Holy Tide are a new band formed by Italian composer and bassist John Caputo, aided in his endeavours by British drummer Michael Brush (he’s Serenia’s new drummer by the way and also in Magic Kingdom) and Brazilians Fabio Caldeira (vocals – also a member of Maestrick) and Gustavo Saranela (Guitars). On this their debut album, Caputo and his band are musically following their hearts, seeing where there sound takes them and have even tempted guest appearances from Tilo Wolff (Lacrimosa) and the legendary keyboard maestro Don Airey (Deep Purple, Rainbow etc. etc….), as well as some essential orchestral and arrangement contributions from Nico Falco and Kris Laurent.

Caputo is clearly classically influenced – there is a good dose of Symphonic Metal on “Aquila”, and yes the band prove they can turn their hand to Symphonic Power Metal at times (the excellent, energetic, speed-fuelled, Kamelot-exuding ‘Lord Of The Armies’ being a great example). But interestingly the band more often than not veer towards Progressive and Melodic Metal when the mood takes, feeling at times like an updated incarnation of late 90’s releases by bands like Dreamscape, Time Machine, Athena or Ivanhoe…but with a little more orchestration and obviously a more modern approach. There’s a rich, smoothness to their sound too that reminds me of Seven Wishes, as well as darker moments that hint at latter-day Angel Dust.

But on the whole each song really does it’s own thing under the collective sound that the musicians produce. It gives the album a nicely unpredictable feel under a familiar type of sound…which is all their own because of how they deliver it! Holy Tide could totally be another Kamelot-clone, they have the talent as well as a vocalist who is more than capable, but instead they choose to tread their own path, no doubt cleverly drawing in Symphonic, Power, Melodic and Progressive Metal fans from all directions as their music incorporates it all. Only with this attitude can a band tempt people like Tilo Wolff and Don Airey to contribute, as well as being able to seriously include a trumpet solo on ‘Curse and Ecstacy’! Incidentally, those guest slots are saved for late in the album just in case anyone thought it was a deliberate ploy to hook people into the album early on.

This is certainly an intriguing and engaging debut that exudes class, delivered with great attention to detail and with power and passion throughout – the intensity is kept up from start to finish as there are no ballads, just subtle changes in mood and feel. This debut also gives Caputo and his band so many musical avenues to further explore on future releases as they have cleverly not painted themselves into any musical corners. There are many highlights that I could have chosen to…errr…highlight on this album, but they would just be my own personal favourites and could be misleading as there will be so much that appeals to so many on “Aquila”. It’s definitely a sterling start from a band I expect to hear much more from.

(8/10 Andy Barker)