Rating:
7.5
Stormlord - Mare Nostrum
23 May 2008


01. Mare Nostrum
02. Neon Karma
03. Legacy Of The Snake
04. Emet
05. The Castaway
06. Scorn
07. And The Wind Shall Scream My Name
08. Dimension: Hate
09. Stormlord


The year of 2008 was considered by many one of the worst in the Metal scene, with average to poor releases and just a handful of decent works. And in that exact year the Italian band Stormlord decides to reappear in our ears with a new album, four years after the average The Gorgon Cult. After some spins the listener can easily comprehend that Mare Nostrum does not save 2008 from his mediocrity abyss, but can still provide some nice 45 minutes of entertainment.

It all starts with the cover art, where we see hundreds of sea serpents rising from the water and attacking a vessel, along with the Italian title Mare Nostrum (''our sea''). To complement this epic scenario, a mythological/historical lyrical content, telling stories about the last Punic War, Hindu and Hebrew myths, and of course, travels and battles over Mare Nostrum.

All of this narrated through an epic kind of Black Metal, starting with the vocals, where we hear the typical Melo-black/Gothic's high pitched voice, with occasional use of guttural. Nothing wonderful, but it feels right in the album's atmosphere. Such an atmosphere created by riffs and drums which alternate between fast and slow moments incessantly, but never losing the epic catchiness granted by the intense use of the keyboards. I mean really intense, the keyboards are simply always there, and along with the soft catchiness of most of the riffs and drums, have lead many listeners to label Stormlord's genre beyond simple Melodic Black Metal, to a Power/Black Metal.

Nevertheless, Stormlord released an album that can match their acclaimed At The Gates Of Utopia, and in one of the worst years for Metal. It is recommended for the ones seeking for a soft, easy going, but still powerful Black Metal. Sure, the use of the keyboards can annoy some, but its use has the same magnitude of their other full-lengths, so fans of the band will be far from disappointed.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Stormlord
Album: Mare Nostrum


 


written by Uirapuru | 13.04.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Mikyz - 13.04.2010 at 21:30  
Pretty accurate review but I still find this album to be on par with At the Gates of Utopia (if not slightly better) and I think that they're more of a Symphonic black metal band than a melodic black one, because of the amount of keyboard. Covert art is awesome btw.
Ellrohir - 13.04.2010 at 21:31  
Epic album art, but the music is seriously weaker...
AngelofDeth - 27.04.2010 at 21:04  
I thought this was a great album. I would define this album, as simply, Epic Metal.

If you like Epic sounding metal(through use of keyboard) i recommend it. If you hate keyboards in metal, stay away.
SSM - 22.06.2011 at 23:14  
As you mentioned, this is an Epic\Black Metal album;
not a simple Black Metal album.
Being epic needs some strings or keyboard choirs and orchestral melodies
to demonstrate it's point of view on everything.

I think Mare Nostrum is a great album, but not everyone's favorites;
the stories and the lyrics are not what everyone likes,
the vocals are high pitch enough to annoy some listeners... although it's so strong.

Just listen to "The Castaway", it's unique sound probably will surprise everyone;
there are acoustic phrases, strange vocals and progressive sense in this song.

Drums are extremely adorable,
completely sounds different from all you hear in Black Metal scene.
So creative, fast and sometimes unpredictable.

As I said, if you enjoy epic music this is a great choice,
but if you dislike epic music and impalpable stories,
you'd better listen to something else.

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