Europe is a continent with incredible history. From the founding of the Roman Empire to World War II, this land has been a source for countless stories- both of true tales and those steeped in myth. So what happens when true history and legend become intertwined? Mastering storytelling through music, the Swiss band, Ad Infinitum gives metal fans another incredible concept album called “Chapter II: Legacy.” This incredible work of art will be released on October 29 through Napalm Records.
Their first full-length album, “Chapter I: Monarchy,” was a concept album written about the life of the French king, Louis XIV. A band’s sophomore album is always the most important- it either makes or breaks a band and Ad Infinitum showed no sign of apprehension. They moved East of France to the land of Romania and this time focused Chapter II on the life of Vlad the Impaler. For those unfamiliar with this fifteenth-century ruler, he was the real historical figure that inspired Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” From the opening riff to the final note, “Chapter II: Legacy” will not only please your ears but teach you more about the past than your high-school history teacher.
The album opens with “Reinvented,” a song reminding us that history always repeats itself. Vocalist Melissa Bonny sings, “I play the game, heads are falling; I’m on the edge of sanity; Don’t you forget, the world is changing; All you know will be reinvented.” It’s true, isn’t it? At every point in history, countries and cultures think they move past the barbaric ways of the past and yet the greed and violence just play out differently- reinvented in a new way. So we look back to the bloodthirsty hero- Vlad Dracul. The second and third songs, “Unstoppable,” and “Inferno,” introduce our protagonist and his brutal ways. The former is a song about Vlad’s fighting to keep his reign and Melissa’s strong vocal range is evident as she sings and screams. The latter mentioned song focuses on Vlad’s enemies- over 80,000 impaled or boiled alive during his reign. Will his actions have consequences? The band seems to think so, as the last line of the chorus says, “Forsaken by the angels, staring at the gates of the inferno.”
You’ll have to listen to the album to get the full effect of how amazing it is- both musically and lyrically. “Your Enemy” and “Into the Night” are hard-hitting tracks full of killer riffs, thundering drums, and Melissa’s monstrous growls. “Breathe” and “Son of Wallachia” features incredible solos by Adrian Theßenvitz, and “Lullaby” sings of the long-lasting legacy of Vlad’s reign. Despite the song being titled, “Lullaby,” its heavy riffs and ferocious vocals singing, “I am the ghost of the demon; The demon who died; And this is my lullaby,” are sure to keep it out of a child’s nursery. “Afterlife” was released as a single on September 29 and features the guest vocals from Nils Molin (Dynazty, Amaranthe). The song, is great, and the accompanying music video gives a dynamic visual effect.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ad Infinitum’s debut album, but this latest one will be raising the band’s career to the next level. By writing powerful concept albums surrounding some of the most infamous figures of the past, Ad Infinitum is proving they know how to make their own mark in history. Chapter II: Legacy is entertaining, mesmerizing, and brutal. An album about the real-life Dracula is something you’re going to want to dig your teeth into.