AnthenorA – Mirrors And Screens
Release Date: 27/11/20
Running Time: 57:27
Review by Simon Black
We’ve not heard much from this Italian five piece for a while, with a decade passing since 2010’s “The Ghosts Of Iwo Jima”. For a band that originally started life as an Iron Maiden tribute act it will come as no surprise to those of you that have not yet come across them that this is straight up NWOBHM influenced Metal (but with a modern twist in places). And quite right too – discovering the greats after all is the reason how old hacks like me got into this game in the first place.
That said, this is also a refreshing and crisp sounding album, with some nice down and dirty bass and rhythm guitar sounds playing alongside some much more crisp and technically proficient drum and lead guitar work. The opening ‘Intro’ starts with some almost progressive acoustic guitar work before opening up in the full-on Metal tradition, but again there are more than 80’s Trad metal influences in here and I find motes of the more early 90’s deep heavy sound in that rhythm section’s mix that for some reason almost made me think of flannel shirts.
’30th’is a great example of this – again the down and dirty rhythm work is thrown in with technically Modern metal sounding drums, and classic 80’s melodic licks in a bizarre 20th Century Metal pot pourri. It shouldn’t work, but it does and this song is a great example of the melting pot going on here. Vocally Gigi Bonansea’s voice pitches it just right, with a sonorous, low and rich rock’n’roll timbre and more Di’Anno era Maiden in tone. ‘Bully Lover’ takes a more balladic tone, starting with a single acoustic guitar and vocals, before gently adding the instruments and power back. It shows Bonansea’s range, and I find myself wishing they had a few more moments like this as it dives into a melodic solo that would have had 20,000 zippo lighters going back in the day when carrying one didn’t get you ejected from an arena. This flows into ‘Low Hero’, which is a bullish straight-ahead rocker, with some nifty time changes and progressive licks, although I can’t help feeling that it’s very reminiscent of early 90’s Maiden.
Variety is the watch word with this album, however the challenge is that this comes alongside the absence of consistency and I’m left unsure of what direction these guys were actually heading in, as the influences come to bear a bit too blatantly from time to time. The other challenge I have with this record, is that after a very promising start it runs out of steam half way through and I can’t help feeling that this would have made a much more successful forty minutes or so rather than the full hour. That said, the album finale ‘War & Peace’ is worth holding out for, as it’s one of the tightest tracks on the record in terms of song writing and playing the full hand of the stylistic tricks and changes that work when this album is firing on all cylinders.
To be honest this feels like a competent warm up after a long break, rather than the end destination and a band that need to focus a little more on what their unique selling point for this decade is, and tighten the material to fit the belt. However, definitely a band to watch and I get the feeling that their experience would deliver the goods in a live environment.
05. Digital Feelings
06. Funny Fricky Killer
07. Bully Lover
08. Low Hero
09. No Easy Way Out
11. Peter Pan
12. No…So What!?!
13. War & Peace
Luigi “Gigi” Bonansea – Vocals
Stefano “Pooma” Pomero – Guitars
Samuele “Peyo” Peirano – Bass
Gabriele “Gabri” Bruni – Guitars
Fabio “Smaro” Smareglia – Drums
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