Wheel of the Devil, huh? Welcome to Zoetropia. Meaning the Daedalum, featuring a round device with slits giving the impression of moving images when actioned. Officially invented in the 1800’s and patented by a number of crafty bastards, all claiming glory for themselves. When others (way) before them already attempted this feat.
But it is a nice touch to name Revenenience‘s debut album thus, ’cause the devil is always lurking somewhere in the background in this type of metal.
Bologna-based Revenience formed back in 2014. This whilst already working on their first album Daedalum, drawing on material from their already rich musical careers.
And Daedalum takes its influences!
You’ll find Gothic and Symphonic Metal elements galore on this disk. A lot of that buried in an eerie mix of early Within Temptation, Nightwish, some Epica and for sure a lot of Lacuna Coil. There is nothing wrong with that, by the way, as long as it is not shameless copying. And in this case, it is not quite that, but more to this subject later.
So, is this all there is to it? Mainstream Gothic and Symphonic Metal?
Nope. Digging a bit deeper, there is a much craftier side to their song structure than meets the eye (or more the ear) during the first listen. I daresay that this is what wins the day for them.
One of the main pillars of the album is the discreet, but very skillful use of electronics. The keyboard contribution by Pasquale Barile really underlines the production well, without being overwhelming (Nightwish, anyone?). Same goes with the synthesizers, even if some of that stuff sails dangerously close to the poppy realm at times. So, in other words, Revenience neatly navigated around this black rock that Amaranthe likes to shipwreck on all the time.
The strategically placed growls uttered by Simone Spolzino on Daedalum complement the overall tune, not the other way around as is often the case. And I really appreciate that they did not play the Beauty and the Beast game. At least not too much to be obnoxious. All of this complements the female front Debora Ceneri quite well, who quite expertly leads through the tracks.
This starts right at the beginning already!
The intro In a landscape of Winter goes off with an orchestral part. Not sure if I should laugh or cry: The kind of progressive flavor to this intro I like, but the rest gets very quickly overcooked. Less would have been more on that first one.
Whilst the jury is kind of out on that first one, they hit the fan with the second concoction Blown away by the Wind. Sounding like a mix between Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) and the smokiness of Carly Smithson (We Are The Fallen) on this track, Debora Ceneri really rocks the scene with a lot of variety. And with a very gummy voice to boot.
Because on Shamble, she again projects this different flavor, sounding faintly reminiscent of stuff Kate Bush did way back in the past. Not quite as high-pitched and intense, but some parts of that song constantly remind me of this very magic potion.
Now, many fans voted for Shambles as best track, but not so fast. Listen to Flail and then tell me what you think. This is one of the tracks demonstrating the aforementioned variety very well. Good one.
Nothing is ever perfect and there is an important snag to the record after all. Most of the tracks appear to be something we kind of heard before, back to the aforementioned influences.
Revenience sail this metal ocean of theirs very near to this abyss, where the world breaks off and flows down the other side. Stealing with pride is good, but have a care: Like all good things, this is best consumed in moderation. However, their predictability also bears refreshing innovation, which in a way got them a place on the RockmusicRaider review list in the first place.
The second half of the album gets more distinct in its North Italian look and feel. I almost want to call this Italian Gothic Metal in a way, as you will find a few bands out there riding a similar destrier into battle. Now, the quality of the material presented in this second half does not let up neither. Ending nicely in the mid-tempo Shadows and Silence, gracing us with one of the rare solos, albeit a very short one. This track pretty much summarizes the qualities of Daedalum. I would have liked more of that type of song on the album.
And does the Daedalum deliver moving pictures?
Revenience created a creditable piece of work with their debut. The very visible professionalism on this record really is one of the main selling points. Nothing of the tinny, somewhat overly brickwalled sound that many of the firstling soundscapes often produce. Good, complex songwriting, combined with a reasonable production and mixing/mastering job take the album to an astonishing level for a first album.
It is laudable that Revenience went right for a full length and did not lose themselves in a gazillion of demos and EPs. And they do this in a genre that many pronounced dead, yet many more are happily active in.
I liked their ability for this crafty variety in a style that has its firmly set tones and directions. A refreshing touch to any of the tracks that are present on this disc. If they can come out from under the established players in this genre and get us more of this, then they will have a very bright future.