After a fleeting appearance at the beginning of the century with the interesting demo Utopia: A Winternight’s Traveller, finally arrives the first long-distance work of Ars Onirica, solo project of Alessandro Sforza, engine also of the excellent Invernoir. I: Cold is a work that masterfully combines the teachings of Scandinavian and Italian melodic black doom, for which the inevitable reference point is Forgotten Tomb. If the references to the historical Piacenza band are at times quite obvious, it must be said that everything happens through a very fresh and effective reworking in every part, with the result of putting on the plate a series of tracks dragging and intense thanks to the ability to make particularly accessible a sound that has its roots in the extreme. The album, in fact, is not at all monolithic or obvious in its unfolding, because the Roman musician does not give up the inclusion of slowdowns of purely doom matrix, as well as passages more rarefied or acoustic that have the advantage of never breaking the tension. If, then, the good immediacy of the songs can suggest a relative depth of work, in fact, repeated listening does not lessen the impact and prove, indeed, necessary to appreciate the frequent changes of pace and scenery. So it is that songs like In Between and Dust stand out as likely workhorses in live performances, thanks to an overwhelming rhythmic impact, while the two central tracks La Nave and In Gloom exhibit different stylistic facets ranging from references to the inescapable Katatonia to push near a post-black sometimes dreamy, but always and in any case imbued with a consistent emotional impact; Cold… is, instead, a short and suggestive ambient episode that is the ideal introduction of the already mentioned and disruptive Dust. The magnificent final track, The Loss, deserves a special mention, as it can be rightly defined as the track with the most doom traits included in the album: also here Sforza shows his familiarity with all the darker sides of metal, exhibiting more melancholic and painful sounds. Even if at a distracted listening the references to the already mentioned bands could immediately stand out, it’s only with the proper deepening of the content of I: Cold that you can fully understand the value of this magnificent first long-distance work of Ars Onirica, another band that joins an Italian scene contiguous to doom that seems to find lately great momentum and new protagonists.

2019 – BadMoodMan Music