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MorningStarlett is a heavy metal band from the United States formed by Blue Öyster Cult guitarist Richie Castellano. The band is fronted by the classically trained singer Ann Marie Nacchio, whose style can quickly shift from a classic heavy metal voice into full operatic style.

Although primarily playing melodic heavy metal, the music of MorningStarlett crosses between a number of genres including power metal, progressive metal and symphonic metal, as well as opera. They released their self-titled debut album in 2012.

- Biography by adg211288 (May 2013).
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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Traditional heavy metal 2012



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Album · 2012 · Traditional heavy metal
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MorningStarlett is the self-titled debut album by US heavy metal act MorningStarlett. The album was first released in October 2012 as a digital only release but a CD quickly followed in November of the same year. MorningStarlett are the brainchild of guitarist Richie Castellano, who since 2004 has been a member of the legendary hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult.

On their debut MorningStarlett have produced quite a varied take on metal music. While traditional heavy metal stands out as the best way to describe the album, there’s a lot more going on within the music so it would be a lie to say that this is just a heavy metal album. It’s quite old school sounding all the way and also quite anthemic in its delivery. Quite often it sounds like a heavier classic rock band playing. There’s a couple of instances where the band’s rhythms take a turn towards power metal, still of the old school kind like the early Helloween albums that still retain that traditional metal vibe, while there are also undeniably strong influences from classical music in the album, resulting in both some neo-classical metal sounding parts, as well as actual opera thanks to the group’s classically trained lead singer Ann Marie Nacchio. Children of the Sun also features quite prominent symphonic elements. Because of how much the music changes it’s also easy to consider the album to have a progressive edge.

The music is impressive; catchy and well written stuff that throws more surprises than you can shake a stick at. I have to give over a whole paragraph of this review though to sing the praises of Ann Marie Nacchio, who may just be one of the best new talents to enter the metal scene in this current decade. Classically trained, Nacchio gets the opportunity to show off her operatic skill in MorningStarlett’s metal take on Mozart’s Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen (from The Magic Flute) and in the process make a song which is much more worthy of being called opera metal than symphonic metal bands like Nightwish or Epica have ever been capable of pulling off. Nacchio also shows off her operatic range in the closing epic Oblivion, in which she sings unaccompanied by the band for a while and is utterly stunning while doing so. For most of the album though she doesn’t sing opera, but proper heavy metal vocals. Melodic and powerful with an edge to them that adds some grit to the album. I heard a lot of good singers in 2012, both male and female, and after hearing MorningStarlett’s debut I think that Ann Marie Nacchio just trumped them all for the best vocal performance of the year.

The whole album is stunning though, not just Nacchio’s vocals. I especially like the way the band structured it in quite the unusual fashion. They kick off with an introductory instrumental, Overture, which is pretty normal for a metal release but rather than burst straight into a heavy track they throw their ballad, I Need to Know for Sure, in instead. The method is a surprisingly effective interlude between the intro and the next track, No One Needs to Know, which is the first time we get to hear Nacchio’s metal singing voice. And of course just by including Der Hölle Rache Kocht the band have done something quite unusual for their particular metal style. It’s hard to single out the best songs in an album like this, but I have to give special mention to the closing epic Oblivion, because it is, well, epic in every sense of the word. I also really like Mother of Dragons. It’s a nice fast paced old school power metal influenced track which Ann Marie Nacchio sounds particularly fantastic on. That chorus has not left my head since I first heard it.

MorningStarlett set the bar high with their debut album. This is a really classic sounding album that doesn’t feel at all dated to have been first released in 2012. If I’d discovered this album a bit sooner I’d easily have included it in my top 10 list for the year. My advice: don’t overlook this album like I almost did. A top tier rating is easily deserved.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven:


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