Ade – Rise of the Empire Review

Ade - Rise of the Empire 01I first encountered Italy’s Ade on their exceptional and criminally-underrated sophomore album Spartacus in 2013. Spartacus was a hidden treasure, a bludgeoning, tightly-coiled mix of brutal, technical death with a thematic focus on Ancient Roman culture and slick integration of traditional Roman instruments, adding an orchestral element. Follow-up album, 2016’s Carthago Delenda Est, was an admirable, high-quality effort that didn’t quite match the lofty heights of its predecessor. Further line-up changes have occurred in the intervening years, yet even with new members in tow, Ade’s signature formula remains intact on their fourth LP, entitled Rise of the Empire. Comparisons to the legendary Nile are unavoidable and apt, yet also form a simplified analysis of a sound Ade can call their own. However, amidst more line-up fractures hampering the band, can Ade muster up the inspiration to deliver a knockout blow in the vein of past offerings?

Rise of the Empire is indicative of Ade’s resilience and commitment to their epic delivery of Ancient Roman inspired death ditties and largely continues the band’s impressive track record. Stylistically, Ade sticks to their guns and traverse similarly dusty territory in continuing their orchestral, bombastic and satisfyingly brutal path of destruction. Once again it’s easy to marvel at the tight, sophisticated musicianship and generally well integrated symphonic elements on display. Rise of the Empire begins with the dramatic ebb and flow of the instrumental “Forge the Myth,” a fittingly grand entrance to the sandstorm barrage to follow. Listeners down with the aforementioned Nile and acts like Hour of Penance or Fleshgod Apocalypse would be wise to check into the wildly inventive domain of the Ade experience.

“Empire” lets loose with an urgent flurry of blasts and furiously fast and technical guitar chops, backed by mid-ranged growls and trademark bursts of colorful orchestration. Although the busy layering of sounds and frenetic pacing borders on being convoluted, for the most part, Ade skillfully, and tenuously, keep things in check, courtesy of fluid, dynamic song structures and confident, accomplished execution. Longtime band member Fabivs and new cohort Nerva impress with their precise, complex axe attack, including plenty of crunchy death riffing and some truly epic shredding. Ade demonstrates the power and finesse they can produce on tracks like the riff-driven groove and headbanging crunch of “Chains of Alesia,” and the exotic, atmospheric lurch of “Gold Roots of War.” Musical prowess will only take a band so far, however. Thankfully Ade possesses the writing tools to bring their vision to life and Rise of the Empire mostly lives up to the high standards of their past couple of impressive albums, though pulls up marginally short against its two most recent predecessors, as far as memorability is concerned.

The symphonic elements are impressively integrated, yet thankfully don’t blunt the band’s deathlier impulses. “Suppress the Riot” marries Ade’s blasting bursts of intricate death metal bluster with their orchestral blend of colorful instrumentation, executing in particularly cohesive and striking fashion. Similarly, closer “Imperator” rips, writhes, chugs and blasts, embellished by distant chants and dazzling symphonic style and bombast. Frequently solid and occasionally riveting, Rise of the Empire does contain some wrinkles worth mentioning. Vocally, the muffled growls don’t quite manage to provide the muscular, authoritative vocals the material calls for, something that was largely rectified on their previous album. And as technically proficient and well structured as Rise of the Empire proves to be, the album is slightly long-winded and overall the writing is consistently solid, occasionally flirting with greatness on the stronger cuts. Though the highlights are indeed impressive.

Ade continues punching above their relatively low profile, and despite numerous line-up changes, they remain doggedly focused on their craft. And although Rise of the Empire falls just falls short of the quality of Ade’s last couple of opuses, it’s nevertheless a solidly entertaining platter which once again finds Ade skillfully sculpting a grandiose explosion of brutal, technical and epic symphonic death. Don’t hesitate to check out one of the best-kept secrets of the underground and be sure to explore the exotic and brutal world of Spartacus.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Extreme Metal Music
Websites: |
Released Worldwide: November 8th, 2019

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