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Rose Rovine e Amanti - Rituale Romanum

Rose Rovine e Amanti inhabit the neo-folk genre but on Rituale Romanum they amply demonstrate that they're anything but generic. On their first full length CD, a deeply dark and romantic collection of songs inspired by Roman culture and Christianity, they gently accomodate neo-classical, mediavel music and elements of pop and rock music. The melodic voice of Damiano Mercuri and the numerous guest vocalists that lead the acoustic based tracks are surrounded by a wide musical palette. 'La Danza Del Colibri and 'Derse Uzala' are songs of melodic neo-folk, with the former accompanied by violin and the latter bolstered by striking percussion and steeped in Italian based samples. The gentle plaintive strum and soft keyboard accompaniment of 'Noi Non Dimentichiamo' veers close to Death In June. It's the exception to the rule but the hauntingly catchy vocal melody sends the song heavenwards. A more mediaeval presence is felt on 'Perso Nel Cuore Di Una Foresta Nella Nera Germania' where mandolin and guitar entwine before being drenched in bombastic percussion and crashing cymbals. 'Angel Always Stands For Us' swathes the guitar in a beautiful violin score to create ringing acoustic folk. Yet much of Rituale Romanum's variation springs from the guest contributors. Holger and Susanne of Belborn feature on 'Famiglia!' their German voices intermingling over intricate guitar patterns. Josef K. of Von Thronstahl adds a sullen David Bowie vocal to 'Soldato Cristiano' taking the rising acoustic guitar and power chords into pop-rock realms. It's later reprised on the final track taking the "Christian soldier" theme into a dark romantic atmosphere lead by Josef K., surrounded by heavyset massed vocals and offset by the gentle female vocal of Chiara.

Rituale Romanum is heavily influenced by Cold Spring labelmates Von Thronstahl. Aside from Josef K.'s guest vocals, he's credited with artistic supervision and there's even a Rose Rovine e Amanti rendition of Von Thronstahl's 'Adorazione Dell'Europa' which goes from cheering hordes through strident acoustic strum with contrasting harsh and melodic vocals that quite unexpectedly lunges into a ravaging piece of rock music.

Rituale Romanum is an unusual release for Cold Spring, a label more associated with dark ambient but with it striking black, white and red visuals and representations of the Archangel Michael it's designed to attract the attention of Von Thronstahl fanatics. Yet even without this association the classy arrangements of Rose Rovine e Amanti would ensure it a successful entry into the neo-folk genre. It will be interesting to see how they develop from here but Ritual Romanum is an effective blend of dark romantic songs. For more information go to