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Vexillum - The Bivouac

The Bivouac
by Cameron Ervin at 24 November 2012, 10:42 PM

If you are interested in the Folk Metal genre, “The Bivouac” is a perfect setting to help attain your appetite. As a newcomer to this genre I didn’t really know what to expect, but what I got was a Power Metal sound with bag pipes and lutes accompanied with medieval town ambiance and other sounds of the same sort. The irregular noises occurring on this CD make for a very entertaining and unique listen. At the end of many tracks there were a few seconds of what sounded like a medieval inn with people speaking, fire crackling, and soft sounding lutes or another song ending might have what sounds like a horse trotting on a cobble stone street while birds chirp in the background. The little ambient sounds at the end of the tracks help the album flow smoothly from song to song. These short special passages help create a good atmosphere for the entire album. The guitar work is very impressive with lots of IRON MAIDEN inspired dual harmonization. The solos are also enjoyable to listen to and you can tell Michele Gasparri and Andrea Calvanico are not new to the shredding game. Vocals on this record are clean, high pitched, and strong. It might be easy to imagine Dario Vallesi as a medieval bard or something of the sort for his vocals fit the part perfectly.

This record starts off to the sound of horses snorting and walking on a stony road while birds and other nature noises occur in the background. Soon the snare erupts then the rest of the instruments follow suit. “The Wanderer’s Note” has a strong chorus and vocal melody making it very catchy and easy to remember. Track number two, “Dethrone The Tyrant”, is stronger than the first track and my personal favorite off this album. There is plenty of variety here with fast up beat tempos and slower more operatic sections. “The Oak and Lady Flame” is an interesting track with a guest female vocalist. Vallesi’s strong vocals mesh well with the more feminine vocals making this track one of the better ones off of “The Bivouac”. For track six the pace slows for a soft mostly acoustic song called “The Dream”. It fits well at the half way mark and gets you ready for the next song. “The Marketsquare Of Dooly” is another upbeat track with a catch chorus. The chorus stands out on this track because the choir singing along with the vocalist makes it sounds very bombastic. About midway through the song the instrumentation quiets and the sounds of what may be the Marketsquare of Dooly fills your speakers. It’s a very interesting interlude before the electric modern day sounds resume their common place. My second favorite song off this record is “The Way Behind The Hill”. This track has a neat little harmony between the guitars and bag pipes making it a stand out track. I often find myself humming the melody without even thinking about. The chorus is also another strong point of the track and not to mention very remember able. I think writing catchy choruses must be VEXILLUM’s strength, along with making good guitar melodies as is exhibited in “Valhalla”.

For my first Folk Metal album I ever heard I think “The Bivouac” was a pretty good choice. Because of VEXILLUM I have been introduced to a new and interesting genre. Over all it’s a decent album but towards the end it tends to run on and seem a little bit too long. If there was more variety it wouldn’t be as annoying. While the ambient noises, remember able choruses, and catchy guitar licks are nice they get old. “The Bivouac” is a stronger release of this year and I hope VEXILLUM continues to make more records in the future.

4 Star Rating

1. The Wanderer’s Note
2. Dethrone The Tyrant
3. Dancing Goddess
4. The Oak And Lady Flame
5. The Hunt
6. The Dream
7. The Marketsquare Of Dooly
8. The Way Behind The Hill
9. Valhalla
10. Letter From The Earth
11. Megiddo
12. The Last Inn
Michele Gasparri- Guitars
Dario Vallesi- Vocals
Francesco Ferraro- Bass
Andrea Calvanico- Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Efisio Pregio- Drums
Record Label: Limb Music


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