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Ad Vitam - Stratosfear Award winner

Ad Vitam
Stratosfear
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 04 August 2016, 8:30 AM

AD VITAM is a Progressive/Melodic Death/Mathcore/Deathcore band based out of Italy. Formed in 2013, this is the band’s debut LP, and contains thirteen tracks. I like the concept of having four songs that share the same four words at the end (__fear). It gives some sense of progression right away in my opinion. “Exosfear” is the leading song in that quartet. It is a slow song with heavy symphonic elements and a sense of the grandiose in terms of the writing. Complex, thoughtful and intelligent, it really sets a mood of exciting things to come. “There was Blood Everywhere” is a mid-tempo song with Death vocals and a Progressive type of sound. The various riffs dance in and around each other, keeping your sense of order pleasantly shaken. Brutality is present but not favored over the forward-thinking sound. “Bite Me Immortal” is an interesting title to an interesting song. I really like the cadre of different sounds they present here, including strings and horn, and an ever-changing baseline. It is ominous and majestic at the same time.

“Join Me in Farewell” has more guitar presence in the riff that keeps chugging along and keeping the song moving quickly. Sometimes I have an XERATH or ZONARIA feeling when playing this song, especially with the instrumental interlude after the second chorus. “Chronosfear” is the second in the aforementioned quarter. These shorter tracks do a great job of breaking up the album so that it does not stay in one place for too long. This is for me exactly what makes an album great more than just good. “Six Feet under my Sins” is another track that just shoots and peaks in different spots and utilizes a lot of different techniques to stay fresh. Something about the bells that ring steadily down in a four-note step and the key of the main riff make it sound like something you would hear while viewing ancient ruins of sorts. “Under a Cyprus Root” is completely different, with a slow build from acoustic guitar and the bass assuming the opening melody. It doesn’t take long however for it to be completely menacing but in a familiar way. Pure moments of melody also rear up here.

“Mesofear” is third in the quartet. Timpani ring out in the distance like a warning, while the rest of the sound mire in darkness and suspense. It’s a short track but really leaves a mark on the album. “Inception” is another Progressive sounding song with all the parts interlocking together, creating a synergy that isn’t as easily catchable on the first go around. There are layers and textures that are rich and vibrant. The baby crying in the background is an example of this. The title track, “Stratosfear,” is the final piece in the quartet, but it’s the odd one out due to its long running length. Here they really test your musical knowledge with a shifting end game and subtle meter changes that challenge your awareness of time. This is an impressive album from start to finish. I hear more Progressive/Melodic/Death metal than Mathcore/Deathcore but that is just my impression. The impeccable musicianship, creativity in songwriting, and a canvas that they are not afraid to paint with any colors and patterns lead to an ambitious effort that the band seems to meet with ease.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Exosfear
2. There was Blood Everywhere
3. Bite Me Immortal
4. Join Me in Farewell
5. Chronosfear
6. Six Feet under my Sins
7. Under a Cyprus Root
8. Plagues of Nothing
9. Mesosfear
10. Spektrum Walz
11. Inception
12. Stratosfear
13. Fall of Collective Consciousness
Lineup:
Mattia “Vigor” Amadori – Vocals
Lorenzo Mariani – Lead Guitars
Roberto Schirru – Rhythm Guitars
Maurizio Sedda – Bass
Daniel Matta – Drums
Record Label: Revalve Records
     


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