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'Shooting Dice With God'
(self released)
Release Date: 10th February 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


Italian quintet Belladonna have an interesting history for a band with no record company support with tours supporting Nine Inch Nails and Staind amongst others, a collaboration with English classical composer Michael Nyman and they even get a mention in Vince Neil's autobiography.

They also claim to have created a new musical genre describing themselves as rock noir so they are a band who like to get noticed at least.

'Shooting Dice With God' is their fourth album and immediately on pressing play I was impressed by the mature sound of the band and the dark intense production. The album sounds like it was mixed by the bass player with all the lower end sounds high in the mix while Luana Caraffa's delicate plaintive vocals and Valentina De Iullis' beautiful piano playing are buried deeper in the mix giving an overall dark vibe.

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After a while it seems natural and does give them an intense, edgy quality so that the rock noir description starts to make sense.

Having established themselves a style mixing rock and gothic influences into a dense soundscape what has to come next is having the songs to back it all up and they pretty much succeed on that score too. 'Ishtar Blues' has an insistent guitar riff and a chorus you can even sing along with, 'Karma Warrior' mixes a strong driving rock sound with delicate piano sections and 'Abduction' has a Fleetwood Mac goes gothic grandeur to it which works really well.

I'm not sure making 'If I Was God' one of the songs to make a video for was a good idea though. While it is a both dark and memorable, the fact that it's effectively an acoustic ballad doesn't really represent who the band are to any new audience.

My favourite song on the album is probably closing track 'I Set My Controls To Overdrive' which mixes the dream like ethereal side of their sound on the verses with a mighty pounding rock chorus showing they have mastered all sides of rock noir but overall the songwriting is pretty strong here.

Verdict: This an interesting band in many ways and I can see why they've plumped for inventing a new genre for themselves as they don't fit into any obvious existing one. They have elements of rock, gothic, Metal, even a little folk here and there.

I am impressed by how they structure their sound and produce the album to achieve a dark noir vibe; these guys really know what they want to do.

I should warn that this is music that grows on you and benefits repeated listens. If I'd reviewed this album after just one listen it may have scored only two or three pints but it's really grown on me.

If you like your music dark and with interesting depth then Belladonna are worth checking out but I wonder in this day and age if enough people will have the time to give them a proper chance. I hope so.

Line up:
Luana Caraffa - vox
Dani Macchi - gtr
Valentina De Iullis - piano
Taya Angelini - bass
Mattia Mari - drums


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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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