Vera : Ephyra was formed in Italy in 2005, but only in 2013 they released their debut full length album ‘Journey’. It was the start of their musical journey that now stops at Bakerteam Records for the sophomore album ‘Along The Path’. The six-headed band plays melodic death metal with loads of folk influences. On this second album it seems that classic heavy metal elements have increased, so that death metal is mainly noticeable in the rough grunts (and screams) of male vocalist Francesco Braga. He is vocally assisted by female singer Nadia Casali who handles an energetic folkloristic vocal style, rather than adding a lovely solemn touch. The Italians mention bands like Ensiferum, Suidakra, Eluveitie, In Flames and Dark Tranquillity as main influences, but they do a (meritorious) effort to come up with a personal sound.
You can hear that they left no stone unturned to create a decent album in the genre. Although the band itself does not include members playing authentic folk instruments, they approached Silvia Bonino of Folkstone for some beautiful harp sounds and we hear Lisy Stefanoni of Evenoire on flute. Producer Mattia Stancioiu added any ethnic percussion from time to time. Regularly one can hear violins, but it is not clear who’s playing that. Choirs are done by the two guitarists, but they are not omnipresent. It is more the interaction between male and female chants that colours the songs. Lyrics tell the story of a warrior who tries to find his way in this life, in despite of matching his own fate. It speaks for itself that most of the songs happen to be up-tempo and bellicose, graced with epic, slightly symphonic arrangements. In that way, songs like ‘Cruel Day’, the mid-paced ‘No Dream’ and the extremely catchy ‘Last Night’ (where sturdy heavy metal prevails) turn into very fetching sounding tracks that will appeal to anyone who has a soft spot for fervent folk metal. Beautiful accents with harp are spotted in ‘Flaming Tears’ and ‘Riding With The Sun’, while Davide Cicalese (Furor Gallico) adds a colourful zest to the inciting ‘All At Once’ with his low-ranged growls. This song will become a stunner to sing along at the numerous gigs the band is playing. Some of the songs are a bit too much of the same, also because the band only inserts one moment of rest (the semi-acoustic ‘Hope’), but there is quality enough to build up a successful career as folk metal band.