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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

If you like your metal delivered with a lot of classical music in the mix, you will probably love this. I suppose it goes the other way around, too, but I have a hunch there are less classical music fans who also appreciate metal than the other way around. However you slice this, it's an amazing album that's among the best of 2023. Sure, you might say that it's a little over the top, but isn't that one of the points of a lot of heavy metal? This is an Italian band, but they bring in Celtic stylings and have a lot of their lyrics in English, lending a real worldly vibe to their sound.

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Track by Track Review
Apertio ad Profundum
Classical music brings this into being in mellow ways. Operatic vocals come in over the top. Then symphonic bombast takes over for a time. It drops back for more of those vocals, but then the powered up symphonic arrangement returns. As this reaches for a crescendo it segues into the next number.
Simurgh the Firebird
Coming out of the last one metal elements are added to the mix. The symphonic and metallic merge in a powerhouse technical metal jam that's very much in a neo-classical meets thrash kind of vibe. It gets to more pure metal jamming for the entrance of the vocals, becoming anthemic power metal. More metal sections are added to the mix as it continues driving forward. It gets quite symphonic again near the end.
The Cult of Hecate
This does an amazing job of merging thrash metal and symphonic things together with a lot of style. Bands like Helloween definitely come to mind here. The instrumental section on this thing is absolutely amazing. Not only are there both violin and guitar solos, but the symphonic vibes deliver all through it, but without losing any of the metal edges. This is a highlight of the set.
This comes in fierce and classically driven. It drops to more of a sedate world music inspired, but still metallic, section for the entrance of the vocals. It turns toward more pure metal further down the road, but then that gets a twist toward Celtic textures on the instrumental section. This is another dynamic and powerful piece of music.
The title track is dynamic, cinematic and so cool. This is a pretty pure merging of symphonic music and metal with some definite progressive or art rock in the mix. It gets very intense, and has a lot of twists and turns.
La Fonte d'Essenza
As if sensing that we need a bit of a break from the intensity of the last number, here we get a mellow and classically tinged ballad. This is pretty and intricate. It rises up with symphonic pomp and operatic vocals around the half-way mark and some more metallic textures do get mixed into the arrangement, but it is more along the lines of power ballad there. Then it drops way down again for much mellower, symphonically based stuff to continue.
Dark Enchantment
Unusual sort of whispered vocals open this track. The cut drives out to a full classical treatment that happens to have some metal elements built into it from there. As the vocals enter they have more of that metal thing. Still, the song is just about equal parts metallic and symphonic. This just gets so powerful at points.
White Leviathan

This is another powerhouse merging of classical and metal music into something distinct  from both genres, but paying tribute to them at the same time. It has some killer technical guitar work. This ends with a spoken narration over the sounds of the sea.

Metamorphosis, a Macabre Ritual
Dark and dramatic music like something from a film soundtrack gets things going here. It evolves into the same kind of classically driven metal we've been hearing throughout. That eventually drops away after the mid-point of the song and we get a full mellow classical treatment. After a time the metal returns to drive it forward again. The metal meets classical instrumental treatment at the end is so potent and inspired.
Resurrectio ad Mundum
While this gets powerful and intense, it remains classical throughout, rather than infusing metal into the mix.
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