Jori : MaterDea is a band consisting of no less than seven people. They hail from the north of Italy and mix the folky sound of Eluveitie with elements of symphonic metal. To make this striking combination reach maximum potential, the band has two violists and a cellist next to the regular string artists. Also the group uses both male and female vocals. All these musical riches make both the strong suit and the weak points of MaterDea, as can be heard on the album ‘Pyaneta’.
‘Back To Earth’ opens the album and immediately you can hear the added value of real bowed string instruments. This sounds so much better than the keyboard violinst that many other bands bring forward! The instrumental part of the music is very rich, and in ‘The Return Of The King’ the strings dare to take the lead a bit more, we also hear the first violin solo here. Sometimes the strings hold back in very standard support, and they should come forward just that bit more. The full potential of this large band is not yet used, and there is definitely some room for improvement there. The combination of two vocalists and classical instruments remind of the work of Victor Smolski such as Lingua Mortis Orchestra and Almanac. A disclaimer about the vocals not nearly reaching that level must be added here, and that is the primary weak spot of MaterDea. Female vocalist Simon Papa can definitely sing, but her high and overly sweet voice is on a constant lullaby level, and also the limited vocals of Marco Strega miss any sort of balls. Very unfortunate, because on an instrumental level, the band manages to strike the right chord on all their strings.
Further ahead on the CD we encounter some very interesting songs. First of all that is ‘S’Accabadora’, a track tasty in its chaos and on which singer Simon finally does something interesting with her voice. Also the more firm ‘Coven Of Balzaares’ is more memorable than most other songs. Is it enough to make a lasting impression after the CD kind of collapsed unto itself because of the tedious vocals? Not when the toe-curling last song abuses my eardrums with the most horrible (guest?) vocals I had to endure in a very long time.
MaterDea has some fine ideas and there is definitely some potency in this group. Alas it is mainly the vocals that do not live up to the level of the rest of the group, and therefore hold back the general level of the whole thing. I enjoyed the pretty music, but this is not an album that will get a prominent spot in the album collection.