Walk in Darkness – Leaves Rolling in Time – (6.5/10)

Published on January 20, 2023


  1. Ships to Atlantis
  2. Leaves Rolling in Time
  3. Bent by Storms and Dreams
  4. Get Away
  5. Walk Close to Me
  6. No Oxygen in the West
  7. The Last Glow of Day
  8. Elizabeth
  9. No Oxygen in the West (Shaman version)

Genre: Gothic Metal / Post Rock

Label: Beyond the Storm Productions

Playing Time: 47:34

Country: Italy

Year: 2023

Website: Visit page

When I picked this album from the pile of January promos, I was expecting to review a symphonic metal album by a new Italian band. It turns out Walk in Darkness are neither new nor symphonic, really. The Italians have been around for 8 years now, and Leaves Rolling in Time is in fact their 4th full-length to date, although it is the first that comes to my attention. As for the symphonic tag, I can’t really vouch for it beyond the fact that there is a lady on lead vocals, Nicoletta Rosellini, who is also involved in a couple of symphonic metal projects with other bands (KalidiaThe Erinyes). So what type of music are Walk in Darkness playing? And is Leaves Rolling in Time any good?

Before I tackle those questions, let me tell you a bit more on what I know about Walk in Darkness. Which isn’t much, actually, because Nicoletta Rosellini is the only band member whose identity is known. The other two band members go by the names of Shaman (guitars) and Monk Key (bass) and appear as hooded monks in the all promotional photos distributed with the promo. There may also be a drummer and a keyboard player involved, as in some photos there are four – and not two – hooded monks, but I do not know anything about them (and there were times while I was listening to the album where I could swear the drums are programmed). Leaves Rolling in Time also features a couple of guest musicians, including growler Emiliano Pasquinelli (from death metallers Tuchulcha).

The best way I can describe Walk in Darkness’s music is a cross between post-rock and gothic/doom metal, with beautiful female vocals layered on top. The songs have the dilated, liquid quality of post-rock tunes, with the guitars locked in the same cyclical riff or chord progression, while the rhythm section pulsates, increasing and then decreasing in intensity to give the music a peak-and-valley sense of dynamics. However, the vibes are more nightmarish than dreamy. The atmosphere is dense and dark, the pace at times slow down to doom levels of sluggishness, and the harmonies are imbued with melancholy. Nicoletta Rosellini’s vocals are pushed to the front of the mix and dominate the musical landscapes. Her voice is beautiful, combining a lush low tone with stunning power as she moves up the range. In a way she reminds me of a young Floor Jansen, but with a deeper and more impressive low range.

The album starts majestically with one of the best vocal lines of the whole LP. Dark, brooding and powerful, Nicoletta Rosellini finds the perfect pitch and melody to give the record a charismatic and emotionally-charged beginning. The overlaid soprano vocals by guest singer N.O.S. add yet another dimension, ushering in a glimpse of those symphonic influences that are otherwise by and large absent on this record. The title-track is also impressive, with its martial pace and epic, vaguely folksy vibes that somehow reminded me of Austrian trailblazers Summoning. Unfortunately, from this point on things start to lose momentum. The quality of the compositions drops a notch and, most importantly, the songwriting formula starts to feel repetitive and unidimensional, exploring similar structures, melodic ideas, and atmospheres. The album mix does not help here, either: Nicoletta’s voice is pushed to the forefront in a very prominent way, with all the other instruments relegated to the background, at times barely audible or distinguishable. Inevitably, this means that the songs live and die by the quality of Nicoletta’s melodies. As soon as these become slightly duller, the whole composition starts to drag and eventually sinks. Things pick up again somewhat towards the end of the record, with the emotional “No Oxygen in the West”, but it is not enough to change the downward course of the album, unfortunately.

Most of the songs included on Leaves Rolling in Time have been released as individual singles in the past 18 months, and I believe that this is probably the best format to consume these compositions rather than all together on the same LP. Taken on its own, each song often delivers an emotional, cathartic experience within its 4/5 minutes, but the album as a whole does not achieve the same impact, bogged down by the excessive homogeneity of its 9 tracks. Nevertheless, there is tons of potential here, so Nicoletta Rosellini and Walk in Darkness will definitely stay on my radar from now on.

from THE METAL OBSERVER – 20/01/2023