“Gothic Stone“, does this ring any bells? Well if you are familiar with early CANDLEMASS, Doom Metal or Metal in general it should. It is the introductory track in “Nightfall” album, one of the milestones of Epic Doom Metal. And in case you were wondering yes GOTHIC STONE is an Epic Doom metal band.
Hailing from Palermo, Italy, GOTHIC STONE have been around for quite some time, yet this is their debut album. Actually it took them 25 years (!) to release it… Well as I mentioned before the band deeply dwells into Doom Metal but with a twist: the songs are not only inspired by Rainbow / late Black Sabbath, but also from Italian Doom Metal acts.
Italians always have a very distinctive vibe. Movies, comics, music, you can spot it everywhere. Therefore GOTHIC STONE draw influences from bands like BLACK HOLE, GOBLIN and DARK QUARTERER and combine them next to RAINBOW, MANOWAR, BLACK SABBATH (“Born again” / “Headless Cross” era), CANDLEMASS of course, SORCERER, SOLITUDE AETURNUS etc in order to create a very unique piece of music.
The six tracks that compose “Hereticus Empyreum” are the perfect soundtrack for a nightmarish journey into the medieval darkness. Most compositions are slow, gracious with a outlandish notoriety as if they were invocations of some sorcerer. Do not expect low tuning, sludgy riffs and the detestable stoner atmosphere. This album lives and breathes Metal in its purest form: It is menacing, grandiose and powerful but also otherworldly and lyrical. It reminded me of the long gone years when the underground scene was struggling for music like this and believe me songs like “Caereris Mundus (The Necromancer)” or “The oath of the Gothic Stone” will not be unnoticed.
The guitar work is magnificent especially in the lead guitar -hail to Salvatore Fallucca and Vincenzo Mandarano-, the ever obscure keyboards and the production is heavy with a vintage feeling. As with the vocals Gabrielle Grilly, the one and only Nightcomer, the man who sung in DOOMSWORD’s first album is here to deliver another chilling performance with his dramatic voice. His elegiac call carry the listener to a dreamy mournful journey toward the unknown.
GOTHIC STONE have created a flawless work of art. Do not consider it just another album in a saturated market, do not miss it and do not underestimate it. It is a future classic, an already cult album deriving from people who have proven their loyalty to the underground.