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Volturian – Crimson

Volturian
Crimson
by Joseph Brewer at 12 April 2020, 7:32 PM

Over the past few months, I have discovered an exciting trend of superb symphonic and power metal artists coming from one specific region: Italy. Certain bands like ANCIENT BARDS, KALIDIA, and DERDIAN have been pumping out incredible music for years, while artists like FROZEN CROWN, ELEGY OF MADNESS, and RAVENWORD have all come out with material recently that I would rank at the top of their class. Of course, there are countless other bands around the globe that are fantastic and well worth noting, but there seems to be something special about the artists in Italy and their ability to compose and perform music with such beauty. VOLTURIAN, an Italian symphonic “supergroup,” continues that trend with their debut album “Crimson.

VOLTURIAN features Frederica Lanna from SLEEPING ROMANCE teaming up with Federico Mondelli, guitar player and songwriter from the red-hot band FROZEN CROWN. Along with a few other young, talented performers (Massimiliano Rossi on bass and Alberto Mezzanotte on drums), VOLTURIAN has crafted an album that may not rewrite the genre with new ideas but does deliver a handful of wonderful songs that would please any metal fan.

Before diving into the songs, it is worth talking about the cover art for the album. At center is an obscure castle surrounded by a midnight landscape with a murder of ravens soaring over top. A prominent splash of crimson mist permeates the castle, a ghastly cloud of horror to gaze upon. Now to me, this invokes heavy gothic imagery and I would expect the songs to match that tone.

What’s found in the album is quite different. I usually don’t like to make direct comparisons between bands, but VOLTURIAN is highly reminiscent of AMARANTHE, which is not a bad thing if you are a fan of AMARANTHE, like myself. They have carved out features of metal, pop, and electronica and mashed them into one hard rocking, bubbly, melodic style of music that makes you want to rave and mosh at the same time. What VOLTURIAN does well is crank up the hard rocking piece of the formula to make an overall heavier sound, but there are still huge influences of pop and electronica throughout.

After the instrumental intro, “Crimson Dust,” the first real song out of the gate, “New Life,” puts all of the main elements of the band on display. A souped-up synth intro starts the song before the guitars and drums kick in with a subdued but moving modern metal rhythm. Lanna’s sweet, lustrous voice then shows up and takes center stage, singing about being freed and starting life anew. A pounding snare and double bass line lead us into the chorus, which is extremely catchy. After this first part of the song, the AMARANTHE-esque triple vocal threat comes out and we are greeted by some deep growls and then a short portion of clean male singing. This addition doesn’t take away from the song, per se, but it does show up out of nowhere and then disappear without a trace. I think if each or one of those elements were utilized more in the rest of the song, then the overall effect would be stronger.

The next few songs are pretty good. “Haunting Symphony,” “Broken,” and “The Killing Joke” stylistically are very similar to “New Life.” The one thing VOLTURIAN knows how to do well is write a hook. The choruses are all superb and you’ll find them stuck in your head days later. The rest of the musical components of the song are fine, nothing stands out as innovative or noteworthy.

The best song on the album, without question, is “In A Heartbeat” featuring a duet with Frozen Crown vocalist Giada "Jade" Etro. This is the song that hits on every level and leaves you wanting more. Lanna on her own is an amazing vocalist with a wonderful ability to sing with emotion and beauty. Jade Etro brings out a new level of brightness and energy that pushes the song over the top. A perfect counterpoint, each time they trade off lines during the verses you are hooked and left wanting more. And then the chorus comes, and you get more! A harmonized duet that soars and explodes with energy, backed by a headbanging, pulsing beat.

The back half of the album is more of the same sound. Musically, the songs are written very simply with almost the same structures: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, small solo, etc. However, that is not a bad thing. Advertised as a modern metal album, the joy comes from hitting shuffle and giving the album a quick listen. Finding those few earworm tracks that really click and get stuck in your head for days. “In A Heartbeat” is worth the price of the album alone. It is undeniably an amazing song that puts the talent of the whole band on display and really shows off the creativity of combining artists from different genres. Hopefully, this album does well and VOLTURIAN continues on. For their next album, I would pay good money to have Frederica Lanna and Jade Etro star as co-singers and bring their talent to each and every track.

Favorite Songs: “New Life,” “Haunting Symphony,” “In A Heartbeat

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Crimson Dust
2. New Life
3. Haunting Symphony
4. Broken
5. The Killing Joke
6. In A Heartbeat
7. Between The Sleepers
8. Days Before You Died
9. Forevermore
10. Fading Like A Flower
Lineup:
Federica Lanna – Vocals
Federico Mondelli – Guitar
Massimiliano Rossi – Bass
Alberto Mezzanotte – Drums
Record Label: Scarlet Records
     


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