Somnent – Gardens from Graves

Another nice surprise of this 2021, now entered in its full autumn phase, is the second full length of Somnent, solo project of Giovanni Antonio Vigliotti, American musician despite name and surname indicate probable Italian origins. If Sojourn (2017) was already an excellent work in which the Orlando guy was at his best with a refined and atmospheric death doom, the new Gardens from Graves shifts the sound in a decisive way towards an intimism that, in the preponderant semi-acoustic parts and with clean singing, is halfway between Antimatter of Leaving Eden and Clouds, which Vigliotti approaches when he uses, altough with a certain parsimony, the growl in the most robust and dramatic passages of the work. All this serves to provide an address to those who want to approach this beautiful work, because the bands brought as an example serve as a reference and not as models to be copied slavishly; moreover, Giovanni has a magnificent and expressive clean tone that allows him to make this turn without running into the typical accidents of those who improvise certain choices without having the necessary skills and expertise. Obviously the label doom death that accompanies Somnent should be put aside immediately to avoid misunderstandings: here we are faced with dark sounds with almost songwriting traits that acquire the right of citizenship in metal only rarely. I don’t know if this landing is definitive or a contingent fact, but personally I was really impressed by the work of Vigliotti, just because by doing so he frees himself with decision from the plethora of bands dedicated today with mixed fortunes to melodic death doom; of course, I’m biased, since I can’t deny that the previously mentioned Antimatter album is my favourite among those released by the great Mick Moss, but I can guarantee that songs like Silhouette and Blackened Heart (with the contribution of Jari Lindholm’s lead guitar) would have found a place in that tracklist without any forcing. On the other hand, even when he does roughen up the sound, it never becomes extreme and here, in addition to Daniel Neagoe’s creature, there are also reminiscences of Novembers Doom from the mid-00s. The synthesis of all this is that Gardens from Graves is a splendid album, in which the two acoustic bonus tracks (including a new version of the already not so electric Fragments) do not disfigure even if, to be incontentatious, I would have preferred that the work closed with the intense notes of Withered to a Shadow, together with the title track and Acquiescence, one of the tracks that can perhaps be defined as doom death in its own right, although imbued with a superb and melancholic melodic afflatus. But it’s really a matter of looking for the nit in the egg in a clear and evocative album as it is rarely possible to listen to.

2021 – GS Productions