Anno Domini 1573
- Review by Charlotte
Concept album from Croation lords of metal, Sage. ANNO DOMINI 1573 is a treasure of folklore and intricate wielding of musical craftsmanship.
Passing the threshold into a musical world steeped in adventure and fable is aptly titled track RIVERS WILL BE FULL OF BLOOD. The intro of repeated, muscular drums and delicate keys with the occasional bell like percussion encourages a strong sense of adventure and dread. This evolves into a fast paced mastery of power metal with mighty guitar solo playing alongside an unyielding rhythm section.
REBELLION follows with a stacatto intro, layered with fading guitar notes playing under impressive vocals.
WOLF PREIST is bubbling with otherworldly guitars and immensely sublime vocal harmonies.
Continuing the theme of adventure DRAGON HEART is packed with purposeful, distorted bass carrying the weight of this story telling.
TWO SOULS feels like the discovery of a new realm with a synth intro. This shifts the atmosphere from the heavy, folklore driven into a glimpse of a dystopian future. The picking of guitars notes work in perfect unison with reverbed vocals.
BLACKSMITHS TALE baths in the ethereal with delicate sounds effects of running water and clanking metals that paints the picture of a blacksmith working his craft in a woodland retreat. Choir like vocals and lead guitar playing together with a hint of strings sounds beautiful and balances equal measure with the strong, determined work of the ever present drums that carve this distinctive sound of SAGE.
MAN OF SORROW partners low, underlying synth with some lone, signature string work.
JOIN US roars back to a sense of movement with bracing lead guitar and rhythm section from the intro. I loved the tribal sound from the drums in this track and continued use of synth floating in the background of the track.
TREASON kicks off with a delicate bell sounds that is then joined with a thick, repetitive riff leading into some killer dueting guitars and masterful vocals.
BATTLE spotlights a lone moment of woodwind before unwrapping with some floor stomping guitars and drum. Occasionally laced with ambient sound effects such as rain and thunder gives momentum to the track whilst storytelling vocals take centre stage.
HEAVEN completes the journey of this mythical, concept album. Choir vocals ascend, woeful and sombre in texture, giving the atmosphere of ceremony and closure to the album. This is continued by a relaxed guitar style, which caught me by surprise and it works really well within this closing chapter. Not to disappoint, a wailing guitar solo plays wildly as a last hurrah and settles down with the return to choir vocals, this time sounding decidedly stronger as though to convey the emotion of victory. Perfect end to the listening experience!