There is a great album among those released in this first part of the year that I was in danger of missing: sometimes the most precious LPs are covered by the mass of mediocre publications.
Le Ceneri di Heliodoro is the latest release from Luxembourg’s folk master Jérôme Reuter, who operates under the name of Rome. This is the most recent entry in a very large discography which features more than 10 LPs and many other EPs, all of them devoted to telling fascinating stories which interconnect ancient wars with the struggles of modern times. Le Ceneri di Heliodoro (“The ashes of Heliodoro”), in particular, addressed the concept of a city under siege and it uses this dramatic scenario to speak about the uproar and the confusion which reigns in contemporary politics, with clear references to Europe’s dissolving unity, its relations to the US, and the fragile fraternity of its nations. Other secondary themes that emerge from the songs are those related to nationalism and utopia.
From a musical point of view, Rome’s new album doesn’t deviate substantially from the dark folk that has been offered in all the previous releases from Reuter, with the exception of an increased presence – in the new album – of “martial” elements. The LP starts with a sequence of impressive and absolutely brilliant songs, gifted by some of the most beautiful melodies we heard in recent times. As the LP proceeds towards its central and final parts, the overall tension begins to fade, and in the end what it’s kept in our memory is the majestic incipit of the album.
This city shall bring a purifying fire(from “A New Unfolding”)
For the world entire
And of all of our sin
Of its beauty and splendor
Now and forever
So now watch us try and reconcile salt and mind
Le Ceneri di Heliodoro is an album that manages to be at the same time profound, conceptual but still absolutely enjoyable to listen to. In addition to that, for those who’re not familiar with this folk project, the LP may be a good opportunity to hear something different from what we’re used to playing in our stereos. For who’s already a fans of Jérôme Reuter, Le Ceneri di Heliodoro is another valuable entry in an already remarkable discography.
My overall rating for the LP is 7.5/10. Highlights: A New Unfolding and Who Only Europe Know.