To comprehend the prog-metal band Secret Sphere, it might help to know that they come from the northern Italian city Alessandria, which boasts a history conducive to metal indeed. Alessandria first came into existence as a free commune way back in the twelfth century, became France's property in the first year of the nineteenth (which occupation only lasted 14 years), got a socialist mayor (first Italian capitol to do so) just before the 20th started, then got the living heck bombed out of it by the Allies in 1944 and 1945. Fifty years later, there was a huge flood. That was 1994, three years before Secret Sphere started. They have since recorded six albums, containing songs (or at least titles) that deal with such intriguing topics as dragons' eyes, glass labyrinths, fairy tales, Paganini, Dr. Faustus, wizards, white lions, and how women smell. (With their noses, presumedly!) Drum and rhythm guitar spots have seen occasional turnover, but otherwise, most of the lineup -- guitarist Aldo Lonobile, lead vocalist Ramon Messina, bassist Andy Buratto -- has remained solid since the beginning. Queensryche fans, especially, might want to check them out.