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They came, I listened, they won - 90%

MetalicHunter, May 9th, 2020

I would have never expected to be grateful of an ad playing before the start of a YouTube video, but life is full of surprises, and although this 2020 could be said is particularly full of horrible surprises, it is true there is a silver lining to each storm, and finding this might as well be a good part of that.

One of the things I have always loved about metal music as a whole is that it is incredibly maleable; you can fusion it with so many different sounds, genres and instruments and still come up with what can only be called as one thing; art. This is no exception, the surprise here is finding roman folklore to be that "special ingredient", and I can only imagine trying to explain to someone that doesn´t like metal that some blokes over in Italy decided to make roman death metal, only for them to reply "Ave, True to Caesar, degenerates like you belong on a cross".

They say don´t judge a book by it´s cover, but the artwork of the album is the first thing you´ll probably see, and despite the insignificance of it to judge the music, I always like to give attention to the visual image that accompannies the music, and I´m afraid it´s the worst the album has to offer; the collage of roman imagery reminds me a little too much to Sabaton, and not in a good way, in contrast to the absolutely awesome logo of the band. I obciously can´t grade the music with this, but the artwork that you see when you look this album up has a sharp, cringey contrast to the brutal and awesome music that it contains.

The drums (alongside the vocals, but I´ll touch on that after this) are in my mind the center of the album, because you just don´t have your average drum kit here, but the constant sound of drums that even if they aren´t original roman drums, sure as hell sound like them. I can perfectly imagine a legion marching to the sound of this aggressive, magnificent drums to conquer some poor civilization that will probably never recover after these italic guys in red and metal armor ensalve them. It´s like a fusion of modern instruments with antique ones, and AdE absolutely nailed that, not just with the drums mind you, but also some other instruments (Which pardon my ignorance, but I just don´t know how they´re called) which keep that actually roman folklore alive throughout the album.

The vocals come next, and they make the other half of the center of this album; a little too low-pitched, but not anything to complain about at all, but it is worth mentioning nontheless. I appreciate that this is one of those cases where the vocals´ volume isn´t overwhelming, the voice blends perfectly with the instruments rather than bossing them around, it flows with the brutal stream of music that this album is, and the bass follows that same paradigm, which is nice given how typically you´ll find the bass either unpersceptible or given too much attention. The lyrics have to be the heaviest part of this album; in case you didn´t know, romans where motherf*cking brutal and bloodthirsty people, they literally killed people for entertainment and where a society dedicated to war, violence and expansion, and the lyrics portray that, but not just that, but also the raher disturbing supremacist mindset the romans had about themselves, and how non-romans where basically sub-humans that should be slaves for them or die. Death metal as a whole would almost seem tame compared to romans, death metal talks about horrible stuff; romans went and f*cking did it!

The album is not flawless though, and the guitars make sure of that; they set the tone, sure, but unlike the vocals and bass, the guitars do the direct opposite and tend to just show up at awkward moments; the perfect and most notable example of this is in Veni, Vidi, Vici, before the main "chorus" you´ll be listening to the music and then, out of nowhere and with absolute lack of respect for how the song is going, the guitars have that high-pitched... interruption? (I guess that´s the best way of describing it), what the hell is it there for? no idea, even though that brief riff could easily sound great at another point in the song, where it actually goes along with the music and the rythm, it goes there. The guitars throughout most of the album are more than good, make no mistake (why would I be giving such a high score if that wasn´t the case?), but they have a tendency to do weird, intrusive stuff at innadecuate moments.

Overall, Rise of the Empire is an excelent example of the beauty that metal is; a basis for putting many different things together and still create a (mostly) cohesive and awesome piece of music, despite the flaws, AdE came up with an excelent album. Roma Invicta Est!

Imperial brutality - 85%

Paganbasque, April 21st, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Extreme Metal Music

Recently, we have seen some death metal bands trying to combine the most brutal sound you can imagine with epic or folk touches, trying to forge a unique style where melody, majesty and relentless aggressiveness can coexist. The Americans Nile is, without any doubt, the most notorious example, but we can find through Europe other fine examples that shows us how theoretically incompatible styles can tastefully combined with some success. One of the best examples are the Italians ADE, a band founded 12 years ago in Rome. This city and the whole country have an enormously rich and grandiose history, so it is not a big surprise that these guys took the inspiration from their ancient history and tried to create a beast, equally influenced by the most aggressive metal and majestic history of Rome and Italy. From its inception, ADE has tried to mix a perfect technically executed death metal, with great Eastern/Mediterranean folk touches. The aim was to create a folk infused death metal, which sounds imposing, a key aspect because lyrically, the band is equally epic with lyrics based on the Roman Empire and its legendary history. The band debuted with an interesting album, whose limited attention didn’t stop the band´s hunger to reach higher levels. The sophomore album entitled ‘Spartacus’ was a higher step as it got more attention in the scene, not only because of its indubitable quality, but mainly due to the contribution in the drumming section of George Kollias, the master behind the drums in Nile. That was indeed a great excuse for many fans to discover the band. ‘Spartacus’ was an inspired album, where brutality, technics and epic infused folk arrangements were masterfully mixed. A key member in the latest aspect was Simone who played all the folk instruments. Sadly, he left the band after this album, and this had an important impact on the band, as in the later album the folk influences were decreased in favour of a more symphonic and epic approach. ‘Carthago Delenda Est’ was the third album and although it was a nice effort, I still preferred ‘Spartacus’, as it sounded more distinctive.

Three years later ADE returns with a surprisingly almost renewed line-up, where only the founder guitarist Fabio remains. With this initial surprise, I didn’t know what to expect, maybe a major change in ADE´s sound. Fortunately, at least for me, this isn´t the case as the band retains a great part of its core sound. ‘Rise of the Empire’ is another piece of powerful death metal, profoundly influenced by its epic and historical lyrics. The new vocalist doesn´t sound too different and his well executed growls remind me the previous front man. His cavernous voice has enough power to fit perfectly well ADE´s notoriously aggressive style and it is the perfect companion of the precise, yet brutal guitars. The drums played by the new member Decivs are as brutal and technically accurate as they were in the past, which says a lot, because ADE has been always a pinpoint machinery. The song "Veni Vidi Vici" is a clear example of how good the drums are, with many tempo changes, going easily for the fastest sections to more mid-tempo ones. This track, alongside other ones like "The Blithe Ignorance" and "Once the Die is Cast", for example, are also useful to write about one of the most important aspects of this album, the folk and symphonic arrangements. Although, as far as I know, there is no a specific member behind these duties, ‘Rise of the Empire’ seems to be a creature born from the combination of their previous two albums. I can happily say that this album contains more folk touches in the vein of ‘Spartacus’ as it retains the choirs and other majestic arrangements, but in a slightly lower degree than in ‘Carthago Delenda Est’. The closing track "Imperator" reflects this fusion as it combines both sides in a very tasteful way.

‘Rise of the Empire’ is definitively another great addition to ADE´s discography. Although it is a little bit early to compare it, in terms of pure quality, to albums like ‘Spartacus’, I sincerely hope that this album can be another step in the right direction. ‘Rise of the Empire’ should bring a greater recognition for a band, which clearly deserves it.

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