Virtual Symmetry: Italian Progressive Metal From Switzerland
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Europe is the metal capital of the world and there’s no question about it. From death and power metal to symphonic and progressive, there’s always something new to discover. And one European band that has flown under a lot of radars but is quickly gaining attention is Swiss/Italian prog metallers, Virtual Symmetry.
Hailing from Lugano, Switzerland, Virtual Symmetry was formed by guitarist Valerio Villa when he was just a teenager. The band began as a simple music project for the fledging multi-instrumentalist, for he played almost all of the instruments himself, save for session players on the saxophone and piano.
By 2009 Virtual Symmetry became a serious solo project when Villa began writing songs that would ultimately appear on the band’s debut album Message from Eternity. The band as we know it today, however, didn’t come into being until 2014 following several of lineup changes. Fortunately, the lineup has remained solid for the last three years allowing for the band to craft a style all their own. And as a matter of pride, keyboardist and co-producer Mark Bravi remarks the lineup is 100% Italian-blood.
“Our style is defined by several elements, we have solid and chasing rhythms with heavy metal riffs, which stand in contrast with a cinematic atmosphere, epic themes and sweet melodies. It can be defined as the epic facet of progressive metal,” explains Bravi. “We have a strong Dream Theater influence as a band, but from the single members we also get some Yes, Genesis, Iron Maiden, Steve Vai, Vangelis, or general soundtrack vibe.”
“We write and play the kind of music we would love to be listening to for hours in our stereo,” Bravo adds.
Like the bands that inspire them, Virtual Symmetry is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of heavy metal, hence the progressive metal tag. As such, they had the honor of having a symphonic orchestra play on both of their albums, and even the legendary Jordan Rudess on their debut single ‘Program Error: We are the Virus.’ As well, they recorded the longest video clip in progressive rock history with a total length of 38 minutes! Other achievements of the band include rocking the stage alongside of their heroes Dream Theater (twice) and Deep Purple’s Don Airey.
Clearly an accomplished band, especially considering the bands they have opened for, Virtual Symmetry’s debut full length and their most recent release, the EP X-GATE, have been well received by prog fans. Unfortunately, the band is unable to tour extensively just yet. Rather, they’re forced to play shows around Switzerland and Northern Italy for the time being, for like most bands, playing music is a second, albeit more passionate job for its members. As such, the band generally plays their hometown of Lugano, but has been known to venture into Lombardy and even select venues in Eastern Europe.
With a sound that’s highly cinematic, the band’s show is nothing short of a moving experience full of touching melodies and epic ambiance that all comes together for a truly adrenaline pumping live show that really gets the crowd going.
As of this writing the band is rocking as much as they can and debuting fresh tunes whenever possible during their live shows. As well, they’re working on video clips, the most recent being the epic ‘X-GATE Suite,’ which normally runs 32 minutes, but has an extra six minutes tacked on with a slew of extra content including professional shots of actors performing scenes from the EP’s story, followed by exclusive keyboard-only tracks and Easter eggs for those paying close attention.
To say that Virtual Symmetry is just another progressive metal band in the European scene is a mistake. This is one hard working band that goes far beyond the call of duty when it comes to expressing their art and entertaining their fans. Keep an out for these guys. Something tells me they just might land a record deal sooner rather than later. Until then, look forward to their next record, which they guarantee will be even bigger than the last one!