Profezia – Oracolo Suicida (Moribund Records)

Sunday, 23rd February 2014
Rating: 8/10

One does not need to have an understanding of Italian to understand the title of Profezia’s newest opus and subsequently have a fairly good handle on what they’re in store for once they probe its depths. Oracolo Suicida is a strings-laced work of depressive black metal, though not in the Forgotten Tomb-sense. That is, on a whole this work is much more akin to traditional black metal with blast beats aplenty and a surprisingly meaty bass presence driving the works. It’s all dressed with strings (whether real or synthesized) and other classical instrumentation that makes for an often haunting experience.

Fortunately no time is wasted here as things launch immediately with nine-and-a-half minute title-track that showcases all of things mentioned above: the depressive melodies, the blast-beats, the unusual bass presence, and all the violin and string overlays. “Sacra Tempesta” is a shorter foray, closer in essence to more traditional depressive black metal, that is, a crawling tempo and sparse instrumentation aside from the wall of guitar and screeches. As the album unfurls, however, a great many memorable and even surprising moments come out of the folds. “Il Gioco del Parassita”, is a stellar late-album standout, bouncing between a pulsing blast draped in an almost surly violin and a searing funeral march overlain with decadent misery (yeah yeah, mouthfuls forever).

Depressive black releases are usually a dime-a-dozen due to the nature of their creation, that is, a guy recording in his bathroom and usually producing 2-3 albums of similar sounding work a year (ahem, notable examples exist). Such is not the case here, however, as Oracolo Suicida is a surprisingly well-crafted listen from start to finish, straight forward in some eras and legitimately ear-catching in others. If nothing else, it’s an open invitation to the dark and reason enough not to prematurely judge an album based on previous experiences. All hail the dark, all hail ending your life…who knew Italy was so dreary?

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