Giulian – everything
1. Cenner’ e Fummo
2. Fra Ciel’ e Terr’
3. Virgilio Mago
4. Tarantella Nera
5. Sanghe Amaro
7. Sibilla Cumana
There are a few truisms in life on which most people around the world can agree. Chicken goes perfectly well with pasta (presuming you like and eat chicken) and red wine goes perfectly well with tomato based pizza. Conversely, it’s not necessary to wear a cotton scarf to business meetings and the presence of a mandolin will definitely, definitely, never make you look black metal.
Not so in Italy.
Parthenope is the first full-length album by Neapolitan outfit Scuorn. I say outfit, this is a one-man project by a chap called Giulian. First things first, this whole endeavour looks and sounds stylish. The artwork, the detail, the packaging is top notch. It also all sounds incredible for a one-man band. It is crisp, balanced and, what is most breathtaking of all, is the orchestration (put together by a chap named Riccardo Studer, who has a significant entry on IMDB – I’ll confess to not having known who he is, but now I shall follow with interest). There are some reasonably cool youtube videos on the making of it and some great merchandise, too, even if he is posing badly in leathers. With a fucking mandolin.*
Anyway, back to the music. This is a bona fide black metal album with some very interesting orchestral arrangements. Real highlights for me were ‘Tarantella’ and the tracks ‘Averno’ and ‘Sibilla Cumana’ which meld beautifully into each other. But here is where the praises stop. I enjoyed it, and I’ll enjoy it again if I listen to it, but it’s essentially a bit forgettable. The keyboard interludes, the chord progressions, the cadences… they all make it sound like an Italian Cradle. Cradle when they were good, but, still Cradle… Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean. So, yeah. It’s good, but I’m not going to be rushing out and buying it.
*I’d like to point out here that I really do like the mandolin, I even have one on my wall (not a joke). They’re just not metal. It sounds way too happy.