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Italy’s finest Gothic/doom metal outfit are back with their fourth album Seven Heads Ten Horns. It’s a semi-concept album concerned with the degeneration of Europe before it’s downfall and explores the intolerance, and contempt, towards other cultures. This is all intertwined with biblical references. It’s an interesting lyrical idea for an album and with everything going on in the world today also very topical.
The band released their last album, the very well received, Second World way back in 2012 so for me, being a fan since their first album, it’s great to see them back again with this latest outing.
While many artists will start an album off with their heaviest, or fastest, track The Foreshadowing instead have opted to ease the listener into it, with a mellow instrumental filled with traditional sounding acoustic instruments and vocal humming. It feels much like slipping down into a warm bath albeit one filled with dark water and promises of unspeakable thinks lurking below the surface.
The first “proper” song “Fall of Heroes” carries on from the instrumental “Ishtar” and continues, and expands upon, it’s melodic themes. When Marco Benevento’s vocals come in the band I’ve known and loved over the years is instantly recognisable. The sound is very in keeping with their previous releases, the slow heavy guitars, Marco’s unique vocals, and the melancholic Gothic mood are all there. The production sounds great, the recording took place at Outersound Studio’s in Rome, and mixing at Hertz Studio’s in Poland where Slawek and Wojtek Wieslawski have done a great job on bringing out the best in the band.
Traditional metal instrumentation such as guitars, drums, and bass are at the forefront of the songs on here but the subtle addition of choirs, keyboards, Gregorian style chants, and violins add another dimension to the sound augmenting its doom laden atmosphere. There’s so much to take in and with each subsequent listen you find yourself discovering something new. It’s an album that seems to get better every time I put it on.
It’s difficult to choose a favourite track but if pushed I’d possibly go for the longest track on the album, clocking in at just under seven minutes, the song “New Babylon”. It has some really beautiful Gregorian style singing as the song nears its end and encapsulates everything this band is known for from the hook laden mournful vocal melodies, to the dark and heavy guitars layered over the track providing strong riffs and melodic playing. Like most of the songs on the album the guitar solo’s are subtle affairs that are more akin to short melodic instrumental intervals rather than full on widdly shredding; they are there to enhance the song rather than showcase the guitarists technical prowess.
While never quite surpassing the gloomy depths of their debut album Days of Nothing, “The Wandering” probably being my favourite song of theirs, Seven Heads Ten Horns is a strong addition to their catalogue. If you’re a fan of their previous work you’ll be glad to hear that the band don’t deviate much from the style they are known and loved for.
If you’re a fan of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Katatonia and dare I say it…Depeche Mode (I thought I might get through this review without mentioning them) then do yourself a favour and check out The Foreshadowing and their latest album. It’s a release every doom fan should own in their collection. Who knew misery could feel this good. Excellent album.
2. Fall Of Heroes
3. Two Horizons
4. New Babylon
5. Lost Soldiers
7. Until We Fail
I – The Eerie Tower
II – Omelia
III – Collapse
IV – Inno al Dolore