The Phoenix


MASTERCASTLE is a project band that was formed by Mrs Giorgia Gueglio and Pier Gonella […]
By Dimitris Kontogeorgakos
May 1, 2009
Mastercastle - The Phoenix album cover

MASTERCASTLE is a project band that was formed by Mrs Giorgia Gueglio and Pier Gonella almost a year ago. Their main goal was to create music that was not supposed to follow a specific genre as the promo sheet says. Pier Gonella is mainly known for his guitar duties in the Progressive Metal act LABYRINTH with which has been together since the beginning. Pier is also the guitar player for the Death Metal band NECRODEATH proving his wide ranged influences.
To be honest when I saw the cover art of the album under the MASTERCASTLE moniker I realized that this album would have more to do with Pier's LABYRINTH years and less or nothing to do with his Death Metal musical side.
Well, I got the immediate audio approval to my allegations not long after the opening track Words Are Swords had kicked in with the straightforward guitar rhythm. Indeed, the song comes from the uptempo Heavy Metal scene with distinct female vocals. Fortunately for me, the female vocals are not the soprano like ones and the music does not follow the over-produced NIGHTWISH recipe. The music is melodic with simple melodies that introduce some complexity during the solos. This uptempo atmosphere continues in Princess Of Love where Giorgia really shines. No, she does not possess a distinct timbre or something like that; but she has a crystal clear voice that features power and melody as heard in the vocal harmonies. The music is built upon her voice that along to the guitars have the lion's share in MASTERCASTLE music. MASTERCASTLE flirt with the Euro Power Metal sound in Space taking the path of the catchy lyrics and uplifting riffs. Not that this is something bad but it is definately not original.
While I was thinking what I would write to this review My Screams came and actually made me hit the replay button additional times. This instrumental is (of course) guitar oriented with a catchy main melody that looks over Malmsteen side with slight Satriani-like variations. I really enjoy this kind of instrumental tracks that are not for showing of but for listening to what the six string lady has to say!
Leaving aside the rather predictable power ballad Lullaby Noir there is The Phoenix that enters with some hearty hammer-ons and pull-offs introducing a STRATOVARIUS-like song. I think Giorgia does better on the higher pitches since she sounds more metallic to my ears and for this gains some additional credit.
Well, there is nothing more that I can comment on MASTERCASTLE debut. The music is nice and straightforward with 'modest' guitars that are not there to wear you down with fast scale changes. The song are built upon a gentle balance between Euro Power and Progressive Metal with generous melodic injections. On the other hand, The Phoenix is not breaking grounds and in fact plays safe on multi-stepped paths. If you are a fan of this genre proceed with your eyes closed; if you are not, at least you've been warned!

6 / 10

Had Potential

"The Phoenix" Track-listing:

Words Are Swords
Princess Of Love
My Screams
Lullaby Noir
The Phoenix
Greedy Blade
Dawn Of Promises
Cradle Of Stone

Mastercastle Lineup:

Giorgia Gueglio - Vocals
Pier Gonella - Guitars
Steve Vawamas - Bass
Alessandro Bissa (Bix) - Special Guest Drums

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