Tag Archives: Italy

Tales of the Bugaboo

Review: Tales of the Bugaboo – Eating Children Disorder

I’ve been listening to this album for close to two weeks now, and only now do I feel qualified to analyse and review it, such is the depth of the music on offer here. Even after countless listens, sometimes something new jumps out. At first it may seem like a very difficult listen, but if you persevere, you’ll come to realize it’s nothing short of spectacular. Big call when it’s the debut album from a relatively unknown band from a country that always has something on display.

Eating Children Disorder

What this album has that sets it apart from the majority of ‘melodic’ and ‘technical’ death metal these days is the atmosphere it conjures up. “Eating Children Disorder” is a bleak, vitriolic and ugly album, with a brilliantly dark atmosphere, something which is often missing from death metal these days. Tales of the Bugaboo may have the technique and musicianship, but it’s not the primary focus here. The brooding riffs, the hard-edged, suffocating production, acidic vocals, compelling guitar solos and crushing drum barrage combine to produce a sound that’s like no other band.

Speaking of the riffs, there is some amazing guitar work here. It’s not particularly flashy, but it will get stuck in your head. There are a lot of riffs on this album, the songs are very linear and don’t repeat passages very often. You won’t get bored in a hurry. The tend to mix up, harsh, dissonant patterns with passages of eerie dark melodies, the tranquil moments provide a good contrast to the fury that tends to be unleashed shortly after. Backing up the guitar work is a stellar drum performance. Riki’s drumming is technical, interesting, not to mention fast as fuck! He doesn’t blast a whole lot, but tends to use furious double kick and awesome cymbal work to create immense walls of sound. His cymbal work tends to complement the riffs a lot, following the same patterns, it’s a technique I’ve not heard all that often and one I’ve grown to enjoy. Naza’s vocal performance is nothing short of outstanding. His frenzied howls are the perfect compliment to the savagery of the drumming and guitar work, and convey a real sense of hatred and anger, something that ridiculous gutturals and pig squeals can never do. He does mix it up too with more typical growls and lower pitches, but in pair with cleans, his voice is a killer combo. Freaky Fred’s bass playing is lively and precise, he is audible and easy-to-notice.

If you are tired of the amount of sterile, clinical technical metal bands and are looking for something with a killer dark atmosphere, full of real passion, how prog death metal should be, then give Tales of the Bugaboo a listen. It may take a while to appreciate, but I guarantee if you stick with it you will not be disappointed.

Asymmetric Universe - Band

Review: Asymmetric Universe – When Reality Disarticulates

Like the supercollider, Asymmetric Universe seek to smash two dissimilar things together and see what the results are. Naturally, and experiment by mad scientists and composers coming from the home of La Vecchia Signora (google it!) to combine jazz fusion and metal into one would of course create some explosive outcomes. Not to mention some pretty phenomenal musical pieces.

“When Reality Disarticulates” is a debut EP by Asymmetric Universe, and it’s here now and ready to take you to unparalleled heights. Look to the skies: that is where the trio is going to take you.

For a totally instrumental release, this thing is four tracks of expansive, experimental and wholly gripping fusion music. Take EP opener “Trees Houses Hills” for a fine example: starting off so minimally, guitars and cymbals meekly registering their presence in the room before their flamboyance bounds forth from them with a burst of self-confidence.

When Reality Disarticulates

If there is one enduring thing to take away from listening to this release, it’s that experimentation is the key to success: be it “Hermeneutic Shock’s” flowing, flying musical escapology, “Off the Beaten Track” Holdsworthian chemistry, or “The Clouds Passing By’s” otherworldly, ethereal ambience leading to space explorations. Everything on show here is made to play with the musical form and to evoke a response from your mind. And Asymmetric Universe’s music is what makes you want to explore.

My pick would have to be the third piece “Off the Beaten Track,” clocking in at some six and a half minutes. It’s frantic, for one thing: everyone is really laying down some serious licks on this, striving for the very best in their playing abilities and pulling it off with aplomb. Masterful work and a treasure for any fan of the indefinable yet oddly marvelous.

To say what Asymmetric Universe have done is prog is inaccurate; to say that it is metal is too vague. Rather, they have thrown into “When Reality Disarticulates” all their passions, excitements and inspirations and cooked up something that is beyond compare. This is music without boundaries, without barricades and without limits.

The EP is available from Bandcamp. Follow Asymmetric Universe on Facebook and Instagram.

Monolithic Elephant

Review: Monolithic Elephant – Monolithic Elephant

Mothership is a ‘70s hard rock-influenced, blues-based, heavy rock band. The band’s self-titled debut release is a 66-minute journey back in time with a focus on the bass, drums and guitar, along with the vocals. Monolithic Elephant is a three-piece outfit, hailing from Milan in Italy. The band is comprised of singer/guitarist Andrea Ravasi, singer/bassist Alessandro Riva, and singer/drummer Santo Carone.

Monolithic Elephant album art

Monolithic Elephant harkens back to when music was pure and heavy, not watered down. The band opens the album with “Moloch,” which intro is over a minute of ambient/atmospheric sounds, followed by a very Sabbath-inspired, heavy and plodding tones. With the following 2-song suite “The Unbaptized and the Virtuous Pagans,” the album inevitably falls under the heading “mostly instrumental” for its extended jam sections, but it’s worth noting that when there are vocals they come on with structure behind. The song continues the heaviness, but the tempo kicks it into another gear, energizing the song. The band often flirts with heavy psychedelic rock, as well as prog, but tunes remain to be rooted within the heavy genre. Monolithic Elephant don’t feel by any means tied to a formula, and drummer Santo Carone has his work cut out for him keeping the jams tied to the ground throughout the album. To his credit, he does, and even at these songs’ farthest out, there’s something for listeners to hold onto. It’s part of the overall balance that Monolithic Elephant seem to have a natural hold of, between stoner rock, jam and psych.

“Drawing Minds” opens with a classically inspired guitar intro that is very surreal and tranquil, showing off some dynamics in the confines of the music. That doesn’t last long before the heavy riffs kick in and hammer you. While the riffs are dark, heavy and ‘70s-inspired sludge, the solos are anything but sludge. Rooted in pentatonic, Ravasş showcases fiery chops that slide into more traditional rock soloing. Being a three-piece, the bass is present in the mix. Alessandro Riva has moments in the spotlight in which his chops are the focal point.

Monolithic Elephant unloads with a debut album that captures the energy of rock in a stripped-down sonic landscape. The riffs are heavy and crushing. As a three piece, Monolithic Elephant fills the room with sound. While the band could be considered a “jam” band, there is a method to the madness, and the trio showcases raw skill and ever-expounding energy.

althea

Interview with ALTHEA

Althea is a progressive metal quintet from Milan in Italy. The band defines their mission as “developing a free-of-schemes progressive metal rock,” and fans of the genre will have an opportunity to hear that on their upcoming release titled “Memories Have No Name.” I talked with the band about the album and more, and here is what they had to say.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Great… we getting closer to another year end and closer and closer to the release of MHNN. We are really excited about it!

Speaking of new music, you have an album coming out in January. What can people expect from “Memories Have No Name”?

A journey into the inner self, an entertainment experience. MHNN is an album made of 1 song divided in 16 chapters, with a lot of introspective sections and a lot of different sounds.

From the musical perspective, it is of course a progressive rock/metal with dark atmosphere, tons of sonic layers but still with a lot of melody.

What was it like working on the album?

It was awesome! We had amazing times and a lot of fun. It was also a lot stressful. For this album we followed a new approach to our music and we recorded the album by ourselves in our home studio. We then moved to MoonHouse studios in Milan with Danilo Di Lorenzo for mixing and mastering phases. Given this, we had a lot of additional work to be done on our own but the result is very satisfying.

memories-have-no-name_cover

Are there any touring plans in support to “Memories Have No Name”?

We are in the middle of the organization of the promotional activities, including trying to book as many live shows as possible. You know, the album is quite complex from a sonic point of view and it’s not the easiest album to bring live – we are working on it and we would like also to bring some visual accompanying to the music. Let’s see you far we can go!

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

We would really like to bring our music as far as possible, without geographical limits. We would probably be very curious to see the reaction of fans in countries like India, China, etc, where it’s not very common to see progressive acts. But we really love playing everywhere!

Who and what inspires you the most?

Our inspiration comes from a huge variety of sources and in the past years we’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff. Currently we are exploring more experimental and industrial sounds. To say a name, we can easily go for Nine Inch Nails now, or some solo work from Richard Barbieri as well.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Yes, of course. As said before we’ve grown up with different influences and with different favorite artists. Each one of us have different musical taste from avant-garde metal to alternative/indie rock passing through more extreme metal acts and traditional prog rock and all of our musical background in some way influences our songwriting and style. A very big common point in all our listening is for sure melody, and you can easily hear how this is reflected in our work as well.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Thank you for you time, it’s always a pleasure. We would like to take to opportunity to invite the fans to listen to MHNN as a single song, all in a raw. It’s something we really care of, and we would like the listener to have a journey experience, rather than skipping from one song to the other. Also, please always buy original music and support emerging acts!

We hope to see you soon!

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