Album Review – Karmian / Surgere et Cadere (2018)

Enjoy this flammable concept album of Swedish Death Metal made in Italy, taking us on a journey through forgotten times on which thousands of men died for freedom.

Born in 2005 in the Italian city of Modena under the name When the Storm Broke, a destructive Melodic Death Metal force currently known as Karmian is among us to spread violence and fury with a good amount of melody, playing what we fans of heavy music usually call Swedish Death Metal (or in the case of Karmian, we can call it “Swedish Death Metal from Italy”), culminating now in 2018 with the release of their first full-length opus, titled Surgere et Cadere (Latin for “rise and fall”), a concept album on the history of the Boii, a proud Celtic tribe who invaded northern Italy in 390 BC, conquering the city of Bologna. All the story told in the lyrics, even if they are dramatized, are based on true accounts of Romans historian, taking us on a journey through forgotten times on which thousands of men died for freedom.

Comprised of Andrea Bertolazzi on vocals, Andrea Baraldi on lead guitar (and who also played bass on the album), Mauro Leone on the guitar, Claudio Nasi on bass (although he didn’t record the album) and Nicholas Badiali on drums, Karmian are one of those bands who go straight to the point with their austere and visceral music, without adding any artificial elements nor other shenanigans to their sonority. Featuring a flammable artwork by Italian artist Lorenzo Paltrinieri, Surgere et Cadere narrates the rise and fall of the Boii in the best Melodic Death Metal style you can think of, translating all of the happenings to that given time in history into crushing metal music and, therefore, enhancing all aspects (especially the violent ones) of such distinct tribe.

In the amazing opening track titled They Burn the quartet wastes no time and begin blasting metallic and strident lines that penetrate deep inside our ears, before Andrea Bertolazzi begins growling like an enraged beast, making it impossible not to scream the chorus together with the band, followed by Conquering The Plain, a crushing tune led by the unstoppable Nicholas behind his drum kit that sounds a lot more Death Metal than Melodic Death Metal, with its lyrics perfectly telling the proposed story (“Bononia was the start / There’s a plain ahead to loot / Etruscans are divided / The league is weak / Belonos blesses our raid / In this land of the sun / The cities fear the tribe / They fall one by one”). And Shadow of the Eagles is a true headbanging chant by Karmian where the band’s guitar duo slashes their strings ferociously, inviting us to break our necks and slam into the circle pit like true metal maniacs.

The Gaul is another demolishing creation with highlights to the lancinating shredding and guitar solos by Andrea Baraldi and Mauro, sounding very technical and gripping while Andrea Bertolazzi goes on with his growling attack, and the band continues to hammer our heads with another Melodic Death Metal onrush named The Alliance, showcasing austere, harsh vocals, smashing drums and cutting riffs, keeping the album at a high level of violence. Then flirting with Black Metal thanks to the demonic riffs by both guitarists and the blast beats by Nicholas we have Total War, another visceral tune proving how amazing their lyrics are (“Placentia attacked for carthago / Padania freed again / Rebellion / Taranis on our hearts / Beside the blessed river / We have no fear of death / Rome bleeds, rome suffers / Entangled in total war”).

Be ready to snap your neck headbanging once again to their berserk music in the mid-tempo, hellish tune named Druids in the Forest, where all band members are on absolute fire, led by the visceral guitars by Andrea Baraldi and Mauro, once again presenting a demented but very precise Nicholas on drums, whereas their second to last explosion of Melodic Death Metal infused with old school Death and Black Metal comes in the form of Sacred Selva, a solid and violent tune where Andrea Bertolazzi fires some deep, enraged gnarls in sync with the song’s razor-edged riffs. Lastly, the gentle piano by guest Enrico Dolcetto kicks off the somber and introspective Mutina Capta Est (or “Modena is captured” from Latin), a dark power-ballad very distinct from the rest of the album, closing Surgere et Cadere as if it was the aftermath narrated in an anguished way by Andrea Bertolazzi.

In order to join Karmian in their quest for metal and learn more about the Boii as narrated in Surgere et Cadere, simply follow the band on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, listen to more of their music on Spotify, and grab your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, from iTunes, from Amazon or from CD Baby. Now, after all is said and done, it’s just a matter of waiting for the next chapter in the career of such promising band, making us all eager to see if they’ll keep drawing inspiration from the rich and vibrant historical facts of their homeland, therefore adding an extra touch of epicness to their already potent Melodic Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: They Burn, Shadow of the Eagles and Total War.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing 
1. They Burn 3:24
2. Conquering The Plain 4:05
3. Shadow of the Eagles 3:53
4. The Gaul 4:09
5. The Alliance 4:30
6. Total War 4:31
7. Druids in the Forest 5:13
8. Sacred Selva 5:29
9. Mutina Capta Est 6:04

Band members
Andrea Bertolazzi – vocals
Andrea Baraldi – lead guitar, bass
Mauro Leone – guitar
Nicholas Badiali – drums

Guest musicians
Marco Bocchi – bass
Enrico Dolcetto – piano

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