S91 is an Italian melodic progressive metal band. The name is derived from ‘Salmo’, which is the Italian word for psalm. They go further on their website to explain that Psalm 91:11 in the NIV is “For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”. S91 was founded in 2006 with the intention of playing rock music with Christian lyrics. They released the debut ‘Sto Per Tornare’ EP (2009) and its first full-length album ‘Volontà Legata’ (2011), developing their own style of progressive metal with psychedelic rock influences.
S91 released their next full-length album (their first with entirely English lyrics) ‘Behold The Mankind’ on 7th November 2016 through Underground Symphony. It is a concept album about the history of mankind based on Christian theology. The style is progressive metal with modern shades, psychedelic atmospheres and complex time signature. It appeals to fans of Delain, Darkwater and Shadow Gallery. The album is produced by Cristiano Bertocchi (Vision Divine, Labyrinth, Wind Rose).
The prog genre often encompasses concept albums and this allows them to explore the history of mankind based on Christian theology. There is a tumultuous guitar approach which pulls back to atmospheric synth and Mari’s tender vocals. It builds to a crescendo and pulls back again, rather like waves crashing on the shore. This is the creation story in ‘The Cry Of Life’ that sees Christian Liljegren (Narnia, Golden Resurrection, Divinefire) appearing in the latter half.
There is a piano intro with tender vocals in ‘Wandering Souls’ which also sees Mari’s vocals rise in this semi-ballad about the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. The swarthy riffs befit the mood in ‘Slaves and Kings’ with an oppressed people. “No dreams, no freedom / No hope, no dreams”. There is more emphasis on keyboards and bass in ‘The Calling’ about a shepherd raised up by God to lead a nation. The song ends with an extended guitar section.
‘Blind Revelation’ encapsulates God’s response to the cries of his people. “You want a warrior but you, you need a savior / You want a hero but you, you need someone to free your soul / You want a riot but you, you need forgiveness / You want a revolution, but you need a revelation”.
The last three songs fit together for the core story of Jesus in ‘The Son of Man’ (ministry), Sacrificed’ (crucifixion) and ‘The Bloody Revelation’ (rising from death). As you might expect, ‘The Son of Man’ is a tender song that opens with keyboards before swelling into guitar. ‘Sacrificed’ is slow and moody before taking on a more menacing tone. The epic structure of ‘The Bloody Revelation’ means that it has an extended atmospheric section that leads into sweeping guitar soundscapes.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
1. The Cry of Life
2. Wandering Souls
3. Slaves and Kings
4. The Calling
5. Blind Revolutions
6. The Son of God
8. The Bloody Revelation
Maria “Marì” Londino: lead vocals
Francesco “Frank” Londino: keyboards
Francesco “Franz” Romeggini: guitars, lead and backing vocals
Giacomo “Jack” Manfredi: bass
Giacomo “Giachi” Mezzetti: drums and percussions
“Sto Per Tornare” EP (2009)
“Volontà Legata” (2011)
“Behold The Mankind” (2016)
Record Label: Underground Symphony Promotion, Nov. 2016