In their first two releases, a self-titled EP in 2014 and an album entitled II in 2016, the Italian band John, the Void explored conceptual themes rooted in science-fiction and visionary experiences. Their new album, III Adversa, follows a different path. As they have described, each track represents a different feeling, “based on a more-concrete sense of despair, where the human kind must face the irreparable sense of helplessness against the fate, the pain, the loss, the guilt, and the exhausting war to conquer a moment of peace”.
In manifesting such struggles through sound, the band have drawn upon ingredients from catastrophic sludge, post-black metal, and doom, with careful use of electronic accents. It’s not “easy listening”. Like the ever-present and immutable experiences of human existence that inspired these songs, they are instead intense, often harrowing sensations — but they’re emotionally gripping, like strong hands that have seized the back of your neck, forcing you to look at things you might rather not see but won’t be able to ignore for very long.
The song from the new record that we’re presenting today is “Cursed“. Its particular thematic focus is the moment of realization that something is broken and wrong inside of you. “And this shadow reveals itself in all its malice,” as the band tell us, “forcing you through a night of obscure rituals to exorcise it.“
From the music itself, it’s not clear that such rituals succeed. The band draw us into the song with a slow layering of sound upon sound. Over the foundation of an eerie ambient shimmer and the crackle of motion, moody yet gleaming chords reverberate, and a deep ominous hum surfaces. When they add the drums, it’s a mid-paced sequence of punishing detonations, and when the guitar joins in, the sound is shining and searing, but perhaps less searing than the disturbing impact of Marco Zanella‘s shattering shrieks.
As the immersive journey within the song continues to unfold, the music resonates with tension and anguish, and then desolation and gloom. The rapid oscillations of a guitar lead channel pain. And when the drum blows and the chords become slower still, and more widely spaced, the mood of the music descends into an apocalyptic abyss. And so, by the end, it’s not clear at all that this ritual of exorcism has been rewarded. What was broken inside may remain broken still.
III Adversa will be released on CD and digitally by Argonauta Records on April 5th. Check out “Cursed” below, along with a previously released track from the album, “Silent Bearer“.
2. Dark City Of Error
4. Silent Bearer
5. A Cold Becoming
7. A Permament Change