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Centvrion - Invulnerable 2/5

Reviewed: 3-3-06


1. The forge
2. Virtus
3. Man of tradition
4. Procreation to high
5. Invulnerable
6. Standing on the ruins (The doctrine of revival)
7. New Freedom
8. Eternal return
9. Riding the tiger
10. Soul deliverance
11. Transcendence

I'm relatively new to this band which have been around since 1998. I've seen their CD covers and as a scholar of antiquity, I have always been a bit curious about them. They have ancient Roman iconographic images on their CD covers, portraying, well you guessed it: centurions of Rome. The spelling of the name with the Romanesque 'v' allows the metal devotee' to distinguish them from the myriad of other metal acts who call themselves Centurion. Although, lack of originality with the band's nomenclature and style tends to be an overarching theme with these Estruscan pretenders to the throne, who really break little ground both musically or artistically in such a competitive metal market.

The first CD which I invested in was 'Non plus ultra', which upon the initial playing instantly reminded me of the mega-speed metal classic by Agent Steel 'Unstoppable force'. The riffs were thrashing and the guitars were menacing; but the vocals from Germano Quintaba were a far cry, or rather a shrill cry from "the rager" John Cyris. Sadly, the prominent, "Never surrender" and "Indestuctive" force found in the "masters of metal" never echoes in the melodies or rather maladies of Centurion.

With 'Invulnerable', I was anticipating that the band might have learned something from all their detractors and harsh critics, who overall tend to enjoy the music, all the while, utterly denouncing the vocalist. The first hint which suggests that perhaps the band have taken the proper steps in creating a more polished work, is insinuated by their rather enigmatic CD cover, which no longer depicts their mendacious mascot. Then, with first glance, it denotes that the song titles don't appear to be based on Michael Grant's - Concise History of Rome. Finally, there is the possibility that the last track "Transcendence" might be a Crimson Glory cover. Thankfully, this is not the case, as I would really loathe to see Midnight's vocal style so sullied by Germano's risible and scorching respirations.

This CD does begin on a literally high note, with some ripping tracks like "Virtus", "Man of tradition", and "Procreation to high"; even if I am totally lost in lyrical translation, not to mention their practice of poor grammatical skills. If after nearly a decade, the band has not listened to all their excoriators, and replaced their vaccuous vocalist; at least they could attempt to learn some modicum of proper English. As a man of tradition and virtue, myself; I do not feel that this is too much to ask. That being said, the title track really sets the pace for punic possibilities, plummeting down the seven hills, and, sinking in the Tiber. "Invulnerable" begins with a weak chug-chug riff followed by mid-paced and simplistic guitar hooks. The phonetic mispronunciation of "Invulnerable" (EEP-R-ABLE) and the lame guitar solo, just make this track boring and intolerable (EEN-TO-LER-BULL).

The next track, "Standing on the ruins" epitomizes their lack of inspiration for lyrical themes, this time with tired and red references, and more slowed-down derogations. Thankfully, they did not call this "Standing on the runes" and attempt to stray into viking territory, as some other Italian bands have done. Centurion are from Italy and evidently quite proud of their history and culture. "New freedom" tends to gain some momentum, but never enough for me to listen to repeatedly. "Eternal return" is a little more infectious, but I've had sore-throats less irritating than this. "Riding the tiger", say what? makes me think these guys were listening to the new Judas Priest in the studio while recording this. I bet they love the song "Revolution"; but, they would be better off covering a track from Fight's 'Small deadly space'. "Soul deliverance" does little to edify this listener's vexations or create any vulnerable virtues. With even more annoying vocal cacaphony and disharmony, I'd rather be standing on the ruins of this soon to be non-plussed ultra disappointment. The final track, which is definitely not a cover, is just another whining waste of time, and totally, tediously boring ballad, which makes me want to transcend this CD entirely and enjoy listening to the scathingly sarcastic "Centurions of Rome" song by the punk band The Meatmen.




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