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Rhenium - Rise Above the Sea
Written by C.   
Friday, 27 May 2016

Rhenium - CD Review
Rise Above the Sea

Rhenium - Rise Above the Sea

 

CD Info
Genre: Symphonic metal
Label: Independent
Language: English
Tracks: 6 Total time: 23:11
Rating: 8 of 10


Over the last two decades since its inception, the symphonic metal genre has explored many different soundscapes and techniques in order to capture the resplendent sound needed for a style that incorporates the theatrics of classical music, and the dynamics of heavy metal. Many bands in the scene have adopted the mantra “bigger is better” by recruiting full orchestras, choirs, and classical instrumentation within the standard lineup. However, one thing that hasn’t been done (to my knowledge) is a “one-woman symphonic metal band” (or one-person symphonic metal band, for that matter). Until now.

Another characteristic of symphonic metal is the determination of its creators to go to whatever lengths possible to make their artistic vision a reality, and the UK’s Rhenium is no different. Rhenium’s ringleader is Cristina Pucci, an Italian singer/songwriter who emigrated to England in 2010 to further her career in music. After repeated attempts to put a band together and not seeming to find a lineup that worked or musicians that shared her perspective, Cristina finally decided that if she wanted a job done right, she would have to do it herself. From there, the long process began: playing all her own instruments, crafting her signature sound, and making it all work under her sole supervision. But the more she received encouragement from listeners around the world who were catching on to what she was doing, the more it inspired her to keep going and to find out just how far her musical ability could go.

After nearly 2 years, Cristina’s project Rhenium was finished, and a 6-song EP was ready in March 2016. What exactly does a “one-woman symphonic metal band” sound like, anyway?

“Drowning”: This short piece sets the tone: it is slow, dark, and haunting. The sound of breathing to the heartbeat-like punctuations of the synthesizer gives it a chilly, gloomy vibe.

“Nobody Can Hear Me”: The song starts off slow, with a chime reminiscent of a music box. This track sounds more gothic than symphonic, but I’m not nit-picking by any means. Cristina’s voice is melodic and sweet while packing a strong punch. She’s also a kick-ass guitar player!

“More Than Words Could Say”: A mid-tempo tune with just the right amount of kick to it. Her vocals on this track remind me a lot of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia (this is a compliment, by the way!). I think this would make a good single or video.

“Watching Over Me”: This is a gorgeous ballad where Cristina’s voice is the centerpiece. She sounds like she’s singing her heart out with the impassioned vocalizations and the sad lyrics.

“Once Again”: A song with some electronic influences; a bit on the slower side of mid-tempo, but Cristina really lets loose in the chorus.

“Rise Above the Sea”: The final track and my favorite on the EP, this is where Cristina pulls out all the stops and presents all of her talents. It’s got killer guitar riffs, dark gothic melody, spellbinding vocals, and all the power that is expected of symphonic metal.

Overall opinion: Rhenium is a unique new addition to the symphonic metal genre; I mean, wasn’t it high time we had a one-woman symphonic metal band? Cristina is the whole package: a talented vocalist, composer, and musician. While she doesn’t really need a backing band, it might be to her benefit to get one for the purpose of live shows; but she’s off to a good start so far. This is also a good starting point for “newbies” to the genre; it’s not too over-the-top (as many symphonic metal bands are accused of being) and her straightforward vocal style is not too off-putting to those who are not entirely used to the more operatic/classically-trained vocalists as of yet. For being put together all by one person, Rhenium is an impressive project that is sure to please most symphonic metal fans, and the “one-woman show” angle certainly doesn’t hurt either. It will be interesting to see what direction Cristina continues taking the music in; whether she will ultimately recruit a full band or if she will keep going on her own for as long as possible. Rise Above the Sea is worth a listen whether you are a longtime symphonic metal fan or are just learning your way around the genre.

 

For more information on Rhenium, visit their Facebook page

Special thanks to Demas Miller

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