Guitar virtuoso Nozomu Wakai and his project Destinia blasted onto the scene in 2014 with their first album release, ‘Requiem for a Scream’, which was followed by EP, ‘Anecdote of the Queens’ (2015) and a live concert DVD, ‘A Live For A Scream’ (2016). Destinia’s latest album ‘Metal Souls’ is a classic and modern take on the world of rock and heavy metal. Wakai joined forces with vocalist Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, Lords Of Black, CoreLeoni) and wanting to add some knowledge and strength to his rhythm section, recruited bassist Marco Mendoza (The Dead Daisies) and drummer Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake). Upon my first listen of this album, it reminded me of bands like Lord, Nightwish, and Judas Priest.
Metal Souls is the opening track to Destinia’s Metal Souls and it is full of pumping riffs, a solid sounding rhythm section, blazing finger work from Wakai and powerful vocals from Romero. This really sends sparks flying for anticipation of listening to the remainder of the album and what lies ahead on my ‘Metal Souls’ journey.
The second track Rain is my second favourite track on Metal Souls, and you can really hear heavy rock influences coming through the grooves on this song. This song, however, has some great vocal work by Romero. The vocal layers he does on this song are epic and that chorus hook is crazily catchy, so catchy that I can’t seem to shake it from my head. It will randomly pop in my head and gets me some lovely weird looks from people while I hum it proudly to myself, just like when I heard Dragonforce’s Cry Thunder (that was a long few months). The solo that Wakai does on Rain is tasteful, with some enjoyable guitar work – a real classic Yngwie Malmsteen-esque solo. If you’re looking for a memorable modern 80s-90s style power ballad then Take Me Home is your track. Take Me Home has another great vocal performance from Romero, with Wakai’s guitar work throughout and his placement of lead guitar parts, especially under the chorus compliments into one mesmerising track. I can definitely see this track being played live, with the crowd getting out lighters and waving them in the air. Ready for Rock is probably the heaviest and grooviest track on the album, besides Judgement Day. Ready for Rock starts off with a theatrical orchestral build up, before Romero gives us a mighty “Are you ready for rock?”, which then goes into a killer sounding orchestral riff hammering away with that dynamic rhythm section driving force. Ready for Rock is my favourite track off Metal Souls and it’s kind of sad that it originally appeared on Destinia’s first album ‘Requiem of a Scream’ with Rob Rock on vocals, however Romero’s style and vocal delivery I feel are better suited – sorry Rock. Romero’s grit behind his vocals when he hits some of those high notes is purely amazing and the solos that Wakai do on this song surpass his originals, and to top it off you have Mendoza and Aldridge taking this song to the next level.
Destinia’s Metal Souls is a well recorded and produced album. It has punchy and powerful driven backing grooves by Mendoza and Aldridge that perfectly blend and create the perfect platform for Wakai’s talented guitar skills, and all this complimented by Romero’s vocals. Metal Souls isn’t as up-beat and power metal fast as the previous Destinia releases, however I think that is what makes it great and you can really tell that Wakai is evolving as a songwriter and instrumentalist. Although I do find this to be a great album, some things do let me down a little it. Although Romero is a great vocalist and I surely do not have his high range, I did find that some of the tracks on the album started to blend after numerous plays of the album and his powered high-pitched screams seem out of place at times or not needed. It would have been nice to see some guest vocalists with Romero, creating some diversity and freshness vocally in the album. For those who want a modern take on classic heavy rock and metal, Destinia’s Metal Souls’ will not disappoint.
Metal Souls is out now via Ward Records. Order it here.