‘The Sad Wonder Of The Sun’ is the sixth album by the this Italian quintet from Potenza and the second time I get to review them, first time being their self-titled release 2 years ago. Their dark wave inspired Gothic metal is delivered with all the moodiness you’d expect and still using Mancan’s voice as the focus point for everything they do. The line-up doesn’t appear to have changed since their last album, which also aids in musical consistency.

A really simple tapping drum, shaker and picked guitar open up “Gitana” before the distorted guitars and a drawn out growl step things up in heaviness, but not in pace. Sicarius Inferni’s gentle keyboard adds a melancholy atmosphere to the rather more vivacious battery that Demil delivers to his drums while Mancan and Nikko lay down their riffs filled out by Khorne’s bass.

The female vocals juxtapose Mancan’s clean and growled vocals on “Povo de Santo” in much the way the keyboards do with the driving guitar rhythm.

The death growls on “Sad Summer Night” wouldn’t sound amiss on a much heavier song, but somehow emphasises the despair which the music makes abundant without ever feeling the need to outplay itself. Even the over the top lead has a hint of sadness that it carried forth.

I’m not sure if happy Goth would be the right term for “The Lamp”, but again the keyboards and drums have a levity to them that the brooding vocals and sustained guitar riffs do not, especially the lyrics. Exquisitely depressing. πŸ™‚

Taking on a rather ska vibe, or perhaps it’s just the strumming style on “Nouvelle Orleans” that makes me think that, as there’s thankfully no brass and the vocals alternate between clean and gruff to complement the guitars and keyboards. The woodwinds towards the end are a little unexpected though.

The rising and falling cadence of the keyboards in “A Stranger” is punctuated by sharp drum fills and the smooth background guitar strumming. There is a moment the keyboards are very ‘Stranger Things’…

You may have thought that “Quimbanda” might have more of a tribal or samba flavour to it, but instead it’s a rather bass driven song with plenty of squealing guitars, very 80s Goth indeed.

“Maldiluna” is a bad moon and Mancan flips from English to Italian with the ease that the music flips from heavy and aggressive to slow and melodic, but keeping the sinister undertone firmly in place throughout.

Feeling very ballad like, “You” is surprisingly upbeat with its meandering leads, crooned clean vocals, and rather jovial drum patterns.

Maybe I’m biased, but I really enjoyed both the mood and arrangement of the music on this album.

(8/10 Marco Gaminara)