From the artwork and title alone, it looks very likely that this is a dark release. Flight Of Eden create and maintain an unnerving aura throughout Dante’s Inferno, from the building organ that opens the album on ‘Nessus’ to the cinematic strings that follow this up on ‘Selva Osura’, it is clear this is incredibly progressive metal. You may be crying out, “But what about the riffs?” Don’t worry – when the riffs hit, they hit hard.
I suppose this is the clever thing about this release – although it is within the progressive metal genre, it definitely leans towards the progressive – creating an album that is equal in subtle musicianship as it is in crushing riffs. ‘Canto II Cerbus’ is a perfect example with its ever-changing time signatures which move between smooth classic rock guitar solos, a truly crushing bass riff, and devastating drums. This is then followed by delicate keys that are stalked by gentle guitars in ‘Canto III Heresy’. Somehow throughout even the cleanest moments of musicianship, the sense of darkness remains.
This is a release that perfectly balances the self-indulgence of an incredibly complex guitar solo with the darkest growls. The instrumentation on this release is diverse, and even at its most experimental, there is absolutely no loss in proficiency. The previously mentioned guitar solos share the focus with the rapid-fire drumming and basslines, with the complexity to lead the entire musical direction, creating a fascinating release. Within this attention-grabbing musicianship also lies the subtly to allow the vocals to regain the focus; this is a credit to the meticulous songwriting.
The vocal range rightly steals focus for extended periods of this release with contrasting styles, which move from the velvety vocal of Clutch or Sound Garden to the growls of Napalm Death or Employed to Serve. Within these transitions lie the key elements to stitch some very complex stories together as this is a release with very lofty lyrical ambition, although the descent into hell is never going to be a modest inspiration.
There is something very clever about a release that offers so much creativity and still manages to be confined within one clear concept. With this release, Flight Of Eden have pushed elements of classic rock through a metal filter and, as a result, have created one of the most interesting releases of the year. The real shame here is we will be unable to see these songs live for a while.
Dante’s Inferno is out tomorrow, 9th April on all digital platforms. 50% of all sales will be donated to The Trussell Trust. A physical release will be available later this year.