I’ve been following the development of this project for a while now, as for a small label and one man band, Dusktone and Scuorn‘ founder Guilian have thrown and a lot of resources and money at promoting and producing this project. And it apepars to have paid off.
Touting it sound as ‘Parthenopean Epic Black Metal’, Scuorn (‘shame’) uses its Neapolitan history and culture to deliver its symphonic, epic black metal to great effect. As I mentioned earlier it looks like a lot was thrown into this conceptual release- and it shows. The orchestration was arranged by Riccardo Studer, keyboardist from country mates and one of the better symphonic bands around, Stormlord, and the use of a real orchestral ensemble and choirs really add to the overall sound.
The end result is pretty darn successful, and comes across like Stormlord with a dose of Rotting Christ‘s hellenic tones and Fleshgod Apocalypse . It is, if anything, pretty downright epic, checking all the boxes for the style with a host of rousing, majestic symphonics, narrations, high pitched screams and deep growls and scathing, slicing black metal. The guitar tone is crisp but commanding and was mixed and mastered by Stephano Morabito (another solid resource who has produced the likes of Eyeconoclast, Hour of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse) and the whole affair would have held up well without all the gloss, my bench mark for this style.
After appropriately dramatic intro “Cenner’ e fummo” sets the mood for the upcoming tale, before the 8 minute “Fra ciel’ e terr'” bursts into view with an abundance of searing blasts and militant stomps, all backed by some of the more rousing orchestration and choirs I’ve heard in a while. The rest of the album pretty much follows suite with an array of story telling motifs and breaks. Other Standouts include the other 8 minute number, “Parthenope” which wraps up the effort with a somber mood before outro “Megaride”.
Faster, blistering tracks like “Sepeithos”, “Tarentella Nera” and “Virgillio Mago” shows Guilian can deliver some more urgent moments amid the majestic atmospheres, though it’s clear Stormlord is his primary influence in almost all facet of his vocals and instrumentation. All of it dripping with a certain Mediterranean charm and beauty. And that’s not a bad thing at all, and I’d easily put Pathenope up there as one of the more impressive releases of the style in the last few years.
The work put into the release shows not only in the music but the packaging as there as a few versions of the album to be had. I went with a gorgeous double CD digipack/book with a bonus CD containing just the orchestral version of the album, in itself a nod to the labor of love the album is.[Visit the band's website]