Formed in 2008, these Italian metallers have been pushing out excellent work in the folk scene. With Simon Papa unleashing lead vocals, Elena Crolle on keys and backup voice, Marco Strega on guitars and vocals, Elisabetta Bosio on violin, Cosimo De Nola on drums, and Andreas Polito plucking the bass. Without any more introductions to this release of ‘Pyaneta’ needed, let’s dive right in!
‘Back to Earth’, the opening track, begins as an ambient theme of floating around in space with a nasally chap narrating the disconnected spatial darkness with a theme of “Look to the stars”… Suddenly, it kicks into high gear with some well-balanced guitars and excellent pacing. What comes off a bit difficult at times is the sweet innocence in the vocals of Simon Papa mixed in with the heavier bits. The contrast is unique and some might find it tough to get used to. Honestly, it is a bit similar to classic acts like Falconer, so maybe it will not be too difficult to enjoy.
This pure innocence in vocals, along with some fairly polished and thrashy guitars, continue through ‘The Return of the King’, ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, and ‘Pyaneta’. The title track comes across as the real winner of this early trio; however, we are introduced to some very impressive keyboard and accompanying violins, as well as folk/Celtic themes. The tracks are growing on me!
‘Neverland’ introduces something that I am unsure I have ever experienced before in a metal song (well, perhaps with Heavysaurus). It incorporates children’s themes along with a chorus of children into the song. The overall theme feels like a children’s song that one could play at a kids’ birthday party. Don’t know if I absolutely despise it or completely love it. I am superbly torn.
I love ‘The Legend of the Pale Mountains’; it arrives with such a romantic folk introduction then continues to build into something of a ballad, while pushing so much more than the average “quieter tone” track that you would expect. The song progresses into some excellent speedy parts and offers a terrific guitar solo before finally floating back into an acoustic passage, before closing out in epic fashion. Extremely enjoyable. I’d love to hear more of this style; it feels, to me, like it is more fitting for Simon’s range in this reviewer’s humble opinion.
The following track does exactly that! ‘Legacy of the Woods’ has another quiet acoustic introduction that uses an appropriate build into an awesome marching/thumping chorus. Great work here that must be heard, showcasing excellent transition from mellow to heavier while keeping great consistency.
From ‘S’Accabadora’ onward this album has taken a serious uptick in quality; not to say the earlier tracks were bad by any means, but each song that follows seems to be a major improvement going forward! This is awesome; let us dig into the last few tracks to close out the album.
‘Coven of Balzaares’ kicks off with some eerie piano and unsettling cackling by a few witches working on what sounds like a brew of some sort. Love the addition of these effects in a few of these tracks. Also, very refreshing to hear male vocals from Strega starting off this track.
They swiftly wrap things up with a bit of “Pirate Metal” in ‘Bourrè del Diavolo’, which comes across as a fitting changeup track to end this tale of music. There really is a lot to like here with ‘Pyaneta’, with a few seriously excellent and ambient tracks and an overall tracklist that gets better and better along the way. Overall, this is a very good album that, while doesn’t necessarily offer anything new to the genre, certainly is worth a listen.
Review by Joshua Jaeger
8th June 2018
1) Back To Earth
2) The Return of the King
3) One Thousand and One Nights
7) The Legend of the Pale Mountains
8) Legacy of the Woods
9) Coven of Balzaares
11) Bourrè del Diavolo
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"There really is a lot to like here with ‘Pyaneta’, with a few seriously excellent and ambient tracks and an overall tracklist that gets better and better along the way."