SelvansThis EP is a posthumous release for drummer/vocalist Jonny to whom the remainder of the Italian band dedicate as a tribute. As they have gig dates in the diary for March, it would appear that the trio of Selvans Haruspex (keyboards, traditional instruments, scream and clean vocals), Sethlans Fulguriator (guitars, clean vocals) and Stolas (bass) shall be carrying the torch forth in his absence.

February the 13th is the opening day of the ancient Lupercalia festival and release date for their first offering to the pagan gods with opening track “Lupercale” having Selvans Haruspex playing what could be pan pipes (or penny whistles) before the ferocious guitars and drums come in at high speed with an extremely melodic undertow on the keyboards. I’ve always considered Italian to be a very musical language that flows well and even raspy black metal vocals manage to lose their harsh edge when sung in Italian.

Their sound is atmospheric with fast and sharp guitars and even faster drumming along with ultra-bouncy keyboards on “Clangores Plenilunio” reminding me of a manic carousel. The lyrics here are in English which adds a bit more venom to the guttural screams and shouts. The leads are played with as much precision as fervour as each instrument has a go during the 9 minute track.

While it’s a 5 track EP, the third song is split in 3 tracks as “Prologue”, “..In The Woods” and “Epilogue” with the first and last part being the short instrumentals of the In The Woods… cover from the 1995 album ‘Heart of the Ages’. It’s been years since I last listened to the original, until I went looking for it on YouTube today, but think that the Selvans version has a much heavier guitar sound and is a bit slower and drawn out, all to great effect and giving it a good run for its money.

This was a half-hour well spent and while the raspy vocals can feel a little unvaried I think they are well used to add a little acerbic flavour to the very melodic music. Feel free to give them a quick listen as they have samples of the EP up on their site.

(7/10  Marco Gaminara)