REVIEW: Fallen Sanctuary – Terranova

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When musicians get together, wondrous things are bound to happen. One such case, in a sea of many others, is SERENITY’s Georg Neuhauser and TEMPERANCE’s Marco Pastorino’s joint musical venture under the moniker FALLEN SANCTUARY. Since their debut album “Terranova” dropped on AFM Records on June 24th, 2022, the newly formed metal outfit lost no time in delivering on its melodic power metal promises.

In between the two of them, Neuhauser and Pastorino have enough experience creating melodic delights with their respective bands, pouring a lot of that into the songs on this album. As such, “Terranova” is chock full of all the trademark elements that define the genre – good to great melodic hooks, big choruses, sing-along lyrics, impressive vocals, wonderful harmonies, and well-crafted riffs. These are the album’s greatest strengths, as well as its pitfalls, since this is another example of style over substance despite the socio-political lyrical content. That is because both of them draw inspiration from more or less the same place and don’t really bring in other elements to diversify the soundscape, thus resulting in a rather homogenous offering.

The first single released, “Broken Dreams,” impresses listeners with catchy melodies, vocal harmonies aplenty, an addictive chorus, great singing, and a dose of AOR, but overall it’s a bit too standard to be memorable. Second single and title track “Terranova” ups the ante from the start with powerful drums, fast-paced riffs, and a melodic chorus, laid on top of an intense rhythmic section, thus making it into a great opener for the album. Third single, melodic power metal anthem “Now and Forever,” mixes things up a bit as it veers into heavy metal territory before settling into a mid-tempo pace, boosted by some hard-hitting riffs and thundering drums. The dynamics at play here make it more memorable as the chorus explodes in a boom of melody and AOR-infused harmonies. Georg Neuhauser and Marco Pastorino are as proficient behind the microphone as expected to be and their voices add different nuances and textures to the songs. A number such as “To the Top” benefits from their talents both on an individual level as well as when harmonizing together in the chorus.

The rest of the tracks feature more of the same theatrics with a few notable exceptions. One such track is “Trail of Destruction” whose underlying piano melody makes it not only stand out from the rest but also brings it closer to TEMPERANCE’s soundscape, which is always a good thing, while the noteworthy solo combines well with some AOR influences to transform it into melodic metal ear-candy. The obligatory power ballad “I Can’t Stay” offers a break from the album’s driving grooves as it hinges on Marco Pastorino’s acoustic guitar, Gabriele Gozzi‘s bass, and Georg Neuhauser’s emotional and sweet vocal delivery. “Destiny,” “No Rebirth,” and “Bound to our Legacy” are speedier and more energetic numbers with a clear-cut SERENITY vibe to them, as they lean into power metal territory to great effect; the choruses are soaring and catchy, while the guitar work is deeply melodic throughout. Closing out the album is the personal highlight, “Wait for Me,” another acoustic ballad carried by wonderful melodies, fantastic vocal performances, and a rousing chorus.

All in all, “Terranova” is not as groundbreaking as its title might suggest but does a great job of merging elements from both SERENITY and TEMPERANCE, as well as other melodic/power metal bands, into a cohesive album. If you’re a fan of the things/bands mentioned in this review, then you are probably going to enjoy this collection of songs, but if you want some more diversity in your music then you won’t be so pleased with what “Terranova” has to offer. Despite my nit-pickings, “Terranova” is a strong debut effort and an enjoyable listening experience.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

1. Terranova

2. Now and Forever

3. Broken Dreams

4. Rise Against the World

5. To the Top

6. Destiny

7. I Can’t Stay

8. Trail of Destruction

9. No Rebirth

10. Bound to Our Legacy

11. Wait for Me

Line Up

Georg Neuhauser – Vocals

Marco Pastorino – Guitars, Vocals

Gabriele Gozzi – Bass

Alfonso Mocerino – Drums

Label

AFM Records

Links

www.facebook.com/FallenSanctuaryMetal
www.instagram.com/fallensanctuary 
www.afm-records.de