‘Anno Mundi’ started off life as a two man band in Rome circa 2009 formed by Alessio Morelli (electric guitars, percussions, backing vocals) and Gianluca Livi (percussion, acoustic guitar, bass) and In the first instance called themselves ‘Machine Messiah’ but they changed their name to ‘ANNO MUNDI’ (which us Latin for ‘Year of the World’). During August 2010 they took to the recording studio in Rome to record their self-produced debut album ‘Cloister Graveyard in the Snow’. Subsequently they gradually built up their numbers but the founder two members remained at the helm. Now in 2020 they release their fourth album ‘Land of Legends’ which is the subject of this review.
Generally, one could be forgiven for thinking that this album ‘Land of Legends’ was actually a compilation album comprising several entirely separate bands. There is a clear demarcation line between the various tracks in terms of style and delivery.
The opening track ‘Twisted World’s End ‘clearly has similarities with the 70s UK heavy metal scene, however, with respect to this period, sufficient time has passed for this track to be viewed with entirely fresh ears and appreciated for the excellent musicianship contained within. Oodles of heavy riffing over powerful drumming and deft changes of pace. With vocals delivered in a fairly sedate manner and embracing a modicum of projected screeching but actually done so in a pretty melodic fashion.
Track 2 ‘Hyperborea’ opens up with a distinctly Spanish feel incorporating a Flamenco kind of guitar sound embellished within a haunting violin delivery. Such a state of peaceful movement unexpectedly is disrupted with a gradual transformation of pace as the synthesiser suddenly seizes control of the proceedings. Firstly in a demure fashion before taking on monster like proportions resulting in a cacophony of swirling noises. Such mayhem gradually receding and then giving way to a heavy symphonic rock extravaganza, a glorious metal anthem interspersed with a staccato styled vocal duet immersed with swirling guitar and thumping organ, a glorious finale as the church like organ ushers us to a delicate conclusion.
Track 3 ‘Dark Energy.’ Comprising of gently strummed guitar mixed with the accompaniment of what sounds like the frenetic over bubbling of a hot water spa on full power softened with beautifully overlaid tricky melodic finger picking guitar, such intrusions surrounded with quietly projected yet fairly brusque vocals.
Track 4. ‘Hyperway to Nowhere’. A very progressive doom laden symphonic piece that starts off with keyboard generated chimes and spooky organ that is later fused together with some form of treated guitar and powerfully resonant bass. As the piece progresses the rhythmic keyboard chimes continue sucking in delicate finger picking guitar and other noisy protrusions. The body of the music develops fully into more progressive territory with drums, guitar and jazzy piano holding sway in the form of another glorious anthem of sheer instrumental indulgence. A very well worked out and lavish workout exploring the range and capabilities of a rock band working together as a tight single unit.
Track 5. Female Revenge. Is a foray into heavy metal territory with all of the ingredients extracted from the early seventies UK scene with dancing organ and heavy guitar riffing, screaming lead guitar, powerful incessant drumming and high pitched screaming vocals The only negative for me are the female backing vocals which seem sadly out of place. It is through a descent track with superbly melodic guitar and would be great at a live performance.
Summary: Ignore such references to past Deep Purple and Black Sabbath similarities, because there is much to admire with the music contained on this album. Sure there is a resemblance which would only be apparent if one had been playing such music from the past but there is sufficient deviation on this album for the album to stand out on its own.
Twisted World’s End 5:33
Dark Energy 3:08
Hyper way to Nowhere 9:28
Female Revenge 14:07
Anno Mundi are: Federico Gauntly Alesia Seconding Morelli Flavio Gonnellini Mattia Liberati Gianluca Livi with: Renato Gasparini Alessandro Milana Francesca Luce Domenico Dente