DROPSHARD — Anywhere But Home

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DROPSHARD - Anywhere But Home cover
3.41 | 9 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2011


1. Look Ahead (1.23)
2. Anywhere but Home (6.23)
3. Images of Mind (6.00)
4. A Cold Morning (4.19)
5. Again (1.09)
6. Changing Colours (8.17)
7. A New Beginning (5.06)
8. Look Behind (1.24)

Total Time: 34:01

9. Freedom Supermarket (4.28) (Bonus Track)


- Enrico Scanu / Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Flute
- Sebastiano Benatti / Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Alex Stucchi / Bass, Backing Vocals
- Tommaso Mangione / Drums and percussion
- Tommaso Selleri / Keyboards

About this release

Released on the 15th of February 2011. Distributed through Sonic Vista Music.

Thanks to UMUR for the addition and J-Man for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

A suite of powerful symphonic musicianship and prog metal.

I have had this album "Anywhere But Home" in my possession for a long time after the artists kindly sent it to me, and it somehow ended up on the bottom of a huge pile of prog, so apologies for taking so long to review it! My first impression is that it was actually heavier than I anticipated. The album cover almost looked a bit folk prog, an impressionist painting depicting a couple of kids dancing away from each other, and I was in more of a mood for a heavier style. So I was delighted that at least there were some great metal riffs to lock onto and a very distinct sound like Riverside or Porcupine Tree. The first thing that grabbed me was the very accomplished guitar work of Sebastiano Benatti that dominates throughout. The lead vocals of Enrico Scanu are crystal clean and very easy on the ears, reaching high octaves and maintaining powerful strong melodies. He also plays some flute and acoustic guitar. On bass is Alex Stucchi, backed up by well-executed percussion by Tommaso Mangione. The Dream Theater sound alike sections are mostly due to massive keyboard runs by Tommaso Selleri. For a young band the sound is quite mature overall and the album is a solid debut for Dropshard.

The music is dynamic, a suite of songs that run together with a concept, presented in huge blasts of metal juxtaposed with ambient swathes of symphonic keyboards. There is certainly a heavy texture with chugging distorted guitars but the everpresent keyboards underneath are reminiscent of Riverside's style, along with the pristine vocals. There are no epics to speak of, the longest song being the innovative 8:17 minute Changing Colours, and most of the songs are driven by melody or mood changes rather than complex or diverse time sig changes. Lead breaks are always something to look forward to and this album is no exception, with some exceptional shredding from Benatti.

One of the best tracks is undoubtedly the aforementioned 8 minute song, that builds in intensity from ambience to downright fierce axe work; the finale especially crunches and gains tempo to one of the heavier moments on the album. There is also a terrific heavy interchange of guitar riffing in A Cold Morning, a track that is well worth checking out to taste what the band is capable of cranking out. The low dense guitar sound is akin to Opeth or Dream Theater, a darker sound but always kept in balance with the crystalline uplifting vocals. A New Beginning is another outstanding track with melodic metal, and an infectious riff that locks into your skull. The running time for the album is only 34 minutes although the 4 and a half minute bonus track Freedom Supermarket enhances the album, ending it with some very heavy shades of metal. This track has a powerful keyboard motif augmented by lashings of intense metal riffing. The track also features some high falsetto work from Scanu. Overall the debut for Dropshard is a promising start to another new prog metal band, offering nothing that might be considered new as such, but nevertheless delivering a rock-solid album of symphonic nuances and advanced metal phrases. 3 and a half stars easily and room for improvement with a follow up album that the metal and prog community should look forward to.
When a new progressive metal band emerged to the scene, everyone will be wondering "ok now, is this another Dream Theater clone?" or "how close is it to Symphony X ?", but Dropshard decided to take the unusual path by playing a style echoed by the likes of Riverside, Pain of Salvation, and Porcupine Tree. Of course they didn't stand there as a hollow copycat, if those bands were carrying a heavy loads of classic prog influences, Dropshard nods more to the metal side.

"Anywhere But Home", the title track, preceded by a glowing harmonic vocal intro on "Look Ahead", constructed with a good verse and packed with packed with a nice and tight upbeat metal at the end, a great track to start the album. "Images of Mind" really reminds me a lot of Riverside style and Scanu's voice is unmistakably influenced by Marius Duda. He really shines here, perhaps his best moment of the entire album. "A Cold Morning" is a beautiful melodic track, I like how they insert the flute here but shame that it was very short. Onto the second half, "Changing Colours" and "A New Beginning" are okay, and with another two short tracks, I guess this half is deteriorating even though still acceptable.

Listening to this album is actually have to be done in one whole session and can't be separated since basically it's a concept record that flows smoothly from the beginning. Judging from the short running time, I see a wide room for improvement and probably another 10 minutes of experimental insertion with diverse instruments should have make this album better. The great production increased the value of the album, but lack of songwriting consistency and shallow rhythm guitars are the negative points that should be fixed in the next release. But for now, "Anywhere But Home" qualified to be a good debut and recommended for fans of balanced prog rock/metal.
Freedom Supermarket

Italy is a country that's always had a pretty strong prog metal scene, and Dropshard is now the latest addition to that list. Taking influences from the traditional American school of progressive metal and then adding plenty of influences from neo-prog and atmospheric rock, this band has definitely gotten off on the right foot with Anywhere But Home. The band was formed in 2007 and completed two demos before releasing their debut full-length, Anywhere But Home, in 2011. This is a strikingly mature and beautiful work of art that can be looked at as one of the best progressive rock/metal debuts in recent memory. People who enjoy progressive metal with touches of ambient and a neo-prog flavor will definitely want to check out this top-notch band. This album took a few listens to really "grab" me, but it was certainly worth every single one.

Anywhere But Home is an album that doesn't seem too original on the surface, but, in reality, Dropshard's sound is quite unique. Taking the atmosphere of Marillion's masterpiece that was Brave and seamlessly blending it with the sound of progressive metal legends like Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation, Dropshard has successfully created an album that significantly distances itself from the seas of Dream Theater clones. The music itself is highly enjoyable, and filled with memorable compositions, instrumental prowess, and beautiful harmonized vocals. Picking a highlight is difficult since the album (aside from the final bonus track) forms a conceptual story that feels more like one piece than 8 separate tracks. In terms of musicianship, I especially have to give a nod to Enrico Scanu for the terrific vocals. The atmospheric keyboards from Marco Zago are also impressive; his playing style can often be compared to Mark Kelly (of Marillion fame). The guitar playing from Sebastiano Benatti is pretty diverse - he can transition from metal riffs to Gilmour-influenced solos in the blink of an eye. The rhythm section isn't too shabby either; the bass playing from Alex Stucchi drives the band perfectly, and Tommaso Mangione's complex and refined drumming is also noteworthy. Overall, this band sounds professional and experienced. It's almost hard to believe that they're so young, and that this is only their debut album.

The production is also very professional, while maintaining a raw and clean sound throughout. This is the perfect sound for virtually any progressive rock/metal album.


Anywhere But Home really took me by surprise. Every now and again an obscure modern group will pop up on your radar that really has something special; Dropshard fits this description like a glove. Although I'm confident they will improve even more as time passes by, this is certainly a far-above-average album well deserving of 4 shiny stars. People who enjoy bands like Marilion and Pain of Salvation should definitely give this promising Italian act a spin - you won't regret it.
Anywhere But Home is the debut full-length studio album by Italian progressive metal act Dropshard. The album was released in February 2011 through the UK based label Sonic Vista Music.

The music on the album sits somewhere between progressive metal, neo-prog ( I especially hear nods toward the Polish scene, but Steve Hogarth-led Marillion is also an influence IMO) and progressive rock ( mainly mid to late seventies Genesis). Dropshard seamlessly blend their influences into a coherent style, that may not be revolutionizing, but certainly is intriguing. It´s obvious that all four musicians playing on the album are very skilled, and besides their considerable instrumental skills, I´m pretty impressed by the great harmony vocals on the album. Lead vocalist Enrico Scanu masters both soft mellow vocals and louder more powerful vocals too.

The 38:29 minute long album consists of 9 tracks. The first 8 tracks on the album are a concept piece ( or a suite) while the last track on the album called Freedom Supermarket is a stand alone piece. The songs are dynamic and explore both harder edged progressive metal riffing and more mellow progressive rock pieces. This makes for a very varied listen and at no point do the band fail to entertain.

The production is professional and fits the music.

Anywhere But Home didn´t impress me like I had hoped the first time I listened to the album, but upon repeated spins the album has grown on me and I´ve ended up really enjoying the album. A 3.5 star rating is deserved.

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