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AqvileA – Beyond The Elysian Fields Award winner

AqvileA
Beyond The Elysian Fields
by Rachel Montgomery at 04 February 2021, 4:23 PM

AQVILEA began as a concept project in 2015. Trying to build off the song “Legacy Of Memories”, Pier Lando Baldinelli wanted to extend the main hook of the song into an entire concept album. After collaborating with different session musicians, Aqvilea solidified in 2017 when Baldinelli brought guitarist Alessio Tolloi aboard. Inspired by roman mythology, the band took on a Hellensitic persona with makeup inspired by Dani Filth of CRADLE OF FILTH. After acquiring trained opera singer Cae Lys as their vocalist, Aqvilea solidified their sound further through 2018, releasing a single that year. During the 2020 lockdown, they put together this album, Beyond The Elysian Fields.

The opening two tracks are introductions themselves. The first track is an instrumental introduction less than a minute long. While you expect the first track to lead right into the second, the second track opens with a narrative. Then, it launches into the symphonic action, complete with operatic vocals and a stylized instrumental break that weaves a narrative harkening to epic battles and fantasy. The second movement of the song is slower, more hesitant than the first half. However, it’s a promising opener for fans of full-on symphonic metal.

The vocal harmonies at the end of “Bridge Of Liberty” are remarkable. “Morpheus Valley” is one of the more technologically advanced songs, but that goes along with the song’s dreamlike themes. The vocalists’ upper register on this song is also incredible and well-executed. The fast-and-slow pace throughout the song also serves to keep the singer in a dreamlike sense of feeling off-balance, which suits the song well and is a clever trick to keep the song feeling like a real dream: not sweet, surreal. “Flight Of The Eagle” begins with a bell chime, signaling time’s up! We have to run! The scaling guitar melody reflects this in a beautiful composition that’s like falling meteors.

The track closes on the title track, which is a slow serenade with some epic highs. The album leaves you on a song that feels grand, solidified by a bombastic, operatic chorus. What most intrigued me about this piece was the grandeur without all the bells and whistles that often accompany closing tracks in symphonic metal. It’s a clean song sound wise, with little instrumentation or symphonic fanfare closing us out.

That said, I love the natural phenomena this song paints: meteor showers, thunderstorms, and the cosmic grandeur that symphonic metal is supposed to be. I believe this band is worthy to join the ranks of symphonic greats, but in its own way. It goes back to basics and never stoops to cheap symphonic knockoffs like videogame-like synthetic sounds. If you’re looking for a new symphonic metal band, AQVILEA is definitely worth checking out. Although it’s not as experimental as NIGHTWISH or as conceptual as modern symphonic metal, if you have a hankering for early EPICA, this new album will satisfy your craving. Great band, I look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

Songwriting: 9
Production: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. 573 AUC
2. Aeterna
3. Bridges To Liberty
4. Morpheus Valley
5. Flight Of The Eagle
6. Legacy Of Me
7. Allesandria
8. Mediolanum
9. Aquae Sext
10. Mother Earth
11. Back To The
12. A Day Before
13. XIII
14. Beyond The Elysian Fields
Lineup:
Cae Lys - Lead Vocals, Soprano Vocals, Backing Vocals and Clean Vocals
Pier Lando Baldinelli - 5 strings Bass guitar, Orchestra Performing and Vocals
Alessio Tolloi - All Guitars, solos, 7 strings Guitars and engineering
Mauro Ciacchi - All drums and percussions
Record Label: Saturnia Records
     


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Edited 17 September 2021
 

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