Tue 10th May 2016
3rd I Rex certainly know how to uncover the strangely brilliant. The label seems to dredge the European underground to retrieve the most inventive, counterculture bands it can. See recent records by The Nepalese Temple Ball and Sonance for proof. Here, in Abisso, they've delved to find a duo from Sardinia who seem to be carving their own mid-paced black metal niche.
Having a 'Wizard bent on tonality and a deathy approach to the vocals, the black metal sound comes from the windswept and bleak guitar lines that underpin the whole release. Simply five tracks named in numerical order, this is certainly a debut to ponder over. Overdubs bring in more layers than you'd expect from a duo and the production remains clear throughout. A little more harshness and lo-fi recording methods would have lifted this further than it carries itself. What it ends up being is a bit too close to death metal to have an impact in the way it perhaps wants to.
Identity crisis perhaps? These days, a blackened sound is one that gets instant attention, but these guys seems to want to cling on to more tangible and somewhat brutal roots. The endless double-bass abuse on I for example could grate on the average listener.
Stranger and more spine-tingling guitar lines and arresting vocals on the likes of III improve matters, there's a lost-in-the-forest mystery to the happenings here. There's even some scrambled time signatures in IV that keep you listening. This, combined with the barked vocals that talk of rituals, foreboding situations and generally sound delightfully evil means this is probably a release to really try and crack through multiple listens. There's a prism-effect here, look at it one way and you will miss other essential parts. Certainly a fantastic achievement for a duo to attain.