Five years after our last premiere of a song by the Italian band Formalist we have been granted the opportunity to make another one.
Five years ago the occasion was the impending release of their debut album, No One Will Shine Anymore, which contained three massive tracks that were relentlessly multi-faceted and engrossing, yet also ruthlessly created waking nightmares.
Today the occasion is another impending album release, this one named We Inherit a World at the Seams, which will be out on May 25th via Brucia Records. It too consists of three epic-length tracks, collectively totaling 44 minutes of harrowing sound, and today we’re premiering the one that’s fittingly called “Monument“.
photo by Marta Piroli
Once again, the formidable lineup of Formalist includes vocalist Ferdinando Marchisio, frontman of Forgotten Tomb; drummer Riccardo Rossi from Malasangre; and guitarist Michele Basso, a the central figure in Viscera///. Here they are joined by bassist Marcello Groppi.
And once again, as you will discover, Formalist draw upon multi-faceted musical elements to craft this particular musical monument, including doom, sludge, black metal, and drone. But ticking off the genre boxes doesn’t really suffice to sum up what happens or the reflexive reactions it will produce in listeners.
Brucia Records describes the new album as “a monumentally nihilistic record… here delivering some of the heaviest, most cacophonic and gloomiest Doom / Sludge Metal around, and featuring layers upon layers of rumbling noise, shrieking guitar feedback and desperate howls singing the end of a dying world”. The lyrics are described as “a first-person account tackling themes such as darkness, despair and social unrest, and narrating the world’s downfall with an hallucinatory and yet detached style”.
photo by Marta Piroli
With respect to the song we’re presenting today, Formalist have told us this:
“The song is probably our favourite on the record because it’s the sum of our sound; it’s crushingly heavy but there’s a lot going on, from the spoken word intro to the eerie mood of the last section, which also features the portion of lyrics from where the title of the album comes. Speaking about lyrics, they’re obviously quite abstract and apocalyptic as usual; I like to play with words to portray the confusion of current society, which sees an enormous culture clash with people hating each other and a widespread misinformation, while the world agonizes in the throes of its meltdown.”
“Apocalyptic” is a good word for “Monument”, but this musical apocalypse unfolds in phases. Slow, gloomy, and agonized in its sounds at first (when those spoken words are announced), the music grows increasingly abrasive and unnerving. The vocals are terrorizing in their strangled and screaming intensity, the drums plundering, the bass a heaving horror, the dissonant guitars both cruel and wailing, twisted and tormented.
As we say in the trade, “Monument” is not for the faint of heart. When the guitars convulse in tremolo’d feverishness, they drop us into a boiling acid bath. When they clang and reverberate, it’s as if ruined humans have been molded into ruined funeral bells. When they rake and claw at mutilating levels of distortion over lurching and earth-quaking grooves, they leave no signs of hope.
Paradoxically and perversely, the experience at times is capable of becoming hypnotic, but overall it’s so frightening that the spell is a very disturbing one, frequently interrupted by experiences of crushing might, paralyzing malignancy, and mentally lacerating pain. At the end, it sounds like freakish sirens going off, not a warning to take cover but a herald that the apocalypse has become complete.
We Inherit a World at the Seams was recorded and mixed at Elfo Studio in Italy by Alex Lizzori and Formalist. It was mastered at Elfo Studio by Daniele Mandelli.
Brucia Records will release the album on 6-panel digipack CD format, and digitally. They recommend it for fans of Khanate, Corrupted, Teeth of Lions Rule The Divine, and Grief. Check the links below for more info — and then be sure to immerse yourselves in the horrors of the previously released album track “Warfare“.