Deathless Legacy – Saturnalia
Running Time: 24:16
Review by Victor Augusto
Maybe it is not a surprise to hear Italian bands exploring their traditional music, like Opera, to play along with Heavy Metal or work on subjects from this beautiful culture. Some bands do it in an epic way while others go deeper into the heaviness or obscure sound. In all cases, they sound unique. In the case of Deathless Legacy, the theatrical side where all interpretations are so strong and are hugely different. So, why not explore the rich Italian history, from ancient Rome to be more specific, in a 24-minutes-long single. If you love songs like ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ (Iron Maiden) or ‘Stargazer’ (Rainbow), you should stop everything you are doing now and join the band on this journey.
Saturnalia was a celebration in ancient Rome that happened between December 17th and 23rd. It was a short period of rebirth when the slaves could enjoy and party as free people. This song tells a specific history, in the year of 86 AD. During a long war, Helius hears that his father Flaccus (the Pater Familia of the Adepphius family) is dying and he should return to be the new Pater Familia as he is the first-born. In the Cimini hills, near Rome, he decides to rest during the night before returning home. There, he rests forever after a criminal sets his tent on fire while he is sleeping. This is done by Tullius Murena’s servant. Tullius’ plan is to kill the first-born son and leave the Adepphius Family weak to own and run their land. What he cannot imagine is how things would change. It is within this scenario that the main character appears. His name is Lucius, a slave of Tullius who was whipped almost until death after he let Tullius’ wine fall on the floor due to a trick from a young child. Lucius recovers himself in time to celebrate Saturnalia with his best friend, and slave, Hecatia.
Declared the prince with horns by the slaves and under command of Laverna, Lucius gives an order for Tulius to serve him wine during the Saturnalia celebrations and Hecatia uses the same trick of the young child to make him fall on the floor, looking a fool in front all of the slaves. Of course, this joke has terrible consequence and Tullius, feeling humiliated by his slaves, creates an ambush for Lucius and Hecatia. He gives them a secret mission to deliver a gold medallion for his bastard son’s mother. Suddenly, on the way to deliver it, some of Tullius’ servants emerge to rape and kill Hecatia in front of Lucius. After witnessing that murder, he is stabbed by Tullius’ sword. For a moment, he can meet his parents in heaven, but it isn’t his time, yet.
He awakes under the care of Laverna Priestess, the goddess who protects the Underworld from thieves and cheaters. The goddess of what lies in the shadows as no murder or punishment is allowed by what happens in Saturnalia. Tullius calls for him the wrath of Saturn. She heals Lucius with a potion, so he can find himself deep inside and begins his metamorphosis with all his grief and pain!
Spiritually dead, but physically alive, Lucius finds the mortal remains of Helius in the burnt-out tent. He also finds a rope of one of Tullius’ servants and he was still carrying the same gold medallion he carried during the ambush he suffered. He realises that the person who murdered Helius is the same who murdered Hecatia. It is the spark for his revenge. Lucius burns his face and wears Helius’ armour to pretend he is the Adepphius first born. With a disfigured face and using the same armour that Helius used, nobody can recognize him. He returns to his old home and a great feast is made to celebrate it because everyone thinks that Helius is dead. Tulius is shocked and whips the servant that hasn’t killed Helius. Now, Lucius is using a gold mask to hide his pain and fake his existence, as if he is the new Pater Familia. During the feast he shows to everyone, including Tullius, the gold medallion and the servant’s robe. The betrayer is finally discovered and Tullius is taken to die in Rupes Tarpeia. Therefore, the revenge is complete, and it finishes the tale of Saturnalia!
Musically, “Saturnalia” has strong guitar riffs and bass lines from Sgt. Bones and Deadwood Nick. They create many intense moments, from acoustic and melodic pieces to fast and heavy ones, mirroring the tempo of the story. Frater Orion’s drum parts are amazing, he doesn’t let the music become massive and tiring. He plays in many different tempos and variations. Another interesting thing is how the song has a symphonic approach, but pianos, keyboards and orchestrations are not always present. The instruments are very well mixed, bringing the spirit of classic Heavy Metal. Steva’s vocals are brilliant. She has a unique identity to interpret the drama and the history. The interesting thing in her voice is how she uses a melodic side, sometimes a bit angelical, together with a lot of evil power, reminding me of the way that Ronnie James Dio sings.
There is an accompanying short movie/official video of the track and it has the band members acting as characters, with the black and white scenes bringing an epical and dense atmosphere. The more I watch the film; the more this genial creation enchants me. Unique! Majestic! Maybe these words could describe this Italian masterpiece called “Saturnalia”.
Here is a link to the film/video
Steva – Vocals
Frater Orion – Drums
Alex Van Eden – Keyboards
Sgt. Bones – Guitar
Deadwood Nick- Bass
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