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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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