March 28, 2010

Album Review: "Psychromatic" by Raintime

The members of Raintime name Dream Theater as their primary influence, but this Italian sextet has a much more diverse sound than the band that inspires them most. Combining elements of progressive metal, power metal, and melodic death metal into their sound, Raintime is a fairly unique band with a strong grasp of their abilities. They have experienced moderate success in Europe, and their 2007 album, Flies & Lies, earned them a slot on the ProgPower USA festival alongside bands like Sonata Arctica, Primal Fear, and Firewind. This performance, combined with the distinctive sound of Flies & Lies, earned Raintime a deal with Bieler Bros. Records in America. Their third album, Psychromatic, is an eclectic offering that displays the full range of the band's influences, but falls short of achieving real excellence.

The strength of this new album from Raintime lies in their new lead guitarist, Daniele "Acido" Bressa. He has excellent chops and knows how to properly accent his playing in different sections to create atmosphere. His solos are also very well written, matching the tone of each song and giving a complete picture of his skills. Bressa and keyboardist Andrea Corona match up well when they are playing the same lines, matching each other note for note in intensity and finesse alike. Enrico Fabris also delivers a good performance on drums, with precise timing on both fast and slow sections. Fabris has a strong grasp of the minute differences between drum styles for the various genres in Raintime's sound, and it shows over the course of listening to the entire album.

Psychromatic suffers from two major problems, though. The first is the average performance of vocalist Claudio Coassin. Sure, he is a great singer who knows how to perform both clean singing and screaming very well. The problem is that his delivery does not always have the power or passion of his peers. Coassin is more than capable of hitting all the notes he needs to, but since he doesn't always put as much energy or emotion into his delivery as others do, his singing sounds mediocre on some songs. The second problem is the clear division of the band's sound on the first half of the album. Most of the first six songs only contain one genre influence, rather than combining influences as the band has done in the past. The majority of these songs are mostly straightforward power metal, with less melodic death metal influence than in the past. The one song in this half where influences are combined, "Nothing but a Mistake", is one of the best on the album, while the rest come off as just adequate. There is more genre fusion on the second half of the album, such as on "Beaten Roads" and "One Day". But the lack of invention on the first half of the album might drive off some listeners before they can get to these songs.

Raintime definitely has the ability to stand ahead of the pack, with their distinguished sound and wide skill set. However, they need to address the issues that hold back Psychromatic. Claudio Coassin needs to improve his vocal delivery, and the band needs to mix up the order of their recorded songs, in order to better display their variety of influences. Psychromatic improves on some of what the band did on Flies & Lies, but falls behind on others. The improvement needs to be consistent in every area for Raintime to succeed in the future.

Score: 6 out of 10

Track Listing

1. Fire Ants
2. Turned Up and Down
3. Never Ending Stairway
4. Nothing but a Mistake
5. I Want to Remember
6. Shift
7. Fake Idols
8. Beaten Roads
9. One Day
10. Buried in You
11. Walk-On Actor

Album Personnel

Claudio Coassin - Vocals
Daniele "Acido" Bressa - Lead guitar
Matteo Di Bon - Rhythm guitar
Michele Colussi - Bass guitar
Andrea Corona - Keyboards
Enrico Fabris - Drums

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very impressive review, it was well written and informative. I thought it was a good album - the one track that stood out above all others for me was "Nothing But A Mistake" which has become one of my favorites. Anyways, I can't wait to see where Raintime goes with their next album!