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MISTHERIA Keys Of Eternity Sifare (2012)


Mistheria is a Croatian based, classical trained Italian keyboard player and composer who is known to Metal fans for his work with the likes Bruce Dickinson

And while his last album 'Dragon Fire' attracted a fair bit of Metal press this album will probably sideline that publicity as 'Keys Of Eternity' is essentially a solo piano album with occasional synth generated support.

'Keys Of Eternity' is an impressionistic work that seeks out the core emotional connection between a composer and his chosen instrument. Mistheria explores the highs and the lows of life and the contrasting emotions of hope and despair - and all emotional pit stops in between - as expressed though several two handed pieces that gently flow and often beguile with their subtlety.

Of course as with all such music the feelings are subjective but Mistheria does have the ability to tap into your feelings with the gentlest of notes. On some occasions the solo piano pieces sound like a conversation that start gently and suddenly becomes more animated. This is particularly so on the self explanatory 'Voice Of The Heart' which opens with a brief theme and a gently voiced melody and becomes gradually more fraught.

'Lullaby For Simone' is full of sparkling notes that float, glisten and then quietly drop to earth like snow flakes on a Christmas night. It's a perfectly nuanced lullaby with a picture post card sense of calm and serenity,

Curiously the album opens with an array of sound effects and sampled tribal chants that gently fade and segue into a piano and synth duet with choral voices. Mistheria fosters a false sense of anticipation, as if it's some kind of a prequel to a dramatic musical journey, when in fact for the most part this is a solo piano album with occasional synth accompaniment.

At his best he has the ability to draw you in and focus on gently played notes that evoke shifting moods and emotions. 'Frozen Keys' is the longest piece on the album and has a meditative opening and a portentous feel given further substance by a sudden shift to a heavier touch before a return to the theme over the distant sound of the ocean. Then there's the big vista feel of Ivana Greguric's 'Teslina Sonata' which derives its ethereal sense of grandeur from big chords and a stringed synth arrangement not out of place on one of those a Jean Michel Jarre albums from the 70's!

Mistheria is best on solo piano where the gentlest caress of the keys and his little pauses between delivery allow the notes to resonate and evoke an array of moods, while the use of synths gives compositions such as 'Naibi' a little sprinkling of fairy dust, though he's smart enough to use the latter sparingly.

He over deliberates on 'Coming Back', a gentle piece that maps out the melody and makes judicious use of the pregnant spaces to let the notes ring. There's almost a pause at the half way mark as if he's weighed down by emotion and it is probably the closest he gets to his mission statement of playing notes that 'breathe life into songs'.

'Song Without Words' by Guido Reggeri is a lilting piece that ebbs and flows and there's an expansive choral arrangement and a strong melody line on 'Memory' before the album finally dips into standard concert repertoire for the melancholic 'Nocturne in E Minor' by Chopin.

'Keys of Eternity' sounds like an album Mistheria needed to make if only to experience the essential connection between the roles of composer and pianist. And if you can overlook the rather pretentious title, there are moments when his compositions really do speak clearly, but some ham fisted synth arrangements and a touch too much introspection means he falls somewhere between the two stools of Classical Music and Prog. The result is an album that is good in parts but you suspect not weighty enough for the former and not accessible enough for the latter.


Review by Pete Feenstra


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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