ASPHODELIA – WELCOME APOCALYPSE (Target/Mighty Music Records)

Review by Stefan: Asphodelia is a female fronted, Italian dark symphonic metal quintet, formed in 2016 by vocalist/keyboardist Samuela ‘Samah’ Fuiani and guitarist Ruggero ‘Lordian’ Doronzo. Symphonic metal has obviously risen late 80s/early 90s… since then, the offer has been growing and growing. To the question of whether I am an avid fan of this type of music, I must answer with a mediocre opinion. Female fronted symphonic metal bands who opt to give the vocals an operatic tint, I’d rather pack up my bags and I go, really! Personal taste plays an important role in this, so do not let us complain about that… it is what it is and by the way, each band has its own rights which way to go.

Asphodelia (named after a Mediterranean flower connected to the ancient Greek Underworld) released a first promo EP “Vengeance” back in May 2016 and received a huge amount of positive responses from press and media, good news for these Italian beginners…. It gave them a boost as they signed a management/booking deal with The Flaming Arts Agency which led to their first stage experiences. Last year (2017), Asphodelia got the opportunity to play at the Female Metal Voices Tour Russia – they even were booked as main support to Sirenia, The Agonist, Cellar Darling,…

Next important step in their short experience was the signing with Danish label Mighty Music for the record of a debut, full length album “Welcome Apocalypse”, a European Tour will be follow in support to the album release which took place April 20th. 2018.

Thank God there are no operatic-esque vocals audible on “Welcome Apocalypse”, instead Samuela offers her singing skills in a very well done, appropriate manner in my opinion. Her lower tuned vocal use can be better but you won’t hear me complain while she offer the falsetto lines real good. Davide Ricciardi to let roar the bass, Giuseppe Centoza is the drummer in the band, second guitar player is Gianni Colonna. No doubt, focus myself on the musical activities only, Asphodelia follows the right path.

It is clear that the band’s front lady directs the band in a dark symphonic musical direction, even not that far removed from the power & gothic metal scene actually. Pretty sinister at moments, mixed with electronic passages where Mediterranean echoes are used as well. Besides the songs already released on the EP “Vengeance”, their new full length effort “Welcome Apocalypse” contains eight more, brand new compositions. The level of the alternation factor reach a slightly high level as the band do their very best bringing enough animation in their music to keep the album worth to listen at… of course, if dark/atmospheric/apocalyptic and symphonic metal is your alley ! Also the production is acceptable, good enough actually but don’t forget, it’s their debut album so they have to learn from shortcomings. Future oriented, the sound quality have to reach a higher level… that’s what I think.

Well, about this 13 songs loaded debut effort from Asphodelia I’m not overwhelmed, which does not mean anything disturbing, it’s just not my cup of tea. Although within this genre I think to have a deal with a potential act who should not be unrestrained to face the competition with many other bands. “Welcome Apocalypse” is a one-hour album able to spoil the dark minded, symphonic/power/gothic metal addicts among us.

Why they choose to shut down the album with a U2’s ‘With Or Without You’, I don’t know. When I listen to a metal album I am not waiting for a U2 cover song actually but okay, they’ve tried to make their own version for which my sincere appreciation. Xandria, Delain, early Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Tristania, Liv Kristine and the likes… give this newcomers within the scene a try and judge for yourself in the end. More info at: https://asphodeliaofficial.wixsite.com/home / https://nl-nl.facebook.com/asphodeliaofficial/

My rating: 82/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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