Leon : I had never heard of the band Soul Doubt but, after listening to their new record ‘The Dance Of Light & Shade’ they’re definitely on my radar now! The group released an EP in the year 2010, called ‘Winter’s Tale’, but disappeared from the bottom of the earth right after that. Until now. From out of nowhere the Italian band comes with a 105 minute long conceptual album! A serious piece of work that deserves the necessary attention for a review.
Let me start by saying that I was surprised by the quality of the album, It’s not just the CD cover that looks amazing but the album sounds really good as well! Amongst other things, this is due to the excellent mixing and mastering of Fascination Street Studio’s Linus Corneliusson and Tony Lindgren. It’s not just the mix though, it’s also the quality of the musicians themselves. Besides the fact that they have great control over their instruments, their parts are very tasteful, they play spot-on and their instruments just sound great. It happens too little that I receive albums that are recorded and produced as well as this one. The music that Soul Doubt makes doesn’t directly sounds like any other band, but influences of Dream Theater and Pain Of Salvation are clearly present. There are some more aggressive parts in the music but the band focusses more on the softer, more melodic, part of the genre. And this is where my first piece of criticism comes from. Overall, the album could’ve used a bit more balls, a bit more aggressive and less pretty. The album has too many calmer parts for my taste, which is a shame because this really made it harder for me to get into the album. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are good, but it made the difference of whether it’s good or awesome. The vocals of Marco Ciancaglini didn’t particularly help there either, unfortunately, the man can sing very well and is impressive during the melodic parts, but I never have the feeling that he really gives all he’s got, it’s again too pretty and neat. Two discs is a lot to listen to then. In the more aggressive parts he sings with some distortion but he clearly needs to work on that, as it doesn’t sound that good. Additionally, Ciancaglini sings with a clear and, unfortunately annoying, accent, words like ‘kill’ now sounds like ‘keel’. Sometimes I just don’t understand what he’s singing because of this and it distracts me from the music a bit.
With ‘The Dance Of Light & Shade’ the band really proves to be a band to be reckoned with, they have absolutely released an album that’s above average, especially productional. They should be proud of their work! I didn’t really get into the album too much, because of said missing aggression, but I do think that the group will gain a lot of new fans with this one. If the group would’ve put their best songs on a single disc, I might’ve said it was a must-have for prog fans, but now there are a bit too many forgettable parts in the album that impact the score in a negative way. Great piece of work, I look forward to the follow-up.