The first song on a new EP by the Italian band Magnitudo, and the first single from it released for streaming, is named “Monument“. As we wrote here when we first heard it, it proves to be a fitting title given the immensity of the sounds.
The band erect a towering wall of guitars above humongous pounding drums, and then they make the wall writhe as horrific roars and howls intrude. Bent on destruction, Magnitudo also inflict slugging jolts as the drums hammer the spine, and they also spin out sweeping waves of ominous melody and slowly slithering filaments of sonic poison that put the frighteners in the bloodstream while the band attempt to break every bone in your body.
And so with that one track Magnitudo don’t just demonstrate the worthiness of the song name, they make one wonder whether the EP’s other three songs create music of similar imposing magnitude. You’re about to get the answer to that question.
The name of the new EP is Scotoma, so named because the common thread of the tracks is “scotomization” — in their words, “the mental ability to delete and forget a trauma or an overwhelming event, the concept of exorcizing evil through various distractions – alienation, sex, death.”
Like “Monument“, the other three songs draw power from the kind of “wall of sound” characterized by the style of sludge and post-metal that a friend of ours calls “Cult of NeurIsis”. While that approach was also evident on Magnitudo‘s last album Men Against Fire from five years ago, the new EP represents significant change — emotionally darker, more abrasive, more obliterating, less reliant on ambient atmospherics and more reliant on visceral punch.
Undoubtedly, that’s partly the result of two-thirds of Magnitudo‘s lineup being replaced since Men Against Fire was released: Magnitudo‘s lineup on this new EP consists of founding vocalist/guitarist Dario, joined by drummer Marka (Mind the Gap, Officine Swartz) and bassist Danilo Battocchio (Last Minute to Jaffna, Tutti I Colori Del Buio). (In 2022, Zana (Kazamate, Pugnale, Dark Tennis, and session drummer for the Danish band Telos) joined the band as the permanent bassist.)
“The Healing” is the song on the EP that follows “Monument“. It reinforces Magnitudo‘s dedication to creating a musical amalgam of bone-smashing force and harrowing emotional intensity — ruinous and cathartic in more ways than one.
Despite the song’s title, the dense slashing and swarming riffage feels like the abrasion of heavy-grit sandpaper and it channels moods of desperation and defiance. Once again the band back that with bludgeoning and tumbling percussive tumult, heavyweight bass-lines, and raw, untamed howls.
In “The Healing” Magnitudo also imperiously fire up frenetic jackhammers for added punishment, and morph the slithering guitar-leads in ways that sound like debilitating illness or the fevers of madness. And once again, the music also towers.
The third song and the second advance single, “The Algorithm“, features Michele “Mike” Basso from Viscera/// providing screamed backing vocals as an extra layer of discomfort. “The Algorithm” also has jackhammering episodes which very effectively punch the listener’s pulse-rate, but the wailing chords and agonized leads make the song oppressive in its bleakness and wrenching in its transmission of pain, and its finale sounds like a paroxysm of despair — or rage.
Not surprisingly, there’s no diminution of intensity in the EP’s last song, “Rebirth“. The scale of the music is again daunting, maybe even more towering and sweeping in its distressing moods than what has come before, and the wailing tones of the vocals in this one, coupled with the stricken melodies and squirming leads, pull it deep into an emotional abyss.
But of course, the rhythm section also often sound like an avalanche in progress, or join in with the guitar to inflict pile-driving grooves that seem capable of fracturing concrete. It should also be said that there is indeed something triumphant in the way the song evolves, a furious rebirth in progress.
Scotoma was recorded, mixed and mastered by Danilo Battocchio, who has also been the sound engineer for Tons and Imperial Triumphant, among many others. The EP will be digitally released on September 22nd, and you can pre-order it now.