If you’re a fan of symphonic metal and you haven’t listened to Horrorgraphy, you’re missing out big time. This four-piece symphonic metal act has been unforgiving in their latest effort, “Dramma Per Musica“. While their debut full-length Season of Grief was dubbed as a masterpiece (I do declare it is!), they truly level up their game in Dramma Per Musica. Keep reading so you’ll know what I mean. As expected, this release is purely symphonic-driven. The keyboards and guitars blend smoothly you can’t even notice they were played separately. And that’s how it should be from a band that aims to put their listeners into a theatrical horror and atmospheric scene. Wait, I think I forgot to mention that the band is from Greece – a country filled with renowned extreme metal acts such as Necromantia and Rotting Christ.
Now back to the album…first, I want to say that I love how the band manages to maintain the atmospheric haunting vibe across this release, which is truly impressive, as it sets the fabric for the band’s melodic yet haunting approach. If you know what I mean, that takes a lot of effort, given the album lasts around 50 plus minutes. For any new listeners, I would bet that most of them will first notice the alluring lyric soprano of Marialena. Utterly beautiful. In the opening track “I Am King”, her vocals amplify the atmospheric mood of the entire album enough to create intrigue, which is really magnetizing. And that’s just only the beginning. The second track “The Misanthrope”, which is more intriguing and dramatic, continues to pull you down the rabbit hole, with Marialena’s relentless melancholic phrasing blended with Seek’s dark low end.
Although Marialena’s vocal prowess is already a standout, what truly makes the album a unicorn, I think, is their song structure: Progressive. Often extreme metal bands will just release albums that are straightforward groovy-headbanging ice cream, which of course I have nothing to complain about – I love those kinds of releases, too! But I am more into the unpredictability aspects of metal. It signals that the artists don’t play it safe – they take risks. Which to me, as a songwriter, is admirable. Does the album make me stop and say, “What the fuck just happened?” Give me that. “The Armies of the Dead” is a prime example. Wait until it hits 2:38. Then you’ll know what I’m saying. The changes of pace in “Slave of Darkness” are also worth noticing. The instruments start slow, and then slowly build up creating suspense up to the middle and then dissipate and then strike back again smoothly and then end dramatically. This, without any clue of what’s about to happen. The last track “Claustrophobia” however was kind of less aggressive to me. Maybe I was just expecting more aggressiveness since it’s the last track. I wanted something “in your face”. Like something we can use as an anthem when the world ends. Anyway, its outro melody saves the day! A unique way to end a story.
Overall, I can attest Horrorgraphy has never failed their listeners to live up to their promise. Dramma Per Musica does surely transports its listeners into a realm of fantasy and horror and suspense and epic, just like devouring a Stephen King’s novel with a sprinkle of Neil Gaiman’s imagination. If you love how this album sounds, give their debut Season of Grief a try as well. Similar thread yet distinguishable, which I find rare in bands nowadays.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Jade Panugan