Walk In Darkness - On The Road To Babylon
(Beyond The Storm - 2021)
Coming out of Italy is the third full album of Walk in Darkness, being re-released in May; considering I am a new convert to their wares a review seems appropriate.
Their sound is Symphonic/Gothic metal but with a dark edge, carried along on a bed of heavy rock as such European bands do so well. Formed in 2015 from the ashes of various other bands and sporting such odd names as Monk Key (Bass), Arcanus (Drums), Shaman & Flaming Jack (both on Guitars), Tio Frank (Keyboards) and fronted by the charismatic, raven haired, Nicoletta Rosellini.
The gentle keys introducing opener 'The Sound Of Rain' are accompanied by dreamy gentle vocal melodies but a death growl lifts the track onto a ripping riff and thundering rhythms. The track rises and falls along a gentle vocal lullaby twisted by fierce musical accompaniment and low growling male vocals.
Title track 'On the Road to Babylon' follows the pattern of opener ,being another gentle song, haunting melodic vocals, layered over each other, like the many voices of souls on that titled road in history. In the background low in the mix death style vocals murmur the anguish in opposition to Nicoletta’s hopeful beautiful melody. The vocals complement each other perfectly, Nicoletta the soft dreamy melodies, walking a landscape of desperation. The album is a concept one, about the world during the current pandemic and how society is changing on it’s own Road to Babylon.
The mesmerizing melodies, swooping high vocals duelling and the introspective theme of 'On The Moon Or On Mars' which asks “And we want to know about ourselves we wonder why we are in pain?Like suns and moons, like fallen angels”. The guitar work is exceptional throughout the album with fantastic riffs circulating around the vocal lines and classy solos complementing the songs perfectly. Riffs are what make up standout track 'In The Mists Of Time' stabbing the speakers, staccato style, acoustic strings carry Nicoletta’s voice along like a steel breeze, drawing you into a fantastic heavy chorus, featuring an operatic backing vocal and spoken word sections.
The vocal tells of broken world on the brink of war “The warships going away in the global grey sea, and we too, are going on routes already drawn” special mention for the military-esque double bass drumming from Arcanus, like a machine gun tearing up the chorus as things speed up to the sudden crescendo, this song has everything and I can’t get enough of it.
For all the bands power and differing vocal styles it never becomes too much or gets complicated, Nicoletta Rosellini is always measured never falls into histrionics, she isn’t Tarja; although comparisons to Evanescence’s Amy Lee are noticeable. Walk in Darkness are able to forge their own dark and mysterious past.
A remarkable album and a bad that deserves every accolade that will surely come their way.
By John Mather