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Kyterion > Inferno I > Reviews
Kyterion - Inferno I

Rock solid and satisfying, but only truly interesting for the concept - 80%

Samtropy, June 8th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Subsound Records (Digipak, Limited edition)

This is the first of trilogy Black/Death metal interpretation of Dante’s Divine Comedy by a band of anonymous Italians. Whoever they are, these are obviously experienced professionals who know how to make a flawlessly executed death metal album. Probably some veterans from bands like Ade, Hour of Penance, Deceptionist, Bloodtruth, Necrosy, and/or Hideous Divinity, (although these guys - or gals - are from Bologna, so who knows). I honestly have no idea. I only list those bands because, be warned: we’re dealing with that level of musicianship and production quality.

As a concept, it’s pretty interesting: turning Dante’s words (in their original Florentine vernacular) into relentless song-sized chunks furious blackened death metal. If you’re short on time, the takeaway is: listen to this if that idea sounds good to you. Don’t if it doesn’t.

As for execution, it’s both creatively engaging and ferociously professional. In terms of what you’ll hear on the surface of the music, the album doesn’t have a ton of variation in style or dynamic. It’s mostly super fast, unrelenting full-speed, full-intensity metal. Atmospheric sections are limited, bells/whistles/ambience used sparingly, and unlike other meandering concept albums, the focus here stays firmly on the band’s compositions and performances, with a very straightforward, robust, clean production. While each instrument has character (the bass is particularly nice), nothing sounds especially distinctive except the vocals which feature a blend of black metal scream/moan techniques to punctuate more mid-range growling. And the fact that the are all in 14th century Italian.

As for compositions, most tunes are based around blackened death metal mid-register tremolo blasting single-note guitar riffs, but elements of technicality pervade through a drum performance that frequently rips interesting fills and mixes up the blasting with generous sections of half-time grooves (although “grooves” are definitely the exception). Track 4 “Caron Dimonio” is a standout with an odd time riff, and interesting half time sections that seem to let the album breathe a bit after a relentless first 3rd. “Le Brut Arpie” also demands attention mid-way with some more technical crunchy riffs and almost djnt slamming (but don’t worry, nothing here comes close to disturbing the black metal vibe). “Faticosio Mantio” briefly brings the intensity down a notch as well, but just one notch, and it quickly kicks back into full throttle midway through.

This band clearly knows how to make things interesting within a fairly standard extreme metal creative vocabulary. This is all well short of anything you’d really call progressive or technical. There are no guitar solos or bass breakouts, although everyone seems to have more chops than they use here. Again, you can tell these folks are/were all in other bands that completely slay.

This project is more than a curiosity or gimmick, it’s perhaps less than an essential artistic statement (but who knows, once heard in the context of its trilogy?). The songwriting is solid, the musicianship and production stellar, and even if it never makes your hair stand on end, it also never gets boring. If you’re out for something super original or fancy displays of chops, you won’t be satisfied with this. But if you want to hear some really solid blackened death metal with a cool concept, you should listen to this album.

Set to Blast and Forget - 78%

TheStormIRide, June 14th, 2018

Kyterion is an Italian black/death metal project formed in 2015. Wasting little time, the band put out their debut album Inferno I in 2016 through Subsound Records, which is a ten track, thirty minute trek through the circles of hell. The vocals are delivered using the thirteenth century Italian vernacular language, the same language Dante wrote The Divine Comedy in. The only thing known about the band members at this point is that they are all Italian, preferring anonymity in their vicious, punishing voyage to the very center of hell.

Inferno I is very dense and unrelenting in approach. The rhythm section seems to hammer away to no end during the album, with a wash of blasting percussion and lightning fills and a constantly thudding bass presence in the background. The guitars fire away relentlessly in a swirling maelstrom of fiery tremolo riffing. The few rhythmic breaks, like the middle section of “Le brutte arpie”, offer a dash of skullcracking death/thrash, and though it brings little rest, it offers an ear-catching change of pace. Indeed, if anything could be said about Inferno I, the number one answer would be that it's unrelenting in scope. Despite setting the tone for a walk through the underworld, it also becomes the album's biggest flaw: there isn't a whole lot of diversity moving through this album and it's hard to differentiate the tracks when all is said and done.

For a band to come out of nowhere and attempt the monumental undertaking of bringing the listener through the circles of hell in three parts is impressive, to say the least. Kyterion delivered an authentic homage to Italy's greatest literary export and their decision to remain in anonymity allows the focus to remain on the fiery maelstrom of black metal. Two other chapters in this grand opus await, but if this debut is any indication of what's to come, we're all in for a treat.