Symphonity – Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack Review

Release date: May 20, 2022. Label: Limb Music.
With its third full-length release, Symphonity has the attention of an audience that is hangry for something to sink its teeth into. Outside of New Horizon’s Gate of the Gods and Stray Gods’ Storm the Walls, there haven’t been too many standout power or heavy/power metal releases rivaling the best of last year’s bunch. Releases from Power Paladin, Validor, Veonity, and Palantir have all been strong but none reach the grandiosity of Marius Danielsen’s Legend of Valley Doom – Part 3 or the extreme noodling of Eternity’s End’s Embers of War. And, mostly, this album exploits that need well.

Playing a highly particularized brand of symphonic power metal that very much sounds Italian in origin—despite the band’s Czech roots—Symphonity brings you, dear listener, the story of Marco Polo. Appropriately titled Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack, the album is as richly textured as it is heavy. And it’s that latter commitment to riffs that not only keeps this ship afloat but makes for smooth sailing—sorry, it had to be done.

Symphonic metal can mean many things. But Symphonity’s symphonic has much more in common with Rhapsody of Fire than it does Nightwish. There’s a rapidity to Symphonity’s sound that feels more purely power metal than most symphonic metal bands that bridge the two sub-genres. As one might expect, the rapidity is more obvious in shorter songs such as “The Plague” and “I Found My Way Back Home” than a more epic song such as “Mongols.” But regardless of song length, there’s a grit to the band’s approach that, to its credit, stresses riffs above all else.

Fair or not, I don’t expect a masterclass in rich and robust production from these lower profile symphonic metal releases. I am generally happy if the orchestral elements sound vaguely professional and less artificial. So I was surprised by how effectively grandiose Marco Polo proved to be. Granted, a lusher production is almost a requisite in symphonic metal, but the album does an admirable job of balancing the orchestral elements and the band’s riff-heavy foundation.

Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack is one of only a few symphonic power metal albums this year. And the only one of note that I’ve heard and liked is Moonlight Haze’s Animus, which leans more heavily on its symphonic than power metal influences. I am not quite sure yet whether my enjoyment of Marco Polo hinges on that novelty. Regardless, it is refreshing to hear a symphonic power metal band that is as committed to the traditions of heavy metal as it is to new-fangled studio trickery.

Posted by Chris C

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.