Sic Itur Ad Astra
Review by Vladimir on April 29, 2023.
It’s time for something that’s doomy and gloomy, but equally epic. That’s right, I am now in the doom metal territory. The topic I’ll be focusing on today is the band DiGelsomina from the US, which will be releasing their debut album Sic Itur Ad Astra as an independent release on June 2nd. The band is led by Andy DiGelsomina (Lyraka) and Robert Lowe (formerly of Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus), both contributing their talent to craft a new blade.
'Mahanaim' opens up with a slow bass riff which is quickly followed by the guitars and drums, while the epic singing vocals also join the ride of doom. I expected the song to be keeping the constant tempo from beginning to end, but I was quite surprised that it speeds up on the later half of the song before returning to the original. During the second track 'Harbinger Of Doom', the epic galloping rhythm is the strongest game here, which is also backed up by some nice guitar melodies and solos. I was a bit weirded out by some of “sleazy rock” elements on the third track 'Otherwordly' which also featured some hand claps during interludes. The fourth track 'Winternacht' has some piano playing and unusual soloing in the beginning, which I think was meant to resonate some sort of eeriness to it, but I was mostly confused rather than intimidated. Despite this instance of weirdness, the song’s majority is heavy guitar riffs, which become a bit of a mixed bag when the tempo changes or when riffs transition from one section to another since. I don’t know if this was meant to be some sort of progressive song arrangement or not, but the riffs here don’t feel like they belong to the same song, they are more or less rather randomly placed without any sense of continuity. To be honest, the song’s last section which is just drumming and some weird soloing, later switching to that eerie piano again, had me scratching my head out of complete confusion, which brought me to conclusion that the album could have definitely done without this song, but perhaps we could all agree that the song wouldn’t have been so bad if there was a bit more work and thought put into the riff arrangements by also ditching those weird solos. Luckily the following song 'Shadows And Mirrors' fixes it up a bit, although it still has some unbalanced riff arrangement but it’s nowhere nearly as bad or confusing as the previous song. When it comes to the overall musical output, the album doesn’t really excel all too much, but it does contain some pretty good moments worthy of attention, especially the vocal performance of Robert Lowe. The album has some conceptual topics ranging from Andy’s own fantasy ideas, as well as an homage to Lovecraft, Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism, Richard Wagner's Day and Night symbolic dichotomy (from Tristan und Isolde). The particular topic regarding Andy’s own fantasy is partially presented on the album’s cover art with a dragon/wyvern and a metal bikini clad female figure that reminded me of Red Sonja, but is blonde instead of redhaired. One thing that really had me questioning is whether the female figure displayed on the cover art is actually Andy DiGelsomina’s wife Cheryl, because I see some facial resemblance and she is also blonde. Production-wise, the sound is a bit thin for a music that should really be much heavier and stronger. The guitar tone and drums sound a bit dry, although the vocals on the other hand are completely fine.
The album in its entirety is extremely solid but overall, it’s not a big time or energy consumer, despite that one track which was lacking a good creative direction. I would recommend this album only for those who are fans of both Andy and Robert’s previous works in other bands, and I suggest that you approach this album with some very low to mid expectations.
Rating: 7 out of 101.10k