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Vita Nova - Vita Nova

Vita Nova – CD Review
Vita Nova

Vita Nova

CD Info
Self Release
10 Tracks - 11 Tracks on iTunes
English Lyrics

What happens when you take a performer with a plethora of unrecorded songs, who joins forces with a guitarist and drummer which have classical and symphonic metal training? Add a bassist and you end up with Vita Nova, which is the collaboration between VK Lynne from Los Angeles and Federico Salerno (Deva) from Milan. I was already familiar with the singing/songwriting talents of VK Lynne from watching her mini-concerts on Stageit, however, I was not familiar with the composer/guitarist Federico. Very rarely is one able to come upon an album that has a wide variety of songs that are arranged and performed so well. The raw emotion, both instrumentally and vocally, are apparent in this album as I will elaborate later in this review. This album is a refreshing combination of Rock and Symphonic Metal. A bonus was the ability of VK and Federico to team up with the wide array of performers from around the world.

Vita Nova could be loosely interpreted “New Life.” This album, a collection of diverse songs, could be seen as a breath of “New Life” for the performer and the songs. There were earlier discussions about creating music via the internet and involving performers from around the world within Eve’s Apple. This album follows that format. Most of the female performers had been members of the now-defunct “Eve’s Apple,” which promoted female fronted music bands and are mostly metal. The performers come from six countries and joined to produce this surprisingly very good album.

Besides VK and Federico, both very talented musicians, Federico was able to enlist Thomas D’Alba , bassist from his Symphonic Metal Band Deva. Rounding out the instrumentalists includes Tony Corizia (drums) and Saiph (violin). In addition to the many female vocalists, VK was able to enlist Babis Nikou (Astral DNA) for vocals on “Ephemeral.” Guest instrumentalists includes Shane Gibson (ex-Korn, The Spider Accomplice,SToRK), Beatrice Palumbo(Deva), and Antonio Di Sabato

The opening song, “Alone, Pt. 1,” is a haunting mixture of keyboards and vocals. There are close harmonies, a result of the layering of VK’s voice. There is a slight darkness to overall sound. It gives a unique beginning to the album and sets up the songs that follow. VK Lynne, through the Vita Nova’s Facebook page relates that this song began as a poem that she vocalized. After she recorded her words, Federico took her recording and pieced it together. Then he suggested breaking it into two parts. This provides the intro and outro to the album.

“Taking on the World,” which features guest vocalists Max Nil (ex-Vision of Atlantis, Jaded Star), Grace Méridian (ex-Shield of Wings, Candlelit, guest vocalist Apparition), Iliana Tsakiraki (ex-Meden Agan,Enemy of Reality), and Shane Gibson. This song appears in three different versions on the album. If you downloaded it from iTunes, there is an additional bonus version. This song, simply put, is a rock anthem. One could envision this song being the anthem for all female singers of every genre of music, not just Metal or rock. This is especially true in an industry that has been male-dominated for so long. Female singers must, at times, feel like they are truly “Taking on the World.” VK insight to this song is that it was partly inspired by her mother’s recovery from surgery due breast cancer. This raw emotion is evident both in the music and lyrics. The “radio” version opens with the typical rock beat established by the guitar, bass, and drums. VK provides the verse and is joined by the guest performers in the chorus. There is a haunting guitar solo between the chorus and the next verse. Underneath the vocals, the instruments continue with their driving rock beat.

The second version opens with an a cappella opening of the chorus and we have the heavy rock beat by the instrumentalist. The third version to me is the best version. This features acoustic guitar, rather than electric, with a more laid back bass and drum beat underneath. The harmonies are much clearer and stand out more. What adds to this version is a very lovely violin part played by Saiph. The simplicity of the part makes it so much more haunting and nicely compliments the vocals. If you bought and downloaded Vita Nova from iTunes, then you are treated to a bonus track of “Taking on the World.” This track is very similar to the first two versions of the song except that it is shorter and the rock beat is provided by the guitar and drums. The guitar solo, while showing much dexterity, is milder than the early version.

The title song, “Vita Nova,” deals with the end of a complicated relationship as stated by VK. This is probably my second favorite song on the album. After the end of any relationship, there is always the “new beginning” or “New Life,” which is the premise of this song. The song opens with “We are done here,” hauntingly sung by VK. Underneath her haunting vocal part is a light guitar and drum part. Then we have the chorus part with the superb Soprano part provided by Kerstin Bischof (ex-Xanderia) which soars above and over VK and the much heavier Metal beat. The whole song builds to a high point with driving guitar chords, bass, and drum followed by a guitar solo with very fluid riffs sort of representing the possible new beginning. Interestingly, the song ends on a very quiet note just like the beginning with “We are done here.”

The song “On Christmas Day” opens with a lovely accordion solo by Antonio Di Sabato. The goes back and forth between a driving rock beat, with a nice ascending bass part, and the mournful, soulful accordion background. Helen Vogt (Flowing Tears) adds a unique vocal part during the chorus that end with growls, adding to the originality of the song. The song becomes a true rock song toward the end with driving bass, drums, and a soaring guitar part that showcases Federico’s Classical background and training. He employs arpeggios, riffs, runs and wah-wah pedals to end the song.

Probably the most interesting song would be “Ephemeral” because it features a female-male duet. The song features Babis Nikou (Astral DNA). This song begins with simple drum beat with keyboard chords over that beat. Babis begins the vocals and then is joined with VK for the duet. The chorus includes a heavier guitar part. The song sounds mournful and Babis brings that out in his solo parts. Toward the end of the song we have a melody-countermelody between the guitar and VK, with each bringing out their part like it should be the dominant one.

My favorite song on this album is “Scary Place.” This song as state by VK, on the group’s facebook page, the mind is one of the scariest places because of what is hidden there. This song includes guest Gogo Melone (Luna Obscura) and the two ladies bring out the message of the song quite clearly in the lyrics.

Isn’t it a scary place, behind the lines in your face, isn’t it a scary place, knowing all the things that you, knowing all that you can’t take back.

This song opens with the power guitar chords intertwined with a hard rock drum beat. Over this is a light synthesized part. The vocal parts fit in quite nicely with the instrumental beat and it is consistent throughout the song. Gogo adds a very nice complimentary part to the theme of the song and blends with VK’s voice quite well. Throughout the song we are treated to some very nice guitar riffs to enhance the mood of the song. The theme of the song is probably one of the most frightening to some people and yet so beautiful. They just want to remind us about how scary our minds can really be and what we may be hiding.

Obviously I purchased this album. It is refreshing to see what can happen when you take musicians from around the world and have them collaborate. While Vita Nova is not a true Metal album, it has enough Symphonic Metal/Hard Rock in it to satisfy most Symphonic Metal listeners. I have to say kudos first to VK Lynne for her willingness to share with the world some of her most difficult moments in her life. That is not always easy to do. Federico has proven in this album that his Classical background and training is a bonus, not a deterrent. This is a must for listeners who want to expand their music libraries. Let me close by quoting VK concerning this album:

"Everyone’s schedule was already full with their own projects, so we were especially grateful when all the guest artists got on board without hesitation," says VK. "However, we still had time differences, language barriers and budget restrictions to contend with, and pretty much everything that could go wrong, did, at one point or another, but still…we couldn't deny that we had something here, so we pushed on."

All I can add is that I, for one, am glad that they did and I look forward to hearing more from this band in the future.

9.75 / 10