Inner Shrine – Heroes

Inner Shrine was one of the first bands in Italy in the nineties to accept the gothic doom tendencies coming from England, and then try to rework them in an operatic sense with the use of more female voices. In this sense, despite appearing rather immature at the time of its release, Nocturnal Rhymes Entangled In Silence, dated 1997, is still to be considered one of the most important albums of the genre published in our parts. The Florentine band’s career has been a bit fragmentary, but Luca Lotti, together with his former bandmate Luca Moretti, has revived Inner Shrine‘s activity in the new decade, first with the release of Mediceo (2010) and Pulsar (2013) and then with this Heroes. Compared to twenty years ago, the sound has now lost some of its harshness to evolve into a beautiful atmospheric metal with a mostly instrumental nature since, except for sporadic male vocals, there is a very effective use of operatic female vocals that practically assume the role of a real instrument. The airy melodic openings and the solemn scores that outline the work, rather than resembling the best known models of gothic doom, are closer to particular entities of the last century such as Elend or Malleus, all in a much less classical version on the one hand and less imbued with esoteric dark elements on the other. Heroes is a relatively short work that enjoys an elegant lightness in its flow from almost cinematic traits: the work of the Tuscan duo is revealed at every juncture fresh and evocative, thanks to a remarkable fluidity that compensates for the absence, in fact, of a real song form, the only aspect of the work that could leave someone puzzled (I think very few, however). The reworking placed at the end of the song Cum Gloria, originally present in Mediceum, is worth to make it quite clear how the sound of Inner Shrine has evolved into something more ethereal but still fascinating, because the apotheosis of symphonic atmospheric tracks like Ode Of Heroes or Gaugamela or the procession more painful and melancholy of Doom and Sakura, produce an emotional load at times exalting and so direct that already at the first listening you are inevitably enveloped by this magnificent work, yet another demonstration of how in Italy we are second to none when it comes to proposing sounds that blend the classical tradition with metal.

2019 – Independent