November 24, 2020

Cristiano Filippini is an Italian composer, producer and guitarist and he seems to have had a most interesting and diverse musical career as a rock guitarists, pianist, classical composer and musician. It looks like he is one of those gifted multi-talented people who can turn their hands to just about any instrument and is blessed as an extraordinary song writer too. Filippini has already released three epic instrumental power metal albums and each has Cristiano merging metal with orchestral and operatic movements.

The First Crusade came out in 2010 and Flames of Passion in 2012 with the first album being inspired by the Crusades and the second following on these concepts to incorporate the actions of The Spanish Inquisition, You only need to look at the cover art and song titles to realise that here is a man who is greatly influenced by heroic deeds and all things of an historical nature. He third album is a live one, The Best Of Swords And Flames, and came out in 2015 but is only short at 31-minutes and features tracks from the first two albums recorded live with an orchestra but only a small portion of the show has been released and it appears only to be available on streaming or as a download. The first two albums seem to be difficult to source but are available on the usual streaming platforms and also available from the Cristiano Filippini website. All of these albums showcase the talented guitar playing of Filippini but are more of an orchestral nature rather than symphonic rock.

So now we come to Cristiano Filippini’s Flames Of Heaven and his new album The Force Within and there has been a huge change in his style as he has brought a vocalist on-board and cranked up the power so that this is now a true power/symphonic metal and what a fabulous and exciting album it is too. Filippini plays guitar, keyboards and has done all of the orchestration with the phenomenal Marco Pastorino (Temperance) serving to bring everything to life with his powerful and emotional delivery and he gives a true master class in how rock vocals should be delivered. He has a sound of the imperious Gary Hughes (Ten) which means that, to me, he can do no wrong and you should make a note of his name as he is surely destined to be a singer we will hear much more from. Further recruits have been Michele Vioni (Vivaldi Metal Project) and he is a prodigious and mercurial talent with Giorgio Terenziani (Arthemis) on bass and Paolo Caridi (Sweet Oblivion, Hollow Haze) on drums. There also appears to be further keyboards too for the duo of Alberto Sonzogni and Luca Zanon and this is an album that features amazing guitar work and simply wonderful keyboard interplay. As if any further credibility were needed then also consider that Matias Kupiainen(Stratovarius) has mixed the album and Mika Jussila (Nightwish, Stratovarius) was the mastering engineer and these guys know how to produce magnificent and glorious power metal albums.

In the world of orchestral and symphonic power metal then this album has it all with guitar work that is breathtaking and inspired keyboards and a devastatingly good singer. The songs are superbly written with all the hooks and melody you would expect so that it is not only very heavy but also very listenable and it works on so many different levels. Please listen as you will most certainly want this huge and all encompassing album in your collection.

Flames Of Heaven track list

  1. The Force Within (1:44)
  2. We Fight For Eternity (6:47)
  3. Far Away (5:41)
  4. Against The Hellfire (6:05)
  5. Always With You (5:35)
  6. Dying For Love (5:26)
  7. Finding Yourself (5:27)
  8. Lightning In The Night (5:37)
  9. Missing You (6:04)
  10. Moonlight Phantom (5:00)
  11. The Angel And The Faith (6:49)
  12. Ab Angelis Defensa (2:09)
  13. Missing You (Acoustic Version) (CD only Bonus Track) (6:13)