Hesperia is a very interesting one man band from Italy, the personal project of Hesperus from Macerata, Marche. He started this project back in 1997, after his departure from the black metal band Sulphuria. Both his name and band’s name come from the Greek mythology. Hesperus is the Evening Star (Venus) and Hesperia was often used to describe the Italian peninsula and the lands at its west. So far he has released 4 full-length albums, starting from 2003 with “Aeneidos Metalli Apotheosis pt.I“, while his previous work was 6 years ago, in 2008, entitled “In Honorem Herois – Aeneidos Metalli Apotheosis pars II“. His new work is the 3rd part of “Aeneidos Metalli Apotheosis” tetralogy and is entitled “Spiritvs Italicvs“, released by the Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records in November of 2013.
Since its first steps, Hesperia had a very distinctive personal sound. The early works were closer to pure raw black metal, still seen under Hesperus personal prism. The first impression this band gives is that it has a bad production. There is a very raw, primitive, distorted sound in both guitars and vocals, that sometimes becomes almost unbearable. Their music isn’t very melodic in the conventional meaning of the word and their orchestrations are somehow poor, even if Hesperus uses a large canvas of acoustic instruments too. Well, despite all the above, the fact is that I have bought all their albums so far and I believe I will continue to do so, since their music still manages to fascinate me. It is the overall feeling of honesty, passion and effort he seems to put in his works, combined with the originality of his music that counts the most. Furthermore, this new album is somehow “improved” technically and sounds a bit more melodic, still 100% Hesperia. In other words, it is epic atmospheric raw pagan black metal with several ambient, theatrical, cinematic elements and a focus on archaic Italian history and mythology. His compositions have actually an unusual structure, with various scenes and characters, reminiscent of an opera or theater play!
In this album I listen also to some more heavy metal influences in the guitars, with more melodic leads and many atmospheric synth passages. There are 8 songs in “Spiritvs Italicvs“, 3 of which are very long, with a total album duration of 70 minutes, including though about 10 minutes of silence in the last track. Vocals are still raw black metal screams, combined with over-distorted clean male vocals and epic narrations. There are also many guest vocalists participating, some of them by important bands of the Italian metal scene (Malnàtt, Ecnephias, Legion of Darkness). Of course all lyrics are in Italian and like the complete concept of the “Aeneidos Metalli Apotheosis“, it is based on the Latin epic poem “Eneide“, written by Virgilio. This poem tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of the Romans. All lyrics are included in the CD-booklet, together with detailed descriptions in English for the story of each track and with Hesperus’ attempt to explain various myths and symbolisms. “Spiritvs Italicvs” was recorded in the ancient castle of Pievefavera castle, built over the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Faveria!
“Spiritvs Italicvs” is for me the best album of the band, much more mature and “digestible” than its predecessors, with more variety and quality. It is another manifest of pure Metallvm Italicvm, as the band calls its music and by the way “Metallvm Italicvm” will be the title of its upcoming album that will complete the tetralogy. “Spiritvs Italicvs” is released via Sleaszy Rider in a standard jewel-case edition CD with 16-page booklet. There is also a multimedia section with Hesperia’s general concept, illustrated story of the album, photos of recording locations and more… The first 100 copies of the album include a golden branch of Laurus (laurel)! You can visit the band’s official pages and find more info about this project and its concept, or watch the official album trailer below.