If you’re not fluent in Italian and feel the urge to resort to google translate, we’ll save you that step: Un feto schiacciato senza tre falangi, the name of Scheletro‘s new album, means “A crushed fetus without three phalanges”.
That’s a grim and gruesome image to contemplate, but it’s just a hint of the traumatic nature of the album concept as a whole, which is described as a narrative “in which rebellion against patriarchy ends in suicide, social emancipation is humiliated by sexual blackmail, revenge is swept away by repression, and perversion is sublimated into necrophilia”.
How Scheletro tell this harrowing tale through their music is a tale all its own, one in which the group bring together ingredients of traditional Italian old-school hardcore, D-beat crust punk, and strands of old school death metal and thrash. The results are bleak, punishing, and emotionally moving, but also explosively wild and exhilarating.
Scheletro kick the doors of the album wide open with the ferocious rampage of “Il vizio di vivere“. The riffing quickly banishes both comfort and sanity, braying and boiling in tones both bleak and berserk, with enough abrasion in the sound that it scours like steel wool.
The vocals and the drumming are, if anything, even more maniacal. The former scalds with its raw, howling fury, the latter is impressively agile and obliterating, and both go as fast as rockets. On top of all that, the band throw in a mad, swirling and screaming guitar solo. Underneath it all, there’s a heavyweight bass that causes the music to slug even harder.
You’ll learn from just that first song that vocalist Lo Scheletro is not only able to rabidly bark the words at breathtaking speed, but he also throws in sudden changes, even coming close to singing for a few words, and the doubling of the vocals in gang yells gives the song even more hardcore punch — but the track packs a vicious punch in any event.
“Il vizio di vivere” also sets another template for the album. It’s not just fast, it also flies by quickly. Faithful to its crust punk and grindcore influences, it’s not fancy or pretentious, and it doesn’t waste any time, but despite the swiftness of the barrage it manages to get its meat-hooks in the head.
The remaining tracks incorporate the same fundamental ingredients, including the quickly addictive hooks, but Scheletro don’t wear out their welcome because the music is so damned electric. The songs are almost relentlessly crazed, the drumming continues to be thoroughly exhilarating, and the vocals are so completely unchained yet so varied in their expressions of flame-broiled passion that they’re startling all the way through.
To quickly understand what a head-spinning trip this is, just jump from “Il vizio di vivere” to “Se respirare servisse a qualcosa“, where the gritty singing plays a key role, along with a bounding bass line and pulse-pounding drum patterns. It almost feels like a joyous peasant dance, almost as “folksy” as it is punk. On the other hand, “L’accollo sei tu” sounds like a jet-fueled episode of mauling heaviness, frenzied despair, and crushing agony.
Those kinds of changes within the album aren’t the only ones, which is why it’s tough to wander away from the album once you dig into it. By the end, you come to “Né acceso né spento“, the longest track and the biggest change. There, the tempo finally down-shifts, and utter hopelessness descends.
In that closer the vocals are frequently as insane as ever, but they also segue into true singing (sorrowful and soulful singing, at that), and the chords groan, drag, and wail in ways that saturate the mood in pain. In both its sound and its emotional resonance, it’s probably the heaviest track on the record.
And with that, we’ll leave you to our premiere of the complete album stream:
Un feto schiacciato senza tre falangi will be released on September 22nd by Time To Kill Records, in conspiracy with Hellnation Music. In describing the music they drop hints of Wolfbrigade, Negazione, Cripple Bastards, and Martyrdöd.
It’s available for pre-order now: