath her voice, acting like cement being pounded to your feet at each moment your body tries to escape its inevitable demise. Like the endless droves of creatures running, then being overtaken while others still flee, Guiseppe Cardinali's bass lines and Janos Murri's guitar riffs alternate from plodding chords to cyclical riffs, matching Chiara's words of flesh quietly melting away with an unyielding, yet accessible intensity.

While the second track may start off like a dark bedtime story, it soon finds itself reaching similarly imposing heights by its end. Muted percussion filters in with warmly ominous synth notes, a pulsing wall of bass and guitar is built, and the spoken vocals turn to mournful notions of one of childhood's most revered winged creatures, the butterfly. But all this extra time to reflect leaves you helplessly distracted, as that wall soon bursts apart once Chiara's theatrical words "we contemplate oblivion" make the ground tremble, leaving you in the same dust as the album's opener. Soon after, in "Scarlet Crusade," Crysalys creates a nervous landscape of Fabio's keyboard touches and solos layered with Alessandro's deliberate drumming, offering a teetering setup for Chiara in the main verse. She colors the instruments' mountainous chasms with her own blood-red sunset of operatic visions, the final authority in a struggle she already knew she would win.

With such an exciting mix of operatic, clean, and melodically spoken vocals, I was intrigued to see a few slower passages appear as the album developed. In "Angelica," above the innocence of music box notes and descending guitar melodies, Chiara cries out the words "I'll take care of you as best as I can," with a shiver that not only shows her desperation in trying to calm a child's fears, but embodies her own fears for herself. Crysalys does not only live solely in symphonic lands, with Fabio's synth melodies pulling strong from the non-metal gothic scene in "My Will Be Done," where his touch permeates the album's most uptempo song, eventually providing a unique rhythm section to the song-ending guitar solo. The second half of the album also sees one of my favorites appear, the guitar-driven "Time For Vultures." Here the band mirrors Chiara's aggressive operatic wails with a wealth of Alessandro's double bass drumming and oppressive synths, all of which consume each other until it abruptly ends with a catchy melodic death metal riff.

Of course, Crysalys is no stranger to more assertive metal, with earlier band formations being more akin to operatic melodic death metal. "Lilium" is a reworked older track, also appearing on the 2009 demo ...And Let The Innocence Dream, with solely melodic death riffs, no keyboards, and Chiara mixing her operatic style with a raspier, clean touch. Here on The Awakening Of Gaia, however, the aggression remains but with an atmosphere not found before, a credit to Fabio's entrance to the band and a symphonic production that belies the fact that this marks Crysalys's first full-length. Founders Alessandro and Chiara have discovered the sound they have searched for throughout the lineup changes and musical directions, and have crafted what has quickly become my favorite debut of the year.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Band profile: Crysalys
Album: The Awakening Of Gaia


 



Written on 29.11.2011 by
dismaleuphony
Music and the written word are two of my passions in life, so I figured, why not combine the two?
More reviews by dismaleuphony ››



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Troy Killjoy - 29.11.2011 at 09:47  
This is by far the longest review I've ever read on this site, but it's definitely descriptive. I've been hearing a lot about this release in the symph-metal realm (actually mostly just from Ag Fox and Lyrinan) but I feel like it's something I should look into eventually - even if only a few songs just to see how apparently "different" it is from the rest of the pack.
Angel_Lament - 29.11.2011 at 17:06  
Such a good review, gotta check them out!!
Susan - 29.11.2011 at 17:17  
It's not going to be my top symphonic metal album or my top debut but it is MOST DEFINITELY a superb release and worth the praise.

It's so damn refreshing to see a new band in this genre be so focused and so, just, GOOD. So much of this genre lately is about commercialism and expectations; Crysalys just seems to say fuck it all and play epic music because they want to.

And LOVE this review The visuals and metaphors you've created are stunning and reflect the album appropriately.
Ag Fox - 30.11.2011 at 04:17  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.11.2011 at 09:47

This is by far the longest review I've ever read on this site, but it's definitely descriptive. I've been hearing a lot about this release in the symph-metal realm (actually mostly just from Ag Fox and Lyrinan) but I feel like it's something I should look into eventually - even if only a few songs just to see how apparently "different" it is from the rest of the pack.
yes, rather long, but not hard to read either. doubt it's up your league, but compared to the usual releases from this sub genre in particular, this is a lot more energetic, focused and bombastic. I never treated it as a debut.

love the review too
BudDa - 30.11.2011 at 06:37  
I loved the title single so will keep my eyes out for this album as well. Great review
PocketMetal - 30.11.2011 at 14:20  
The album artwork made me wanna puke ... that was UGLY

but the music isn't that bad , it's just isn't that good either
Milena - 30.11.2011 at 16:17  
Written by PocketMetal on 30.11.2011 at 14:20

The album artwork made me wanna puke ... that was UGLY

No love for pretty butterflies done by Travis Smith?

As for me, this was weird and I don't really like it... never been much into this subgenre but occasionally I run into stuff I like, it wasn't the case here.
Susan - 30.11.2011 at 18:13  
I like the cover art
PocketMetal - 30.11.2011 at 18:37  
Written by Susan on 30.11.2011 at 18:13

I like the cover art


sorry , I agree the main cover is good ... but the booklet is awful . (imo)
there was pictures of the band and some other things that I really can't stand .... it almost ruined the whole album for me !
Slinky666 - 01.12.2011 at 06:30  
This album is not a winner.

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