There are some albums that are so far outside my comfort zone of face ripping mayhem that they should not appeal to me at all and 'Ars Medioheavy' the third full length from Diabula Rasa, from Lugo (Ravenna), Emilia-Romagna, Italy is just such an album.
Firstly they play Folk Metal, a genre that has previously held no appeal and they have three females covering the vocals and I am not a fan of female vocals, usually, but there is something slightly different about this for me which gives it appeal.
The fascination comes from the fact that the vocals are all sung in Italian which gives an air of mystery and also although it is folky there is a strong and ballsy Metal edge to the sound. The vocals aren't high or screechy either which is also good.
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The six piece outfit draw their influences and lyrical themes from ancient and medieval music and 'Ars Medioheavy' is the follow up to their 2005 album 'Techno Gothica' and their 2010 self titled release 'Diabula Rasa'.
The album spans ten tracks and forty-five minutes beginning with 'Ghirondo', which is an instrumental, save a few backing vocalisations. Immediately the contrast between the folk bagpipes and the heavy riffing has an immediate appeal. There is also a hint of the symphonic/progressive to the track also.
Wailing keyboards do battle with intense riffs as 'Tsanich' opens and what I particularly liked about this track was the strong contrast and balance between the female vocals and the harsh deep male backing vocals.
On 'Cataclism' again the heavy riffs are contrasted against the bagpipes and the vocals take on an almost choral leaning.
'Congaudentes' is predominantly male vocals so a big favourite with me, also more of a Metal leaning to the sound than its predecessors. 'Madre de Deus' is an interesting mix of medieval choral style female vocals and intense riffs, overlaid with the folk bagpipe and keyboards.
On 'Astarte', chugging riffs are offset against keyboards and the ever present female vocals. 'In Taberna' has an exotic, medieval, folk feel with heavy riffs that slice through to give a harsh contrast and added interest while 'Vermell' is a mix of the hauntingly relaxing and the intense.
'Malediccantur' is a complex mix of medieval and folk, held together with a grinding riff in the background and final track 'Ahi Amours' is, to the greater part, a haunting, wind-down track, but for the regular interjection if the grinding riff.
'Ars Medioheavy' is an easy listen that won't overtax the mind and although it is a bit light for my tastes and I may only listen to it occasionally, it is a very interesting and well constructed album.
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