Of War And Flames

If you have been a follower of the power and symphonic metal scenes for long, you have probably heard the rich and powerful voice of Nicoletta Rosellini somewhere along the way. She has been the long-time vocalist of Walk In Darkness, is part of the trio of vocalists for Frontiers Records project The Erinyes, has performed guest vocals for bands such as Kaledon, Vivaldi Metal Project and Walls Of Babylon, and posts a variety of covers on her YouTube channel. Perhaps most notably, she was the vocalist of Kalidia, which announced their disbandment back in March of 2023. I was saddened to learn about this, but thankfully there was good news on the horizon – Nicoletta announced she would be starting a new band alongside former Kalidia members, drummer Dario Gozzi and live guitarist Paolo Campitelli. Rounding out the new line-up, we also have Alessandro Mammola on guitar and Luca Scalabrin on bass. Now, nearly one year later, we finally get to hear the results of this new endeavour, and it’s worth the wait – ALTERIUM’s debut Of War And Flames is a fun, fast-paced power metal experience that is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.

What immediately struck me is just how huge everything sounds, which I credit to both songwriting and production. The vocals, each instrument, and the symphonic and choral elements scattered throughout the record are all clear without ever overwhelming each other – quite an achievement when you have so much sound packed into 42 minutes! Lars Rettkowitz and Achim Köhler did a spectacular job on the mixing and mastering respectfully.

Each song has a unique story to tell, with the album’s lyrics taking inspiration from mythology, history, and nerd culture, all of which I can appreciate. The fun and folksy Crossroads Inn was based on the video game of the same name (and is now its official theme song!), while speedy Drag Me To Hell is inspired by World Of Warcraft (fans might recognize references to the Jailor Of The Damned). The tale of Egyptian war goddess Sekhmet unfolds through the epic title track Of War And Flames, and the ever popular legends of sirens shine through the appropriately titled Siren’s Call. The cover of Sabaton’s Bismarck fits in well with the band’s lyrical approach, sharing with us a little bit of WWII military history. Not only are the lyrics interesting to dig through, the vocal lines are wonderfully catchy, showcasing the best Nicoletta has to offer!

ALTERIUM have blessed their audience with an abundance of singles for this record, so let’s spend a bit of time on each of the tracks that have yet to be revealed to the world. Heroine Of The Sea reminds me of a sea shanty with its pirate themes, symphonic flourishes and bouncing folk melodies. One of the most memorable choruses can be found in Shadowsong, a more technically complex track with tempo changes and a killer guitar solo – all five band members impress here. Firebringer is a pure power metal track that packs a punch as it speeds along. Finally, we have Chasing The Sun, which expertly blends symphonic metal with power metal, a definite highlight for fans of both genres.

The songs do follow a standard formula, which may not satisfy those looking for a more complex listen, but the material here is simply fantastic, full of catchy hooks, heavy riffs, and superb vocals. While I liked Kalidia, I absolutely love what ALTERIUM has achieved thus far. Fans of Kalidia, as well as other symphonic power metal bands such as Ancient Bards, Everdawn or Pythia will find much to enjoy here. Nicoletta has already spoken about writing material for a new record – I wish the band continued success!

Samantha Shears