Huronian is a Melodic Death Metal band from Italy, and serves as another artistic outlet for the great Daniele Lupidi. DL, as he’s known in Huronian, is the vocalist/bassist of Tech-death outfit Hateful, and old school Death Metal band Valgrind. He also happens to be an extremely talented visual artist, evidenced in part by the “As Cold As A Stranger Sunset” cover art, and a host of others (Valgrind, Hateful, Abyssal Ascendant, Ataraxy).
“As Cold As A Stranger Sunset” is, in many ways, an homage to 1990’s era Swedish Melo-death. This is evident almost immediately, after a brief intro, on “Portals to the Unspeakable,” then throughout on songs like “Hopeless Barricade,” and “Emissary of the Void,” which are every bit as aggressive and silvery as early At The Gates, and early In Flames. As sort of a flip-side, songs like “A Tale of Forest And Stone,” and “Ever-burning” possess a more modern forcefulness of a band like The Crown, for example.
It took me a little while to compartmentalize this record, and I think that is partially because I came into it as a fan of Lupidi’s other work. Umberto Poncina (Valgrind) and Marcello Malagoli (Hateful) are the other two parts of Huronian, which added to my ambivalence at first. I quite simply was not expecting “…A Stranger Sunset” to sound the way it does, but the more I mulled it over, the more sense it made.
These guys love Death Metal in all of its variations, just like the rest of us (I suspect), so “expecting” them to sound a certain way is pretty fuckin silly. A great way to waste time, in fact, and possibly a tad insulting to the musicians. I’m calling myself out here, because… well, most of us are probably guilty of the same thing. At some point a musician you admire changes musical direction *gasp* without your permission! I know, right?!
The guys in Huronian are clearly wearing their influences on their sleeves, and it is absolutely fantastic. I can almost hear our buddy The Great Mack screaming “magnificence!” at the top of his Aussie lungs, though I can’t say for certain he’s even heard the album. I do know that both myself and The Great Mack love the shit out of At The Gates, so it stands to reason that anyone else in the world who can relate to that will also love Huronian.
Lupidi’s vocals are impeccable, as usual, though paired with a Melo-death aesthetic come off sounding much more like Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates) than the Obituary/Deicide (Tardy/Benton) amalgamation that runs through a good portion of his other work. Nothing wrong with ANY of that shit, which only magnifies my respect for the man as an artist. Yet, I still feel a bit strange dropping names like that. It’s purely out of admiration, of course, but Daniele Lupidi has a uniqueness of his own that quite frankly becomes harder and harder for me to pin down. It really is quite impressive, the variety of expressions he is able to command.
“As Cold As A Stranger Sunset” is a solid Melodic Death Metal album, even without the underground pedigree, but with it comes a darkness significantly comparable to the majesty that was early 90’s Death Metal. With this album, Huronian has graciously shared the rare gift of excellence to a world full of Metal fans who have become a bit peckish for nostalgia. I can think of no better example than the closing track, “Shadow Cast By Eternal Sails,” so I leave you with that.