On the 5th of May, Giotopia’s debut album, “A Fantasy Tale of Music – Part I” came out. Giotopia is a project created by Giovanni Gio Smet in 2017, and you can read about his motivation and inspiration for the project in the interview he did with Metal Jacket a while back. Their music can best be described as a opera rock/metal. The project itself is a combination of literature and music. The album is a conceptual one, and it follows the books written by Gio Smet. No less than 16 musicians from all over the world, mainly vocalists, collaborated on this project. Each musician plays a certain character from the story, and chapters of it can be read on Giotopia’s official page. The whole project is incredibly ambitious and, for the most part successful, although there is room for some improvement.
“The Declaration” is a prologue, a spoken minute long inrodcution of the main villain of the story. It leads to “The Call of the King”, in which the king of Giotopia, the heroes and the mentor of the group are introduced. This means we get to hear a lot of different vocals and while they are on point, the music is slightly redundant and lacks a real punch. “The Icy River” has a really catchy chorus but still suffers from the same problem, and “Beyond the Clouds” slightly fixes that as the instrumental part finally matches the vocal parts in heaviness. “Lover of Maidens” is a song about the “crazy womanizer” of the group and the music really communicates that well with some cheesy lines and slightly sleazy feel to the whole song, although it does feel slightly out of place at this point of the album. “To War” is another song that communicates the story well, as you can easily imagine the battlefield, and the following instrumental “Hymn for the Fallen” conveys the aftermath and loss well. “Battle for Giotopia” is divided into two parts, Hadrian and Abaddon, and while the story is still pretty interesting, the music is again, slightly lacking. “Egar’s return” and “The Burden of Love” are similar in that regard, especially because the main motives of the songs are really interesting, and it would have been great to see the composer play around with them a bit more. “The Last Journey concludes the album well, and rounds the first part of the story well.
All in all, Giotopia is a great idea. The story isn’t complicated but is well developed and interesting. The vocalists deliver their best, which is not surprising from names like Fabio Lione (the voice of “Egar the Lost Son”), Ralf Scheepers (the voice of “Waldemar the Veteran”) but the younger and less known singers like Elleen Peters (princess Aria) contribute to the sound. For future editions, I would love to see the instrumental parts get the same attention as the vocal parts. As it stand, “A Fantasy Tale of Music – Part I” is a great project that is going in the right direction and has great potential for future albums.