Italian heavy rocking metallers Essenza hail from the most southern-most town of Apulia, Lecce. They already started back in 1993, but this is the band's third full length album to date. If the band's biography is to be believed, they have veered from hard rocking heavy metal towards heavier delivery, but never abandoning their original influences.
The title track opens the magic box with 1970s-1980s influenced occult heavy metal. Mercyful Fate do unavoidably come to my mind, even though this song is more bluesy, rocking in its essence. The song has the worst singing lines on the whole album during its verses, but the chorus saves it all, and the vocals fortunately get better. Nasal voice of Carlo G. Rizzello (also on guitar) reminds me of Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, so it is a "love it or hate it" affair. 'Deep into Your Eyes' is a groovier and more hard-hitting piece with fantastic melodic guitar work. As a true Iron Maiden fan, I could not to notice the lead guitar work on the song's ending, reminding me of 'Wasted Years'. No wonder the band chose to make a video for this charasteristic, catchy song. '(Universe) In a Box' steers contains slight thrash metal nuances in its galloping, dark heavy metal. 'Edge of Collapsed World' seamlessly continues from its predecessor.
And so we are around the halfway already... 'Dance of Liars' presents neo-classical heavy metal side of Essenza in a fine way. 'Rock 'n' Roll Blood' sounds like its title suggests: A straight-forward rocker, and one of the least inspiring song on the album. Still some nice riffs and playing is heard, and I cannot bash the energy and the chorus of it. 'Fighting the Wind'. Wind as in flatus?! That's the joke of this review, and how lame?! Anyways, dark, melancholic heavy metal is what the song is about. Bluesy rocker 'Flying Acrobats' ends the album. These guys seem to be pretty versatile, when thinking about the styles they went through here. The closing trio is the worst material on the album, easily.
Soundwise 'Devil's Breath' is organic, and the instruments are tastefully audible, as well as the vocals. This is rock 'n' metal, and that's how this sounds like. The lyrical subjects are mostly about life, with typical sidesteps to war and fantasy. While vocals are surely of "either... or" category, playingwise this is utterly enjoyable, stylish and skillful. Essenza are a trio, so there are some guitar overlapping.
Essenza's essence is soulful. 'Devil's Breath' is mostly very enjoyable, and above all, characteristic take on heavy rocking metal. It is a bit short, and not fully hassle-free songwise, but still worthy of investigation.
Rating: 7 (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane