Band: HORTUS ANIMAE
Title: Piove Sangue - Live in Banska Bystrica
Style: Gothic Black Metal
Pretty cool and unusual to see an underground band releasing a live album nowadays, but it's even more interesting to see a band releasing not one, but two different live albums the same year, and actually I think this is the first time I see a band from the underground douing such a stunt. Besides this, Italian Hortus Animae released another live album this year, Live at Velvet - April the 14th, 2001, but I haven't checked that yet. This one was recorded in 2016 during one of their concerts in the Slovakian city of Banska Bystrica, a 6 tracks mix clocking 40 minutes of playing time. The production and sound quality is way above what I would have thought when I first saw this in my mailbox, so from this point of view Hortus Animae and the other people involved in this show did a great job. From the compositions point of view, if you don't know this Italian sextet (at the time of the recording), they play a fairly melodic and technical breed of Black Metal with occasional Gothic influences, especially inserted by the keyboard, but there's also plenty of melody and melancholy in the guitar work. The band sounds solid and well-rehearsed, but I guess that shouldn't surprise anyone since they have a 20+ years history underbelt. The compositions sound very end '90's - beginning '00's - oriented, but that's not a bad thing, especially for nostalgic old farts like me, they leave plenty of room for a good headbanging, plenty of memorable, almost sing-along passages, mid paced rhythms crossed by faster ones, a varied vocal section (four members of the band are also doing vocals!). All in all we have a good release here, again, better that I initially thought it would be (I have a prejudice on live recordings, I admit it), if you happen to get accross this digisleeve CD, give it a chance!
Reviewed by Adrian