Epic sounding, tactically dangerous in its sonic invention, and technically destructive in melodic spite and venomous intensity, Spartacus the new album from Italian death metallers Ade is just magnificent. The album blends death metal with the traditional instruments of ancient Rome and Greece for a compelling and thrilling confrontation. It is a never ending twist of corrosive intensity and devious ingenuity coaxed into an encounter which disorientates and mesmerises with equal measure and success, vicious and enthralling the record is a masterful violation and education.
Formed in 2007, the Rome quintet follow up their well-received debut album Prooemivm Sangvine of 2009 with a release which is sure to feature in best of 2013 lists come December, it is a thunderous tsunami of crippling rhythms, senses chewing riffs, and an invention within exhausting intensity which is jaw dropping. Released via Canadian label Blast Head Records, Spartacus offers ten tracks of memorable and riveting power with arguably the fact there is so much going on to take it all in the minor niggle towards it, then again it only makes the excuse to confront its malevolent presence to explore more irresistible. With a sound openly influenced by the likes of Nile and Behemoth, and featuring extreme metal drummer supreme George Kollias (ex-Nile), the album grips from its first breath to its colossal last and has the passions drooling relentlessly.
Betrayer From Thrace approaches the ear with ethnic instrumentation, a hailing horn, and coaxing rhythms, the gentle beckoning lasting only a few seconds before a fury of precise yet bedlamic beats, senses gnawing riffs, and deep gravelly vocals assault the ear, their force veined by sonic invention. As it continues to caustically abrase with a secretive underlying persuasive lure, the song twists and turns allowing its ancient breath and seductive melodic enterprise to explore the ravaging shadows. It is a stunning start which only in hindsight shows that it is merely the lead in to even greater things; its grand chorus of vocals the heralding of an expanding glory.
The welcoming string plucking to invite Sanguine Pluit in Arena into the ear is a delicious intrigue which holds its own as much as it can within the soon to bare furnace of ferocity, again speared by striking guitar invention and a staggering rhythmic attack. The musical call of the ancients wraps around the core of the song to emerge and disappear with persistent irresistibility so that within moments of the track you do not know whether to headbang until numbness is the reward or dance with a veil and salacious intent. It is a near perfect blend and performance soon eclipsed by The Endless Runaway. The following song sways around the ear with beautiful female vocals and accompanying vibrant beats before expanding into a sonic landscape of prowling riffs, commanding rhythms, and mesmerising sonic temptation with waspish attitude. As mentioned earlier, there is so much going on here and on the album to catch or take in at once but nevertheless the song tells a full and colourful narrative which shifts and grows with each charge of its dramatic soundscape.
Across the likes of the outstanding Crixius Flags Of Dishonor, a track as brutal and sadistic as it is hauntingly elegant, the blistering Mars Unpredictable Favour where the drums find their most virulently insidious potency, and Six Thousands Crosses, the album cements its already immense stature in thoughts and emotions with relish and ferocious invention, the technical storm as staggering and wonderfully corruptive as the hellacious tempest of primal intensity and unbridled severity. If there is any flaw, and we use the word loosely, it is that the surface of songs hold a strength of similarity which makes some with an unfocused listen blend within each other’s arms but again it is a mere texture only to look beyond for the greatest rewards.
With Divinitus Victor and For Everything To Be The Same… completing one of the most intensive and gripping albums of the year so far, it is fair to say Ade has presented what will be regarded as a classic not only in their own timeline but that one suspects within extreme metal. Spartacus is not only a must hear but a must have triumph.
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