Whether coming over as a flight of insidious beauty or an unrelenting erosive nightmare, a mix of both nearer the mark, Abisso the new album from Italian nose rock experimentalists OvO is an unforgettable intrusion on the senses and psyche. At times a seductive enmity and in other moments a compelling sonic pestilence, the duo’s new release is a corrosive rapture which if it bridges a connection makes for a riveting, imagination igniting treat. It is persistently an uncomfortable provocation but one which casts an enthralling spell on thoughts, luring them into making their unique interpretation of the narrative and its intent. The band conjures a listen which makes you work hard for its rewards but gives generously and incisively across its distraught and threatening Gehenna.
Consisting of vocalist/guitarist/bassist Stefania Pedretti and drummer Bruno Dorella, OvO has been a consistent antagonist on the boundaries of noise and sonic manipulation since forming in 2000. With a tempest of albums and singles behind them, as well as a wealth of collaborations and live performances around the world with the likes of Nadja, KK Null, Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke, Rollerball, Thrones, SubArachnoidSpace, Zenigeva, Lightning Bolt, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Estradasphere and many more, OvO now unleash their seventh studio album via Supernatual Cat, a scorched and scorching tempest which draws on the darkest malevolent shadows from the mind and emotions.
Abisso opens with a peaceful coaxing as first song Harmonia Microcosmica sends cascades of crystalline melodic enchantments down on the ears, their celestial touch inviting yet cast in a caustic breath. Punchy beats offer a little feistiness to the mix as the track settles whilst serpentine vocal scowls lay a portent of the ruinous temptation to come. The danger heightens in degrees as the vocals add greater menace to their scarring tones and the song’s ambience, with its industrialised electro skirting of meagre guitars and bass droning, awakens an already certain and eager hunger for what the album is offering.
The absorbing start is taken to another level with the rhythmic and darkly sirenesque lure of Tokoloshi. With beats a rampant juggling dance of invention within a raw sonic storm and wrapped in captivating tormented, or should that be tormenting vocals, the encounter ignites the imagination and its suggested version of the unfolding events. Through its harsh industrial climes I Cannibali is happy to help expand the emerging interpretation, its senses chaffing touch startling before the mentally invasive A Dream Within A Dream steps up to soak the body in its corruptive suasion, both reinforcing the ravaging potency of the album. The second of the two features Alan Dubin of Gnaw and from its initial slowly stalking nastily attentive touch breeds a droning submission forcing sonic smog of intensity and addiction forging persuasiveness. It is not friendly or with mercy but thoroughly satisfying and inflammatory for thoughts and emotions.
The pungent psychotic majesty of Aeneis sends the senses into a cataclysmic lust next before Harmonia Macrocosmica unveils its sweltering beauty upon a sludge evoked canvas of bass fuelled predation, its cauldron of superbly sculpted evocative and equally mordant sonic fascination a hypnotic enslavement. The track brews up a violent intensity and murderous intent the further into its depths the listener immerses but still merges it with a melodic elegance which flickers like a raging beacon within the oppressive darkness of sound and spite.
With every track as individual to each other as you could imagine but uniting for a spellbinding and surreal soundscape which attacks and inspires every aspect of the psyche, Abisso arguably offers its most disturbing and unhinged invention with the title track; the severe vexing and spoiling of the senses a degenerative scourge. This is immediately invigorated to another invidious level by Pandemonio; the confusion of sonic fury conjured a bedlam borne ravishing. Neither are intimately pleasant experiences but both highlights of an unrelentingly exhilarating if damaging journey for both, mind, and soul.
In comparison the offerings of Ab Uno and Fly Little Demon which features Carla Bozulich with her full band Evangelista evolve the listener in less aggressively divisive sonic alchemy but equally as provocative and threateningly impacting, the first an almost shamanic seeded fire of meditative enthrallment and adventure whilst the second from a noir sourced emotive contemplation builds an intensity and virulent compulsion which voraciously spreads under its creative wings.
Completed by the sonic storm of Fame, a piece of noise which scours the surface and depths of the listener until its departure leaves peace a screaming reaction, Abisso is an outstanding violation. It will find a passionate home with only a certain few it is fair to say but for those with a sense of experimentation to their own explorations, OvO and their album provide emotional and mental infringements which work like aural manna.
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