Dark Quarterer

(Andromeda Relics rec.)


MARK: 95/100


Epic-prog metal? The Italian answer to Manilla Road come into the world from Omega Erre's ashes, 2 years before Kansas's act? A lot of things have been said about them, but what 's sure is that when it comes time, they never disappoint you. Ever. The return of Gianni Nepi along with the trustworthy percussionist Paolo Ninci is the proof that a few bands and labels still believe in true metal and put passion before quick money. There've been lots of vicissitudes in the making of this new album, that have brought to a forced re-recording by the long time experienced and professional Tony Soddu, who made every instrument or vocal part as clear and real as it must be.

"Black Hole (Death Dance)" is a very involving sample of drammatic epic-progressive metal joining tradition and modernity in a convincing way, thanks to the perfectly-integrated new member Francesco Sozzi's fresh background of power, hard rock and fusion, whose sharp guitar sounds embed themselves among the powerful and heavy drum-kit blows, along with the high and very particular vocals.

"Last Breath" starts soft, the vocals come, and it does seem to be inside a church in the Middle Ages. This song gradually changes and can be reminiscent of old metal/hard rock groups like Dio or Queensryche for some seconds, just to give you an idea. The percussion duties take inspiration by the master Terry Bozzio, but later the singing parts and the accelerations, the guitar solo and bridge could be defined useful to Manowar's repertoire, presenting pining passages before a flute and epic choruses composed by 20 voices.

Then we have "Deep Wake", a tight song in the beginning with Gianni's typical piercing trills to which he's been accustoming us for 2 decades; pleasant are the melodic intermezzo preceding the 6-string solos and the crescendo final.

Different from the others is "Calls", a peaceful interlude before my favourite song, "Rape", lasting over 12 minutes, the most manifold and aggressive composition of all; there are several interruptions here too, some really unexpected and bizarre; they're special and even when they're very relaxing, they're 1,000 miles far from pop shores; the music of Dark Quarterer is simple to be heard (but not to be arranged, nor composed), embellished by Gianni Nepi's unique vocal style - and voice of course - also mastermind, bassist and 12-string player on "Calls", and proves to be that kind of music conquering the listener the more times they have the CD played again.

Desolation, or rather desperation are the musical and lyrical themes "Last Song" is based on, including a flute introduction before the black hole re-opens itself to swallow our souls forever after our final journey.

Only some pronounciation and rhythm vocal faults separate "Violence" from the top of the marks, nevertheless Dark Quarterer supply us with 48 minutes of delightful, pure, out-of-time-and-commercial-rule music. Add the original cover artwork about Adam's and Eve's expulsion from Paradise, the CD-Rom part illustrating the band's life, and it'll be obvious that it's just a good idea to put your hands on this record.