Vicolo Inferno - Hourglass

Vicolo Inferno Hourglass cover
Vicolo Inferno
Logic(il)Logic Records
Vicolo Inferno are an Italian band that has borrowed their name from a feud between two Italian noble families in the early sixteenth century that led to a bloody conclusion within an alley which is from then on referred to as “Vicolo Inferno” translated as "hell alley”.
But all that was 500 years ago so let’s focus on today. Today we are dealing with Vicolo Inferno’s debut album which is entitled “Hourglass”, a decent and well-made heavy rock/metal specimen that unfortunately does not offer anything fresh to the genre. 10 pretty good tracks which however fall flat compared to the millions of other songs by thousands of similar bands and artists out there. To the band’s defense, it is really hard to find your own voice that will segregate you from everybody else in today’s music, and even harder to do so on your first record.
The album starts off greatly with “Hardesia”, a decent hard/heavy rock track that packs a punch but it vaguely stays in your brain one or two minutes after it’s over. Then we move on to “Hourglass” which is in no way a bad song, but it sounds a little generic, it’s like Vicolo Inferno followed some sort of rock song recipe in order to write it. It’s almost all downhill from then on. “Tombstone” starts off with a cowboy-vibe intro that makes you think “this might be different and interesting”, but around two minutes into the song I lost all interest. I will not go through every song individually, I’ll just say that the whole album falls into familiar patterns and sounds kinda like Hinder, kinda like Breaking Benjamin, kinda like Finger Eleven with a bit of metal twist and with the occasional Zakk Wylde/Dimebag Darrell high pitched pinch harmonics on the guitar.
I know what you are thinking, “what more can you ask from a hard/heavy rock record?” It’s not the elements; it’s the way they are mixed together. “Hourglass” has all the right components for a good hard & heavy rock record, but all the songs sound more or less the same to me. It took me a while to understand why that was the case, but I figured it out the third time I listened to the record. Songs like: “Dangerous Dreams”, “Cold Moon”, “Hanging On the Blade” and “Stonering” all start out fine, they reach a certain plateau, and after that there is no variation or something resembling a climax. No change of tempo, no bridges, no escalation what so ever.
Personally, I think that you can judge a rock band from their ballads. Strip the musicians of distorted guitars and fast drums and if they can keep the attention of the audience intact, then we have something there. This is not however the case with “In Your Red” and “Earthquake” the two ballads in “Hourglass” which, to be honest, are in my opinion the album’s lowest points.