Released By: Scarlet Records
Release Date: April 24th, 2020
Genre: Melodic Metal
Federica Lanna – Vocals
Federico Mondelli – Guitars, Keyboards
Massimiliano Rossi – Bass
Alberto Mezzanotte – Drums
1. Crimson Dust
2. New Life
3. Haunting Symphony
5. The Killing Joke
6. In a Heartbeat
7. Between the Sleepers
8. Days Before You Died
10. Fading Like a Flower (Roxette Cover)
Sometimes, a band will catch my interest without hearing anything from them, just from seeing either a name, logo or knowing certain band members. The latest case of this is Italian melodic metal band Volturian, formed by Frozen Crown guitarist/keyboardist and songwriter Federico Mondelli, as well as Sleeping Romance vocalist Federica Lanna. I’ve enjoyed albums from both bands but found their styles to be completely different, and so I was interested to see what kind of album the two would come up with together, and how different it would be from their usual work. Now that their debut, Crimson, is here, it has turned out to be a very strong release, which both feels heavily influenced by other recent bands, while having enough of its distinct feel to stand out.
When I heard this would be a melodic metal album, I figured it would be quite the departure for both lead members, as Frozen Crown have a fairly traditional power metal sound, mixed with some melodeath, while Sleeping Romance has a very classic symphonic metal sound, where this looked to be going for something more modern. Needless to say, while fans of either band are sure to be curious, this album may not appeal to all of them, as stylistically this feels closer to the likes of Amaranthe, Temperance and Metalite, though if anything it may be lighter than either of those bands. Anyone familiar with those bands, though, will have a good idea of what to expect from Crimson: A very modern, melodic sound, overall, with a huge emphasis on electronic keys, often going into full-on trance territory, with a bit of a dance-pop feel at times. There are occasional bursts of heavy guitar work from Mondelli, as well as harsh vocals on the lead single, but aside from that, this is a very laid back, very melodic album, more focused on light melodies, and catchy vocal hooks than on being heavy or intense. Performances are strong across the board, with Mondelli and Lanna being the stars. Lanna’s vocals are strong, often being very light and soft, which fits well with the nature of the music, and she especially shines during the many excellent choruses. Production is also quite good, with everything sounding very polished, and everything sounds quite clear and powerful.
Songwriting is very straight-forward, with no real surprises or experiments. Instead, most tracks are very fun and catchy, varying between some more upbeat tracks and some mid-paced tracks. Following a brief intro infused with electronic elements, lead single “New Life” is a very good indication of what to expect from the album. It’s a fast-paced track, where the synths are the main focus, with some very nice beats throughout. The drums are fast and intense, while the guitar work is fairly light, aside from one brief heavy section, with some intense harsh vocals. For the most part, though, Lanna leads the way, with some very light, yet strong vocals, and the chorus is quite energetic and very catchy.
Next is “Haunting Symphony”, a more mid-paced track, with a nice rhythm to it. There are some very nice melodic guitar leads on this track, while the keys are still there, but mostly relegated to the background. While not being overly fast or intense, the track does have an upbeat feel to it, with the chorus, in particular, being quite catchy and memorable, while the guitar solo in the second half is quite beautiful and technically solid. The keys are back in full force on second single “Broken”, a lighter, slightly slower paced track, with very minimal guitar work and some very fun, bouncy keys. The track has a pop feel to it, though it’s pull off quite nicely, with the chorus being very melodic and quite beautiful.
My favorite track on the album is “The Killing Joke”, a very upbeat track, which goes into full trance mode, with some very energizing, overpowering synths, fully leading the way. The track once again has a very bouncy feel to it, though the keys are so infectious, while the brief use of heavy guitars is quite effective, and the chorus is quite fun and catchy. It’s certainly not a very metal song, but I find it very energetic and extremely addictive. Mondelli’s Frozen Crown band mate Giada “Jade” Etro makes an appearance on “In a Heartbeat”, another more mid-paced track with some nice, slightly heavy guitar work. This track has the best guitar work on the album, with an excellent solo in the second half, as well as some solid leads throughout, though Jade steals the show during the chorus, with a very powerful performance.
One of the most upbeat tracks on the album is “Between the Sleepers”, which has a strong power metal influence to it, moving along at a fast pace, with more nice melodic guitar leads, while still being quite trance infused, as well, with some strong backing keys. It’s a speedy, very melodic and catchy track, with an excellent chorus, and is another one of my favorites. Things slow down again with “Days Before You Died”, another more mid-paced track, with tons of trance keys leading the way. It’s a fun track, with another very catchy chorus. The last original track on the album is “Forevermore”, another mid-paced track, with a mix between nice trance keys and some excellent melodic guitar leads, as well as a powerful vocal performance from Lanna. The verses are quite strong, while the chorus is addictive and very memorable, as usual. The album ends with a cover of Roxette’s “Fading Like a Flower”, which the bands pull off nicely. It’s slightly slower-paced than the rest of the album, but otherwise, it fits in nicely with the remaining tracks, being a very keyboard-heavy track, with plenty of fun vocal hooks, and a memorable chorus, which Lanna pulls off very well.
Overall, Crimson is a very strong debut, and while I think some metal fans may be disappointed by it, anyone looking for a nice, energetic yet fairly calm and relaxing melodic metal album should find a lot to like here. Volturian have gotten off to a strong start, with plenty of catchy, trance infused melodic metal tracks, and while it won’t appeal to everyone, fans of Frozen Crown or Sleeping Romance should at least try a track or two, to see if it’s worth a full listen, while fans of Amaranthe or Metalite should find a lot to like. As a fan of all the above, I find the album quite enjoyable, and will check out any potential future releases by the band.
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer