Screams from the Gutter Vol. XIX: Italy Is Burning – Chapter 8
The Italian extreme music scene has been boiling over with immense talent lately, and since I always keep a close eye on what’s been going on in my homeland’s underground (of which I used to be a proud part of), it didn’t take long before some seriously amazing shit came drifting my way once again. Here’s the latest!
1. CANCER SPREADING – Ghastly Visions
Ahhhh, first things first. The motherfucking HOMIES are back. The fucking heaviest dudes from The Boot right now are back with one of their most pillaging releases to date. Check your fuckin’ list if you haven’t heard of Cancer Spreading, and put this band back at the top where it belongs, ’cause this is GRADE A, top notch, cream of the crop death metal/crust (AKA stench) for the most rotten! Cancer Spreading have been covered on these pages many times before; simply put, their punk-infested death metal is the best around these days and is something you simply can’t overlook if you are into the heaviest forms of crust. The cemeteries will come to life in your brain; harrowing visions of a nuclear holocaust will shroud your mind as you listen to this band’s downcast music, all while humongous Bolt Thrower-like riffs and bone-fracturing d-beats will punish you with a force and heaviness that is impossible to believe. Behold the legions of hell!
2. SERPENT RITUAL – Nexvs Diaboli
This just might be the birth of a new gem. The first coming of a future super-breed of Italian death metal that one day will dominate the earth. The first demo of these Roman necromancers called Serpent Ritual is a real excerise in morbid sonic torment. Serpent Ritual play pitch black, cavernous, and tenebrous ritualistic death metal spawned straight from the most nightmarish pits of hell. Gruesome, sepulchral and vaguely occult-sounding blackened death metal for fans of early Demoncy, Grave Miasma and Dead Congregation, that also sounds like none other due to its sheer darkness and impenetrable character. A short release, but superior to the entire discographies of most bands in the genre.
3. Вий (VIJ) – The Black Light
Vij, are no news to this site. We had discussed their inhumanly misanthropic sludge-doom on here before. Now the time has come to re-dwell into their obscene art by attempting to survive sitting through their appalling new album. “The Black Light” is a black hole of slime that drags you into the bowels of hell. It’s one of the most revolting and vomit-inducing albums you will hear all year. Drug-fueled, hate-filled, plague-ridden sludge-doom for the most downcast and deviated freaks out there. Deranged fans of Corrupted, Meth Drinker, Eyehategod, Grief, Noothgrush, Indian etc. will be ecstatic to have their life pleasantly ruined by this band’s toxic and scathing amalgamation of doom, hardcore and hateful blackened noise.
4. NORTHWOODS – S/t
Caught in a timewarp somewhere between 2000 and 2005, Perugia’s Northwoods bring a dissonant and swarming barrage of angular 2000’s-sounding post-hardcore riffs, shoving them straight into your ear canals with inconceivable trauma. This band’s debut self-titled EP sounds like a time capsule that explodes into your face, assaulting you with a wide array of sonic weaponry that worships the past decade’s most glorious experimental hardcore interpretations that were once the stronghold of labels like HydraHead, Suicide Squeeze, and Equal Vision. Hardcore punk, emocore, noise rock and metalcore coalescing into a collapsing chain reaction of punk angst and metallic fury that can’t be controlled. Take bands like Dazzling Killmen, Unsane, Curl up And Die, Converge, Cave In, Piebald, Harkonnen, Botch etc, blend them all into a dissonant and highly unstable sonic molotov cocktail, and the result will be Northwoods‘s explosive first scream into this world.
5. LACASTA – Encyclia EP
Southern Italy’s LaCasta are definitely a strange sight to behold. They come from a place in Italy where heavy music is underdeveloped, under-appreciated, uncool and still struggling to have its voice heard. This is perhaps why this band’s angst and frustration appears to be so relevant and vehement. Pure rage seeps out of the discordant and abrasive chaos summoned by this blackened hardcore fourpiece hailing from Monopoli, near Bari, way the fuck south near the heel of The Boot. These guys have definitely fucked hard with bands like The Secret, Hexis and Celeste, but have also given their songs their own twist and flavor, opting for a super raw and lo-fi production and highly chaotic and unpredictable songwriting – an approach that has made the band’s primitive rage blossom into a firestorm of chaotic sonic wrath, that speaks to the listener in terms of total filth and disgust. If you like noisy, pissed off hardcore infested with the malevolent grain and chaos of primitive black metal, then this shit is for you.
6. VOWS – Aion
Vows play absurdly ethereal and immaterial post-metal/sludge for the dreamy and most afflicted. Sure, you will hear echoes of Neurosis, Minsk, US Christmas, Boris etc. in their music, but what’s the most crazy about this band is that they seem to write songs for all the most heartbroken and saddest souls around. This is the peculiar trait of their music: the immense sadness and hopelessness that permeates their every riff, melody, and song. The tribal drumming brings back to mind the early days of Minsk, but the drum patterns are set against a funeral backdrop of depressing ambient passages and lugubrious sludge treads announced by mournful and heart-splitting chants and clean vocals. If you like your sludge metal to be refined, atmospheric, beautiful in a way and vaguely trippy, but you’re also a miserable fuck who can’t smile for the life of you, then you’ve just found your favorite band.
7. PLATEAU SIGMA – Rituals
Much like Novembre and Forgotten Tomb, Plateau Sigma are the avant-garde leaders and frontline of Italian gothic/death-doom right now. Not at all inclined or interested in hiding their Paradise Lost, Katatonia, and My Dying Bride worship, this band plays heavy as fuck but extremely ethereal gothic doom metal where mesmerizing clean passages will make your skin ripple, and the saddest melodies in the world will split your heart in two. Showcasing some extremely subtle and refined classic doom, post-rock and black metal inclinations, it will not be hard for the listener to also hear some distant echoes of Agalloch and Pallbearer in this band’s soul-shattering sonic amalgamation of enormous guitar-driven heaviness and beautifully crafted melancholic passages. Highly recommended for all the fans of the bands referenced herein.
8. N.MEINEN & VISCERA/// – Das Lächeln, Deinerseits
Our comrades at Consoling Sounds bring us this excellent collaboration between one of Italy’s most unique post-metal/spychedelic sludge bands – Viscera/// – and German drone artist N (who in his turn teamed up with ambient artist Meinein). The music of both acts is truly worlds apart. The loud and energetic sound of Viscera/// battling against N’s exercises in silence was bound to end up in a dynamic clash of sorts. The result, Das Lächeln, Deinerseits, is a soaring and shapeshifting slab of experimental heavy rock that bridges the gabs between sludge metal, kraut, drone, and space rock improvisation in a masterful way, materializing a truly unique and improbable triumph in musical experimentalism.