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Descent into Maelstrom – Descent into Maelstrom

Descent Into Maelstrom
Descent Into Maelstrom
by Lauren Fonto at 19 September 2017, 9:33 PM

There are many melodic death/black metal bands in this world, so standing out can be difficult. DESCENT INTO MAELSTROM is the solo project of industrious Italian Andrea Bignardi, and this self-titled album is his first full-length outing, with the intriguing detail of having the concept revolve around Gothic and Romatic literature. Bignardi also cites the poems of Edgar Allen Poe and Johann Goethe as his main lyrical inspiration.

This was an album which grew on me – upon subsequent listens, I discovered that there was more to it than I initially thought. DESCENT INTO MAELSTROM does a decent job in avoiding getting lost in a sea of clones – there is some good songwriting on here, and there appears to be little filler. The album gets off to a great start, with brooding riffs giving an impression of an uphill battle on “Everything Against”. But it was from “Innerwhere” onwards that really impressed me. Subdued opening riffs are joined by crisp leads. The follow-on of the melody by the full “band” is effective giving a sense of coherency. A powerful guttural scream gives way to a beautifully flowing solo, thus taking the track to its emotional climax.

“Castle of Otranto” switches things up with a slower, doom metal vibe initially. Throughout the album, there are a plenty of interesting musical contrasts between clean, high notes and more distorted notes, and this track is a good example of effective contrasts. At one point, there’s a break with cascading guitar riffs and waves of cymbal crashes, which conjures up an image of waves booming against a cliff upon which a mysterious castle stands. “Atavic Enemies” explodes into existence, with exciting leads skipping over ringing rhythm notes. The powerful growls follow the melody of the guitars, blending together in a melding of harshness and beauty.

I feel that “Descent into Maelstrom” and “Perorato in Rebus” are paired beautifully. The trilling riffs of “Descent into Maelstrom” hint at inevitability of facing the storm. This track has some of the best riffs on the album, in my humble opinion. The leads in the chorus were rather moving, and therefore memorable. The solo shines, and the harmonized leads later on lift things up to the next level. The main riffs of “Descent into Maelstrom” are poignantly echoed in the delicate acoustic riffs of “Perorato in Rebus”. In the coda of the latter, a gorgeous solo makes an appearance, with a Flamenco feel. The triple melodies are quite different, but blend very well, making for a powerful finish to the album.

There’s a lot of good stuff to build on here, and I’d say that “Descent into Maelstrom” is a strong debut. There is indeed beauty in darkness.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Everything Against
2. Ignis Fatuus
3. Innerwhere (feat. Samuele Ordanini)
4. Storm and Assault
5. Castle of Otranto
6. Atavic Enemies
7. Descent into Maelstrom
8. Perorato in Rebus
Andrea Bignardi – Everything 
Record Label: Maculata Anima Rec


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Edited 20 July 2018

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