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Vexillum - Unum

by MarcusTheRocker at 30 January 2015, 8:34 PM

One thing I like about Metal music is that it can be used to tell a story and often at times you can picture what is going on in your head. Some bands go one step further and enlist the help of some big names in Rock and Metal to aid them in the recording process and these roles are usually that of vocals if there are multiple characters such as the Genius Rock Opera trilogy by Daniele Liverani and the band featured in this review are one of those. Their name is VEXILLUM and they are an Italian Folk Power Metal band; I've never been too sure about Italy and Metal Music as I thought it never really worked with them, but maybe Folk Power Metal is a genre they can do some good in. Let us find out shall we?

VEXILLUM are a quintet of Italian musicians from Pisa in Italy and so far they have three studio albums under their belt which include their new one “Unum” and that is the focus of this review. Having formed in 2004, their original name was SHADOW VEXILLUM but in 2007, the first word of their band name was dropped and they became VEXILLUM.

“Unum” is an album which uses elements of both the Folk and Power Metal genres and you can identify bits of each as you listen to this and there are some bagpipes as well here and there which I must admit I’m not too keen on as I’m not a fan of that instrument. The guest singers enlisted for this include Chris Bay (FREEDOM CALL), Hansi Kürsch (BLIND GUARDIAN), Maxi Nil (JADED STAR) and Mark Boals (RING OF FIRE) who each take on the role of a character in this tale. If that wasn’t enough, we get two covers to close off the album including “Spunta La Luna Dal Monte” by Italian band TAZENDA and “Run Run Away” by British band SLADE.

So how does this album stack up? The answer is very well as I like music that tells a story especially if it’s in the Metal genre and this is one album I did find myself liking. The fusion of both Folk and Power Metal is a nice touch as is the addition of the guest singers as well as that adds a bit more power to this already heavy album. The first seven songs on this album is all original material by the band which is the tale that “Unum” tells and the last two songs are covers with the first being performed entirely in their native language of Italian and the latter being arranged in a Folk and Power Metal type fashion which I found to be a bit unusual but at the same time it was very enjoyable.

Anything to nitpick or moan about? There is but they’re only small things and one of them is that I think at times the guitars do overshadow the vocals at times which is not bad by any means, but sometimes it can be hard to make out the words. Fortunately, it’s not really present all that often so it’s easily forgiven and the second niggle I have is with the inclusion of bagpipes. I get why they were used as they add to the Folk music element of this album but it’s not something I’m all that keen on.

Overall verdict now and I’m happy to say that this is the first Italian album I have heard in the Metal genre which I found myself liking. I think the reason I do is because the band have really focused on making the genre their own while adding in their own little unique touch and that I think is what made it enjoyable despite any little niggles I may have pointed out. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes Power Metal, Folk music or a combination of both and I also recommend it if you like music that tells a story.

4 Star Rating

1. The Departure: Blow Away The Ashes
2. The Jester: Over The Clouds
3. The Sentenced: Fire And Blood
4. Lady Thief: What We Are
5. The Hermit: Through The Mirror
6. The Way Back: The Clash Within
7. The True Beginning: Standing As One
9. Spunta La Luna Dal Monte (Tazenda cover)
10. Run Runaway (Slade cover)
Dario Vallesi - Vocals
Francesco Caprina - Guitar
Michele Gasparri - Guitar
Francesco Saverio Ferraro - Bass
Efisio Pregio - Drums

Special Guests:
Chris Bay - The Jester (Vocals)
Hansi Kürsch - The Sentenced (Vocals)
Maxi Nil - Lady Thief (Vocals)
Mark Boals - The Hermit (Vocals)
Record Label: Limb Music


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