AD INFINITUM – Chapter I: Monarchy
AD INFINITUM have a mysterious and intriguing image. If you visit their individual bio’s on the band’s website and scroll down, you will find strange little stories that help to reinforce this mystique. It is not clear whether these tales are from past lives or journeys in time travel, maybe a bit of both. Guitarist Adrian Theßenvitz, bassist Jonas Asplind and drummer Niklas Müller, wear plague masks in their videos and live performances. Only vocalist Melissa Bonny is free to strut her stuff unfettered.
The music on this debut album – “Chapter I: Monarchy” – is not as dark as the image might suggest. Comparisons to other symphonic metal bands are clear in places, but the band have managed to stamp their own identity on this. Melissa has mezzo-soprano and guttural vocals in her armoury, using the latter sparingly on this album. She also adopts this approach in her other band, Swiss trance metal outfit Rage of Light. Her love of singing started at the tender age of six in her school choir.
The other three musicians also all started their musical journeys at an early age. Adrian started at the age of six as well and was inducted into the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Bavaria in his early teens, where he first met Niklas, who was also studying guitar at the time as well as drums. Niklas can be seen on the ‘Live in Cologne’ video playing guitar on the acoustic version of ‘Tell me Why’, during which all the band remove their masks. The two Germans, Swiss born Melissa and Swede Jonas, finally found their paths crossing in 2018 and Ad Infinitum was born.
The album begins with ‘Infected Monarchy’ which starts slow and mournful, builds, and then launches into a beautiful symphonic introduction to this relatively new band.
‘Marching on Versailles’ is a stirring little tune in which Melissa’s gutturals make their first appearance. It speaks of overthrowing the French Monarchy. More of those gutturals appear in the following track ‘Maleficent’.
AD INFINITUM – Marching on Versailles (Click here if the video does not play)
‘See You in Hell’ starts deceptively softly, but has a powerful, driving chorus. It is one of five tracks that are sub 4 minutes and is in fact the shortest song on the album, however there is so much packed into the track that you do not really notice this.
AD INFINITUM – See You in Hell (Click here if the video does not play)
‘I am the Storm’ is dripping with Kamelot influences, this of course, makes for a great track. Fast and pounding with a catchy chorus.
AD INFINITUM – I am the Storm (Click here if the video does not play)
‘Fire and Ice’ and ‘Tell me Why’ are the closest things on the album to ballads and bring out the versatility of the musicians.
Although the album only clocks in at 42 minutes, there are also 5 bonus tracks. Acoustic versions of ‘See You in Hell’ and ‘Tell me Why’, instrumental versions of ‘Marching on Versailles’ and ‘See You in Hell’ finishing off with a cover of ‘This is Halloween’ from Nightmare Before Christmas.
AD INFINITUM – This is Halloween (Click here if the video does not play)
The full album is available to stream on YouTube:
AD INFINITUM – Chapter I: Monarchy (Album Stream) (Click here if the video does not play)
Also, on YouTube is a live show of “Chapter I: Monarchy”, performed by the band on 9th October 2020. The tracks are played in different order to the album and there is an interview with them all at the end.
AD INFINITUM – Live in Cologne (Full Show) (Click here if the video does not play)
For me, this band stand out a little from the crowd, heavy but melodic with a talented line-up. Melissa’s amazing vocal range and great stage presence, solid and tight bass guitar and drums from Jonas and Niklas, and some intricate guitar work and blistering solos from Adrian on his 8 string Ibanez. They are only just beginning on what hopefully will be an amazing journey. I really hope I get to see them live one day.
“Chapter I” has proved to be a fine debut, what will Chapter II bring to the table? Delicious things I suspect.
Ad Infinitum will (digitally) release an acoustic version of the album on December 4th called “Chapter I: Revisited“. The first song, ‘Marching on Versailles’, is already available on Youtube.
- Infected Monarchy
- Marching on Versailles
- See You in Hell
- I Am the Storm
- Fire and Ice
- Live Before You Die
- Tell Me Why