While this may be the second album by this Italian outfit from Ceccano, it’s my first introduction to their music. Formed by Steph after his departure from Theatres des Vampires and going through a couple line-up changes since their first demo then début, the quartet now comprises of Steph on guitars and orchestrations, Francesco on guitars, Dave on drums and new vocalist Zilath Mekhlum. Their blend of black and thrash combines the best of both genres, with the intricacies and flair of the former, but no-nonsense direct attack of the latter.
Sweet little chimes or possibly a xylophone introduce “Endless Dance Of The Universe” for a few seconds before a death roar ushers in a meaty guitar riff and rapid fire triplets on the kick drums, then alternates between deep growls and black metal rasps until the keyboards come in to fill the sound completely.
“Black Dove Upon My Shoulder” sounds like it should be a gentle song, but it’s anything but, with its tremolo picked guitar riffs and venomous vocals over the hyper blasting drums, however it’s the tinkering keyboards and choral under-layer than give the song an added dimension which in fact makes the aggression all the more palpable.
The short fast blasts in “All Is One” keep the pace high even when the keyboards drown out the guitars, but their heavy riffs form the required backbone of the song.
Starting out a little more slowly, “Saturn of the Newborn Era” has a definite Dragonlord/Dimmu feel to the ebb and flow of the choral keyboards as the unrelenting guitars and drums continue with machinelike precision of a clock.
High higher pitched vampyric screeches on “Curse Of The Royal Blood” taper down to deeper angrier rasps as the song settles down to a more formidable pace, replacing speed with heaviness.
The furious drum and guitar attack of “Descent” appears unrelenting, until it reaches the midpoint of the song where a short hiccup in the pace lets it come back feeling even faster and heavier, while “Every Moment Burns In My Chest” has a strange guitar undercurrent as the drums roll in and out of blistering blasts before a soaring lead nearly takes things in a different direction, but drums reel everything back in.
Even though it doesn’t really feel like they can play any faster than they already have, “Path Of Decay” very quickly dissuades you of that notion, but it slows down completely to leave you wondering if they were ever really playing as fast as you though they were, but fear not, they up the pace once move and show that they most certainly were.
And without pause, they dive straight into “ShadowThrone” where they maintain that ferocious speed for the first 5 minutes, before adding some toned down choral elements with symphonic melodies as a brief reprieve before winding up the song as it concludes.
Starting this review just after the equinox, I wonder if there are any satyrs running around, as suggested in “L’Autunno Di Bacco” where a steady drumbeat is accompanied by what sounds like a choir and full orchestra before an emphatic demand in Italian is made and a fiery lead follows on its heels.
“Faded And Cold Humanity” is the perfect outro for the album with its gentle, ethereal piano and haunting choral and percussion accompaniment.
I thoroughly enjoyed this album as with each listen, more and more layers make themselves known and I didn’t get to scratch the surface of all that I was hearing in the review.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)