February 27, 2022

Come on, why are you reading this as you surely must have already bought the album and if not then why not? If you have any doubts then simply consider the sensation line-up of singer Fabio Lione, guitarist Chris Caffery, bassist Steve Di Giorgio and drummer Mark Zonder and you know that there is going to be real chemistry and heavy metal fit for the gods! The supergroup returns for a second album following the sensational 2019 release of the self-titled debut album and I was really disappointed to hear that the first vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens would not be returning but the bad news was tempered by the fact the his replacement was to be the Angra and ex-Rhapsody Of Fire singer Fabio Lione and he too is another sensational singer that I rate very highly.

The band was initially formed in 2017 by Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Di Giorgio (Testament, Death) and Zonder (ex-Fates Warning, Warlord) along with Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (ex-Judas Priest, Iced Earth) with the glorious strap line of ‘Judas Priest meets Savatage’ and that simple statement still sends a shiver up my spine. Of course, this made the recruitment of Owens ideal but I guess he is busy these days with the likes of KK’s Priest and the behemoth that is The Three Tremors which is probably the greatest metal band currently on the planet. Fabio Leone is the ideal replacement and is already a much appreciated and desired singer and he has brought a real gravitas to the team so that the change of frontman has been nothing short of seamless.

The initial intent behind the band was to produce music taking elements from all of the bands that the musicians have been involved in but to give the band its own distinct and unique sound and they did that perfectly. Indeed, the debut album was a real killer album with Caffrey on Fire and all of the musicians bringing their ‘A’ game into play. The album rocks big time and was and still is an essential album for any self respecting rock fan.

It doesn’t take long for Embrace The Unknown to throw down the sword and announce that the band is back with a serious intent to rock and, if anything, it eclipses the debut in terms of intensity and sheer heaviness. Lione is sensational and his perfect metal voice is the ideal foil for the band and he seems to have the best elements of Dio, Halford, Meine and Dickinson about his sound and delivery which makes him ideal for just about any metal project you can name. He is outstanding when belting out huge and anthemic metal standards but he also has the pureness and clarity to thrill when pouring his heart and soul into the slower, burning tracks which I hesitate to call ballads as they still contain so much power and energy. Di Giorgio and Zonder again show what an accomplished rhythm section they make with thunderous drum and storming bass runs building a perfect platform on which Caffrey lays down a plethora of dangerous and biting metal riffs and solo breaks. Indeed, I would suggest that he has rarely played better and is like a man possessed, such is his mercurial playing.

Respect should also go to guitarist and producer Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere, Edge Of Forever) for the marvellous production job he has done on the album making this an absolutely essential metal release that simply has to be heard to really hear just how good and vital it is. The musicians have written a killer set of songs and they have breathed demonic life into each and every one of them with Lione on fire and Chris Caffrey trading licks that will stay in your brain forever.

Embrace The Unknown is an album that you simply cannot live without and shows just why heavy metal is such a life affirming force and it simply does not get any better than this monster of an album by a band that is truly on fire (no pun intended).

Embrace The Unknown

  1. A Second Chance (4:54)
  2. Resurrection (5:43)
  3. Wildest Dreams (4:22)
  4. Into The Mirror (4:41)
  5. Embrace The Unknown (5:17)
  6. My Confession (5:11)
  7. Sea Of Change (6:25
  8. Shapes Of A Fragile Mind (4:53)
  9. Hearts In The Sand (5:42)
  10. House Of Pain (6:01)
  11. Remember My Name (4:30)
  12. Out In The Rain (7:15)