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Souls of Diotima - Janas

Souls Of Diotima
by Emily Schneider at 25 February 2021, 9:26 AM

SOULS OF DIOTIMA hails from Sardinia, Italy. The band's namesake is inspired by Greek philosopher and prophetess Diotima of Mantinea, who was a massive part of Plato's Symposium. Her ideas basically shaped the concept of platonic love (Eros). The name is rather fitting for a theatrical Symphonic Metal band like this one. Their 4th studio album “Janas” tells assorted stories, both real and fictitious from their Italian homeland and brings them to life in song form.
The Black Mask” tells the story of the Mamuthones, a half man, half beast creature that dons a black mask and has cowbells on its back. The mythical creature is often reenacted in Pagan festivals around Sardinia. The song creates this mysterious creature with some galloping riffs, ringing bells, and chilling choirs. “Sleep Demon” reminds me of the band KRYPTERIA (now called AND THEN SHE CAME) melody-wise and with the super catchy guitar hooks. “The Princess of Navarra” has this feeling of familiarity to it. Something about the melody is like a throwback to the early 2000s Melodic Metal days, it’s truly a lovely ballad. The title track “Janas” is a song about a fairy. The lyrics describe the sweet unless you cross me character, the vocals from Claudia are, by far, the best part of the song. She has such a powerful yet almost whimsical tone to her voice.
The Dark Lady” retells the story of Accabadora, who was believed to have been a grim reaper of sorts in the band’s homeland 50 years ago. It is said that families of the dying would call upon her to put their suffering loved one out of their misery. Her tool of choice? A walking stick. This song paints the dark true story with some dark orchestration and a haunting main melody. “Ichnos Superhero” is one powerful track. The keys are so triumphant, the guitars really build up the song like the fabled superhero is fighting against evil. This song leaves you feeling like you can do anything. “My Roots” is a song about wanting to hold onto the rich history of one’s bloodline. This could easily be the theme for this album with how this album is retelling traditional stories passed on through generations of the band members’ ancestors. The passion for this cause is shown in every aspect of this song from the intense rhythms, the earthy constant riffs during the verses, then the song branches out during the soaring guitar solo. Not to mention the vocals soar in the yearning to express these stories especially at the bridge toward the end of the song.
Maty” is a pure power ballad. This song is massive, full volume everything. The orchestration is so theatrical, the guitars evoke feelings of freedom and desire, then the vocals are just jaw dropping and powerful. What a stunning track. “Mediterranean Lane” has a oceanic feel. The orchestration felt like waves, the flow of the song was like a voyage in itself. I’d love to know the story this is based on, I couldn’t quite piece it together from listening to it a couple of times. “Sherden” is the eclectic closing track. There’s a lot happening in this one; headbang worthy riffs, yet some ORPHANED LAND style choirs. The vocal styles shift 2 or 3 times throughout the song. I’d love some story context for this song as well because I couldn’t wrap my head around it either.
Overall, I enjoyed this album. I’m particular about Symphonic Metal, a lot of bands aim to sound like other bands and it makes much of the newer stuff sound the same. Thankfully, SOULS OF DIOTIMA did not go the formulaic route with this one. They blended in some other subgenres, but overall kept the elements for a solid Symphonic Metal album. The concept for this album was pretty interesting, I’m a fan of folktales in songs after all. I only wish I had the context and the backstory for the songs that don’t have videos on their YouTube channel. I found I enjoyed them a lot more once I had the summary of what the song was about. For the ones that I didn’t quite know the story on, I still liked the music itself too though. The orchestration was pure class and the vocals from Claudia were breathtaking. There were a few moments that I found a bit odd, but this album was overall a solid one.
Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Black Mask
2. Sleep Demon
3. The Princess of Navarra
4. Janas
5. The Dark Lady
6. Ichnos Superhero
7. My Roots
8. Maty
9. Mediterranean Lane
10. Sherden
Claudia Barsi – Lead vocals
Giorgio Pinna – Drums
Antonio Doro – Bass, scream vocals
Fabio “The Black Mask” Puddu – Guitars
Record Label: Rockshots Records


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Edited 11 April 2021

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