ANTHENORA – The Last Command

ANTHENORA - The Last Command
  • 4/10
    ANTHENORA - The Last Command - 4/10


Locomotive Music
Release date: March 28, 2004

Guitars: B
Bass: B
Percussion: B+
Vocals: D-
Lyrics: C
Recording Quality: B-
Originality: C
Overall Rating: C-

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Italian band Anthenora gets its name from Dante’s Inferno and refers to a frozen lake in hell where the betrayers of the homeland are punished. The Last Command represents Anthenora’s first full-length album … prior to this, the band had released a small handful of demo’s and had made their mark primarily as an Iron Maiden tribute band – one obviously able to make an impression good enough to cause them to be chosen by Nicko McBrain to serve as his band for the Total McBrain Damage Tour in 2002/03. Although new to the Metal industry from a recording contract perspective, the members of Anthenora have been around the block a few times, each ranging in age from the low to mid-30s.

Musically, the band is completely devoted to the Classic Heavy Metal ideal. They play fast, bass-driven, powerchord Metal music, dress in leather, and write lyrics about conflict, destruction, and futuristic annihilation at the hands of the forces of evil. There are plenty of musical passages that focus on thumping rhythms, innovatively crafted guitar solos, and an overall sound that mixes some of the best, classic qualities of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Ozzy-era Black Sabbath. So far, so good, right? Yep!

Although virtually all Metal fans will enjoy Anthenora’s music, it will take a truly forgiving Metal maniac to consistently spin The Last Command due to its vocal failures. The cold truth is Stefano Pomero and Gariele Bruni can play guitars, and play them as impressively as their emulated Classic Metal icons; Steve Balocco can play the bass guitar, and plays it with enough force to crush an average man’s sternum; Fabio Smareglia can play drums, resulting in probably the true highpoint of this CD; but Luigi Bonansea doesn’t know how to sing – and his woeful performance eventually has the effect of listening to Freddie Krueger’s claws from A Nightmare on Elm Street repetitively scratch up and down a classroom chalkboard.

Bonansea gives it a good effort, it appears, but the production mix has him coming across with way too much volume relative to the instruments. His “natural” voice isn’t horrendous, but within this album Bonansea decides to alter his voice by trying to convey a nasty, brash, and, at times, evil persona. His vocal patterns involve holding high notes at the end of lyrical verses quite often … this practice gets stale after the first couple of tracks, and the vocal harmonies would likely excite a pack of ravenous wolves on a full moon night.

According to the provided promotional materials, The Last Command essentially is a concept album pairing up “the bleeding Europe of WWII” and “a darkened near future.” The album is comprised of 10 tracks, and 1 “hidden track” that appears at the end after about a 2 ½ minute wait. The first song is the title track and starts out aggressively with wild drum and guitar work that quickly gets your attention. Appropriately with the album’s concept, it definitely communicates a state of Fargin’ War! Within this “The Last Command” track, Bonansea basically succeeds vocally, mainly because his volume is properly mixed and he carries the high notes well … overall, probably the best song on the CD from start to finish – and in line with the band’s past manifestation, the close-out of the song happens with a trademarked Iron Maiden descending guitar slide.

The second track is “Operation Sea Lion.” It starts with a really cool bass intro that gives way to a very original and enjoyable guitar pattern coupled with percussion work that simply rocks! Vocally, the song starts out as successful as “The Last Command,” but about halfway through; the unfortunate vocal elements discussed above take hold, and drive the success level of this song downward.

Other than track #4, “Dark Alliance,” and the hidden track, both of which enjoy some level of success, the other songs on the CD unfortunately fail more so than deserving accolades due to the vocal presentation. Positively, each song has plenty of solid, Classic Metal music and musical patterns, which allow this CD, as a whole, to come in on the high end of below average. In the end, though, fans will have to wait for Anthenora’s next full-length release to see if in subsequent efforts they can smooth over the vocal ailments that cloud over the musical successes of The Last Command.

If you’re a person who can’t get enough of the Classic Metal style and can block out vocals when listening, you won’t be disappointed should you decide to pick up this Anthenora release … if you don’t have this selective ability, however, you may want to pass this time around.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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