Vexillum - Unum

Vexillum Unum cover
Limb Music
Vexillum are an Italian band from Pisa, which might be famous for its leaning tower, but, not so for its metal bands output. They mix a rather typical, but quite inspired power metal with a lot of Celtic influences, but in a rather atypical way. They actually tend to completely compose, with the “folk” arrangements, in mind and not just using them as ornamentations. It’s the very essence of that, which makes their style to stand out. They seem even more into coming up with that hybrid sound, that bands like Mago De Oz etc., who had pretty much managed to nearly perfect the “style” in question...
The band, seems to have invited a plethora of guests to their power metal meets folk party, like Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), Chris Bay (Freedom Call), Mark Boals (Malmsteen, Iron Mask, Ring Of Fire) and Maxi Nil (Jaded Star), who sings the parts of various characters in the concept story of the album in which Vexillum’s singer Dario Vallesi is the protagonist. Dario has an interesting voice, that is light and agile enough to be able to go through the various complex passages without any problems. He sounds a little bit like a young Bruce Dickinson at times, if he were Italian and a little less refined in the singing department, but the vocals and the style of the band do bode very well together.
The entire album flows quite pleasantly, with the opening number, “Lady Thief: What We Are” feat. Maxi Nil, being a quite epic, majestic song, which leave quite an impression. They opt for two back to back cover songs, one by Slade “Run Runaway”, which they folk up, quite splendidly and one by Tazenda, a Sardinian band, their 1991 hit “Spunta La Luna Dal Monte”, which has quite an air of its own that seemed to allow a successful rendition.
“The Departure: Blow Away the Ashes” makes a powerful statement, with the folk elements here, taking a bit of a backseat.
“The Hermit: Through the Mirror”, which features Mark Boals along with Dario, for quite a bit of its duration remains rather soft and pastoral, before it switches to higher gear and a more celebratory tone.
“The Jester: Over the Clouds” (feat. Chris Bay) features some pretty cool bagpipes, that seem to quite nicely melt into the rest of the orchestration, without, sounding really “obnoxiously loud”.
“The Sentenced: Fire and Blood”, feat. Hansi Kürsch, and just on the strength of that, sounds a lot like mid-era “Blind Guardian” not alone, because of his voice unique timbre and articulation, but also because of the overall “style” attempting to mimic “the bards somewhat, which it manages, to a fair degree, probably ending up more interesting than the latest songs “they” have come up with.
Last song before the conclusion is “The True Beginning: Standing as One” another track with quite a bit of bag-piping and a clear power metal tone, which seems to work quite well and also leads into the ultimate, song of the album “The Way Back: The Clash Within” which brings things full circle, with its epic tone, which harkens back to the opener, in fact, being almost as strong as it.
Overall, a quite pleasant album, by an up to now, unknown quantity that manages to present a quite worthwhile work. The “guests” seem to be decidedly, strengthen the result, by supplying their different timbres which offer the album a wider variety and keep it from becoming monotonous. Not bad at all.