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Dyrnwyn – Il Culto Del Fuoco Award winner

Il Culto Del Fuoco
by Gary Hernandez at 17 July 2021, 6:42 AM

Folk Metal bands tend to have the historical credibility of a Renaissance Fair. They’re fun and entertaining, but no one goes to a RenFair to get research notes for their history dissertation. It’s turkey legs and beer, really. Every now and then, though, a Folk Metal band comes around that crushes that stereotype, a band with incredible musical artistry coupled with lyrics that retell actual events with intrigue and color. One such band is Rome’s DYRNWYN. This sextet released their second full-length album, “Il Culto Del Fuoco” (trans: the cult of fire), on April 30, 2021, on Cult of Pathenope.

Formed in 2012 and with almost as many band members cycled through as are in the current lineup, DYRNWYN is better characterized as a project than a band. That doesn’t take away from their prowess as a Metal outfit, in fact, it might even be what helps to keep them innovative and relevant. The name DYRNWYN comes from the late mediaeval Welsh tradition and means “white hilt.” As you might expect it was the name of a sword and is one of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain. When drawn by the worthy, it was flame on — as in the blade would erupt into flames. Yep, how is it possible I never heard about this? Time to invest in a book.

So, the band. Six members, not counting live performers and studio guests. That’s a lot of ways to split royalties not to mention a lot of stage real estate. That’s also a lot of temperaments to deal with and opinions and artistic egos . . . but maybe not every band is a chapter out of the “Some Kind of Monster” playbook. The amazing thing is how well these musicians come together. Kudos to Riccardo Studer for the mixing, btw. The orchestration of these songs is incredible. With Black Metal elements inwoven through Symphonic sensibilities and accented with Prog and even Death flourishes, the feel of this album is unique. It is epic, soothing, and inspiring all at once. Also, I’m not a big fan of wind instruments in Metal, but guest artist, Jenifer Clementi on flute, may have won me over.

Surprisingly, Italian lyrics all sung in harsh, guttural vocals are quite appealing. Thematically the songs are all Paganism and Roman mythology. "Le forche caudine" is about the second Samnite war, the opening track and title-track, “Il culto del fuoco,” references the Roman tradition of the cult of the sacred fire, "Armilustrium" is a nod to Mars, the god of war, and “Sentinum” is where the Battle of the Nations (295 BCE) took place. Yeah, so history.

What else? Definitely an album you need to play in order. There is a build going on here that yields some worthwhile payoff. I won’t list favorite tracks, because they are all so good. I was highly skeptical when I put this album on, but I love being proven wrong, at least when it comes to music. For fans of Folk Metal, fans of Black Metal, fans of ancient history, this album is a must have.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1.  Il culto del fuoco
2.  Aurea aetas
3.  Vae victis
4.  Triumpe
5.  Le forche caudine
6.  Leucesie
7.  Sentinum
8.  Armilustrium
Ivan Cenerini – Bass
Ivan Coppola – Drums
Michelangelo Iacovella – Keyboards
Alessandro Mancini – Guitars (lead)
Alberto Marinucci – Guitars
Thierry Vaccher – Vocals
Record Label: Cult of Parthenope


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Edited 26 September 2021

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