Devoid Of Illusions is the best debut record I have heard in quite some time. The Brescians (EchO) are yet another precious stone that, with its usual foresight, Solitude Productions (via the BadMoodMan sub-label) launches into the worldwide doom scene; although, in fact, simplistically enclosing them within the genre seems reductive. In fact, ours, while clearly moving within the purview of the Orel (Russia)-based label, manage to provide their sound with a range of nuances and influences ranging from the most classic gothic doom to a dark-toned progressive. Such a project succeeds to perfection thanks to the band’s undeniable technical abilities and to a vocalist like Antonio Cantarin, who is able to switch with ease from the most catacomb-like growl to evocative clean vocals devoid of any smears. In a picture of this kind, the classic icing on the cake is constituted by a production that makes the most of the album’s sounds by an authentic sacred monster of doom metal, namely Greg Chandler, mastermind of Esoteric. In Devoid Of Illusions everything works to perfection, each track possessing an imprint that makes it memorable and distinguishable from the others, although we are certainly not talking about music that is easy to grip. After all, precisely what at first glance might be the weak point of the work, namely the stylistic heterogeneity that also manifests itself within the individual tracks, actually ends up proving to be the added value given that the alternation between atmospheres seemingly discordant with each other magically takes place in a completely natural and spontaneous way. Taking a look at some of the tracks, The Coldest Land lives on the alternation between delicate arpeggios close to Katatonia and an irresistible guitar melody marked by an impetuous growl, while Omnivoid is characterized by a very heavy riff that suddenly dissolves to leave room for sounds close to depressive metal. Disclaiming My Fault is another of the album’s many gems, a track that starts out with a Porcupine Tree-esque prog feel that is transfigured in the finale by furious death metal; Once Was A Man, on the other hand, stands out as an exception in the context of the album since, if like the previous track it initially moves into territories contiguous to Steve Wilson’s band, it ends up flowing into passages worthy of Disintegration‘s The Cure; in summary: splendid. Sounds From Out Of Space closes the work in a great way with the participation of Greg Chandler himself who, with his voice and guitar, inevitably ends up exoterizing the track, but this is certainly not a bad thing, on the contrary. Precisely the contrast between the somber funeral doom introduced by the distinguished guest and the characteristic post-metal openings that, by the end of the album, we have come to know and appreciate, stands as a symbol of the entire work and demonstrates how talented (EchO) makes it natural for seemingly incompatible sounds to coexist. There is not much more to add, except the exhortation towards those who love good music (not only metal) so that they support this magnificent homegrown reality. There exists, although little publicized, a different Italy from that of the schettini, the court jesters and all those sleazy figures that traverse the country; (EchO) are here to prove it to us.

2011 – BadMoodMan Music