Stop the world...
Genre: eclectic black metal
I will not pretend to be an expert in black metal. My journey into the dark and twisted universe of this genre began some time ago, and I've been exposed to many different styles and modes of expression. Admittedly, I am not yet able to appreciate all of them, but, while I may never be a true black metal-head, I am not totally unable hear when something interesting is going on on a black metal release.
"La Via del Guerriero" by Italian experimental black metal act Tal'Set definitely belongs the category of black metal releases that, to my ears, are interesting, primarily because of its eclectic nature, which is not only eclectic and semi-avant-garde, but also fairly well-balanced.
After a creepy and darky epic intro in the form of "Il Vecchio Alla Stazione", the title track kicks in and takes the listener on a journey through various metal music landscapes: it starts out heavy and doomy, then morphs into various blast-beat-andtremolo-picking passages (with some interesting effects overlaid every now and then) and some more black-thrash oriented ones, and this is followed by a clean acoustic section (guitar plus a pan flute effect) with spoken monologue on top, and the song is concluded with an instrumental sections that reminds me a lot of Running Wild from their heyday. The following track, "Intento" starts off with an epic intro (also featuring pan pipe effects) and then takes the form of a melodic black metal tune, which also changes back and forth between melodic black metal and more raw black metal - this track also features a more mellow and ambient breakdown. This sort of dynamics is pretty much characteristic of the remainder of the album, with tracks like "Mescal", "Gli Atlanditi De Tula", "Fermare Il Mondo", and "L'Ultima Danza" being more atmospheric songs that are void of any sort of rock or metal elements altogether. "Punto D'Unione" is also worth mentioning for its inclusion of a dirty hard rock-like guitar riffs which - miraculously perhaps - seamlessly fits into the overall dark feel of the album.
The production is pretty well-defined, and, in a black metal context, the musical performance is pretty good. I just think that the drums sound a bit mechanical at times, but that is a minor issue. I also like how the vocals are more akin to the angry yelling associated with some metallic hardcore than to the usual screechy black metal vocals.
In all, this is a pretty interesting release from a black metal band who are not afraid to take chances and bring into the black metal universe a lot of elements from other genres that might theoretically not fit in, but which fits like a glove in practice. Anyone with an interest in black metal that pushes the boundaries should check Tal'Set's debut album out.