Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Earth and Pillars - Earth II

The glorious cover artwork for Earth and Pillar’s newest record, Earth II’ evokes many feelings but mostly for me the idea that atmospheric black metal and nature work so well together, even when not the stereotypical frozen wilderness. ‘Earth II’ is out now through Avantgarde Music.

Opener ‘Becoming’ grows with glorious synth swells and clean guitar, before the distortion and the snarls appear. But the atmosphere remains majestic with the ethereal backdrop and clean guitar melody flowing around the more traditional black metal instrumentation. There’s a wistful longing about this track, that seeps through into each of the others. ‘Falling’ flows like a raging mountain torrent, Cascadian black metal riffs pouring from the guitars. There is no let up from the relentless battering here until the last minute or so but it is invigorating! This perfect mix of synth led atmosphere, clean guitar and raging black metal is truly breathtaking in places, and I particularly was drawn to the mesmerising third track ‘Ascending’.

‘Earth II’ is a record of sweeping majestic, melancholy and savage blasts of black metal fury. Often this kind of black metal can feel overly long, repetitive or monotonous but Earth and Pillars fall into none of those traps. ‘Earth II’ is a glorious monolith to Cascadian black metal done right, and this is a record full of dark beauty.

https://www.facebook.com/earthandpillars/

https://earthandpillars.bigcartel.com/products

https://avantgardemusic.bandcamp.com/album/earth-ii

Chiral - The Twilight Songs - part I

Chiral were a band I followed very closely for a number of years, until I fell off a little a few years ago. Their glorious, almost spiritual brand of atmospheric black metal was one of my favourite sounds for a long time, and I just discovered ‘The Twilight Songs (Part 1)’ lurking in my emails from a long time ago. It came out through Heathen Tribes around a year ago, and is one mammoth track.

‘Monumetal’ is thirty minutes of almost everything Chiral do well. The ghostly, haunting acoustics of prime Opeth, the epic sweep of Godspeed You Black Emperor, but lacking the thrilling Cascadian black metal of Wolves in the Throne Room, . We build with acoustic guitar, a touching and soulful rendition that really highlights what Chiral is becoming; a fragile emotional project that hits all the key points to make it genuinely affecting. Sure, there is a distinct lack of the epic, sweeping black metal that drew me in at first, but this is a beautiful, stirring release.

‘The Twilight Songs (Part 1)’ has yet to receive a ‘Part 2’, which I hope comes one day as I yearn to see where Chiral is taking this. A glorious showcase of acoustic emotion and songwriting, this is a project that never fails to impress or affect.

https://chiral27.bandcamp.com/album/the-twilight-songs-part-i

https://www.facebook.com/ChiralItaly

https://chiralitaly.wordpress.com/

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June 1974 are an Italian project from underground poet and writer Federico Romano, and their newest record ‘Earth is Not Place for Lovers’ is out now through Visionaire Records. June 1974 have been experimental and genre defying over their last few releases, but have settled into a more post rock/alternative world for this record.

The opener has a lot going on; electronica elements play off glacial clean guitar, while the drums do a little bit of everything, pinning the band down to this earth. There’s a little Minus the Bear in the driving second track ‘School Days’, and that style of glacial indie rock plays a large part here. Entirely instrumental, this is a record designed to showcase the music, and it mostly speaks for itself. From the quietly introspective ‘Black Mirror’, to the lively and fragile beauty of ‘No More Human Race’, June 1974 is an avantgarde, post rock artist to be recognised for variety, and possessing a skilled palette with which to paint. The driving riffs of ‘You’re My Shining Grief’ contrast to the gloriously ethereal ‘Nulla e Verita’ beautifully, and there’s always a chance for a little dancey funkiness, like in ‘Avantgarde’.

There’s a simple purity to ‘Earth is Not Place for Lovers’, different from what we normally cover here but no less important to me. Electronica and alternative/indie have played their part in my musical life, and June 1974 are another band I will look to in the future when I need that itch scratched. Excellent.

https://june1974.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/june1974music/

Membrance - Morality's Colapse

I reviewed Membrance’s 2017 record ‘Abyss’ here, and it was a solid if a little by the numbers old school death metal. Their new record, ‘Morality’s Collapse’ comes barely a year later and looks to build on the work they made on their debut. It is out through Envenomed Music.

This album feels like an instant upgrade on Membrance’s last one, as the first song ‘Wander in Ghostown’ hits hard with a solid death metal riff rampaging through it, as well as featuring an awesome Jurassic Park sample too. The songs feel tighter, with a more focused assault now and a little more variety. The jarring ‘Poveglia’ is full of interesting moments, and in fact you’d struggle to find a moment throughout where you aren’t banging your head in appreciation. I really enjoy the atonal melodies seeping through the chunky ‘Exhumed Demon’.

‘Morality’s Collapse’ is a solid upgrade from their last record, and Membrance are definitely moving in the right direction with their brand of chugging death metal. The album art is still totally messed up, and the riffs are still brutal, so all is good here!

https://membrance.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/membranceband/

https://envenomedmusic.bandcamp.com/

Thulsa Doom - Realms of Hatred

As almost cliche as it has become by 2018, I love the idea that bands are still getting their sound out through cassette. Italy death metallers Thulsa Doom have released their debut EP, ‘Realms of Hatred’ on cassette through Invictus Productions, and it is out now.

Opener ‘The Final Scourge’ has a nice, grimy atmosphere to it; a rough production adds a bit of filth to the nasty riffs and snarling vocal bile. The guitar work is similar to early Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and the rough demos of the Florida scene. It lacks the labyrinthine fretwork of early Morbid Angel, but the tone and style are spot on. ‘The Gates of Niniveh’ has a killer gloomy intro that bursts into frantic thrashy death, drawing deep from the well of 80s death metal. The two interludes set the tone perfectly, providing a eerie base from which the old school metal of death can project. The riffs that course through the diseased veins of the title track is testament to the talent on show here.

Wrapped in awesome cover art, Thulsa Doom’s debut is a piece of old school joy. Nostalgic yet not derivative, ‘Realms of Hatred’ sucks from the mangled teat of the past, but conjures their own particular black magick upon it. This is the real deal.

https://www.facebook.com/ThulsaDoomDeath/

https://invictusproductions.net/

Hierophant - Spawned Abortions

Now I’m not always one for reviewing such short releases, because it can be difficult to tell if a band are truly great over the course of two songs. But, since one of them is a Bolt Thrower cover, I feel like it falls into my mandate! ‘Spawned Abortions’ is the newest release from Italians Hierophant, whose ‘Great Mother: Holy Monster’ record from 2013 I really enjoyed. ‘Spawned Abortions’ is out now!

The title track is a nasty slab of old school brutal death metal, with superb guitar riffs and guttural roars covering all the bases you need. What I really like though is that it has a grindcore edge, which adds that little extra piece of savagery to it. The Bolt Thrower cover is ‘Realm of Chaos’, and Hierophant do this all time classic justice, delivering the material in a respectful and energised form. ‘Spawed Abortions’ is very short but definitely worth a listen, as the band continue their destruction of the underground.

https://www.facebook.com/HIEROPHANTKVLT/

https://unholyanarchy.aisamerch.com/item/63659

Membrance - Abyss

Membrance are an old school death metal outfit from Italy, and their debut full length ‘Abyss’ came out late last year through Envenomed Music. Their new record, ‘Morality’s Collapse’, is due to drop early 2019, so I thought I would visit this one in anticipation.

Opening intro ‘Chasm of Blood’ is a weird, almost 80s horror movie sample that first real track ‘Shreds of Flesh’ bludgeons into submission. You know the score here; old school Swedish death metal riffs in the style of Dismember or Grave, coupled with guttural growls and solid drumming. Old school death metal albums feel very predictable these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a bad one. ‘Abyss’ ticks all the right boxes, and fulfills the promise with enthusiasm and a wellspring of gory samples. The undeniably memorable ‘Rotten Broken Bones’ is a highlight, the chainsawing glory of ‘Groovy’ and the chugging menace of ‘Goat’s Guts’ balance perfectly, leaving Membrance a comfortable legacy to build upon next year.

Old school death metal doesn’t always need to be pedestrian, and ‘Abyss’ shows how even the most over wrought of genres can still be injected with fresh life and a little bit of macabre humour. Membrance’s debut is solid and entertaining, and hopefully their follow up can build on all the things they did right here.

https://www.facebook.com/membranceband/

https://envenomedmusic.bandcamp.com/album/abyss