The Undergrave Experience - _Macabre - Il Richiamo Delle Ombre - An Italian Horror Tragedy_
(Solitude Productions, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
This album had to be reviewed sometime, according to the unwritten law of reviewing-mostly-only-good-albums; and indeed, _Macabre_ is a natural contender for the best melodic funeral doom output of recent time, because it is so much like... Skepticism's music (with some Cultus Sanguine and Monumentum thrown in), but perhaps -- and I'm aware this is a bold statement -- even a tad better...

If you have ever wondered how an adequate Skepticism copycat would sound like, than The Undergrave Experience delivers the answer for you, big time. But The Undergrave Experience bears qualities Skepticism (especially the band's recent albums) lacks, making this Italian unheralded and excellent funeral doom project superior in some aspects. This one man project does it Italian-style, meaning the music incorporates all these theatrical and cinematic elements characteristic to the Italian modern underground scene (a warm yet raw sound, very dramatic yet cold, miserable yet larger-than-life sort of music) making it a perfect soundtrack for a second-tier Giallo B-movie of sorts (Dario Argento, anyone?), mixing English and Italian, growls and spoken verses, an ocean of keyboards, a conspicuous piano-sounding synthesizer, and those tragic, suspense-generating church organs distinctive to ultra melodramatic horror movies.

The music is constantly at climax, playing steadily at the very peak of the emotional and dramatic mountain, and the simple compositions are so ominous and wretched in their sweet, sinister yet melodic stupor, they in turn intoxicate and almost scare the living shit out of you, causing in the process an extreme sense of restless uneasiness, both mental and physical.

The album is divided into a couple of long tracks, written and performed exceptionally well by the apt living entity behind the project, namely Marcel; a couple of session musicians participate in the recording, performing the bass guitar as well as the drumming duties in their simple, minimalist and discrete way, rendering the music organic and powerful.

But definitely the main actor(s) on this theatrical stage of horrors, are the keyboards; Marcel thus has succeeded in creating one hell of an unsettling musical piece, in which the piano sound is the most sinister and dark an instrument of them all. Rarely do you encounter such a bizarre output, where funeral doom had been distilled and reduced into an almost all-piano-oriented performance, backed up by yet another array of synthesizers, beautiful and esoteric; a synergistic effect resulting in 43 minutes of magic, awe and terror... Highly recommended!


(article published 13/8/2012)

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