Australasia – Notturno
Italian multi-instrumentalist Gian Spalluto and his Australasia project have been slowly becoming more and more tremendous as the years have gone by. Spalluto introduced us to his dreamlike world with 2012’s Sin4tr4 EP and showcased his musical growth with 2013’s Vertebra full-length. Two years later, Spalluto shows he’s not done evolving with the release of Australasia‘s second proper full-length, Notturno. Clocking in at a modest 38 minutes, Notturno envelops the listener in an ocean transformative soundscapes and melodies. Towering post-metal riffs meld with saccharine melodies, shoegaze-infused black metal, post-rock sensibilities and colorful synths throughout this release. The album barrels forth triumphantly with the opening triptych of “Amnesia”, “Creature” and “Eden”. Each sprawling track shows Australasia‘s metal edge surrounded in shape-shifting, vibrant soundscapes. The songs are like an emotional struggle between melancholy and joyfulness, with the latter of which eventually winning and shining through perpetual darkness. Tracks like “Haxo” and “Nebulla” features Spalluto’s penchant for minimalist electronica. These songs use a variety of subdued synths and synthetic atmospherics to simulate tranquility. One of the surprising highlights of the record is its closing and title track. In contrast to the rest of the record, “Notturno” is a blissful and gorgeous piano piece that brings the album to a thoughtful close. Notturno is arguably the best work to come from Australasia to date. If Spalluto continues along the path he has laid out for himself, there is no telling what he will accomplish in the future.
Dalla Nebbia – Felix Culpa
Modern black metal takes pride in distancing itself from its corpse paint covered roots. Bands like Deathspell Omega, Wolves in the Throne Room, Deafheaven and others have taken the genre and turned it upside down with smiles on their faces. American black metal quartet Dalla Nebbia are another act who are poised to become another one of the genres innovators. Their new record, Felix Culpa, is a vibrant and storming journey into melancholia. With nearly an hour at its disposal, the titanic record unleashes 10 tracks of progressive black metal that morph in style throughout. Frostbitten black metal is at the core of this album with its arsenal of blistering, tremolo picked riffs and roaring blast beats. But the band lace these potentially demon summoning arrangements with shimmering, folk adjacent melodies and violin and other orchestral accompaniment. Cinematic post-rock interludes and glistening, King Crimson-esque prog rock nuances and minimal electronica are also sprinkled throughout the record. “Memento Mori”‘s neoclassical gorgeousness opens up Felix Culpa and bleeds directly into the moody “Until the Rain Subsides”, whose towering, ever changing instrumentation sets the tone for the rest of the record. The album unleashes fantastical composition after fantastical composition until it reaches its mighty climax with the nearly 10-minute “Paradise in Flames”. Although the album has quite a few choice cuts, some tracks appear to be derivative of each other and long-winded. These not-so-standout tracks pale in comparison to the rest of the record, causing a disrupt in the flow of the album. Felix Culpa isn’t perfect but it is a step in the right direction for Dalla Nebbia. With their complex, melancholic genre-defying compositions, Dalla Nebbia are destined to be a genre favorite.
Label: Ominous Domain
Release Date: September 18, 2015
Favorite Tracks: “Until the Rain Subsides”, Lament of Aokigahara” and “Paradise in Flames”
For Fans Of: Enslaved, Windir, Wolves in the Throne Room and Lifelover