Linking up with the Ronin Agency not so long ago, Italian black/death metallers Ignotum recently released debut album Larvas Mortal God and from a strong first impression, it is a release which grabs the imagination to impress more and more with every listen. On the surface the album is an enjoyable and accomplished proposition but it is with time that is reveals its own unique character of sound and creative textures to stand out from the crowd. Whether it will emerge as a major favourite is to be seen but already the album is a temptation enticing us back again and again.
The Como band was formed in 2011 by guitarist Fabio Guereschi and seemingly made swift and strong impressions on the local scene, widening that awareness and support with the release of a well-received self-titled EP in 2013. Recorded and released as last year closed its eyes, Larvas Mortal God is the first major nudge on the strongest spotlights from the band, and one easy to see making Ignotum a wider known and thought of incitement in the extreme metal scene.
The release starts with Through Madness Reminiscience and instantly is a sonic tirade on the senses, riffs and rhythms a merciless torrent but with that hostility tempered by spirally and instantly alluring grooves. The raw and coarsely expressive vocal squalls of Marco Capuzzo lay aggressively on ears but with just enough variety to make them adventurous and as magnetic as the tempestuous sounds brewing around him whilst the driving and evolving guitar enterprise of Guereschi and Luca Borghesi (no longer with the band), spins a captivating web matched by the formidable rhythmic collusion of bassist Stefano Zarantonello and drummer Federico Mascetti. As mentioned about the album, the song makes an appealing first touch on ears straight away but it is with time and attention that the nuances and at times less vocal invention reveals itself for greater reaction and pleasure.
The potent start continues with Soul’s Self Mutilation. Its atmospheric synth crafted opening is a stark contrast to the roar of its predecessor but it too it soon raging with aggression and passion. The repetitive nature of grooves and rhythms entice from within the sonic intensity swirling venomously around the landscape of the track, whilst again melodies and colourful creative hooks bring a refreshing and sparkling hue to the imposing storm. It is an inventive blend fuelling all the songs upon Larvas Mortal God but apart from at times a surface familiarity flowing over the release, it never smothers the individual definition and character of tracks like the following Inhale The Void and in turn The Circles’ Kiss. The first of the two immerses the senses in a blackened trespass and though it lacks the spark of its predecessors, imagination and craft ensures it is an evocative encounter before its successor uncages its own oppressive canvas of almost portentous sound and vocal snarling. It is the physical and emotive voracity which is missing in the first of the pair but back stoking the raging fire of the second and seemingly sparking greater toxicity in the sinew swung rhythms and scorching grooves veining the song.
Mary L. equally confronts the senses with a fiercer almost corrosive persuasion, one soaked in acidic sonic endeavour and provocative melodies. The song merges hostile and seductive scenery with a fluid and captivating prowess, flowing from one to the other and back again with ears enthralled. Despite its mighty offering though it is soon over shadowed by the outstanding Abyss, You Shine. The opening tangle of melodies and grooves around a contagious rhythmic tempting is enough to spark new hunger in the appetite. Again the band twist raw aggressive dexterity and intensity with mellow and entrancing seductions, one never overpowering the other and always creating a seamless passage of fascination and thorough enjoyment.
The album’s pinnacle is followed firstly by the more rabid but controlled turbulence and emotive mania of In Skinless Dream and then the atmospherically fiery and raucously trespassing Hecatomb Memories. The second of the pair is arguably the lightest on the album with an open progressive infectiousness which almost demands to be liked. Not quite carrying a poppy texture in its make-up but certainly, despite an increasing rhythmic and vocal ferocity to its climax, there is something more easily accessible to the track than in those before. Both songs ignite ears and thoughts masterfully before the closing Clown With Crown ensures the album leaves on another unhealthy and appealing slab of aural savagery and sonic venom, which you may not be blown away by but certainly will easily develop an increasing urge to explore more of, just as the album.
Produced by Luca Briccola, Larvas Mortal God is a potent and impressive proper introduction to Ignotum, not a release to set a fire burning but easily potent enough to put the band on the map and given time to become a constant lure for repeat attention.
Larvas Mortal God is available now via Mentalchemy Records from most online stores
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