Moon Reverie – Moon Reverie (Album Review)

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“Reverie” is defined as “a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing.” Neoclassical hard rock band Moon Reverie is lined up to release their self-titled debut album “Moon Reverie,” and it is everything and everything but dreamy meditation. What Moon Reverie offers to listeners is an eclectic mix of 80s-inspired rock tinged with the flair of early heavy and power metal, defined by both a bright modern touch and a yearning nostalgia that comes from the hands of a seasoned artist. A subtle backbone to the entire album is the unwavering influence of classical music, with guitars arranged for the nuanced textures of a baroque and indulgent flavor that are flawlessly captured in the unyielding song of a galloping electric guitar. 

The project of Italian guitarist Luca Poma, Moon Reverie will be offering their first album this year after having formed in 2012, and following a series of live performances where the tracks included first saw the true light of day. Finally collected under a single name, “Moon Reverie” represents new life and a sense of permanence for a creator who has flitted between projects and touring bands, acquiring skills and holding them rather close to his heart, until now. The result is a collective and comprehensive look at passion, practice, and creative risk. 

Poma is not leaping into the fold of Moon Reverie without considerable experience behind him as both a writer and musician. He has served as the touring guitarist for Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, Graham Oliver, and many others over the years. Even now at the helm of his own projects, past bandmates continue to sing his praises, applauding not just his dedication to his craft, but his charismatic mastery of an instrument that can hold such a diverse range of personalities. As proven by his variety of touring companions, Poma has the ability to embody many different styles, but Moon Reverie seems to be imbued with fragments of the many identities that he has acquired over his years of travel. 

While most of the album would fall comfortably under the blanket of hard rock, there are certainly a handful of tracks that stand out as belonging firmly to the flavors of metal, while the closing track “Moon Reverie Suite” holds the most riveting surprise of all. But even within the cover of neoclassical rock, Poma’s guitar shifts its taste between the claws of metallic aggression and summer-sweet ballads. The drift from arena-rocking showmanship to a more nuanced precision envelops the laserlike focus of every riff he plays, each stylistic segment bleeding into the next without fracturing a comprehensive approach. Vocals varying in their delivery as well, “Moon Reverie” appears to be an album where the creator is the only one who holds the perfect picture of the vision that he has sought to manifest.

“Moon Reverie” Album Artwork

Second track and first single “Forgiveness” opens with a metal-inspired flair, reminiscent of later power metal, but quickly delves into the melodic rock core of Poma’s identity. This track heavily favors the guitar in the mix, production seeming to lean in clear favor of Poma’s relentless work across his strings. The only instrument that matches the guitars in their strength and clarity are the drums, neither so simplistic nor so complex that they draw away from the mastermind of creation. This approach differs from third track “I Will Come for You” which offers an unapologetic vocal lead that fights to drown the guitars with its song.  More repetitive than the former, “I Will Come for You” fills out its body with a deeper drum and matching bass section, both still giving the guitar room to breathe as it works a path through the vocal-fronted emotions. 

In raw musicianship and technicality, Moon Reverie offers little to be critical of. However, as demonstrated in both “I Will Come for You” and “Say Forever,” vocal aptitude for emotional delivery is somewhat lacking. The guitar is the main force of engagement throughout “Moon Reverie,” with the vocalist certainly capturing nostalgia when the style calls for it, but fails to truly penetrate into any more three-dimensional emotions. While the tracks could certainly call an enthusiastic arena to their feet, spotlights on a virtuoso of guitar, they fall far short of bringing tears to one’s eyes. A refreshing breath that is much better suited to the style is the fun-loving fifth track “Eyes,” which is unafraid to live out its moment in the spotlight living a truth of freedom and vibrant jubilation, rather than begging the listener to feel something that the song is incapable of delivering.  

Of tracks that draw from earlier metal influences is the standout seventh song, “The Raven.” Reminiscent of Iron Maiden or Judas Priest in a combination of musical grit and polish in production, the speed and fire build throughout the course of the song, never faltering once they begin. In the middle of this high-octane musical journey, Poma truly breaks free with a guitar passage that is so over-the-top that one may feel nearly guilty for indulging. To see an artist shed any restraint that they may have been chained by in other acts is incredibly liberating as a listener, and Poma takes to well-deserved flight with eager exuberance. After a stylistically broad opening that sometimes faltered in harnessing the heart Poma strived to weave with his songwriting, “The Raven” is a soaring and tasteful redemption. 

One would be remiss not to mention the stunning and surprising closing track, none other than “Moon Reverie Suite.” The classical influence that drove much of the prior composition becomes all-enveloping in this classically arranged piece, spanning almost nine full minutes long. Opening in a pondering and sensuous exploratory fashion, the introduction of the drums after a feigned closing pick up the speed and intensity for another four minutes of pure bliss. This is an arrangement that is easy to get lost in, trying to capture the spirit of each passage as it flows effortlessly into the next, a journey in pure instrumental sensation. The only fault of the song is that it seems to end far too abruptly, the song gradually fading as Poma continues to play on and on with a yet unsurpassed endurance. 

Moon Reverie” is an album of tentative identity and many cumulative years of creative wisdom. It is a concrete collection of physical expression from an artist whose heart has most often been borne only in passing on the open stage. Even if some of the more intentional emotional delivery falls short of its full impact, “Moon Reverie” captures a wide range of musical tastes and balances them delicately against one another with a spirited and multi-talented guitarist at the helm. This is a final work that captures Luca Poma in twelve tracks that seem to just fly by, and is is a hopeful first step in what has the great potential to become a more established and well-defined compositional style. 

Released By: Rockshot Records
Release Date: January 31st, 2020
Genre: Neo-Classical Heavy Metal

Musicians:

  • Luca Poma / Bass, Guitars, Backing Vocals
  • Manuel “Ades” Togni / Drums
  • Nicola Leonesio / Keyboards, Backing Vocals
  • Luca Pozzi / Vocals

“Moon Reverie” Track-listing:

  1. Into Glory
  2. Forgiveness
  3. I Will Come for You
  4. Say Forever
  5. Eyes
  6. In My Heart
  7. The Raven
  8. First and Last
  9. On the Edge
  10. Far Above
  11. End of Times
  12. Moon Reverie Suite

8.6 Excellent

Longtime touring guitarist and virtuoso Luca Poma brings the fire of his practiced passion in a collection of songs that traverse styles from neoclassical hard rock, through metal, and back to classical arrangements. Moon Reverie is a brilliant showcase for a master of songwriting and of style, capturing his fluid mastery over whichever style he wishes to entertain. Breaking free from the constraints of touring acts, Poma breaks free and takes flight in an exciting and engaging debut

  • Songwriting 8
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 9
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