Selvans – Lupercalia

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Avantgarde Music
Distributor/label URL:
Released: 2015
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Selvans Haruspex: keyboards, traditional instr., scream and clean vocals, programming
Sethlans Fulguriator: guitars, bass, clean vocals


1. Matavitatau
2. Versipellis
3. O Clitumne!
4. Hirpi Sorani
5. Scurtchìn
6. N.A.F.H.


Italian black metal usually has quite a distinctive sound, with bands like Opera IX and early Theatres des Vampires springing to mind. The same goes for Italian metal from across various subgenres, it just has that… well, Italian flare to it. With ‘Lupercalia’, the first full length from, yes, you guessed it… an Italian black metal band called Selvans, you can tell immediately where they’re from.

The rich and atmospheric sound of the symphonic black metal of the 90s comes through on tracks like ‘O Clitumne!’, with its rich and silky orchestrations. These are complimented by the clean, resonant crepuscular guitar melodies that characterise the genre – while the shredding provides a powerful backdrop for everything that’s going on. This is before a flute-like sound comes in adding a folky flavour to the mix. There is an emotively epic feel to the music, creating an atmosphere of grand sorrow. Is that accordions I hear too? They really are spicing things up with a rich variety of sounds.

An eastern arabesque atmosphere is created on ‘Hirpi Sorani’, with a wide array of exotic instruments being used. What a sound, arabesque black metal should totally be a thing! Well it is, but it should definitely be a bigger thing. The only thing here is that for the most part, the black elements are kept quite separate from the more exotic passages where they could be combined more, though they do come together more towards the end creating a very rich and unusual sound. Another impressive point is the fact that all of the traditional instrumentation is recorded using real instruments by members of the band.

Most of the songs average around ten minutes, with each winding along its journey and holding nothing back. This is an album of pure symphonic black indulgence, its about rich atmospheres and diverse soundscapes – the result is epic. Although it does have vibes of the symphonic black metal of the 90s, it doesn’t come across as trying to sound too much like one specific band, and that is where it succeeds.