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The Last Roman Emperor Submitted - 79%

bayern, January 5th, 2018

A very obscure entry from the former Roman Empire, this band didn’t quite fit into the group of the thrash hard-liners (Necrodeath, Schizo, Bulldozer) from their homeland; neither did they fit into the technical/progressive thrash wave initiated by Braindamage, Jester Beast and Headcrasher. They stood right next to pioneers like Outrage and Loadstar, and their contemporaries Creepin’ Death with a style that was largely a blend of power and speed metal, with shades of thrash on the more aggressive moments.

They remained the least prolific of the lot with just this demo the only fruit of their endeavours that still shows them quite capable of weaving more complex soundscapes from their otherwise rigorous speed metal-ish approach, those at times bordering on more progressive escapades ala Liege Lord (“Master Control”) and Fates Warning. “Laser Eyes” is a wild speedster looking more at the early German speed metal legacy, the band moshing vehemently with a badly disguised thrashy vigour the dramatic versatile vocals trying to suit all the mood swings, going a bit over the top on the several screamy attempts. “Death or Glory” is another glorious speed metal hymn which is at times vintage early Angel Dust, but “Me, the Last Hero” “winks” at the other side of The Atlantic with more epic, more complex arrangements that come for the sake of the speed which gets increased again for the title-track, an encompassing progressive masterpiece with multiple nuances and twists including several less controlled thrashy explosions, the latter partially preserved for the closing “Empire”, another vigorous more direct speedster.

A nice refreshing, energizing release that didn’t have too many analogues on the Italian metal scene at the time, but suggested at what would follow suit later in the 90’s with acts like Labyrinth, Rhapsody (later Rhapsody of Fire), Landguard, etc. who held onto the example set here each in their own way. The guitar player Marco Palumbaro laid the foundations for the classic thrashers Thy Gate Beyond later, another possible venue for exploring more profoundly if this legion of the Empire had held the front longer.