SETANERA – EQUILIBRIUM
LABEL: Volcano Records & Promotion
RELEASE: February 17th, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
01. Dei Delle Ere
03. The Promise
06. Losing Control
07. Follow Me
09. Like A Zombie
It’s interesting that the quintet, based in Rome, have been together for over a decade whilst vocalist Vanetina Bucci and guitarist Alex Merola are original members. During their time together the band had only released one album, 2015’s “New Era”. It’s clearly high time that they brought out a new release.
A dramatic, symphonic intro is somewhat shattered by a nu-metal style bass line and some industrial edged riffage. The initial minutes of “Dei Delle Ere” quickly fade as SETANERA launch into first song proper, “Stone”. An upbeat, bouncing song, with a high tempo and mix of riffs and wider synths, the Italians bring it hard and fast. It drops quite quickly though. “The Promise” has some dreadful rapping in Italian ; it adds nothing to the song and in many ways detracts substantially.
Early jitters then, not helped by the Casio Keyboard tone of Alessio Contorni, which is soon backed down by Merola’s guitars on “Viper”. It resurfaces later in the song and irritates more than maybe it should, as other parts of the song work well.
As the album progresses, there are elements which work well, interspersed with some unusual sections. The background street noise on “Try” for example distracts from some excellent lead work from Merola, whose performance is one of the real highlights on this album. Bucci can hold a note and her singing stands comparable to most vocalists of this genre. On the final track “Equilibrium” she provides her standout delivery.
It’s the slightly confusing Avant Garde elements that throw confusion into the mix. “Like A Zombie” contains all kinds of sounds, making it a rather eclectic track with the 1930s music playing away in the background stirring some confusion. It’s a brave move, one that works on some levels but doesn’t quite reach the heights on other parts.
I’m really not sure where I was by the time I reached the finale of “Faraway” and the title track. The former brings more folk elements, with pipes and traditional sounds, before dropping into a ballad. It’s a confusing mix which leaves you slightly bewildered. I’m not convinced that adding in some of the styles which SETANERA have really allows them to express themselves to the max.
Overall, “Equilibrium” may not be the best title for an album that is anything but balanced. Maybe that’s the riff. If so, I apologise for missing it. At times, it’s a strikingly good album. Dramatic, emotionally crafted and complexly constructed. But it’s inconsistent and some of the tracks are somewhat forgettable.