Valorous mysteries from Italian who spew brimstone but come out alive and well.
Circles and rings, dragons and kings: you know the framework. And it’s great that sometimes there’s someone out there to bend it into a wrought iron of their own. This sextet did just that on their first album, not reinventing the wheel but rather setting it on fire, not caring too much about the customary heaviness but paying attention to the melodic detail. More so, the closer they get to the pure metal, the harder they fall, as “Welcome To My Reign” demonstrates in spectacular fashion. It’s on the classical music terrain that the band prosper, in the space between a choir who spread their wings on the title track and electric folk, in “Falsi Dei” betraying the ensemble’s provenance: only Italians are able to be some delectable and bombast at the same time.
Traditional tunes crawl out from under “Holy Knights” to drive the ill-compressed drums into the ground and go dancing in “King Of North” where the interplay of Luca Gagnoni’s guitar and Yeshan Gunawardana’s keyboards runs from baroque to prog rock to operatic pop. Still, once the oratorio of epic “Where Heroes Die” – in which Marco Scorletti shares the vocal duties with Fabio Lione – ebbs away, the thrill is gone. Yet it fills “Moonlight” that shifts the tempo from balladry to an assault yet never loses plot, and “Tale Of The Elves And Pain” flows as an alchemical wedding of sharp riffage and symphonic sway which becomes frontal in the powerful polyphony of “My Lord” pushing electricity onto the cinematic backdrop. Sing Gloria!