Ecnephias – Inferno

Although guiltily late, it is a must to devote the proper space to what, in my humble opinion, was by far one of the best metal releases of 2011. Ecnephias, with a record like Inferno, try their hand at the arduous task of cracking the wall of indifference erected by the musical environment towards everything that is not conventional or reassuring; unfortunately, in a country increasingly hostage to the Sanremese caryatids and the breeding chickens of reality shows, an opening of credit towards those who manage to offer quality products pushed only by an independent label, a few willing webzines and the few specialized magazines seems increasingly unlikely. Of course, if Mancan and co. instead of Potenza had been born in Oslo or Helsinki, this work would probably sail in a good position in the sales charts of those countries and the driving pieces would pass with due frequency in radio and TV programs; on the contrary, in our little musical Italy, we are careful not to provide penetrating and provocative songs, such as A Satana and Chiesa Nera, with the opportunity to scandalize the well-thinking through the usual channels of communication. Yet Inferno possesses all that would be needed to make inroads even with a non-industry section of the public: for example, tracks of extraordinary emotional impact, marked by evocative melodies and embedded in a sonic fabric on par with such Mediterranean metal greats as Rotting Christ, Moonspell and Septic Flesh. In particular, Sakis’ band also serves as a reference with regard to the promiscuous use of the mother tongue and English, something, moreover, already experimented with in the previous Ways Of Descention but which, in this case, occurs even more convincingly and incisively, given the mastery with which the Italian lyrics are handled; proof of this is a song such as Chiesa Nera, included as a bonus track, which is much more effective than its anglophone counterpart In My Black Church. Ecnephias do not engage in lowbrow occultism; their lyrics often take their cues from such literary monuments as Carducci or Blake, moving with ease from moments characterized by sarcastic provocation to others charged with dark, bleak lyricism. Those who love the aforementioned bands cannot and should not ignore tracks such as A Satana (you absolutely must see the video), with its catchy refrain that you find yourself humming without realizing it (with all the possible consequences of the case), the enthralling Buried In The Dark Abyss, the magnificent Voices Of Dead Souls enhanced by a chorus as intense as few, the evocative Secret Ways, the poetic Lamia and the heretical Chiesa Nera. With an overall picture of such value what, then, prevents Ecnephias from reaching levels of notoriety more in keeping with their worth? Certainly no change is demanded of either Mancan or the excellent musicians who join him in the band; if anything, this should concern the musical and cultural context in which they are forced, despite themselves, to move: it may be true that nemo propheta in patria est but Ecnephias possess both the right attitude and the necessary talent to try to subvert this situation.

2011 – Scarlet Records