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ART X - The Redemption Of Cain

ART X
The Redemption Of Cain
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 26 March 2017, 10:31 AM

Many times before, I have spoken of the plethora of Symphonic based metal bands that have arisen in Italy (RHAPSODY OF FIRE, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, etc.) and the Italians have done it again. Today I get the pleasure of presenting the first release of Gabriele Bernasconi’s solo project ART X, “The Redemption of Cain.” Featuring a more progressive touch and, as the name implies, speaking from the point of view of Cain, the firstborn human who killed his brother Abel in biblical accounts, the album is quite excellently made. Featuring poetic symphonic work, grand and melodic riffs, and a well struck balance between the more traditional metal aspects and grand orchestral aspects, I’d hate to leave you lingering in an opening paragraph so without further ado, I will dive right in.

Opening with a somber sounding track that includes spoken story based interjection in “Memoriae” (a fitting name when viewed in lieu of the subject of the track) the first proper album on the track is “Knowledge of Death”. Beginning slowly with interjection directed at an unnamed observer, presumably the listener, once it picks up it does so quickly while retaining its orchestral focus. Also included are verses sung from the perspectives of Adam and Eve, featuring harsher and softer tunes to reflect their message respectively. Once it comes to the chorus though, there is a terrific underlying melody that blends incredibly well together, a sense of grandioso if you will. Featuring great guitar work and numerous yet well done concertos, the song really starts the album off strong.

Following this is “The First Sacrifice” and “The Second Sacrifice”, which I will talk about together. Here I must really give props to the strings of the orchestral aspects though in the first. While not incredibly technical orchestrally, the atmosphere they create is superb and well conveys what the lyrics try to do. However, I must admit that there is a thematic dissonance between the 2 songs. The lyrical focus is the same largely, focusing on different aspects of the theme, however the sound really changes dramatically. In fact, the lyrical theme of the second could be seen as more intense as it involves the murder of Abel, yet the sound is more light hearted. Where you get the impression that the two songs go together in both sound and theme, the style really couldn’t be further, as well as the sound of the second kind of detracts from it. Where the first one you could tell the song was trying to convey a sort of anger and confusion, the second sounds far more upbeat really. Regardless, the second song is still great and features a very well-constructed guitar solo that I thoroughly enjoyed, though it does feel to drag on a bit. However, these points are minor ones in my mind when focusing purely on the music, and the songs are still very well done.

Next I will mention “Lucifer”, which I will start by saying the opening of which seems a bit off. It starts off with a very classical oriented piano, which transitions into a slower more classic metal sound that is a dialogue between Satan and Cain. Beyond this, I must admit that the vocals for Lucifer are a bit weak, seeming like pseudo harsh vocals that detract from it a bit. However, it is an attempt to make it clear when Cain is speaking as opposed to Lucifer. If I am completely honest, the song is somewhat bland. It is much more noticeably repetitive, though the orchestral aspects to help it to be more engaging they are much less prominent in this song. However, it is the equivalent of the opposite of a diamond in the rough, a somewhat bland song in a good album. Following this is “A Wife’s Love”, which is much more classically oriented. As the name suggests, this focuses on the idea of Cain and his wife, and the nature of the song reflects the lyrics. Starting off much more orchestrally and transitioning with the dialogue between Cain and who becomes his wife, it becomes a much more gradual with a light-hearted tempo and soft fade out to match. It also does not become too slow paced thankfully, but the overall progression of the song is very well done here, and beginning with a harsher tone for Cain’s dialogue and returning to the more classically oriented tune for his wife, becoming more and more singular in both their voices and the union of the more metal oriented  sound with the more orchestral sound.

I think I will close there and leave the final two tracks to be listened to those who want to listen to it. I will preface it by saying that the final song, “Eden, Finally…” is a bit shaky, featuring guitar riffs that really don’t seem to match the song well. The drum work is well done, but the guitars are a bit lacking here. Regardless, for being the first work by a solo artist it is a good album. There is definitely room for improvement, such as some of the songs’ sounds not flowing well, with some of the riffs and orchestral sounds seeming arbitrarily placed, but for being the first work and for what it is my complaints are minor. The orchestral aspects are very well done, and this is a case where I think that it is best left up to Gabriele Bernasconi to decide what he can change and improve on as opposed to myself. My main suggestion would be working on the guitar work, and more metal aspects to help them flow better in certain places. Regardless, a good album that is very well done for its subgenre and being the first release from a solo project.

Songwriting 7
Originality 8
Memorability 7
Production 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Memoriae
2. Knowledge and Death
3. The First Sacrifice
4. The Second Sacrifice
5. Crime, Pain and Penance
6. Lilith
7. Lucifer
8. A Wife’s Love
9. The Keeper
10. Eden, Finally…
Lineup:
Gabriele Bernasconi - Solo Project
Record Label: Metalville Records
     


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Edited 26 October 2021
 

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