Review: Ad Infinitum – Chapter III – Downfall
Napalm Records ( March 31st 2023 )
Reviewer: Stephen Brophy
Symphonic Metal outfit Ad Infinitum have really been pushing forward strongly through each of their album releases to date, with ‘Chapter III – Downfall‘ on it’s way another rung of the ladder has been climbed. Originally a project of vocalist Melissa Bonny with the addition of some other excellent musicians Ad Infinitum have developed into a very impressive band.
For anyone that is unaccustomed to the band Melissa’s vocals are stunning whether clean or guttural, her range and tone is terrific all the way through this album. And there is a wide range to the variety in her delivery that allows everything to flow seamlessly from one song to the next. But it would certainly be a mistake to focus purely on the vocalist as instruments and arrangements throughout bring it all to life in a vibrant and hell to draw you into the music.
Whether it’s the mix of symphonic tracks, some edgier pop overtones, or balls out rock/metal pretty much all bases are covered. The riffs are catchy as hell and then jump into a more sinister realm. Adrian’s guitar work is superb throughout from track to track adding different elements as required, while still managing to elicit a lot of different styles and feels to the sound. Add in a very tight rhythm section and it makes a very impressive line-up. The blend of that voice and some classically trained musicians is potent one that for them seems to be perfect and Melissa’s ability to add some guttural vocals certainly brings an additional dimension.
Of the 12 tracks on offer with this release the highlights for me are probably ‘Upside Down’ gives me that more edgier pop feel in places but smashes back again too, ‘From The Ashes’, ‘Somewhere Better’ which you can already feel will be a fan favourite live, it just has that sound that will amplify in a large venue and ‘Ravenous’ which doesn’t appear to fit in any box, jumps between styles and makes no apologies for it, at times there is a folk element in a couple of the tracks while here we get a slightly schizophrenic feel jumping from and old world story feel to aggression with a flick of a switch. There is also a wonderful haunting feel to ‘Under The Burning Skies’ which demonstrates a slower pace, added string accompaniment and a sustained, controlled power.
Hopefully I will get to catch them live at some point, this type of music doesn’t always grab me, but there’s something here that has kept me coming back to listen to again.
Ad Infinitum have a lot more to offer than the energy and musical abilities of the individual parts. The album is hook laden, with some poppier tones that could certainly open out their available audience, but the overall conclusion is that it’s an extremely well written and put together album, the production works perfectly with the content and I can’t wait to see what their next release will bring. This one is well worth spending some time with.
1 Eternal Rains
2 Upside Down
4 From The Ashes
5 Somewhere Better
6 The Underworld
8 Under The Burning Skies
9 Architect Of Paradise
10 The Serpent’s Downfall
11 New Dawn