Astral Domine - Arcanum Gloriae review


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Band: Astral Domine
Album: Arcanum Gloriae
Release date: January 2014

01. Arcanum Gloriae
02. Holy Knights
03. King Of North
04. Moonlight
05. Tale Of The Elves And Pain
06. Where Heroes Die
07. I Am The King
08. My Lord
09. Welcome To My Reign
10. Falsi Dei

Some reviews ago I advised an emerging band not to focus too much on power metal, considering it a genre that could give satisfaction only to already established bands. Well, I don't know if you usually feel happy in being wrong, but this time I do.

Lately, in fact, loads of young bands are approaching success in this overcrowded genre, and my compatriots in Astral Domine make no exception. This band gives epic power metal new hope through their promising debut.

Arcanum Gloriae is basically a slow album, as the guys seem to have focused more on the atmosphere of the whole than on the speed and instantaneous catchiness of choruses. The first, in fact, is perfectly achieved via the huge amount of mild folk tunes used, while the latter, though not being completely forgotten, are slightly pushed in the background on behalf of the album's solidity and coherence.

Singer Marco Scorletti delivers a great performance, warm and emotional, with that marked all-Italian accent that Rhapsody Of Fire fans have by now learnt to recognize and love. His vocal timbre and lines, in fact, are so similar to those of Fabio Lione that one wonders why they even bothered to have Fabio himself featuring in the long suite "Where Heroes Die".

But what's great about Arcanum Gloriae is its equilibrium: this is as far as you get from a one-man show, since almost every musician here displays what he's capable of. The twin guitars sometimes melt together to create long and inspired solos, and other times they intertwine with the bright-sounding keyboards, and while the overall well cared for production gives drums their rightful space, it doesn't do the same for the bass, as too often happens these years.

What, after a few listens, starts to become noticeable to the listener is that most of the tracks, especially the mid-tempos, sound somehow too long, "sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread" (only for connoisseurs). Some spoken interludes kill the songs' flow and some intros, while helping to dip into the overall credible medieval mood surrounding the entire album, slow its pace too much, which isn't frantic to begin with.

Altogether, is Astral Domine something new? It definitely isn't, but mind you: it isn't a plagiarism. Though drawing enormous inspiration from the early Rhapsody Of Fire works, in particular from Legendary Tales, the band is able to mark the music with their own stamp, that in the long run could become what will help them to emerge.

Arcanum Gloriae will never become a genre classic: that's for sure. But it is a more than promising basis to start from for these new recruits.


Written on 28.01.2014 by Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.

So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.

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