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Belgium is rather poor in folk or power metal bands. But, lo and behold, here we have Angeli Di Pietra. A band from Antwerp, my hometown! That should be a good thing, right? The band was promoted by a blog on the website of one of Flanders’ (Belgium’s Dutch speaking part) biggest newspapers.
Angeli Di Pietra claim to be “Powerfolk for the masses!”. A claim that appealed to me, as I am a big fan of both power and folk metal. But sometimes bands might claim to be something that they’re not, because of their principles, because of their own musical preferences or because of their image: I dare mention the (fallen) Kings of Metal here…
But Angeli Di Pietra is worth the title of powerfolk. They mix metal riffs up with folky melodies on the guitars, which is at the same time both heavy as light. Heavy, as headbangers will be satisfied by the steady and fast drumming and bass. Light, is the folk melodies and the shouts invite to party with them. A violin does the intro for Manannán mac Lir, some keyboards here and there and an ebow on Torquemada. There are no other non-metalinstruments here, but the power of the guitar melodies justifies the folk term.
Two vocalists sing on this album, male and female. They dance a strange dance, sometimes dancing together: a steady waltz with both of them doing the same. At other points (for example on Ride into Oblivion) both are singing on their own, creating a sound that seems cacophonic at first but begins to clear after a few listening sessions. Or they dance on their own, while they other rests and watches the dance. It works very good, and provides variation between the grunts of the male vocalist and the high notes of the female vocalist.
Let’s examine Ride into Oblivion, my personal favourite on this album. The song starts with a high-tempo guitar, builds up together with the drums and then the male vocalist screams. Everything plays harder and faster, the guitars are set loose and the drummer is beating his instrument with passion. The male and female vocalist start their strange dance, singing at the same time, but not together. The song knows some climbs towards a climax, as there are: the drums and bass set at high speed, the woman singing and the man ending with the words: “Ride into Oblivion”. We get a guitar solo, and a steady fast bassline. The song ends with the same guitar riff it began with, and leaves you hungry for more. Lucky you, since this was just the first song of the album. Now I have to be honest: none of the other songs has that special bit which makes Ride into Oblivion that good, but those songs are still good and worth the money.
Storm Over Scaldis is a good album by a good band from Antwerp. They sound very promising and I am curious about the new material they’ll be recording in just a few weeks.