(In this post Andy Synn sings the praises of the latest album by Nero Di Marte from Bologna, Italy.)
It’s inevitable, given how many albums are released each year, that some of them end up slipping through the cracks. Heck, I’m currently putting together all my year-end lists and finding – to my horror and shame – that we’ve accidentally overlooked a number of this year’s best albums, and simply haven’t given them the attention they rightly deserved.
So you see, even your superfluously talented writers here at NCS aren’t completely infallible.
Much like DGR’s recent write-up of the latest Goatwhore album, my review for Derivae has been sitting on the backburner for a while (though, thankfully, nowhere near as long!), while I’ve been searching for the right words to describe it… as well as the time and opportunity to put my thoughts down on digital paper.
Thankfully it seems that time has finally come, because the Italian quartet’s second album is easily one of the best, and most under-appreciated, albums released this year.
Darkly and dissonantly progressive, throbbing and pulsing with organic power, the band’s singular sound seamlessly melds awkward, animate angles and fluid, alien melodies, reveling in contrast and contradiction, crossing and obliterating genre boundaries as it adapts and evolves into ever more intriguing, ever more complex forms.
A calving morass of groaning, glacial heaviness, Derivae lives and breathes as one vast entity, periodically sheering off into separate (yet strangely and intimately inter-linked) songs that shudder and shiver and shatter under their own weight, forming and dissolving in alchemical permutations of crushing metallic noise and warped, esoteric melody, always dancing on the very edge of dissonance and chaos.
The album’s stark, serrated riffs and droning distortion combine to produce a devastatingly dense and anxiety-inducing atmosphere, where distorted tendrils of Death Metal complexity and pulsating, progressive patterns of rippling drums collide headlong with a raging firestorm of suffocating atmospherics and scintillating ambience in a kaleidoscopic explosion of light and shade.
Moments of eerie tranquility punctuate the tumult, breathing in darkness and exhaling twisted tangles of tension which slowly build to claustrophobic levels, transmuting sound into silence, stretching negative space towards the breaking point, before a torrent of elemental force rushes in to fill the void in an overwhelming flood of sound and fury.
As the album twists and contorts itself into ever more angular shapes, moving from eruptions of colossal, heaving heaviness to moments of seething serenity and calm, Sean Worrell’s gritty, pseudo-melodic roar cuts through the chaos and confusion like the howl of a wounded animal, anchoring the listener amidst the maelstrom of pure emotion that surrounds them.
Song after song, you can literally feel the band feeding off one another, combining and interacting, convulsing and reacting, building again and again towards critical mass, expected crescendos suddenly and shockingly imploding into a dense singularity of sound before exploding outwards once more in a violent surge of concentrated creative force, wavefronts writhing in tormented feedback loops, propagating and collapsing over and over and over again until it all just…
Leaving you breathless and barely able to process what you just experienced.
Utterly exhausting, intimately absorbing, and infinitely rewarding, Derivae is a truly immersive experience which can be held up proudly alongside the very best of what the metal scene has to offer.