(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
"Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultam Lapidem" (Enter the bowels of the Earth, and through your purification, you will find the hidden stone).
The preceding Latin words date back to the Alchemists of the Renaissance era and are an acronymn for the Italian progressive metal band Vitriol which was formed by Francesco Lombardo (bass, guitars, vocals, computer programming) and Michele Panepinto (drums, vocals). Joining the pair on their debut self titled EP are Gianluca Pappalardo (lead vocals), Alessandro Sanfilippo (guitars) and Pierangelo Carvello (keyboards).
Folks, this is a concept album in every sense of the word. The above quote can be taken as a metaphor for man's inner search for truth and the key to understanding eternal life. A heady concept to be sure but one that was hard to follow as the liner notes and lyrics accompanying the CD were difficult to read. Nevertheless, the band must be given credit for such an imaginative and provocative concept.
Matching the complexity of the theme is the music. Vitriol play a brand of progressive metal that is quite interesting and unique, which is often not the case in a genre that is filled with Dream Theater wannabes. Of course the band have influences, and you can hear bits of pieces of other bands like Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation and Greek progressive metal band Wastefall but the music of Vitriol is not derivative in the slightest and fear not, this is not a clone of Dream Theater.
The album opener is the short instrumental "Whisper" with delicate guitar and soft keys, leading directly into the metallic riffs of "My Journey" with its tight rhythms that stop and start on a dime. The lead vocals are excellent ranging from a more aggressive approach to ultra melodic and soaring sections. At times the vocalist reminds me a little of Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation, as he shows tremendous versatility. "Butterflies" has a nice build up of mellow guitar and soft keys eventually leading to metallic riffs and a great vocal arrangement. The only negative is the abrupt ending that does not seem to fit. The album ends with the dark and ominous "The Discent" featuring aggressive guitar riffage and excellent vocals with a somber guitar part that contrasts nicely with the song's heavier moments.
This is a very strong debut album. I for one cannot wait to hear what the band has in store for us the next time around. If you like progressive metal and are a fan of concept albums you really cannot go wrong here. Recommended.