(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Italian band Adimiron, released just last month by Indie Recordings.)
Let me tell you, I had to think long and hard about this review. Not so much because of the album itself (which is, spoiler alert, absolutely brilliant) but because this is likely to be my last review before beginning my annual End of Year Liststravaganza (although you’ll be pleased to know it’s not going to be my last review of the year, as I already have several pieces pencilled in for the second half of December).
The big question was – did I want to go with something new, or something slightly older which we hadn’t had a chance to feature yet? After all, with List Season about to kick into high gear here at NCS, there’s an argument that since we’re about to give a lot of coverage to a lot of different records, the issue of who specifically to focus on has a bit more weight behind it than usual.
And so while this particular album didn’t quite make the cut for either my Critical or Personal Top Ten lists (stay tuned for those next week) it’s honestly so good that I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I didn’t take this opportunity to give it the attention it so richly deserves.
Whether sounding like a more metallic, more extroverted Tool (“The Sentinel”, “The Unsaid”), a more technical version of Blood Mountain/Crack the Skye-era Mastodon (“Zero Sum Game”, “Joshua Tree 37”), or a shinier, more streamlined variant of The Ocean at both their most brooding (“The Coldwalker”) and most belligerent (“As Long As It Takes”), Et Libre Eris finds the Italian quintet taking some big steps in a much more overtly “progressive” direction – one which was often hinted at, though never this strongly, on their previous albums – without sacrificing their heavy mettle in the process.
And even though this is most definitely the band’s most melodic and progressively nuanced record yet – there are even hints at some subtle Opeth influences in the riffs and vocal melodies of climactic closing pair “Stainless” and “Zona del Silencio” – pound-for-pound it’s still able to deliver more than its fair share of bite and bombast, it’s just that (as you’ll no doubt soon find out) these moments are now that much more carefully tailored into sequences of elegant combos and punchy flurries of precise, focussed aggression all designed to slip past your guard before you even see them coming.
On top of all this, while I’ve been pretty free with the name-dropping up above, ultimately Adimiron never quite sound exactly like anyone else (although perhaps the closest, and truest, comparison would be to Lazarus-period Hacride), as the band have carefully, and cleverly, interwoven this multiplicity of competing elements and influences into one brilliantly cohesive and effortlessly captivating sound of their own.
Progressive yet powerful, complex yet catchy, Et Liber Eris is one of those rare albums which should, all things being equal, appeal to a wide variety of listeners, without ever appearing to try too hard to do so. There’s no sense that the band are stressing or straining to hit certain marks or tick certain boxes. Everything just feels remarkably natural and organic from start to finish. It is what it is… and what it is is pretty f’in great.