Swiss metal band AD INFINITUM, led by versatile vocalist Melissa Bonny, have released their debut album “Chapter I: Monarchy” on 3 April 2020, via Napalm Records.
Combining the grace and sophistication of symphonic metal with the high-energy, feel-good vibe of power metal, AD INFINITUM have crafted an album that is simply drenched in melody and uplifting moments. It has hooky chorus after hooky chorus, while the guitar melodies, lush symphonic orchestrations, and keyboard harmonies keep things interesting and engaging. Melissa Bonny’s vocal delivery also plays a great part in how well the album sounds, as she makes full use of her range and the nuances of her voice to take the listener on a fascinating ride through history, bringing deep emotions or a well of energy, depending on what the songs need.
There is so much diversity on this album, as each song is different from the next, though the ingredients are the same. Fast-paced opener “Infected Monarchy” and thunderous “I am the Storm” bring the power, intense backing orchestrations, and soaring vocals, especially in the choruses, while the more melodic tracks like the single “Marching on Versailles” or ballad “Fire and Ice” break the tension a bit with either hooky guitar lines or softer vocal parts that make for a rather dynamic and engaging listening experience. Niklas Müller’s drum work really shines on “Maleficient” and complement the vocals, as the backing orchestration is breezy and subdued. Second single “See You in Hell” and closing track “Tell Me Why” are as dramatic as they are fascinating, emphasizing Melissa Bonny’s versatility and she carries the emotional weight of the lyrics with apparent ease.
The anthemic “Live Before You Die” is both philosophical in its lyrical content as well as a singalong haven with an upbeat rhythm to it. Growls are only used sporadically to spice up some songs and add an extra layer of heaviness to the music, working perfectly on “Maleficient,” “I am the Storm,” and “Revenge,” while “Demons” reaches melodeath levels of beauty and aggression. Adrian Theßenvitz’ guitar work is splendid throughout, from the killer opening riff of “Marching on Versailles” to the melodies of “Tell Me Why” to the bombastic solos of “Maleficient” or “Live Before You Die” while Jonas Asplind’s bass lines add thickness and darkness to the songs. The backing orchestrations are a whole other side of the music on their own, adding not only drama and theatricality to the album, such as on “See You in Hell” or “Revenge,” but also a sense of fantasy and dreamlike atmosphere to certain tracks like “Fire and Ice” or “Infected Monarchy.” They tie all the songs together neatly, making the album feel cohesive and cinematic as the melodies flow as smoothly as a river on a beautiful spring day. Somehow all these elements bring to mind the excellent “Emerald Seas” from American metal band SEVEN SPIRES.
All things considered, “Chapter I: Monarchy” is a solid debut album from a talented group of musicians that presents a new facet of the symphonic metal formula. It is sleek and melodic, grandiose and mesmerizing, with a polished production that allows everything to shine and have a well-balanced sound to it.
Written by Andrea Crow
- Infected Monarchy
- Marching on Versailles
- See You in Hell
- I Am the Storm
- Fire and Ice
- Live Before You Die
- Tell Me Why
Melissa Bonny – vocals
Adrian Theßenvitz – guitars
Jonas Asplind – bass
Niklas Müller – drums
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”