I truly enjoy discovering new music in the genre I love. So when The Meister asked me to give the upcoming Ancillotti a listen, I was up for the challenge! As this is my first experience with the band, I cannot comment on the debut album, but their second full-length effort, Strike Back, certainly packs a punch! The Italian group is a family affair with Daniele “Bud” Ancillotti on vocals, his brother Sandro “Bid” Ancillotti on bass, Bid‘s son, Brian Ancillotti on drums, and “blood brother” Luciano “Ciano” Toscani on guitar.
You sense you are in for a wild ride as “Intro” begins with a scratchy recording from the 1930’s that is interrupted by a threatening demonic voice. This leads into the scorching “To Hell With You” with fiery guitars and demanding beat. This is classic heavy metal at it’s finest. Bud Ancillotti‘s vocals are a powerful combination of the late Lemmy Kilmister and Rob Halford. Most of this album is extremely heavy, but there are a few songs included here that are, shall I say, more “radio friendly” as they fall closer to the hard rock side of the spectrum. I could certainly see more adventurous program directors taking a chance on “Firestarter“, “When Night Calls” or “Lonely Road” as they could appeal to a broader audience. I’m not sure this is their aim, though, as the band’s first single, the anthemic “Fight“, is a definite headbanger. With musicians as skilled as Ancillotti, why not play as fast and hard as you can? The quick pace of “Burn, Witch, Burn” bears this out with blazing guitar over a relentless beat accompanied by growled lyrics. The group saves perhaps their heaviest tune for last. “The Hunter” is filled with traditional metal riffs, driving rhythm and catchy lyrics which leave you wanting more.
Now, before I give my one criticism of this album, let me admit that I only speak one language, English, so I admire those who are fluent in others. On Strike Back, it is quite obvious to me that English is not Bud‘s primary language. At times, the lyrics seem mumbled or the pronunciation is off the mark. It is a very shrewd marketing move by the band (or their management or label) to record in English as this will open up their music to more markets. I get the reasoning behind it and as Bud becomes more comfortable with the language, I believe he will be as killer on these songs as he is in Italian. I find there are two types of people when it comes to music: those who listen to the instrumentation and don’t really hear the lyrics; and those who love the lyrics and like to sing along to their favorite songs. I fall into the latter group which is most likely why this bothers me. However, music is a language of its own, and the issue is only a minor distraction.
The musicianship of Ancillotti is above reproach and that is proven time and again on Strike Back. Brian Ancillotti is an unrelenting beast on percussion which forces his dad, Bid, to keep up on bass and Ciano Toscani is a shredder of the highest order. Bud‘s husky voice ties the whole package together. These songs are both well written and masterfully performed. I enjoyed this album and look forward to what they will do in the future. Strike Back is scheduled to be released on September 16, 2016, on Pure Steel Records. If you enjoy traditional heavy metal, I encourage you to check out this Italian family!
~~ Metal Mama