Movimento d’Avanguardia Ermetico, Torri del Silenzio, Avantgarde Music, CD AV259 (2015)
With a name like Movimento d’Avanguardia Ermetico, you’d expect this trio to aspire to very stellar heights. That seems true at least of “Torri del Silenzio” where 4 out of the 5 tracks on offer continue for 10 minutes and beyond. The band aims high with old 1990s-era equipment, playing a style of minimal raw BM heavy on Italian-language lyrics and striving for emotion, mood and intense drama through repetitive riffing and melodies. It’s as if MdAE are trying to draw out the essence of BM by looking back into its history and using what they consider the best elements of its past to create something relevant to the present and going forward as well.
After a short introduction of raw and searing guitar and questing vocals, MdAE launch into the first long track “Risonanza Originaria del Tremendo” which initially features plenty of fire and drama amongst the raw BM and melodic heavy rock influences. Technically it’s good – the musicians are a tight and consistent unit – but for most of its length the song coasts along on an even keel and springs few surprises. The following track picks up where “Risonanza …” leaves off and continues without developing much of a distinct melodic identity separate from the previous song. Most of the third track’s originality is in the vocals which are a mix of spoken word and grim BM rasping.
The guys keep going with “Sorge la stele e l’enigma” but again there’s hardly much to distinguish that song from its predecessors. There’ll be the brief acoustic passage with twinkly acoustic guitar but such interludes are so brief and so business-like that listeners may doubt their importance to the music and treat them as less than genuine. On to the final track which is also the title track and – well, surprise, surprise – this is not much different from what’s gone before.
The musicians try their damnedest but to my mind, they’re striving so hard to show how good technically they are and how they can use old instruments and equipment to play contemporary BM that they’ve lost sight of what good music should be; it’s not about how much songs can be padded out into epic works of art, it’s about expressing what the musicians feel deep inside and being able to communicate their feelings and point of view the best way they can with what they can afford. Limiting themselves to old instruments and a stripped-down minimal style of BM is all well and good but MdAE also need to pay attention to atmosphere (very much lacking here) and song composition (because the long tracks give the impression of being lost, unfocused, meandering and in dire need of editing).
I had such high expectations and I’m disappointed for MdAE that they did strive so much but fell so far distant in reaching for the stars.