My Refuge are an Italian Metal band (there’s no dragon on the cover so they aren’t stereotypically power metal) with a shiny new four track EP to unleash on the world. And it’s very professionally done in all aspects – musically, production and artwork (though I would have guessed the band were more Melodic Death Metal from the cover – the band may be just trying to distance themselves from the aforementioned dragons!), so that’s a good start.
The first track, ‘A Storm Is Coming’ is in that Iced Earth type Metal musical vain and reminds me of fellow Italian Metallers Highlord with touches of Labyrinth, Vision Divine and Shining Fury, mainly down to the urgent riffing, up-tempo drums with intricate kick-work and an easy-to listen-to vocalist with a well executed mid to high register. A really good solid Power-ish Metal track to kick off with.
Second track ‘The Cage (Oh Demon In My Eyes)’ is a touch more towards the melodic heavy metal register with it’s Maiden-esque twin guitar intro and has me thinking on the whole of another Italian band Secret Sphere – especially in the feel of the chorus, but again with sprinkles of the bands I mentioned earlier (all good company to be in).
The title track is up next and has an edgier prog metal vibe to it, which fits with another Labyrinth comparison and also has a sound of Ivanhoe and Time Machine too in the way the melodic chorus fits nicely with the proggier verse and some nice time-changes in the middle section too.
The last track is a brave move – an acoustic track called ‘Empty Rooms’ (thankfully not a Gary Moore cover…) which may be a cost saving way of getting a fourth track on a demo when you have to pay for it yourselves (I speak from experience!) but it shows another side to the band of course and gives the vocalist the chance to show off his rather nice silky-smooth lower style. It could possibly use a more memorable chorus (if I’m being picky) but it’s a good track and as an exercise in dexterity for vocal and guitar it certainly achieves it’s goal.
And there we go, another as yet unsigned Metal band searching for a deal that must be wondering how so many comparatively mundane bands can be sitting on healthy record contracts while My Refuge are left on the shelf. Don’t worry guys, keep putting out material of this quality and that pending record deal is just around the corner.
(7/10 Andy Barker)