Italian Scene report early 2019 update

Considering I won’t be able to update website or release that goddamned paper issue anytime soon, I thought about writing a short update on the good things happening in the land of pizza, black mustache and frantic hand gesturing. I am fully concentrated on the label plus moving to a new house and really didn’t think about writing anything but there are a few really new good bands that have been infecting italian ground in recent times so here it is, a quick, Nuclearabominesque report on what I believe you should check out. This is not 1990 anymore so I will cut it very short, just google their name and you can be fan #1 before anyone else.

Sadomortuary from Mantua is the band that shook my ass in order to write this article. They play that ultra-filthy sludgy kind of Black Metal we all love so much. I particularly like the sound that reminds me of early grindcore bands like Rot, and yet the references are more diverse, like a slowed down version of Profanatica, Naked Whipper, Bestial Summoning, throw in some finnish death/doom names and so on, yet everything kept very simple and focused more on rot than actual song writing. Approved!

I stumbled casually on this obscure band that recently released a demo tape on a whopping print run of 20 copies (tape I don’t own, by the way). I might not be sold 100% but there are plenty of interesting things going on on this single advance track we can hear on their (his?) bandcamp page. There are just a scattering of riffs but they all fall into place neatly. Might disappear anytime now but I think they’re worth a listen.

Thulsa Doom
Now we’re really talking, mind me. If there is a tape you should get that has been released last year (besides the Sickness demo of course), it’s this one. Thulsa Doom are fucking awesome. I am a huge fan of sword and sorcery, and hence all the Conan stuff, and even if I am not entirely convinced the pairing between pulp barbaric literature and Metal works (despite the eminent works of thrashies like Carnivore, the Endless Pain cover art or Voivod’s Korgull anthem) the songs on this records blew the fuck out of my skull. The writing is genuine 1990s Death Metal with great mid tempos that have so many references and yet none in specific. And they have great solos too. I cannot find any weak spot here, this is really amazing. Do yourself a favor and get it if Invictus still has copies.

This is a very recent band that released a demo tape just some days ago. I have seen quite a few of these minimalistic black/death metal bands since 2010 or so but somehow none of them really managed to click entirely. The rehearsal sound probably cuts off some of the density that is mandatory for the suffocating atmosphere this music relies on. And yet I am interested in checking what happens next, the troiaio these guys manage to put together is interesting. Will follow them closely.

Morticula Rex
This is a one man band from Sicily that writes some interesting slow Death Metal
(i won’t call it strictly death/doom as it lacks some of the dismal ethereality of the genre). I think this stuff works. It’s different from the gazillion death/doom clones popping up recently like warts after a weekend at the swimming pool. Have a list, it’s free these days.

Mass Campylobacter Infection Through Raw Purulent Meat
The noisegore scene in Italy is probably made up of 10 people in all and we all know each other, but when things collide the results are worth checking. This is a band that formed from the syncretism of Yakisoba, Golem of Gore and Fetus Demersus. They have killer graphics, a great logo, and lyrics about the cruelty of killing animals with a lot of blood and guts, the same blood and guts we keep on our dishes this time. From a certain perspective, Carcass were the fathers of this genre and already mentioned this topic so we’re really not straying too far from the original apple tree.

La Cripta del Marciume, Ep. 1 + 2

La Cripta del Marciume, questo il titolo definitivo della rubrica, è di nuovo in onda Venerdì 13 con una puntata dedicata a Bret Hoffman. Tra i marciumi presentati Atheretic (Can), un’edizione deluxe degli Autopsy, un classico di W.H. Hodgson, il gioco di ruolo Lamentations of the Flame Princess, il film degli Sgorbions, il nuovo LP autoprodotto dei Blood (Ger) e poi si vedrà.

Ep. 2

Ep. 1

Schifi. Marciumi. Ignoranze.

The world is rapidly shifting to videos for published content and I admit it’s way faster to record live with a phone than to type a post (making professional videos with editing and all that shit is a different matter of corpse).

For those that understand Italian, I am going live every firday night on Facebook with my column “schifi, marciumi e ignoranze”. Shortly thereafter all live clips will be uploaded on the YouTube channel. I won’t stop writing posts and the idea of a published new issue of NA still exists, but not before some months.

Get in touch here if you wish.

Subduer (Ger): “Death Monolith” EP

018 Dunkelheit Produktionen

Dunkelheit from Germany is probably one of my favorite labels around today. In 11 or so years of activity they keep up a great job at releasing great bands like TetragrammacideBlood, Goat SemenAbatuar etc. for about one hundred releases, all of which caring, just like I do, more for music that pushes boundaries of noise and sickness than mere “genres” alone. They also maintain this tradition of sober, symbolic (or apparently so) layouts, which over time have managed to contribute to the label’s branding identity. Subduer are an interesting new project from Germany that mix elements of power electronics with the chaotic J-Readesque disharmony of extreme Death/Black, some sort of Terror Organ meets Conqueror kind of dry brew.  4 tracks could be not enough to completely savor and dissect the potential of this band but there is enough hisses, samples, drone hammering and manic screams to fulfill a trip to the gym late in the evening. Good stuff as usual, worth checking out.

Yakisoba (Ita): “Mandatory Amputation” tape/CD

2018 Deaf Death Husky Records / Eyes Of The Dead

Italy’s most recent goregrind band I know of (together with the newborn Golem Of Gore), this 2018 7-track tape is a small jewel to look at, neat and classy in its simplicity, I kinda really dig the oriental minimalistic approach to the design the band adopted in both version of this release. Yakisoba’s approach to goregrind on the contrary do actually work for the opposite reason – its efficacy is in being analogue and messy as fuck. It might not be blistering fast but it’s raw and has all the proper garage reverb that is mandatory in this music. The line between sloppy and unrefined might be slippery for the uninitiated but it’s really the difference between a good punk album and a high school jam. This is a band for those into noisegore which is actually played, every hiss and pop and imprecision add to its value. The rest? Gargling roars, samples, Dead Infection-like 2-chord riffs and all the good fun this genres still offers.

On why Autopsy is the greatest band that ever existed

I have been chewing at the new EP “Puncturing the Grotesque” for a few days now and there’s this song “Gas Mask Lust” that just creeps within the folds of your brain. I was stuck in the traffic this morning and just put it on loop, over and over. I started to think about all the “Autopsy – inspired bands” we have in today’s scene and how they just seem to catch just a facet of the multi tentacled and multi eyed beast that is Autopsy. How is that that they always manage to stand head and shoulder above all the rest of the Death Metal underworld, every single time they release a new album?

That made me think a little, and the usual answers started to shower in.

Listening to an Autopsy song is like being in the perfect storm. How is that that their backbone is punk as fuck, the single chords so raw, the vocals messy and out of place, but at the same time you understand that if these guys were not musicians with 40 years of experience they could just not play this shit? The orchestral taste in which screams and solos are arranged are a bit like having GG Allin and the London Symphony Orchestra at the same time in some sort of deranged jigsaw that, ultimately and bafflingly, makes sense in the most disturbing way.

From the underground Death Metal perspective, these guys have been in there forever. They never had the big hype of Death or the worldwide recognition of Morbid Angel, but yet they are one of the proto-everything bands that just started the whole Death Metal concept (and in my opinion they’re still the band that better embodies it). They are the prototypical antonym of “derivative”. They took the ugliest parts of rock, metal and punk and sewed the rotting chunks with images of utter horror and sleaziness without just focusing on literature and movies, but digging deeper into the most nightmarish essence of humankind from the broadest spectrum. They had this vision in a time of primordial chaos when there was none. Autopsy is relentless, untainted and untamed horror in its purest form, that is, in other words, DEATH METAL.

That is basically what makes them so special: Autopsy is the alpha and omega of Death Metal, complete upon itself. They sum up EVERYTHING conceived in this corner of music. It’s like putting your whole collection in a slow juicer to remove all the fluff. I still believe you could have their records and nothing else on your shelf, and that still would be a respectable, flawless DM collection. 

Long Death the Kings.

Hateful Lyrics Dissected

Hateful seed inside me
Scald my mind of all but truth

So here is the first installment of a new category of posts called “lyrics dissected”. Most bands nowadays in the Death Metal world (more so on the Grindier side, less so in the Blackest side) barely write lyrics. Some however take their time to communicate something.

Hateful from Modena, Italy is one such band. Here is a long chat I had with Daniele and the lyrics of their latest full length album “Epilogue of Masquerade” (2013).

So let’s start from the conceptualization of the lyrics. Are the ones on the latest albums somehow connected? Is there a common thread?
No common threads, I touched many different themes and I think I’ll continue to write in this way… Each song has its topic. Inthe first album there were some tracks that were linked together but in “Epilogue of Masquerade” I had so many different things I wanted to write about that a concept album would have been a limitation, so to say.

The lyrics on the first song refers to the cover art? “The blackened blood flows into turbulent oceans” looks like it refers to the black liquid spilling from that circular dimensional gate. Did you get inspiration from some Dan Seagraveish illustrated nightmare and built lyrics upon that or on the contrary you first envisioned the lyrics and subsequently engineered the cover art? Abstracting the concepts to the limits, would it be possible to define all the lyrics of the album combined with just a couple of words? What does “Epilogue of Masquerade” refers to? Revelation? Of what?

You are right, but to be precise I wrote the lyrics first. Artifacts of the Damned is about the essence of the artistic creation in general, at least from my point of view. Visual arts are definitely a source of inspiration for the lyrics, as well as many other concepts more related to society or personal experience. I think I use a very “visual” style even when I thalk about society or more mundane things, the atmospheres are very important in our lyrics

Memory is mostly visual after all even if perception is a mixture of all senses, and then some more.

The title “Epilogue of Masquerade” does not refer to any of the songs in particular, It is a sort of “sum” of the overall atmosphere and the sense of “unveiling thruts and exposing inner deformities” that permeates the whole record

What’s the masquerade? Some sort of self-inflicted blindness humanity needs to safeguard its sanity?

Yes, the lies that keep us away from insanity probably.

Maybe a sort of “yang” that permits the existence of luciferian creativity? That brings us to the second track “Corrupting the Veils That Keeps the Mind Sane”

Yeah, the hidden side… Society uses the lies to mantain a sort of difficult order. I tried to dismantle this construct in our lyrics.

What if we needed these lies? Do you believe we can face a world of complete freedom
would that be auspicable?

What you find beyond the veil is not necessarily good or illuminating it could be scary and disturbing.

What moves you towards it then? Is it some spark of creation and divine consciousness?
Isn’t ignorance bliss?

This concept has been inspired by Mondrian‘s painting research… He gradually dissolved the veil and reached a world of primary colors, a totally abstract dimension.It leads you to a place of no emotions apparently. The lyrics arre the opposite.

Or maybe the apex of emotion is emotionlessness like the combination of colors is white.

He reached a place of violent colors and rumors…that’s probably because I did not go so far. It is possible I went deeper

Sounds like a circular reasoning, an endless struggle for higher conscience that peaks into non existence.

Yeah, that song is probably the faster and more aggressive of the album, I think the lyrics were appropriate

Is this higher search for the founding blocks of reality one way to be “Craving for dead ideals” (referring to track 3)?

“A despicable Harvest” is a more motionless track everything is static the ideals are futile, humanity is a solrt of product of an entity that feeds them to absorb its energy

God? As in the God of Jews.

I think it is a more “earthly” entity, the song has nohing sacred, it is a grey picture of reiterated gestures, hopeless stuff.

The fourth track “And there was light brought my attention to the fact that you use terms like obscure, glowing, light and dark several times in the lyrics. Maybe the album is a journey through an oscillating waveform of light and its absence?

Yes, the lyrics here are like paintings, very figurative…your interpretation is very interesting….there are songs that deal with daily stuff but it is the way they are written that makes them very “pictorial” and sometime inscrutable the fact you are giving interpretations that are very close to what I wanted to talk about is reassuring ehehehe
It once was light is about paranoid and the disgusting felings you experience after a traumatic experience. The loss, the sense of guilt and stuff like that.

Indeed every single lyric could potentially be illustrated.

True, It would be a very interesting project!

So absence of light leads to disgust and exhaustion. Light is therefore the light of the flame of creativity.

We could say that the light is the vitality, the will to expand yourself and create… the quest for immortality through art. As you said before it is closer to the luciferian concept of light.

Not just light but also sound and smell and every sense. Perception and experience as light. The promethean flame. On track five you mention “An unheard sound – Buried by the blanket that covers the mind”, another take on the lack of perception or it’s something else?

Breathing the Whirlwind is inspired by the cataclysms that led the life on earth close to the total extinction so many times in history….once again I used this figure of speech to reflect on all the the energies we spend on futile things on a daily basis

Hard to tell what is futile though.

Futile compared to the immense power of the universe of course.

Unless we can define futile as anything that sways ourselves from higher conscience.

Yes this is acceptable. The message once again is “create and leave a trace before it’s too late” ha ha ha.

You imply search for higher conscience is somehow nobler that experiencing and just taking maximum pleasure from every moment of our life, can’t I just sit and watch the universe unravel?

Of course these traces could be cancelled by events like that but you have to try. It is not my lifestyle, I never enjoyed being inactive and waiting to see what happens but I respect people that are calmer and take life easier It is not myself, and this is reflected on our music

Mammals’ vestibular system regulates balance through impulses sent to the spine, that brings us to other senses with “Instinct of the Carnivorous Mass”. When you mention vertigo.

IIt is a very “organic” text.

The space between senses as perception and sensations as feelings blurs
The lyrics on this one feel like a carnal urge to expand

I remember being inspired by John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. Yeah I’ve always been fascinated but the way those alien cells were able to mute form when needed in order to survive.

Some Yuzna and Cronenberg as well apparently.

It’s about the struggle to survive, the organisms on this planet are not here to give up without fighting. It is what we are forced to do all the day but there is also a negative and egoistic side.

Who is reawakened at the end of “Stillbirth”? Seems like the main subject is fading to nothingness and cold, but in the end he reawakens.

It is about the trauma of the birth.I remember reading something where they explained this incredibly brutal experience leaves unforgettable traces forever in our subconscious. A lot of nightmares and paranoids (as well as sexual deviations) we experience during our life could be linked to it

Let’s talk about Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Apparently it’s about concealing rage and hatred. Is it referred to a specific category of people?
You also mention revenants, is that hatred somehow justified revenge?

It is more about how negative feelings and hatred in particular changes the human habits and shape. This hate could come from the inside or could have been instilled by outer “forces”, like organized religions, groups of power. I Imagined a sort of architecture based on this…The “Ivory Tower” that appears in the end is the place from where this tentacular system irradiates its power. The revenants are this malicious energy’s servants.

Hatred could also be good fuel that can be channeled into positive acts however
It pushes you into action

Of course! It gives you a purpose and sometimes makes your mind sharper…Because it drives you to analyze things, the reasons why you hate that certain things and defines yourself.

Celestial Purification looks more visual. Do you think it will ever happen? Maybe it is the true purpose of Death?

I’ve always been intrigued by the geological time scale…the eons, the eras, the extinctions…I had this colored and pictorial image of a giant comet arriving and tearing the world apart. It is atrocious but also fascinating. The snow-white trail with ten thousand harpoons is a Moby Dick tribute. Him and the comet have something in common. They are so huge and relentless that their strength seems to be of a divine nature, every rational construct crumble under their impact.

Ravenous seems to alternate between a first person and third person approach. Is it about mutation and the loss of individuality in a process of externalizing one’s pain? Catharsis through torture?

Yes it partially deal with that. The individuality is lost because the protagonist was searching for answers, thirsty of knowledge, tormented by the aims. In this case the search drove him to a state of pure pain and the negativity rose to a level impossible to contain. Thus he became a sort of “evil generator” leaving to the reader the speculations about how many victims suffered from it.

A bit like the experience of Frank from Hellraiser: “explorers from the further regions of experience, angels to some, demons to others”. But where pleasure and experience is circular, instead of libertine lust, it’s about the impossibility to properly express one’s feelings.

Yeah, this frustration stagnates and creates demons…

Walking into a Nightmare envisions a desolate place crystallized in time where the fire of creation finally arrives. Is it the same driving force that the protagonist of Ravenous experiences?

Maybe a similar force but the scenario is different. Here we have a motionless, oppressive and reiterated reality that is suddenly overcome buy a crazy nightmare or daydream. It is not a totally negative development because at least a more colored world substituted the grey reality, even if it’s apparitions are scary and uncontrollable. The lyrics contains some images inspired by the Selby Jr‘ “Last exit to Brooklyn“, a true inspiration back in the days.

Regarding the last one, Bloodline
Is this line some sort of alien construct? Or it comes from the recesses of humanity?
And who’s this slumbering tyrant?

Ironically, I think your interpretation is correct…the “line” is a metaphore to describe oneself strong will to live following its own ideals and passions, no matter what. Doing that we become “aliens”, because society probably has other plans for us. The tyrant is the superstructure that you have to tear down (at least in your own mind) to avoid a passive enslavement. I was strongly inspired by my father’s life while writing this song, I hope I assimilated some of his precepts. The song is also one of the hardest to play in the entire record, I think It suits the lyrics very well.