FALLEN SANCTUARY – Terranova [Digipak +4] (2022)

FALLEN SANCTUARY - Terranova [Digipak +4] (2022) full

Dynamic and addictive, the lovechild of Serenity singer Georg Neuhauser and Temperance lead guitarist Marco Pastorino, FALLEN SANCTUARY, convinces with rousing melodic metal anthems on their debut album “Terranova“.
”Terranova” contains just about everything you want and expect from a European melodic metal record; it is packed full of sharp riffage, big choruses, sing-along lyrics, and hooks aplenty. There’s even a place for a few large slices of commercial stuff too with punchy AORish touches.
We find a couple of power metallic tracks as well, but where FALLEN SANCTUARY excels is when they go for purest melodies bringing to mind glorious acts from the past, painted by the band with a huge, clean modern production.

We were curious to hear exactly what kind of sound Fallen Sanctuary would go for since Serenity has a fairly traditional symphonic power metal sound, which has evolved somewhat over the years, but generally stayed close to a classic Euro power metal sound, while Temperance has more of a modern melodic metal style, with some power metal elements.

Moving away from comparisons, though, what matters is whether or not ”Terranova” is an enjoyable album in its own right, and in that regard, I’d say it’s a huge success.
Neuhauser is a very strong singer, his voice is smooth, powerful, and charming for this genre, while Pastorino excels both with his very melodic, often beautiful guitar work, as well as adding in some of his intense, powerful supporting vocals in quick bursts, as he often does with his main band.

The overall sound is quite powerful, with the vocals and guitars especially sounding great, though I do think the mixing is maybe slightly off, with the keys often being fully buried and overshadowed, to the point where I needed to wear headphones to be fully sure they were even there on certain tracks, or if I was imagining them (they are there, just to be clear.)
For the most part, this is a more guitar-driven album, with some pretty heavy riffs from time to time, lots of fast playing, and some fantastic melodies throughout, as well as some fairly simple but very nice sounding guitar solos.
Keyboards are almost always a secondary feature, mostly being there in the background, aside from on lighter, more AOR-inspired tracks like “To the Top” and “Trail of Destruction”, where they’re a bit more prominent.

The songwriting on Terranova is excellent throughout, and is quite varied, with a mix of fast-paced power metal, mid-paced melodic metal with occasional AOR influences, as well as a couple of ballads.
The melodic metal oriented songs are generally my favorites, but everything is well done, and while there aren’t any huge surprises, the album remains fresh and engaging from start to finish.

The title track kicks things off at a fast and furious pace, with some excellent melodic guitar work throughout, as well as some very high-energy verses and an excellent, extremely catchy chorus. The one thing I find a bit weird is that the upbeat, triumphant tone of the music feels at odds with the very dark message of the track (it deals with drug abuse).
Next is “Now and Forever”, the first of several tracks lamenting the current state of the world, especially on a natural and environmental level. Musically, it’s another upbeat track, moving at a fast pace during the verses, with some hard-hitting riffs and intense drums, before slowing down a bit to give way for a very strong, very melodic chorus.

One track I instantly fell in love with is “Broken Dreams”, slightly lighter and slowed down just a bit compared to the first two tracks, with the verses, in particular, being quite subdued. It builds up momentum going into the chorus, though, which is insanely catchy and has some of my favorite vocal lines and lyrics on the entire album, being another track about the condition of the world.
The hits continue with “Rise Against the World”, another slightly lighter, more melodic metal-influenced track. It has some wonderful melodic guitar work and excellent vocal melodies.

A big favorite is “To the Top”, a more AOR-influenced track. I find the early parts of it are a bit slow and not all that engaging, though the chorus is quite nice, and the track does become more intense and epic towards the end, with the last minute or in particular being excellent.
Another lighter track is “Trail of Destruction”, which left a stronger impression on me right from the get-go. It’s a fairly slow-paced melodic metal track, and has the most noticeable use of keys for its main melody, while also having probably the most melodic and most memorable chorus of the album.

Going back to the heavier side of things, “Destiny”, “No Rebirth” and “Bound to Our Legacy” are all heavy tunes with good choruses and melodic riffs, with the first of those, in particular, being probably the heaviest song on the album, while the latter two are more melodic, but still very fast-paced and fans of classic power metal should love all three of them.
There are two acoustic ballads on the album, “I Can’t Stay” and the closing track “Wait for Me”. The latter is a fantastic metal ballad with some superb melodies during the verses, while the chorus has a fantastic, emotional vocal performance, excellent lyrics, and very strong vocal melodies, to help make it one of the highlights of the album.

Overall, ”Terranova” is a very strong debut. It offers a nice mix of melodic metal, commercial power, and a bit of AOR, as well as two ballads, one of which in particular is fantastic. It’s a recommended listen, as it has the kind of strong performances and excellent songwriting one would expect from a top tier album in either style.
Fallen Sanctuary has a lot of promise, and with the songs for a follow-up written already, I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this unexpected, but very much welcome team-up.


01 – Terranova
02 – Now and Forever
03 – Broken Dreams
04 – Rise Against the World
05 – To the Top
06 – Destiny
07 – I Can’t Stay
08 – Trail of Destruction
09 – No Rebirth
10 – Bound to Our Legacy
11 – Wait for Me (Bonus Track)
12 – Now and Forever (Instrumental Version)
13 – Rise Against the World (Instrumental Version)
14 – To the Top (Instrumental Version)

Georg Neuhauser (vocals)
Marco Pastorino (guitars, vocals)
Gabriele Gozzi (bass, backing vocals)
Alfonso Mocerino (drums)



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