The use of dissonant melody in black metal (and other genres) to build discomfiting atmospheres of tension, instability, and fear isn’t a new development, but that hardly means that all black metal bands who employ dissonance sound alike. Of course, significant distinctions can still be drawn based on a variety of other factors, including not only the degree of dissonance but also the ways in which it’s integrated with the numerous other ingredients that may find their way into the music.
The Italian trio Sangue Nero favor dissonant chords and unsettling melodies in the songs they’ve crafted for their debut album Viscere, but they’ve mixed them together with tribal and folk elements (including the use of a didgeridoo), a changing array of vocal expressions, and staggeringly heavy rhythms (among other ingredients) in ways that make Viscere a debut worth serious attention. As a first sign of the talents that Sangue Nero display on Viscere, we have the premiere of a track denominated “III“.
“III” vents a near-overpowering storm of sound, one driven by the rumble and thrum of a massive-sounding bass and by the rhythmic clatter of the snare and booming, somersaulting drum progressions. The abrasive squall and swirl of dissonant riffs and the twisting leads provide a sense of reality being warped, while the song’s changes of pace create alterations of mood — though all of the moods are unsettling. The music’s edge of derangement and peril is magnified by the changing vocals, which move between high, clean wails, scalding shrieks, and harrowing howls.
The music tears and it crushes. It’s frenzied and foul, dirge-like and oppressive, alien and disorienting. It’s delivered with assurance and power, and it’s very engrossing, as is the album as a whole (where other surprises lie in wait for the listener).
Viscere will be released both digitally and in a digipack CD edition by the UK label Third I Rex on July 23rd. It was recorded at Silos Recording Studio and was mastered by T in Florence.
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