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Hesperia – Metallvm Italicvm

Hesperia
Metallvm Italicvm
by Erika Kuenstler at 13 February 2015, 11:00 AM

It’s always interesting when a band puts a concept to music, and Italian one-man project HESPERIA seems to have taken this to the next level with an ambitious venture of turning the Roman poem “Aeneid” into a four-album tribute to Virgil’s ode of Romans ancestry. This task has spanned over a dozen years, with the final instalment “Metallvm Italicvm – Aeneidos Metalli Apotheosis” having been released last month, and what a mammoth undertaking it is.

Starting off with a very operatic intro, a darker undertow creeps in, with acoustic guitars melding into heavier riffs and epic sounding effects. This flows seamlessly in “De Bello Italico I”, a track with a groovy almost Classic Heavy Metal feel and a strong sense of patriotic pride, which is similarly reflected in the following Rock-like “De Bello Italico II”. The well enunciated lyrics are all in Italian or Latin, which very much suits the soulful music, whilst interludes such as “Interludium II: Ave Hesperia” provide striking rests between the thundering melodies that otherwise form the backbone of. This album also uses ancient Roman instruments to recreate a more authentic feel, complete with operatic sections sung by a solo tenor, as well as featuring a slew of special guests, with many well-known names from Italy’s Extreme Metal bands. And if that doesn’t show enough input, HESPERIA even went as far as recording part of the album near ancient Roman ruins in an attempt to recreate bygone splendours. Ending the album with driving melodies that reach a final climatic height in “Apotheosis: Roma Incipit” before finally fading out, “Metallvm Italicvm – Aeneidos Metalli Apotheosis” seems to blaze by.

One thing that really does stand out about this album is the amount of detail and planning that must have gone into its making. And this holds true not just musically, but in every aspect; even the album artwork for “Metallvm Italicvm” retains the same gilded borders as was featured on the previous 2013 “Spiritvs Italicvm” album. This is a very intricate album with many layers and a myriad of textures and effects all merged together. Whilst this does make for an interesting and varied listen, there is always the risk of all the elements seeming a bit chaotic and haphazardly arranged at times. And this is a trap that HESPERIA haven’t managed to entirely avoid: Certain parts of the album become a confusing cacophony due to too many elements all clamouring for attention at once. Added to this, the vocals can be slightly overdramatized at times, although one could also argue that this adds to the atmosphere. However, these moments are sporadic, and generally the song structures are sound and well thought through.

Fans of HESPERIA in particular may want to get their copy quickly, as the first 1000 copies are a limited edition that includes a 16 page booklet as well as a poster. Also available is a multimedia CD which contains all that fans might want to know about the album and all the hidden meanings therein. If you’re a fan of Heavy Metal and Classic Rock with an affinity for Italy or Roman history, this is an album you may want to check out.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Incipit: Aeneidos Apotheosis
2. De Bello Italico I
3. De Bello Italico II
4. Interludium I: Ave Metallvm Italicvm
5. Metallvm Italicvm I
6. Metallvm Italicvm II
7. Interludium II: Ave Hesperia
8. Hesperia
9. Hesperias Triumphator
10. Apotheosis: Roma Incipit
Lineup:
Hesperus – All Instruments
Record Label: Sleazy Rider Records
     


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