Trick Or Treat – “Rabbits’ Hill Pt. 2” (Frontiers Music)
Featuring Alessandro Conti from Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, Trick Or Treat may have started as a tribute band to Helloween back in 2002, but as they’ve evolved and attracted guests such as Michael Kiske (Helloween, Place Vendôme) and Michele Luppi (Whitesnake, Secret Sphere) along the way, it’s clear to all that they’re anything but a joke band. This 4th album continues the ‘Watership Down’ concept of its predecessor, with more friends like Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica, Sara Squadrani from Ancient Bards and, in the role of the evil General Woundwort, Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex Judas Priest, ex-Malmsteen)! Playing power / modern heavy metal, don’t be expecting a galloping fracas throughout (although there are certainly bouts of these) as in the main the music is mid tempo or even slightly slow, and the style has a definite theatrical edge, allowing Conti to show the more soulful and tender hearted aspects to his highly regarded vocal range. Indeed, this is an album with bunches of passionate melodies and harmonies that never cease hold of you, and despite the use of orchestrations, I’m pleased that these have been kept in the background, such is the beautiful attraction of songs like ‘The Great Escape’, ‘United’ and the utterly magnificent 10 minute ‘The Showdown’. This is what concept albums should be about!