|Review: Rosae Crucis - Worms Of The Earth|
|Worms Of The Earth|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: July 10, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Worms Of The Earth
Another band I got into through the good offices of Cheryl's monthly MP3 roundup. One listen to "The Justice Of Roma" and I figured this sounded like my kind of band. This is the debut for Italian metalheads Rosae Crucis (which means 'Rosy Cross'-though I'm fucked if I know what that has to do with metal).
Now I will warn you – the first track is an absolutely awful 3 minute narrated bit with horrible voice acting and cheesy sound effects. The album is, you see, a concept album about the Robert E Howard short story "Worms Of The Earth" – not his best story (certainly not on the level of "Twilight Of The Grey Gods" or "Black Canaan") but a popular one. And the first track is essentially a charmingly badly-translated rendition of the first scene in the tale, which sort of sets the stage. It's hideous, don't listen to it.
After that, things get good, as Rosae Crucis are all about power/speed Metal in the vein of Wizard or maybe Grave Digger. They are fast, as seemingly every Italian band besides Doomsword can't help being, but they have no keyboards at all and the guitar work is really excellent. They lean hard on the crunch, and while they aren't as heavy as Paragon or anything, they still kick some serious ass. "The Justice Of Roma", "Bran Mak Morn", "The Dagon's Moor" – all good tunes with headbanger riffs and killer leads. There is some prog styling going on here too, as the songs are mostly quite long and rather complex. Certainly not verse-chorus-verse-chorus stuff, no sir. "A Wizard In My Dreams" is another boring narrative track, but it is shorter and not nearly so annoying.
Vocals are not bad, but nothing really excellent either. Guiseppe Cialone can hit some high notes and really wails in places, but his heavily-accented midrange is mostly sort of blah. He doesn't distract from the music, but he mostly doesn't add anything either. It might help if their vocal lines were a bit tighter. Rosae Crucis are much better at writing riffs than at writing vocal melodies, and a lot of the verses and choruses are rather tepid. The lyrics suffer from the language barrier, but are not too bad.
So this is very promising debut from a band that definitely have the right idea. Most Italian bands are too keyboardy and happy for me, but Rosae Crucis are very dark and aggressive, and I can see good things in their future if they can stay heavy and improve the vocal work a bit. If you are hankering for Wizard, but want something a bit more epic, this is a good disc to look into. Recommended.
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