Princess - The Darker Side of God
(S/R – 2020)
Italian prog metallers, Princess take an interesting liberty in opening their album with a guest voice behind the mic. The guest being in question being ex-Priest man, Ripper Owens means things start off from a good place on the grid.
Centred round the theme of Halloween killer, Michael Myers and also styled accordingly given Rippers typical musical leanings makes for a great track although leaves it a bit of a mislead for the rest of the record to follow. The conceptual content of this Rome five-piece's third album seems heavily focused around the bearded one above, from an evil perspective, though saying that, the music continues to be rather pleasant overall.
Lengthy tracks take a total sideline for slick four minute fusions of Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Queen and elements of Simon and Garfunkel that get in a few gaps, significantly on the haunting fifth cut 'Syd'. Strong 70s voice work by frontman, Freddie Wolf, surround themselves with harmonies to suit, with a huge feel of various British animated film soundtracks of that period.
Plush guitar work - both electric and acoustic - and piano performances all have their places, creating a moderately operatic setting for the album. Momentary returns to the metallic side take place further on, notably 'Never Ever' with its symphonic stampede, and the top sing-along part of the platter. Even more likely to dominate live, the stage has been set for Princess here if not already before.
A massively enjoyable old-fashioned prog rock journey with all the wheels still oiled and moving smoothly.
By Dave Attrill
RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Jethro Tull, Threshold, Pink Floyd, Jadis, Judas Priest & Rhapsody