Black Yet Full of Stars - Black Yet Full of StarsThere’s no doubt about it, in this burgeoning world of myriad metal sub-genres, an unlucky few have been branded as default pejoratives. We’re all guilty of it to some degree: nu metal, metalcore, deathcore… basically anything with a core, all sneered at and vilified down the length of our long, elitist noses. It saddens my iron bones to find that power metal seems to be suffering the same fate. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but there can be no denying the scene’s quality output. Show me someone, anyone, who doesn’t like Blind Guardian, and I’ll show you a filthy liar. I, for one, have a heartier constitution than most for some well-crafted power. Historically, the genre has served me better than any brutal death metal when looking to oust unwanted guests (and make no mistake, they’re all unwanted); a quick blast of Nightfall In Middle-Earth and the fuckers scurry like rats on a sinking ship. My Angry Metal persecutors have seen fit to furnish me with yet another weapon of crass destruction, in the self-titled debut of Black Yet Full Of Stars.

Made up of Italian, Greek, and American musicians, this four-piece pedal a progressive, orchestral brand of power metal – think Black Halo era Kamelot on steroids — which grew on me very quickly, indeed. One of the biggest complaints I have with the genre as a whole is that so many of the peripheral bands seem content to settle for an entirely invisible rhythm section — riffs with the molecular integrity of porridge that serve only to advance the spotlight vocals. Black Yet Full Of Stars knows no such misfortune and offer up a collection of muscular riffing fit for the upper echelons of the soul-soaring power aficionado. Eschewing the hyperactive positivity of Helloween and Gamma Ray, which, in my experience, is the issue most take with power metal, Black Yet Full Of Stars instead opt for the heavier crunch of latter-day Symphony X; the bombast coexisting neatly with the guitars lest the power dilutes the metal.

Rousing choruses abound on this debut, with “Golden Child” and “Face to Face” both odes to overcoming adversity and the rugged transition from boy to man… Much of the authenticity is thanks to vocalist David Scott McBee – his burly mid-range, which uncannily manages to emulate the phrasing of both Russell Allen and Roy Khan, gifts the album with a certain grit lacking in much of the Euro scene today. Heavier cuts, “Every Great Man’s Ghost” and closer “Tempesta,” are made all the better for his delivery, accentuating the substantial rhythms. Although none of the material is overtly bad, there are a couple of moments that don’t quite work. The almost balladry of “A Boy in Chains” manages to just miss the mark. I’m beyond lactose tolerant, but the lyrics on this one nearly had me at critical mass. “The Last Against the Wolves” is one of the album’s faster moments and will probably go over well live, but sadly suffers from “middle-child syndrome” in that it is inexorably situated between two of the albums strongest tracks, and, consequently, easily overlooked.

Black Yet Full of Stars 2016

Band mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Carlo M. Dini is clearly the man with the vision. He contributes not only guitars, bass, and keys but also oversees the not inconsiderable arrangements. The inherent symphonic elements often work as active instrumentation, with the strings following the guitars, working to accentuate the riff rather than serving as mere background fluff. The production, handled by Stefano Morabito (Hour Of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse), reflects this and is about as bold and slick (and arguably characterless) as you’d expect from any power metal record, with obvious emphasis on the vocals and orchestration – the instruments take on a crisp, if not dry tone in comparison.

Black Yet Full Of Stars crafted a fine debut full of innocuous yet satisfying power metal. The riffs have teeth and the choruses are outrageously hook-riddled. It’s only when I consider this is a debut record and muse on what some of the more established bands are currently producing (*cough*Iced Earth*cough*), that I can see just how much effort is present. This isn’t the album to slap you out of your powerviolent blood-fugue, but if, like me, you have an inclination towards metal’s more fantastical grandeur, then consider Black Yet Full Of Stars a new nebula on your ever-expanding horizon. Sure to please fans of Mob Rules and Borealis.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Rockshots Records
Websites: facebook.com/blackyetfullofstars
Releases Worldwide: October 22nd, 2016

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  • Darren

    The ‘Black Halo-era Kamelot’ comparison has piqued my interest – will definitely be checking this out.

    My love for The Black Halo is unhealthy.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      I adore Black Halo. This embedded track sounded nothing like it, though.

      • Exitium

        The vocals have a harsher Roy Khan quality to them.

    • Ferrous Beuller

      There’s nothing unhealthy about Black Halo! The embedded track, ironically, isn’t the best representation of the album, but you should definitely check them out!

  • Eldritch Elitist

    Is it just me, or is power metal on a serious decline? I can’t think of a crummier year that the genre has ever had. There have been very few releases, and none of them are great. I’ll definitely check this out based on the embedded track though. Good review, it gave me a good feel of what to expect from the whole album.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      And here comes the part when someone writes down a list of great Power Metal releases of 2016. Anyone?

      • Thraeg

        I can’t argue with it being a down year for power metal. The only two albums I’d call “great” (Dark Forest – Beyond the Veil and Myrath – Legacy) are hybrids arguably closer to their other parent genre.

        But there’s been a reasonable stream of “good” albums. I’ve personally enjoyed the releases from:

        Sabaton
        Helion Prime
        Eternity’s End
        Iron Savior
        Epica
        Rhapsody of Fire
        Avantasia
        Whispered
        Almanac
        Dunedain
        Sunburst
        Arrayan Path
        Sinbreed
        Thunderforge
        Expired Utopia

        Probably a ton more out there that I haven’t heard, too.

        • Eldritch Elitist

          There’s a couple of those that I haven’t heard yet so I’ll check them out. I totally forgot that Helion Prime album was a 2016 release though! What a neat little record.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            And crazy cover art to boot!

        • Anarchist

          I love the new Whispered album

        • Anarchist

          I should also add that I thought Dynazty’s Titanic Mass was pretty good

    • Oscar Albretsen

      I think it may be trying to get more technical, which is detracting from some of its best elements. I agree that it does unfortunately seem to be on a decline.

  • By my God, are we gonna cram in yet another excellent debut record in 2016? Well, why the hell not, this year has been full of them, the more the merrier.

    The embedded track was quite nice, will most certainly check it out

  • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

    Don’t forget crunkcore and crabcore!

    • Reese Burns

      Krunkcore..? I hope, with every fibre of my being, that that’s not a real thing,

      • dedseed1

        Who could forget Brokencyde? The poster boys of crunkcore. Terrible, terrible shit..

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That band name is the Blackgaze-iest band name ever. Yet it’s not a Blackgaze band.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Um, okay.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The embedded track feels way longer than it actually is.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Agreed. Just kept listening hoping something would catch my interest, but nothing ever did.

  • Phil Daly

    I don’t like Blind Guardian…

    • Gage

      Same. Power metal just makes me cringe

    • I like power metal, but Blind Guardian doesn’t hold my interest. Besides, it often feels more like thrash or folk. You want power, duh you go with MANOWAR.

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Monster.

  • jetblindracos

    Hearing some Dio-esque phrasing there!

  • Bart the Repairman

    Wait, aren’t over-colored, detailed illustrations and shiny, metallic 3D letters obligatory on power metal covers?

  • David Scott McBee

    I would just like to say thanks to all for your kind words . David Scott McBee BYFOS

    • Ferrous Beuller

      You’re very welcome! Great debut and I’ll be keeping my eye out for what’s next.

  • Better or worse than White Wizzard? Isn’t that really all we want to know? Power metal should be judged by that album, forever.

  • Thorbjørn Thaarup

    Just want to inform you all that Helloween is the best band ever. In case you didn’t know. Don’t thank me.