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Vexillum - When a Good Man Goes to War Award winner

When a Good Man Goes to War
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 14 May 2021, 11:41 PM

Well, before everything, we can say that Epic, Pagan, Folk and Viking are part of labels that are more a way to explain the way a band plays in a given Metal genre. For an example, BATHORY did a Viking Metal album on “Hammerheart”, while AMON AMARTH is a Death Metal band with Viking lyrics and ambiences. Can you understand the difference? So the word ‘Viking’ establishes that both are Viking bands, but the differences between both are obvious. All of that to state that the Italian quintet VEXILLUM has a personal way of doing things, and “When a Good Man Goes to War” shows it.

They play a form of traditional Italian Heavy/Power Metal with Folk/Pagan influences, but with a different and personal insight. It’s elegant and heavy in terms of instrumental parts, but always with that excellent Folk/Pagan touches that enriches their melodies, choirs and backing vocals, and ambiences. Sometimes they play fast and intense, on others in more climatic and dense way, in a rich set of contrasts that is really great. But their musical isn’t hard to understand or to be assimilated (it’s the opposite, being honest). And what amazing energy flows from this album! The sonority is really amazing, fitting in an almost perfect way to the band’s musical expression. It’s clean and defined, with very good sets of instrumental tunes, but always intense and heavy, and what means that the contrasts between heavier parts with Folk/Pagan moments can be assimilated by the senses without complains. Yes, it’s a great work, after all.

But without a strong and hooking musical work, all of that would fail. But their songs are excellent, and everything is really amazing, as can be heard on “Enlight the Bivouac” (an 11 minutes song filled with many rhythmic changes and ambiences, and great guitars, both on riffs and solos), “Sons of a Wolf” (a fast set of tempos, again with charming contrasts and a massive work from bass guitar and drums on the heavy rhythmic attack), “Voluntary Slaves Army” (a climatic set of Pagan/Folk melodies enriched by traditional Heavy Metal guitar parts), “When a Good Man Goes to War” (this one is heavy and climatic, and shows a very good interpretative singing from the vocals, both on Folk parts as in the heavier moments), “Last Bearer’s Song” (a song focused on Folk/Pagan ambiences that isn’t as fast as some would like, but it exhibits excellent choruses and melodies), “Prodigal Son” (filled with technical parts influenced by NWOBHM), and “Quel Che Volevo” (what lovely melodies and tender ambiences, focused on an acoustic approach that’s near of some traditional Italina music forms). But the entire album is really excellent!

VEXILLUM is really a great and excellent name that deserves to be heard by every Heavy/Power Metal fan, or Folk/Pagan Metal fan, or whatever is the label you can choose. Juts listen to “When a Good Man Goes to War” and praise their talent.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Enlight the Bivouac
2. Sons of a Wolf
3. Voluntary Slaves Army
4. When a Good Man Goes to War
5. Last Bearer’s Song
6. The Deep Breath Before the Dive
7. Prodigal Son
8. Flaming Bagpipes
9. With My Hands
10. The Tale of the Three Hawks
11. Quel Che Volevo
Dario Vallesi - Vocals
Michele Gasparri - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Francesco Caprina - Guitars
Francesco Ferraro - Bass
Efisio Pregio - Drums
Record Label: Scarlet Records


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Edited 02 December 2022

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