Whilst their third record, the first in eleven or twelve years, is again focused on a novel by Gustav Meyrink the flavour is considerably different.
Given the lapse in time and change of personnel that may not be too surprising. But more importantly, a good record like a good book should not simply emulate it’s predecessors.
So gone are the Gothic overtones of “Der Golem” with the distinct voice of Mercy of Zess, Malombra and Ianva. In his place, Maethelyiah bursts on to centre stage embodying all that is sultry, sorrowful and mysterious in this dark progressive soundtrack. Her performance on “La Botlegga Delle Meravigile” borders on intimidating such is the force of her delivery over the funky guitar, throbbing bass and Moog.
But by “Chidher Il Verde” she unveils haunting and seductive sides in marked contrast to the militant drum rolls that punctuate the song. On “Trenodia Delle Dolci Parole” she steps aside for Sophya Bacinni whose stylishly sombre approach acts as an anchor around which symphonic organs flow. Sublime.
Thereafter, comes another shift in the waters. The brief “Il Rituale” is unsettling and disorientating as the bass runs riot over all manner of effects. It then gives way to “La Congrega Delle Zee Dyk” which melds the melodic flair of Goblin to an eerie monastic chant at times reminiscent of Abysmal Grief. A hypnotic and majestic metallic climax.
Flipping over, Maethelyiah weaves a dizzying choral web to a heavy groove and flamboyant lead breaks. Enter Claudio Simonetti and Martin Grice who retain that energy throughout “L’ Evocazione Di Eva” albeit in a heady timewarp where organs, Moog, Mellotron, flute and saxophone reign supreme.
Briefly reined in again, “Retrospettiva Di Un Amore” is the calm before the storm in the form of an anguished plea as if the course hereafter has been set and cannot be altered. Maethelyiah is hurting. No doubt about it. “Usibopo” and “L’ Apocalisse” then come in torrents at the deft hands of Giorgio C. Neri and Gianni Leone respectively as the former unleashes an axe assault reminiscent of latter day Antonius Rex whereas his counterpart conjures a tumultuous organ storm throughout his gurgling rite of possession.
Even “Epilogo” taunts and prods. David Krieg’s unhinged whispers confirm that whilst this is the end none leave this nightmare unscathed. Mastermind, villain, songwriter and conductor, Diego Banchero, deserves rapturous applause for such a bold body of work.
There is much more depth to be fathomed for those of stout heart to charter these murky waters. Undoubtedly an emotional and exhilarating experience, it begs your full attention many times over. Thoroughly hooked, the more I wriggle the less chance of escape…
3.6/5 – Danny Angus ::: 19/11/14