If you have not yet heard a note of music from the Italian band Formalist, there are still ample reasons to expect that Formalist will be formidable. Four reasons, to be more precise: Their vocalist is Ferdinando Marchisio, frontman of Forgotten Tomb; their bassist Nicola Casella and drummer Riccardo Rossi (also in charge of electronics) come from Malasangre; and guitarist Michele Basso has been the central figure in Viscera///.
One would expect that an alliance among those four would produce an amalgam of doom, black metal, sludge, and ambient/drone capable of opening “new gates to total sonic horrors”, “with a completely hostile, nihilistic approach to vocals and lyrics” — just as the labels who will jointly be releasing Formalist’s debut album on March 16th have claimed. Those labels are Third I Rex (UK), Wooaaargh (Germany), and Toten Schwan Records (Italy). The name of the album is No One Will Shine Anymore.
Yes, these are completely legitimate expectations. But we will see for ourselves whether they prove true.
There are three songs on the album, and only three. They are, if nothing else, certainly formidable in their lengths:
1. Arson 11:20
2. Foul 16:44
3. Mainlined 11:33
As you have guessed by now from the title to this post, we are sharing with you the first of those tracks, the first head of this monstrous musical Cerberus — “Arson“.
Oddly, there is a strange kind of warmth to the tone of the cascading riffs in the song’s opening, though upon further reflection they might sound like swarming flies feeding in a mass grave. There is, however, no warmth at all in Ferdinando Marchisio’s wretched, jugular-exploding cries or the rhythm section’s slow, methodical cudgeling of your neck.
But this is only the first minute and a half of the experience. What follows includes slow, spectral strumming and picking, accompanied by agonized gasps; stomping, dirge-like marches alongside a python-thick riff that coils its way around the listener’s neck and slowly squeezes; feverish lead guitar emanations that smell of anguish; mind-warping chord contortions; more terrifying vocal expressions of torture and despair; and an increasingly foreboding atmosphere, as if the curtain is slowly rising to reveal the apocalypse.
The music is crushingly bleak and oppressive, and it also has powerful narcotic properties. It’s made for the slow, lurching headbang and for the spawning of waking nightmares. It is all you would expect, and more.
Toten Schwan: https://totenschwan.bandcamp.com/album/tsr-90-no-one-will-shine-anymore
Third I Rex: https://3rdirex.bandcamp.com/album/no-one-will-shine-anymore