Nov 3, 2012

Fuoco Fatuo - "33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale" ...

Fuoco Fatuo is the Italian phrase for that phenomenon known in English as “ignis fatuus” or “will-o’-the-wisp”, that bluish short-lived flames emanating from swamps, marshlands or cemeteries due to the combustion of methane or other gases from decaying organic matter. Although you can spot these pale flames also on modern-day waste dumps in the darkness (nowadays they are called “bio-gas”), invariably the “ignis fatuus” phenomenon recalls grim images of old cemeteries where the pale flames emanate from the soil over the tombs like restless souls. Or at least this is what metallers are inspired for …

Hence if a band adopts a name like this, well, the name says it all: you know what you possibly have to expect.  Fuoco Fatuo is a young, grim, unsigned Italian band from Northern Italy, Varese, that has been attracting quite some deserved attention as of late on webzines and cult underground magazines (Rumore) in Italy. The line-up involves Milo Angeloni on vocals and guitars, Giovanni "Ken" Piazza on bass (plus back vocals) and Fabrizio Moalli on drums.

This is not the first time I mention Fuoco Fatuo here at Doommantia. I had first evoked them when I wrote about a sort of trend, a “new wave”  in today’s Italian doom scene towards particularly obscure, vicious, slow and sickening sounds. There’s a growing circle of  nasty slow bands devoted to suffocating, tortured, sick, funereal blackened sludge doom metal, certainly more indebted to SunnO))), Corrupted, Disembowelment, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Morbid Angel and Italian keyboard-driven morbid horror doom/prog rather than to Saint Vitus or Paradise Lost. Some names already known here at Doommantia: SaturninE, Black Temple Below, Blood Red Water, Grime, … This is not a new phenomenon and not confined to Italy, obviously. Think about several monster bands declinating the most obscure and crushing sides of blackened doom-sludge metal: Hell, Thou, and Reclusa, as well as Bruja from USA, Meth Drinker, Baboon King, Open Tomb or Backward Zombies from the southern hemisphere, the fierce Karcavul and Cult of Occult from France, Moloch from UK, etc …In spite of being a sludge-doom band with guttural vocals, Fuoco Fatuo had started playing with a rather groove-laden doom style although their sound, especially when seen live, was a bit like a volcano which is ready to blast. In the early gigs and in the fine debut self-titled EP inspired by Dante’s epic poem about Hell, Milo’s vocals have always been too deeply roaring, too dark, too tortured, and the riffs too painfully distorted and dragged for finding an adequate expression in stoner-doom realm.

An energetic steer towards frankly more daring, obscure, occult and crushing , when not insane sounds probably resulted from Fuoco Fatuo’s professional interaction with extreme prog/blackened drone-ambient multi-instrumentalist Adamennon, a.k.a. Adam van Maledict, and his impressive recording/mastering laboratory SFR Studio located in the woods on the mountains near Parma, in North-Central Italy.  And Fuoco Fatuo’s new EP with its paranoic title, “33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale” (that means “33 blows of astral schizophrenia”), is the first present of this fruitful wicked collaboration.  The EP includes three rather long tracks summing up to almost 20 minutes: Abisso (= abyss), Vuoto Nero (= black void) and the eponymous suite 33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale as closing track. The “Abyss” where Fuoco Fatuo are welcoming you is nothing less than scary. Obsessive drumming and sick riffs are coupled with Adamennon’s synth sounds into the black, mind-warping psychedelic vortex that opens the track and dominates it with its nightmarish dynamics. The horrific hypnotic trip is periodically broken by the invasion of doom-death darkness driven by deeply downtuned, plodding riffs and gruesome growling vocals. Growling singing occasionally interacts with the evil black metal-styled screams colonizing the dynamic vortex in a sort of scary dialogue between lost souls at the gates of Hell. A final, occult touch is given by the overwhelming introduction of keyboards. Atmospheres were already dark and wicked: with Adamennon’s sepulchral keyboards we know that the gates of Hell in your nightmare are open right in the middle of an old, foggy, mossy cemetery …

Track “Vuoto Nero”, Black Void, is fierce and painfully opened by a dragged monotonic howl of guitars, drums and cymbals which will make you hold your breath in expectance. Expectance of something evil or just sick … The powerful, almost martial  drumming will lead the entrance into the “black void”, the core of the suite. The leading suffocating melody is developing around a sinister, distorted cyclic riff which is either slowed down into gloomy, funereal invocations, or else accelerated by frantic excursions into crusty, raw black metal. The double vocals, deeply growled and hellishly screamed, are often coupled and howl like hyenas made crazy by blood over a fresh corpse.  The final track, the paranoic slab “33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale”, opens by means of a huge and strained wall of noise where the incredibly audible pulsating bass line acts like the pale flame leading you out of this noisy chaos into … darkness! Doomy darkness again comes via that slow, occult hypnotic melody built up by the oppressive repetition of the cyclic crushing riffs already heard in the previous track Vuoto Nero. But here guitars and keyboards are coupled into majestic and tremendously occult, morbid atmospheres smelling of incense and rotting bodies.

Moreover, in this impressive suite guitars possess a wide spectrum of shades and sounds ranging from deeply roaring when strongly downtuned, to icy-cold and almost “acid” in the buzzy post-metal-like ossessive wall of noise, and even to groove-laden fuzzy Sabbathian distortions. The latter surprisingly pop up where the band indulge into some hot swampy sludgy diversions just before the end of the suite. Roaring doom-death sounds will bring darkness back before silence will swallow everything like a black hole.  The production of this EP is amazing for the sick, murky and chilling “old”, raw flavour that Admennon’s taste and skills in elaboration of sounds are able to create. Raw sounds exalt distortions but, at the same time, maximum care is given to the contribution of each instrument or musician. This allows you, for example, to pick bass even out of walls of feedback and to impart a tri-dimensional characted to the overall sound. Adamennon’s contribution to the EP is also as guest musician with keyboard and synth for materializing the common love for retro- and extreme prog and experimental music shared with the band’s members.
Fuoco Fatuo are quite active gig-wise and shared the stage with Eyehategod, Kylesa, Ken Mode, Circle Takes the Square, Saviours, Planks, Aesahaettr, Thantifaxath, Gottesmorder, Black Temple Below, Grime, Saturnine, Shinin’ Shade, Agatha, etc.

Tracks Abisso and 33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale are also included in the split with Black Temple Below. The band is busy preparing their debut full-length album (ready in 2013) and is looking for a label for producing it. And those who saw or are going to see this valuable young band live in these autumn-winter months will be able to hear some of the gut-tearing new tracks during the shows. Fuoco Fatuo’s EP “33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale”, as well as the debut self-titled EP, are available on Bandcamp. Solid CDs, and probably still some copies of the cool limited edition, hand-painted poster with the logo of the band, are available by contacting the band.
The dark, suffering age of Fuoco Fatuo has started …

Words: Marilena Moroni


Fuoco Fatuo - Vuoto Nero (official video)

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