|Omnia Malis Est
|Hidden Marly Production
The metal plus epicness binomial always creates jewels of inestimable artistic value, whether we're dealing with classical sounds or extreme ones. The first album of the band native of Basilicata Omnia Malis Est, called "Víteliú" (which comes from the Oscan language and has possibly been the root of the actual word for «Italy»), is a pure distillate of proud and fierce black metal, dealing with the topic of the strenuous resistance of the Samnites against the Roman Republic's incorporation attempt.
The work offered by Uruk-Hai — the mastermind of the whole project, aided by some guests — first of all commemorates the honor gained from the battle, bringing together grand and heroic atmospheres with fast and crushing rhythm beats (whose credit belongs to the drummer Davide "Brutal Dave" Billia and the bass player Gabriele Gramaglia), assembled with well articulated low scream vocals. The melodies delivered by the guitars create pathos uniformly recognizable over the whole disc, which results to be one of the winning moves of this work along with its narrative trend, emphasized during the slowdowns by clean vocal declamations. Keyboards kick in to balance the sound when, in "Al Dì Delle Forche", it gets too aggressive and fierce, giving its best to add musicality to the ensemble without playing cheap or shoddy folk melodies. Because of this, it's going to be impossible for you not to get excited with the pseudo-chorus of "Víteliú", which musters the Italic peoples, or with the impetuous verses of "Al Dì Delle Forche" sung in Oscan language, paying tribute to Jupiter.
Once we get to "A Diana", instead, the human and earthly side of the warrior, who humbly prays the goddess to catch her benevolence, emerges, so that the music becomes more melancholic; here we meet the most emotional passages, especially the acoustic ones, of the entire disc, borrowing the words from Catullus for its last verse. The following instrumental intermezzo "Ner Tefúrúm" marks a clear stop of the swords' screeching in favor of gloomy and introspective atmospheres that the rest of the playlist lacks, played by Gabriele Gramaglia. The tragic pathos of Omnia Malis Est reaches higher peaks with "Battaglia Di Porta Collina": the arrogance of the Samnites, and more specifically of the Legio Linteata (their elite group), appears to be in their will to die fighting for the glory of the gods instead of choosing to surrender to the hated Romans without struggle. The last song "Disfatta" deals with the same themes, even though it doesn't reach the same emotional heights and actually shows to be the less distinguished and characterized song of the whole lot.
On the other hand, "Sabella Carmina" offers a great double vocal collaboration, useful in terms of narration: after a first phase in which propitiatory magic formulas are described along with good luck rituals to curry gods' favour, Kaiaphas from Thokkian Vortex lends his brutal and sharp voice in the most classic style of old school Black Metal traditional scream whereas Diana Luna adds a shadow of sacredness and magic to the song with her splendid vocals, creating one of the most wonderful moments of the whole album.
From a lyrical point of view, "Víteliú" is an excursus over the history and the culture of the Samnites, full of notions and interesting references, which proves the work to be well structured in terms of researches made by Uruk-Hai. Its aim is to redeem and honour the resistence of the Italic people, which lasted for centuries, against the Roman expansionism. A booklet's reading will allow you to discover the exact composition of the confederate army during the social war against Rome (in which citizenship's rights were claimed) or to be present at the Roman humiliation obtained with the battle of Forche Caudine described through the words of the latin historian Titus Livius, written into its "Ab Urbe Condita". Moreover, you'll face the event called «Primavera Sacra» (literally "Sacred Spring"), during which animals and (human) firstborns were sacrificed to the god Mamerte: these last ones were raised in order to emigrate and found new colonies, starting from the sacred lake of Cutilia (set in today's area of Rieti) and following the directions of the totemic animal, that in this case is a bull.
In the end, "Víteliú" surprisingly placed in my 2015 Top 5, due to a high level of involvement and a likewise interesting conceptual structure. If you're lovers of these extreme and epic sounds, then Omnia Malis Est is a name not to miss!