Released: 2017, Dusktone
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Formed in Naples in 2008, Scuorn is undoubtedly one of the most promising Italian black metal acts along with Selvans. Nine years after the demo “Fra ciel' e terr'”, this one-man band has finally released its first opus “Parthenope” through Dusktone. It has taken so many years for Giulian to make his debut album but after a few listenings, I can guarantee it was really worth the wait!
Illustrated by a stunning artwork showing the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius, “Parthenope” contains ten brilliant compositions of pure Folk/Symphonic black metal. Mastermind Giulian did almost everything on the album and that’s probably the reason why it took him a long time to get all completed. He’s definitely a talented composer and musician. His vocals remind a bit the ones of Knjaz Varggoth on the early Nokturnal Mortum masterpieces. The guitar parts are very melodic, making the songs catchier. He also performed an inspired solo on “Sibilla Cumana” and has some good technical skills concerning the drumming.
Moreover, he had the great idea to play some Parthenopean traditional folk instruments, which is something that has never been done before in metal music. Those folk parts are excellent and bring a very special atmosphere to the album. The choice of performing such instruments isn’t surprising at all as its goal is to make discover the history and heritage of his region. “Parthenope” is indeed a concept album about the Hellenic and Roman roots of Naples and the lyrics are even written in Neapolitan! Thanks to those elements, Scuorn can be considered as a unique band.
One of the album’s strongest points is the keyboards, which were performed by Riccardo Studer from cult Italian black metallers Stormlord. His majestic orchestrations are really impressive and give an epic feeling to the compositions. Being a big fan of them, I was expecting such great work as Riccardo’s layers of synths were already very beautiful on “Hesperia” in 2013. By the way, the production is well polished and has been done by Stefano Morabito (who previously worked with many acts such as Fleshgod Apocalypse).
Italy has always had an amazing Symphonic/Melodic black metal scene (Opera IX, Evol, Stormlord, Graveworm, Theatres des Vampires, Abhor, Hortus Animae, Art Inferno, Nazgul) since the early 90s and Scuorn appears to be the worthy successor to those cult bands. “Parthenope” is a must for every fan of the genre and one of the best black metal albums of the year for sure. Absolutely sumptuous!
Review by Oliver M.