Review of the Album Tales From the North by Italian Power Metal Band White Skull
The Back of the Album Cover for Tales from the North
Introduction to the Band White Skull
White Skull is a power metal band from Italy that I rediscovered while browsing the website called Metal Archives as I was looking at a few other bands like Hollow Haze and Rhapsody of Fire. White Skull has its origins all the way back to 1988 but the first album that I listened to from this band is 1999’s Tales from the North. Starting the album is the two minute plus instrumental song called “The Quest” as there are some new age style beats and chants as the band might have thought that they needed a way to prepare the listener for what was to come in the album.
The Motivation to Write About Italian Power Metal Band White Skull
Vocalist Federica “Sister” De Boni has a very rough vocal style for a female vocalist but she is still good enough for this album and band. “Tales from the North” is the story of how the brave and valiant Vikings fought and won all these wars. The rediscovery of this band by me has to do with a part of my brain clicking and me having that “a-ha” kind of moment where I eventually recognized the band’s name. There is more power metal in Italy other than just Skylark and Rhapsody of Fire. It is time for the world to see that in fact a woman can sing in a male dominated power metal genre.
My recollection of this band is that I found out about them through a site called E Music and even though my musical tastes have evolved since 1999, power metal is more than just heavy metal that provides entertainment. It can also be a way for us to express ourselves through the power of music.
"Fighting and Feasting"
Tales From the North Album Review and Influences
Federica’s voice is rougher than Elisa Martin who has a more soothing kind of voice in addition to more vocal power. “Gods of the Sea” is a song that sounds like Angra. The song tells a story of a brave group of men that let an icy land and they were trying to find some sort of future in a storm that was causing them much difficulty and pain. The song can also show that in life as we depart from one place in search of another place to live, we will encounter the pains, trials, and challenges of making that move. We hope that making that change will improve our lives but as life has shown, change does not always result in glory or positive outcomes. “Vikings Tomb” starts with some sounds of sword fights going on and this is similar to the way the song Verikansa starts out. Federica does have a softer voice which she uses in this song and the previous one. White Skull just like their countrymen Rhapsody of Fire focus on lyrics having to do with tales of warriors, queens, Vikings, and other similar characters. “The killing Queen” has a riff similar to 1988’s Rising Force so there is a Yngwie Malmsteen influence there as well as a Dark Moor influence but actually since White Skull was formed first they would be the ones influencing Dark Moor. The lead guitar work shows its Master of the Rings era Helloween because you can also hear it through the guitar tone as it switches back and forth. See, what we hear on this album is not some cheesy, oversaturated power metal but some decent riffs. Federica De Boni has the ability to give us a soothing kind of voice as is the case in the Iron Maiden influenced song called “The Terrible Slaughter” however, she usually has a more rougher, harsh kind of voice though not harsh shouts. The album ends with a short instrumental song called Still Alive as there are male vocal chants to end this song. Overall, I like White Skull’s music more than Skylark for instance because their melodies are better. The song called Asgard starts out slowly but then we hear Federica’s roughest vocal performance of the album. The song is about the land of the Norsemen as there is sometimes fighting that breaks out among the gods.
Federica De Boni Versus Elisa Martin
Which one of these two female power metal singers do you enjoy listening to more?
Final Thoughts About the Album Tales from the North
Ending the album the last two full songs are Fighting and Feasting and Here We Are. Fighting and Feasting is a song about heroes fighting for honor and glory and even when they die they don’t really die because their wounds are healed. The song slows down as Federica does some very nice chants that shows that she has the range and can be soothing as well but I prefer the vocals of Elisa Martin. Here We Are is a song about listening to the prophecy that the sinners in this world are growing but it is up to us to rise up and battle against this sin and strive to be better people. Tales From the North is a very good female fronted band (at least this album is). Is it better than Rhapsody of Fire? No it is not but this is good melodic power metal that is sure to please fans of Iron Maiden and Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
© 2018 Ara Vahanian