Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Italians Demetra Sine Die have been around since 2003 but this is my first opportunity to hear them. Their new record, ‘Post Glacial Rebound’, is a mesmerising cocktail of sludge, doom, psychedelica, krautrock amongst other things, and it is out now through Third I Rex.

Opener ‘Stanislaw Lem’ builds with almost ritualistic riff and drum combos, while the crooning vocal of Tom Stearn from Kettle of Kites intones hypnotic lyrical poetry. ‘Birds Are Falling’ has a driving power behind it, layered with sinister melodies and post metal roars. This isn’t like many albums you’ll have come across this year; quite experimental and almost art-rock in its execution of a sludge and post metal palette. A churning low end meets with fuzzy riffing, mysterious tales are told, and glorious musical heights are reached, like the gloom of ‘Lament’ or the cosmic madness of ‘Gravity’.

Equal parts miasmic sludge, dirging post metal, psychedelic weirdness and progressive art rock sensibilities, ‘Post Glacial Rebound’ is a record that is very hard to categorise, probably by design. Demetra Sine Die do not aim to fit into genre pigeonholing, aiming instead to create a collection of music that weaves within genres in order to create their vision. Weird but definitively engrossing, this needs to be on your radar if you like things done a little differently.


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This mammoth release of Italian black metallers Altar of Perversion is a collaboration between The Ajna Offensve and Norma Evangelium Diaboli, and is the second full length record after their iconic debut, 2001’s ‘From Dead Temples’. ‘Intra Naos’ is two CDs, 114 minutes of serpentine, scathing black metal vastness, and it is out now!

The opener ‘Adgnosco Veteris Vestigia Flammae’ is a twenty minute leviathan, crossing spaces between battering blasphemy, crawling menace and even soaring melody. Altar of Perversion may be raw in spirit, but their music has plenty of layers to it. The eerie acoustics that open ‘She Weaves Abyssal Riddles and Eorthean Gates’ are creepy and definitely work as part of the more atonal nature of this track. It is a truly impressive feat to create a black metal record that is so long and so faithful to the origins of the genre without becoming mindnumbingly boring. There’s dashes of Blut Aus Nord style tonality, sweeping atmospheric black metal sections and enough blastbeats to destroy any conceptions that this is ‘progressive nonsense’.

Be it through the swelling evil of ‘Cosmic Thule, Inner Temple’ or the labyrinthine twists of ‘Through Flickering Stars, They Seep’. Altar of Perversion have created a masterclass in black metal here. Almost two hours and not a moment is wasted, ‘Intra Naos’ is exactly how black metal should sound; different, raging and absorbing.


These mysterious Italians do not hang about, with their new record ‘Göbekli Tepe’ coming out only a year after last year’s debut ‘The Discontinuity’s Interlude’. Order ov Riven Cathedral’s spiralling death metal is a creation of the stranger forces in our universe, and beyond. It is out now and available through the band’s Bandcamp.

Massive waves of blastbeats underpin a cacophonous assault of huge roars and technical death metal insanity. ‘Worship ov Abduction’ is like a howling gale of death metal, and like fellow countrymen Hour of Penance brings you to the very edge of death metal heaviness. It is relentless, battering extremity in the most crushing form. But Order ov Riven Cathedrals also take notes from the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse and thread orchestral grandeur and atmospheric ambience throughout. The likes of ‘Glorification ov the Divine Fallout’ and the stunning ‘From Neptune to Assyria’ show how death metal can be both devastatingly brutal and soaring with majestic melodies.

This record is a revelation of where extreme music can take you, both to the depths of deathly abysses and the heights of wondrous grandiosity. ‘Göbekli Tepe’ is an album of staggering musicianship, guttural vocals and a powerful sense of drama. Order ov Riven Cathedrals are a band of stunning potential, and each release continues to prove this.

‘In Absence’ is the fourth full length record from Italian death metallers Coram Lethe, and it continues their path towards the pantheon of Pestilence, Emperor, Death and Dissection. Their insistence on not resting on their musical laurels is admirable, and Buil2Kill Records released this back in February. Look at that cool as fuck artwork by Paolo Girardi by the way, magic stuff!

Gloriously dramatic piano leads us through ‘Esoteric’ before the title track kicks in with a very ‘IX: Equilibrium’ style riff and the blasting commences. Jagged progressive riffing stabs inward while coherent roars spray outward. ‘Food for Nothingness’ has a dash of soaring atmospheric black metal about it, despite being a chunky death metal thrasher. There’s a refreshing epicness to ‘In Absence’ that a lot of death metal records cannot provide; a space of progressive wilderness that most do not travel to. Coram Lethe have loads of that, in the spacious ‘Not Been Born’ and the epic ‘To Rise Again’. This mixes well with the chugging prog death-isms of the likes of ‘Cognitive Separation’ and ‘Antimateria’.

Coram Lethe have got an intangible factor that allows them to arise above the competition and ‘In Absence’ is a massive and ambitious work that spreads their progressive death metal wings far and wide. Losing none of their heaviness while rumbling between jagged riffing and intricate guitar work keeps them constantly intriguing, constantly evolving. A great example of how progressive death metal doesn’t need to be confusing or overly technical to be good, sometimes it just needs to have a bit of feeling!

The longest running death metal band in Italy, Horrid’s fifth full length ‘Beyond the Dark Border’ is another step out of the shadows of European underground death metal. Crushing the opposition since 1989, Horrid dropped this early last year on Dunkelheit Productions, but don’t let it pass you by. This is a dynamic, traditional death metal record that pulls no punches and builds upon a timeless sound.

Opener ‘The Black March’ is a thick, crunchy riff machine that rumbles with devastating power. You can sense the underlying Bolt Thrower influences, but there’s also a lot of subtle pieces of melody that really strike me, such as the eastern parts of ‘Cursed Dunes’ that evoke Nile’s more straightforward moments. Echoes of Celtic Frost resound throughout the full record, and other European death metal styles are equally present in places, such as the Demigod-esque ‘The Statement’. The songwriting is solid, the performance is flawless and the atmospheres are morbid without being overbearing in murk.

‘Beyond the Dark Border’ is a record that will help you fall in love with old fashioned death metal once more. A love letter to the finer, simpler days of early 90s death, when riffs were heavy, vocals were brutal and death was death. Awesome shit.

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‘Mastermind Tyranny’ is the third album from Italian gothic/symphonic metallers Eternal Silence. Now, I’ve not reviewed much of this style here over the years, as it is a genre I kind of fell out of love with about 10 years ago after sickening myself on it, but I thought I should dive back in here with this after hearing a couple of tracks online. ‘Mastermind Tyranny’ was released back in October through Sliptrick Records

Opener ‘Lucifer’s Lair’ is the kind of catchy, European power metal you’d expect, full of soaring choral melodies and dramatic symphonics. The vocal interplay is well done, and it doesn’t fall into the classic ‘growly male/operatic female’ cliche which is refreshing. In fact, the duelling vocals create some of the most epic moments, like in the soaring ‘Adagio’ or the grandiose ‘Foreign Land’. There are the odd misstep, (the somewhat bland ‘The First Winter Night’ comes to mind), and the record does feel a little long in places, but these are minor quibbles.

‘Mastermind Tyranny’ is a pretty good record, full of hooky modern gothic metal tunes. I suppose your enjoyment of this will depend a lot on your feelings about the ‘symphonic/female fronted/gothic’ metal tags. If you approach Eternal Silence with an open mind, you’ll find a good band with a lot of solid songwriting and some seriously catchy tunes. It’s time we laid those preconceptions to bed and enjoyed it for what it is; a fine, well written record.

Italy seems to be a place where metal in all its myriad genres seems to thrive. But atmospheric, miserable black metal seems to be a particular strong point, and add Enisum to that list. ‘Seasons of Desolation is the follow up to their much praised ‘Arpitanian Lands’ from 2015, and it is out at the end of April on Avantgarde Music. Almost an hour of miserable black metal awaits.

Opener ‘Autumn of Melancholy’ is a monolith of gloomy despair, where raspy shrieks soar within icy riffs and a weeping atmosphere. A masterfully cold and misty forest of an album, ‘Seasons of Desolation’ keep going back to the well with dark, dense riffing and insidiously glorious melody underneath. Songs fight against the darkness, aching to break through the clouds of hopelessness but can’t ever quite make it. Infernal streams of molten black metal pour from ‘…of Desolation’, while a cloying rain soaks the depressing ‘Nameless Sadness’.

The crushingly brutal ‘Obscure Depths’ is my favourite track here, taking a slightly heavier approach. Enisum are perfect for that rainy spring day, when the odd crack of sunshine appears through torrential rain. Built and crafted for misery but plagued with moments of hope, ‘Seasons of Desolation’ is a tour de force of black metal excellence, steeped in depressive moods. Well worth finding.