Brazilian prog outfit Maestrick’s second full length is a big one. Seven years after debut album Unpuzzle! they apparently aren’t pulling the stops at all. Espresso Della Vita: Solare is a huge album, with plenty of unique little quirks and twists to make it interesting, even though it is at the far end of long. And while it’s a little bloated, there are plenty of things to like about this album which comes in at the right point. The airy feel that blends progressive elements ranging from the rock based to hints of power metal, though never straying too far into either one but eclectically diverting through the sounds and the styles with ease and precision. It dares to not be metal when it suits, and it lets the guitars take a laid back role behind the keys and the bass. Producer Adair Daufembach adds the guitars, but while there are some great moments therein as well as several great, laid back solos, the melodic touch comes mostly care of Neemias Teixeira and the keyboard tracks he lays with precision and grace.
The guitars always seem to do something interesting, finding some new quirk to pull and burst into a solo. Be it in the winding licks or the background riffage - or the aforementioned solos, which are to the point and delivered with pinpoint accuracy. They trade the melodies with Teixeira’s fine tuned keys that deliver silly to full blown melodic mastery, and doing so without losing track. As stated, Renato Somera’s bass is also highly prevalent, never taking a backseat in terms of mixing and always staying interesting without following in the tracks of the guitars or the melodies. Vocalist Fábio Caldeira has a bit of a Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder, Kamelot) aura around him, but without the big, epic flair that comes from the latter’s turns in Kamelot. His whole delivery is great, and done with just that right amount of charm to pull of the sillier numbers while also being potent enough to do the serious parts justice. His best would be The Seed, an album highlight where he goes from an emotive mid range to tugging at the higher notes as he battles the guitars.
One problem would be the album’s more than substantial length; clocking in at just under 80 minutes it’s almost enough for two full length albums. And there are some filler within that space, and it does take a while for the album to fully take off. Lengthy opening track Origami is instrumental, and followed by I A.M. Living, a not so interesting song that opens up the album in an almost bored fashion. Luckily, it kicks off better with Rooster Race, Keep Trying and 15 minute epic The Seed, to deliver full blown passion that doesn’t stray from the whole sense of the music. So it’s a big album, and a lot to take in, especially in one sitting, but it’s a neat experience and one that won’t be getting tiresome quick, as there is plenty of material in here to keep the mind wandering through the lengthy instrumental passages, the guitars and keys battling in lofty solo duels. Espresso Della Vita: Solare has all the flair of a warm summer day, and adds the fresh breeze just enough to keep it cool.
Standout tracks: Rooster Race, The Seed, Across The River