MOONLIGHT HAZE – De Rerum Natura

Moonlight Haze - De Rerum Natura Front Cover
  • 8.5/10
    MOONLIGHT HAZE - De Rerum Natura - 8.5/10


Label: Scarlet Records
Release date: June 21, 2019

User Review
8/10 (1 vote)

To the uninitiated, an alliance between operatic vocals and crunching guitars sounds an uneasy mix. But even the most cursory glance at the history of music reveals a succession of composers pushing at the boundaries to initiate new forms of expression. It’s a lesson that’s certainly not been lost on Italian outfit Moonlight Haze. Their debut album, De Rerum Natura (“on the nature of things”), showcases a Symphonic Metal band that’s not afraid to reference different genres or obscure Latin tags – often in the space of the same song.

Opener, “To the Moon and Back” sets out their stall early. An acrobatic chorus and heavy use of the kick drum are common features of hard rock, but the presence of piano and strings serve to conjure images of a metal musical taking place somewhere in a stadium lit by burning braziers. That said, the tech-metal tapping and melodic invention on display soon disperse any lingering doubts that this belongs on a shelf next to Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

“Ad Astra” (“to the stars”) and “Odi Et Amo” (“I hate and I love” – a title taken from a poem written by the Roman poet Catullus), continue a sequence of songs that display a remarkable command of light and shade. The latter’s operatic references are neatly complemented by a baroque-style piano breakdown and a synth-string denouement that manages to sound natural despite its apparent incongruity.

Like the classical composers that they are clearly influenced by, Moonlight Haze seem to have an understanding of the concerto form and how it can be used to bring different dynamics to their music. Nowhere is this better illustrated than on “Time” – in which vocalist Chiara Tricarico sounds like Kate Bush singing operatic metal – and standout track “A Shelter from the Storm.” In both cases the pulsing guitars and powerful percussion are balanced by truly delicate passages of lyrical piano. The latter track features a beautiful, hypnotic melody that builds appreciably from gentle beginnings, before finally blossoming into a superbly lyrical guitar solo that brings the track to an epic conclusion.

Fans of this kind of music may well be sold on De Rerum Natura from the first chord. The instrumental virtuosity is evident but never allowed to obscure the deft vocal melodies or the tightly woven song structures. For those who wouldn’t naturally describe themselves as Symphonic Metal fans, but are prepared to listen without prejudice, the variety and intensity of the songwriting will also encourage repeat listens. Draw the curtains, light some candles and play it loud.


  • Dan Whittle

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been a music fan since his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 5. That she introduced him is no real guide to whether he could play it, "as anyone who had the misfortune to hear my hamfisted plonking would readily testify," says Dan. Abandoning his nascent career as a pianist, he turned, instead, to listening to as many albums as he could lay his hands on. The first, halting steps, were of the novelty record variety; but gradually he found his niche. After a brief, abortive flirtation with indie, he heard Clutching at Straws by Marillion and that was it. These days his tastes are on the catholic side, but whiling away a few hours listening to ambitious guitar music (especially of the progressive variety) is still amongst his favorite activities.   Oh, and if anyone's wondering, he did learn the piano and the guitar in the end...

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.