It’s vital that someone hollers a battle cry to both ELUVEITIE and ELVENKING, their love child has been found. It comes in the form of Italian Symphonic Folk Metal troupe AEXYLIUM and they are due to release their latest album The Fifth Season. Judging from these brilliant and uplifting sounds, they are ones we ought to be watching out for.
Given I have something to say about each track, it deserves one of my rare track by track reviews. Before I go into that, I will say this. A lot of people are familiar with air guitar. After listening to this tale, they are also going to be aware of air violin and air flute as there are plenty of tracks that allow the listener to do both. Violinist Fedrico Bonoldi and flautist Leandro Pessina have created brilliant violin and flute solos that play integral parts to the tracks at hand and are great fun to listen to.
Opening track The Bridge sets the scene with an atmospheric instrumental that gradually builds up to grand sounding beats and rapid guitar riffs. There was obviously a strategic plan beforehand as it sounds like they went straight into battle with this track. It grabs you and drags you along for the ride whether you are ready for it or not. It comes under best opening tracks for an album as it lures you in whilst hitting you with an impact.
Mountains sounds as mighty as the title it portrays. Guest vocalist Arianna Bellinaso’s beautiful tones compliment the deep, guttural growls from Steven Merani perfectly. It’s worth mentioning this track has a violin, flute and guitar solo one after the other meaning air musicians around the world will be rejoicing.
Immortal Blood is more than worthy of a mention simply because there is a soft, delicate melody on either on mandolin/bouzouki amongst the fierce backing for the piercing growls. This track also displays a great melody that fills you with empowerment and might.
I have one word for Battle Of Tettenhall. Epic. This is worthy of a place in an award-winning fantasy film or TV series, Game Of Thrones and Lord Of The Rings come to mind. This would be the part where the warriors tell their tale of their latest venture as many elements work together to keep the listener intrigued.
At first you think Skål is going to be a nice calm track, after all the chaos in the battles previously it’s nice to have a relaxing break, right? Wrong. You reflect on your journey for a moment or two but you then need to be ready to join in the festivities and let your hair down. Having a drinking horn in your hand is crucial for this track.
An Damhsa Mor is a relaxing instrumental that allows you to take a break from the chaos that took place before. Being serious this time round, this really is a comforting instrumental. You really can take a break here.
Yggdrasil means the tree of life in Norse so it makes sense that this track brings the listener back to life after relaxing to the track before. It gives you a jolt and reminder of where you are in this current state.
Vinland and the title track demonstrate the best examples of elements from ELVENKING and ELUVEITIE, with AEXYLIUM being their love child and all. Due to the party atmosphere Vinland gives off, it wouldn’t be out of place on an ELVENKING album. I can see the mosh pits breaking out to this one. Like ELUVEITIE’s song, the title track gives you the urge to stand on top of a mountain to holler those battle cries.
Spirit Of The North is the last track with vocals and it allows one last jig before the stunning, reflective tones in closing instrumental On The Cliff’s Edge.
It’s rare I take to bands instantly after the first listen and after experiencing this album, I am going to keeping my eyes and ears out for AEXYLIUM. It’s albums like The Fifth Season that make choosing album of the year an impossible task. It’s an epic tale filled with strong melodies that allow you to have a good time along the way.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
The Fifth Season will be released 29th October 2021 via Rockshot Records.
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