November 22, 2020

Starbynary is an Italian progressive metal band but one with a definite neo-progressive rock flavour to it and what a delicious and intriguing combination this makes. The band formed in 2013 with the debut Dark Passenger coming out in 2014 but then a quantum leap was taken as the band decided to produce a most ambitious trilogy based around the Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieirhten, considered as one of the greatest works of literature in the world. This work, as we all know, is in the three parts of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso and charts the journey of the soul towards God through the rejection of sin (Inferno), state of penitence (Purgatorio) and ultimate ascension to Heaven (Paradiso). Of course, there is so much more to it than that but it does sort of set the scale for the project that the band embarked upon.

The first stage, Inferno, was released in 2017 with Purgatorio coming out in 2019 and now the third and final part has been released for our pleasure. I have to say that this is the first time I have come across Starbynary so am unable to comment on the first two parts but, and this is something of a spoiler alert, I have now just ordered all three albums form the band’s website as Paradiso is a stunning work of art. This is primarily a progressive metal album but, as mentioned earlier, it is prog rock too and it also touches on symphonic and orchestral metal as well. It is an all encompassing rock album based on a huge theme and is done with great courage as you have to question how do you set out to portray the ascension to Heaven and being in the presence of God? Surely, there cannot be many concept works set on a grander scale. The guys who have brought this epic work to us are Joe Caggianelli on vocals, guitarist Ralph Salatti, Luigi Accardo on Keyboards, Sebastiano Zanotto on bass and Alfonso Mocerino on drums and they have produced a score that is immense and so full of depth. This is the first album to feature the new guitarist Ralph Salatti (Destrage) and he has settled into the band perfectly but, I’m sure, that secretly he must have been a little overawed to be joining such a spectacular project.

They have brought in a number of guests to give the album a true orchestral feel too with the great voice of Elisa Stefanoni adding contrast on tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8 and Nicola Broveli providing cello on tracks 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. To help with the tale, Renato Cadel acts as narrator on tracks 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11. The final track Stars as befits the ending of the cycle is given the full and most spectacular treatment with the addition of Christina Greco (soprano), Anna Bessi (contralto), Dogminin Simone Kone (tenor) and Giorgio Marobbio (bass) and finished off with a children’s choir. What spectacular vision and imaginations all of the musician involved must have to not only contemplate but also to complete such an all encompassing work. Paradiso is another of those complex albums with so much happening that you have to play it several times just to start understanding the piece then each further plays opens you up to further revelations. The vocals of Joe Caggianelli are splendid and life affirming and when combined with Elisa Stefanoni they are both just sumptuous and beautiful. The guitar is immense with stunning leads breaks and gorgeous riffs and the keyboard work of Luigi Accardo is so sublime that it could bring a tear to your eye. We mustn’t forget the hard working engine room and the work of Sebastiano Zanotto and Alfonso Mocerino is immense and allows the rest of the band to provide the perfect tapestry of sound.

Words will never be enough to convey just how awe inspiring and spectacular this work is, you just have to sit, close your eyes, crank up the volume and float away into the magical world that ‘Starbynary’ have conjured up for you. Conjured is actually the correct word as this is simply magical.

Divina Commedia Paradiso track list

  1. The Moon (5:10)
  2. Mercury (5:03)
  3. Venus (5:15)
  4. The Sun (4:54)
  5. Mars (5:26)
  6. Jupiter (6:25)
  7. Saturn (5:36)
  8. Stellae Fixae (6:00)
  9. Primum Mobile (6:58)
  10. The Empyrean (5:16)
  11. Stars (8:28)