Review | Alterium – Of War and Flames

AFM Records

Nicoletta Rosellini is best known as the charismatic and beautiful singer fronting Kalidia and Walk in Darkness, but she certainly has more aces up her sleeve. The Italian dame is also known as a tv personality, as well as being a renowned influencer in the geek/nerd gaming culture. Not shying away from the camera’s, she also made numerous appearances as brand influencer for, Spiral Direct and most commonly on the EMP pages in Europe. Her heart in music Nicoletta decided to join forces with former Kalidia band mates Paolo Campitelli (guitar) and Dario Gozzi (drums), unleashing her potential as a singer and composer on this brand-new Alterium debut.


Aside Kalidia both alumni Rosellini rounded up Alterium’s line-up with Allesandro Mammola (Draconicon) and bass player Lucas Scalabrin (Altair) while seeking guidance with Freedom Call’s Lars Rettkowitz as producer of her debut offering `Of War and Flames’. The ingredients are the proven recipe of epic symphonic acts like Nightwish and Metalite. Memorable hooks and melodies, great vocal melodies and enchanting vocals all pumped to the pompous max. Rosellini knowing exactly what her audience expects, she adds a little more of all making Alterium swirl with dropping hooks and high potent orchestration. The occasional intricate sections, drawn from progressive metal, add the lustre needed to make it all gel well. It provides face as much as it alternates differently. 

Opening with ,,Drag to Hell” Alterium impressing immediately with some jaw dropping riffs and harmonized guitar atop the throbbing bass and drums. Rosellini switches from her neo-soprano voice into a wonderful melodic crystal-clear register providing the needed fem-glam of melodics. These benchmark ingredients and prolific elements are present but subdued in the mix, with Rosellini shining brightly. 


The title track is a melodic hammer as are ,,Shadowsong” with its great opening, and ,,Heroine of the Sea” that is propelled by enigmatic and highly potent drum rolls underneath scatting vocal deliveries. Going back and forth in tempo, ,,Chasing the Sun” is heavier on the heart and pushes forward with power metal hallmarks. Drums galloping, fierce riffs emitted with heavy power hauls, it urges a powerful metal rendition for an epic prog track in merely 3:55. Checking all the boxes of symphonic and melodic metal boxes and progressive metal in general, Rosellini belts out her memorable vocals with panache and drama. It al lands immediately in the head and stays there to crawl upon you. Focal point on many tracks is the dynamic interplay of drum and bass, with Scalabrin impressing.

There’s a handful of highly memorable moments amidst the all-over high-quality tracks on ,,Of War and Flames” instantly gripping. Remarkable songs like extremely well composed (hello Lars!) ,,Siren’s Calll” with its reverting guitar licks and Rosellini’s natural register upholding the refrain, while ,,Firebringer” blends the epic symphonic elements with high density keyboard swirls and stagnant memorable hooks. The guitar offload is highly potent and memorable, landing heavy crunchy riffs and hooks while emphasizing the melodic slickness with impressive guitar harmonies during solos and themed guitar melodies. Campitelli and Mammola manifest as a very copious guitar tandem with highly comp(l)eting competences in abundance. 


,,Crystalline” is the (almost) mandatory ballad, opened with piano and a carving emotional guitar melody. Rosellini crafted it as a semi ballad with nice breaks and subtle touches, meandering inwards in lush atmosphere, before the song builds it melancholic bleed. The low pace builds with a crushing raw guitar delivery and intensifying symphonic prowess unloading in the wonderful chorus with Rosellini shining brightly. Doubled up on the vocal harmonies, the piece wells with emotion and the guitar solo adds to the pens. Counter parted by the piano raining intricately, it builds into a highlight.

Embarking onto different territory Alterium and Rosellini rise to the challenge of recreating Sabaton’s ,,Bismarck” as a melodic epic sympho track. The song’s basic epic ingredients kept in place, Alterium creates magic with Nicoletta at the helm, injecting melodic pompous accolades. It all works extremely well and the pitches guitar theme reverbing clings to Rosellini’s clean register perfectly. Dramatized midway it all gains more momentum to bring the narrative gloomy midsection to a spiraling melodic zenith gradually building the dramatic discharge into the song’s end. 


Alterium is a vessel taking Nicoletta to distant shores exploring the melodic epic genre. Checking in with Freedom Call’s Rettkowitz likely being the best move for Alterium, she and her band certainly manage to swing the axe higher than average. Many memorable melodies and harmonies nesting, Alterium’s `Of War and Flames’ slowly but surely lands in your head to endure. Great introduction and I look forward to hearing more of Rosellini and her new band

Release date: 8 March 2024



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