Italy isn’t typically the first country I think of when the phrase "epic doom/death metal" is brought up. Typically, it’d be the England during the heydays of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, or Anathema or the icy northern reaches of Finland or Russia for bands like Thergothon, Skepticism, or Ea. Necropoli might change that perception for me, however.
Despite the no-frills album title of I (this being their first album), the music itself has multiple elements working within its soundscape. First are the dueling near-inhuman grunts of David Unsaved and Dario Fabiani. Then, there are the industrial/electronic flourishes punctuating the forboding atmosphere created within.
You get this right out of the gate. The opening track, Ashes of My Soul starts off with a crying baby, then some black metal-esque picking kicks in, followed by the crushing vocals. At the three- and eight-minute marks, the guitars and drum morph into a slow, pounding rhythm that has to be one of the heaviest riffs I’ve heard in a long time.
Inner Space, meanwhile, starts off with an almost techno-like dance beat before it explodes into a blasting tempo and more of that blackened tremolo. The assault on your senses continues until around the seven-minute mark where it breaks into a quiet acoustic bit complete with ocean waves in the background. Don’t get too comfortable, though, because ninety seconds later, the aural assault beings anew.
More of the same complexity and tempo variance can be found on A Step and Silence Awaits Me. The latter is a seventeen-minute epic that probably resembles traditional funeral doom the most. That’s not to say there aren’t fast bits within, but the song is in no hurry to get there.
The fifth and final track, Curriculum Vitae is the only sub-ten-minute song on the album. As such, it is primarily an electronic atmospheric piece with distorted whispered vocals layered over the music. Granted, it creates a haunting effect, but I think this should have been either the album opener or a lead-in for another song. It just makes for a weird closing considering the powerful doom/death the other four tracks contained.
Overall, this is an excellent album. If the final track had been either removed or used elsewhere, I’d have given this the full 10/10, but for a debut album from an independent band, I can’t fault them too much. The skill of the musicians and the production are top-notch, and I’m definitely looking forward to listening to more of these Italian soul-crushers in the future.
Special thanks to Transcending Obscurity PR for the complementary review copy.