Here we go again with your favorite load of heavy shit coming out of Italy. It’s been a while since the last “Italy is Burning” chapter dropped, and in the meantime, the beloved homeland hasn’t ceased vomiting out some real quality fucking underground grime to torture your ears with, so here we go!
1. MESSA – Bellfry
Let’s start this thing off with a bang, with one of the most whopping doom albums to ever see the light in Italy. I believe Messa come from the Venice area, and holy mother of dying FUCK, they play some of the most epic, tormented, gloomy, and grandiose occult doom I have ever heard in the homeland. But Messa’s riffs aren’t only amazing, what sets this band apart from its peers by MILES is the incredible vocal delivery at their disposal. When you hear Sara’s banshee-like chants your skin will ripple and you will wonder how the fuck this band is so criminally unknown. While showcasing clear avantgarde traits through the use the aforementioned unbelievably operatic vocals and the ominous presence of a brass section, Messa play classic, occult, and heavy as fuck stoner doom that will win over the ears of all fans of bands like Pentagram, Bell Witch, Subrosa, Windhand, Jex Thoth, Sabbath Assembly, Bathory, Electric wizard etc, while at the same time telling a story which is entirely their own and which has never been told anywhere else. Let the mass begin!
2. THE GREAT SAUNITIES – Nero
The Great Saunities play cosmic as fuck math/post-rock that will melt your brain. Standing somewhere between Battles, OM, Swans, Acid Mothers Temple, Tortoise, No Means No, and Don Caballero, this band creates a mesmerizing tide of shimmering chaos that literally steals your senses and locks your mind into a surreal and inescapable sonic maze. Highly recommended for all the math/prog/post-rock freaks out there!
3. GUFONERO – S/t
Gufonero – the Italian black owl of fucking death. A bottomless pit of sonic murk thrust forward by a wall of low end rumbling chaos. Gufonero are a duo formed by Marcella and Andrea – just bass and drums, and with both handling vocals – who create pounding and hard as fuck fuzzed-out guitarless sludgecore with strong hints of noise rock in the vein of Big Business, Karp, Halo, Ken Mode, Keelhaul, and the Melvins. Their songs are chaotic, repetitive, and bulldozing shockwaves of amplifier-worshipping sludge that will make your ear drums cave in.
4. HEXN – al-khīmiyya – الخيمياء
I have no idea how the fuck you pronounce their album title, but HEXN are a band that speak solely through the sheer force of sound. A solo project to be exact, HEXN is the conduit of an unknown and unnamed knob-tweaker who is surely one of the biggest freaks in the Italian underground right now given the ominous and scathing nature of his shape-shifting project. Think of it as Tim Hecker or the Haxan Cloak interwoven with mid-era Scorn, dub-influenced electronica, Burial, and Boards of Canada smashed together into a collapsing black hole. A place were dance music, noise, industrial, dub, and electronic chaos of various origins collide into a cascading rainfall of shimmering black mater.
5. LIQUIDO DI MORTE – II
Liquido Di Morte are one of the most refined, accomplished, and elaborate currently active forms of Swans-worship there is out there right now. This lysergic and hallucinating sonic experiment hails from northern Italy and they create some of the most grandiose, majestic, and mind-melting psychedelic post-rock to ever come out of Italy. Slashed open by striations of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Balcan musical influences, Liquido Di Morte’s music sounds like the hades of southern Europe; a hellish melting pot of sorts where the ancient sounds of demonic forces coming from a lost empire spanning from the Black Sea all the way to the straight of Gibraltar are crushed into an enormous post-industrial vacuum and then disintegrated, immolated to the altar of Michael Gira and the omnipotent Swans. Your skull will be crushed by sound.
6. NULLA+ – Stornerlli Distopici
Nulla+ (translated best to, “nothing more”) is a weird and fucked up black metal/punk project hailing from the green and lonesome hills of Umbria in central Italy. Presumably a one-man band, Nulla+ plays primitive black metal mixed with raw punk thrown against a surreal cultural ad lyrical backdrop of traditional Italian folklore gimmicks and nonsense. States the creep behind the project: “The ‘Stornelli’ are composed of satirical topics with an indefinite numbers of verses in very simple form. Every one of them is inspired by a micro or macro situation, and on whatever trivial there’s in the world: to live and to die in this dystopia which is the human being.” The end result is just as surreal as it sounds absurd: raw and plague-ridden black metal filtered through a demented and bizarrely theatrical punk rock aesthetic, with surreal and vaguely comical lyrical content that fucks with your head hard while ravaging your ears at the same time. Awesomely fucked in the head shit!
7. HUNGRY LIKE RAKOVITZ – Nevermind The Light
After releasing the punishing EP The Inevitable Return To Darkness earlier this year, grindcore/post-hardcore/extreme metal powerhouse Hungry Like Rakovitz have returned with their brand new full-length album, Never Mind the Light, a punishing onslaught of raging grindcore and mauling post-hardcore, that will delight all fans of bands like Nails, All Pigs Must Die, Converge, Cursed, Nasum, Dead In The Dirt, Torch Runner etc. If you miss the good old HydraHead days from the mid and early 2000’s when bands like Botch, Piebald, Deadguy etc where pillaging your local venues, then this shit is for you.
8. REST – S/t
For all the fans of no fucks given, HM2-worshipping, modern hardcore bands (Nails, Trap Them etc.), there is a new uncompromising force to behold in the underground that has made of the buzzsaw guitar sound an authentic ritual with which to literally assault people. Rest play grinding and embittered blackened hardcore in the vein of Hexis, The Secret, Hierophant, Young And In the Way etc. armored with the buzzsawing chaos of the HM2 –a snarling and rabid sensorial overload that will assault you with their merciless blackened hardcore warfare.