Italy is undoubtedly a fertile land as regards the more traditional doom, stoner or sludge, but it is much less so if we think of its variants death and funeral. In fact, there are few bands that have emerged with decision in recent years in this area (leaving out magnificent realities such as Plateau Sigma, (Echo) and Il Vuoto, thanks to stylistic variables that often go beyond the specific genre) and, among these, the best doom bands have not produced new material for several years (Ras Algethi, Consummatum Est): can only be welcomed with enthusiasm, then, this debut album of Raspail, Roman trio composed by musicians linked to prominent names of the Capitoline scene such as Klimt 1918, Room With a View and Novembre. If not even these bands can be fully catalogued as doom, at least in the most traditional sense of the term, they are however also the expression of a way of making music that has its roots in the darkest depths of the soul. With these premises, Dirge potentially presented itself as one of the best recent performances in the death doom field of the last years and, after repeated listening, we can safely say that the expectations were not disappointed, on the contrary: Raspail handle the material with the right inspiration, giving the songs a melodic aura that often goes to fish in post-metal areas, but always maintaining the connotations typical of the genre. A strong but never excessive riffing, often delicate harmonies and the scream (here for personal taste I would have preferred a deeper growl, but they are just details), sometimes bring the Roman band closer to a way of understanding the sound more akin to the U.S. school (Daylight Dies) than to the northern European one, which is inclined to offer sounds with a relatively more immediate impact, from an emotional point of view. Dirge, on the contrary, creeps slowly in the mind of the listener, who has to assimilate with due attention the nuances of a work in which the atmospheres, often, become suffused, almost rarefied (and here comes out the ambient post-metal component) in deference to the modus operandi of a Roma Obscura that, more and more often, characterizes definitely peculiar works. According to their authors, the album is the result of a long gestation from which it is assumed that nothing has been left to chance, and the results are tangible: here we find a continuous flow of sound, through which Raspail kidnap the listener from the first note of the magnificent The Wanderer until the amazing crescendo at the end of Et In Arcadio Ego, carrying him on the wings of melancholy along a virtual journey in the darkest places of the eternal city. To affirm that this is, by detachment, the best Italian death doom record of the last three years risks to be reductive, because Dirge is a work of absolute breath, with its inducing an emotional flow without peaks but constant, without ever giving in or concessions to brainless passages or that are not fully functional to the ultimate purpose of doom: to move first, and then drag in the deepest whirlpools of affliction until the final catharsis able to make at least acceptable the inevitability of fate.
2016 – Independent