Alterium – Of War and Flames (AFM Records)

Friday, 8th March 2024
Rating: 8/10

When Italian power metal band Kalidia called it quits in 2022, it was quite a bummer for anyone who had been following them. Their potent mix of classic and more modern influences, along with Nicoletta Rosellini’s powerful vocals, made them a rising force. Thankfully, Rosellini decided to grab Kalidia drummer Dario Gozzi and live guitarist Paolo Campitelli to assemble a new act by the name of Alterium, along with members of Draconian and Altair. While it still firmly in the realm of power metal, don’t expect a mere continuation of Kalidia. Alterium come across as a heavier act, with a greater emphasis on the guitarwork and less symphonic flair.

There’s a great deal of excitement when it comes to the instrumentation on Of War and Flames. There are songs that hit some shreddy, speed-driven goodness such as “Shadowsong” and “Firebringer” that bring some furious riffing and thunderous drum sections together in a whirlwind, graced by Rosellini’s vocals to give them an extra classy touch. Other songs take a more melodic approach, while still keeping that heavy approach, such as the spirited “Siren’s Call,” with its groovy riffs and shining melodies that instantly embed themselves into your ears. “Crossroads Inn” carries a similar vibe while giving it more mid-tempo room to spin some elegant moments that embrace some symphonic elements as well. On the super melodic side, we have the ballad “Crystalline,” which works as a gradual building up while incorporating some light gothic elements into the power metal winds, while Rosellini is given plenty of room to bring in the emotive vocals while the guitars swirl around. Lastly, the album closes with a cover of Sabaton’s “Bismarck,” which is a pretty solid fit for the band. Rosellini does a great job of keeping the vocals front and center, and while the song is played more or less straight, it’s a fun song to end the album on.

Alterium position themselves as a promising act for not just fans of Kalidia, but of anyone looking for some well-done power metal. Of War and Flames soars triumphantly from beginning to end, full of a variety of tempos and melodic touches that are sure to catch your ear. The best part, is that they avoid the usual power/symphonic metal ‘more is more’ philosophy and keep things short, sweet, and full of energy.

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