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L' Impero Delle Ombre : I Compagni di Baal

The Italian Doom scene has found in L'impero Delle Ombre new heroes to worship.

The Italian school of occult Doom is alive and well! While promising new bands such as Deliria or Confraternita Del Vuoto Immenso show their skills on exciting albums, old veterans like The Black still release amazing works worthy of their reputation.

This peculiar scene - feeding a small worldwide community of monomaniacs - has found, in L'impero Delle Ombre and their first self-titled album in 2004, new heroes to worship. While staying true to the old names, they proved a strong personality with their catchy choruses and kitsch '70s-sounding keyboards. It's not quite right to call it a long-awaited album, but it was worth the wait: that’s the least you could say.

One could describe 'I Compagni Di Baal' using the same words as for the band's first album. However, it isn't a pale, nor a redundant, copy. The retro vibe of the sound is emphasised even more here. Indeed, Oleg Smirnoff, keyboardist for legends such as Death SS and Steve Sylvester, gives the band a hand here and brings a genuine '70s mood. Add to this that the whole was conceived as a concept about a 1968 occult French serial (you can hear some parts of its soundtrack now and then in the mix), and the illusion is complete.

The songs are mainly constructed like Heavy Metal ones: strongly based on the guitar, full of punchy riffs, they display the usual verse/chorus alternation, and of course always shine with an awesome solo. All the rest is, however, way closer to traditional Doom Metal, with dark riffing and themes, but also now and then slightly more complex rhythmic structures, close to Progressive Rock in its earliest days. This is basically what Saint Vitus could have sounded like if they were Italian, and influenced by Black Widow instead of Black Flag.

Some songs might sound odd upon first listen, like 'Cosmochronos', or the dark last song 'La Caduta Del Conte Di St. Germain'. Nevertheless, their oddity is also what makes their charm, once you're used to them. And you don't get sick of those ones, because they're stuck in between more traditional tracks, such as the wonderful 'Diogene' or the very vintage 'L'oscura Persecuzione'.

Now you may argue that this album seems to be of the kind that only Italian Doom Metal worshipers may enjoy. You'd be wrong. With their lyrics in English, Italian or even French, all the choruses are catchy as hell and you can’t help singing along to them; they are also very easy to remember. In fact, you almost know the album by heart after the first spin. This is sometimes what some people expect from a Heavy Metal album: catchy songs, powerful riffing and a great atmosphere. Therefore, if you have a fondness for '70s Prog, Heavy Metal, and of course Trad Doom, you have to give them a try. Perhaps you wouldn't agree with those claiming it's a masterpiece, but you'll for sure have a very good time. And if you get the CD version of this album, you'll also have a great 'Snowblind' cover. This band deserves way more attention than it gets.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Compagni di Baal (Overture)
2. Diogene
3. Divoratori della notte
4. Ballata per Liliana
5. L'oscura persecuzione
6. Cosmochronos
7. Sogni di Dominio
8. La caduta del conte di St. Germain
9. Tutti i colori del buio (Final)
10. Snowblind (Black Sabbath cover)

Duration : Approx. 53 minutes

Visit the L' Impero Delle Ombre bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-01-18 by Rubén Munoz -- Bertrand
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