Souls of Diotima – Janas (Diotima Records/ Rockshots Records)Friday, 19th February 2021
Weaving together an interesting musical cocktail of sub-genres across the metal landscape, Italian act Souls of Diotima feel very comfortable expressing their style as ‘Mediterranean Metal’ for this four full-length Janas. Since 2004 the quartet led by drummer Giorgio Pinna and vocalist Claudia Barsi went through a series of members in those early years before guitarist Fabio Puddu and bassist Antonio Doro joined in 2012 after the release of their second album What Remains of the Day. Numerous spins reveal a sound that contains modern/cyber strains against a progressive, symphonic metal template – incorporating additional aspects of mythology/pagan twists as this is the second chapter of the Sardinia island saga.
The crunchy guitar work along with slamming power grooves allows the sultry melodies of Claudia to slink back and forth as an enchantress during the title track, while the low-tuned staccato hook that matches the forceful mechanized verse delivery for “My Roots” are two immediate pleasers within the Souls of Diotima landscape. Keyboard swirls and disco/dance nuances bring visions of Amaranthe and Battle Beast to mind – yet Claudia as a singer has a range and power to her voice that for songs such as “Sleep Demon” and “Ichnos Superhero” make this scribe think of an Italian Doro Pesch. Smartly placing a ballad “The Princess of Navarra” in the third slot track-wise gives you a brief sonic reprieve, featuring nifty bass work, larger than life choir background vocal support, plus endearing acoustic/electric guitar harmony action that is a strong point for the vision of the story. At ten songs over 45 minutes, Janas never strays into this drawn out, over-bloated experience, allowing your ears and brain a chance to absorb all the subtle nuances vocally and musically.
In comparison to 2016’s The Sorceress Reveals – Atlantis, Janas has a more pronounced focus and execution that keeps Souls of Diotima in the zone, executing a melodic/symphonic metal sound that is modern, progressive, and driving. You can sense people that love recent Symphony X as well as Battle Beast could gain equal appeal for this act.