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(Album Review) “Chapter I: Monarchy” by AD INFINITUM

(Album Review) “Chapter I: Monarchy” by AD INFINITUM

This is the debut album from the symphonic metallers and they have not held back. Their uncompromising sound brings the most haunting melodies, heavy riffs and dark energy. The album transports the listener back in time – Chapter I: Monarchy by Ad Infinitum is based on the reign of Louis XIV and explores the lives of people across all classes.

Symphonic metal, as a genre, has seen a growing breadth in its manifestations. With giants of the scene Within Temptation turning towards more electronic sounds in their latest album, and Nightwish remaining with a focus in folk and traditional instruments, as a couple of examples. Ad Infinitum’s sound falls into the more traditional sense of symphonic metal. Orchestral focused, with power from the guitars, along with soaring and harsh vocals. The orchestral instruments are arranged wonderfully throughout the album. Clearly holding their own space in the mix of the music, without losing the impact of the distorted guitars and heavy bass. It’s quite astounding how they have achieved such a well-balanced sound in their debut album. Infected Monarchy sets the scene with a fairy-tale orchestral opening that gently builds up, introducing Melissa Bonny’s vocals, and finally the addition of the metal instrumentation. The twinkling melody that runs throughout this track keeps the fantasy element prevalent. It’s a great opener to the album, establishing the atmosphere without revealing too much of what is yet to come. Marching on Versailles brings it all – energy, heavy riffs and soaring vocals. It’s in this track that hints of darker ideas begin to appear. The instrumentation effectively enhances the atmosphere by creating a marching feel and an uplifting sense of change.

Melissa’s vocals have an incredible range in both her tone and texture. She can deliver the softest, haunting melodies, soaring power, and gut-wrenching growls that bring the demons in their music to life. I am the Storm, in particular, sees Melissa’s harsh vocals create a fantastic demonic vibe. The contrast of the calming clean vocals, acoustic guitar and orchestral strings in the verse, with the heavier, dramatic chorus creates a great build-up ahead of the storm. Revenge also brings in powerful growls. This vocal style isn’t overused across the album, Melissa’s harsh vocals appear to have been carefully placed to create contrast or enhance a section of the music. Live Before You Die introduces a melodic metal feel to the album. The track feels more guitar led with lead motifs featuring throughout, seeing the strings take more of a supporting role. The guitar tone does have the slightly cheesy feel that comes with some melodic metal, but it works well thematically with the other instruments. A smattering of electronic sounds can also be heard in the pre-chorus. It gives a little something extra without feeling completely in-cohesive; it suits the style of the track.

Ad Infinitum have created an incredible debut album. The quality of the song writing, arrangement and production is astounding. Chapter I: Monarchy includes a variety of soundscapes and themes across the tracks which gives a well-rounded understanding of their sound. They are a wonderful addition to the symphonic metal genre, and it will be wonderful to see them grow in the scene.

 

Release Date:
03.04.2020

Tracklisting:
1. Infected Monarchy
2. Marching on Versailles
3. Maleficient
4. See You in Hell
5. I Am the Storm
6. Fire and Ice
7. Live Before You Die
8. Revenge
9. Demons
10. Tell Me Why

AD INFINITUM are:
Melissa Bonny, vocals
Adrian Theßenvitz, guitars
Jonas Asplind, bass
Niklas Müller, drums

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