Fuoco Fatuo is an Italian doom and death metal act hailing form Varese, north Italy. The band formed in 2011 and recently released their first full length album The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains through Iron Tyrant. The band consists of Fabrizio on drums, Ken on bass (also a member of Into Darkness) and Milo on guitar and vocals (also a member of Funest). The members of Fuoco Fatuo recently sat down and answered some questions for The Metal Observer.
Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown – it’s a saying that Brighton’s Architects know all to well. Hollow though it may be, the band have been struggling against the weight of their breakthrough, third album, 2007’s Hollow Crown – a truly devastating record, deservedly heralded as a modern classic.
Following Hollow Crown, the band took their sound in an unexpectedly melodic, and overly sappy direction with 2011’s The Here And Now, to mixed reception. This melodic departure was promptly refuted a year after with Daybreaker,1 an initially striking record that regained many of the band’s fans who fell by the wayside after The Here And Now. Though explosive, Daybreaker lacked the staying power of Hollow Crown, leaving it to Architects sixth and latest offering, Lost Forever // Lost Together,2 to cement the band’s legacy as one of the most formidable and important acts in the modern (post-)metalcore scene.
This hanging weight is one Architects are well and truly aware of and meet head-on. Vocalist Sam Carter rages vehemently against a “fucking tyrant in a hollow crown” on “Broken Cross” and the band launch an intensive and calculated assault on Hollow Crown‘s legacy with its Lost Forever // Lost Together‘s opening salvo of “Gravedigger” and “Naysayer” – lending considerable credence to the suspicion that they decided to take the devastating breakdown that concludes “These Colours Don’t Run” (undoubtedly Daybreaker’s most invigorating moment) and run with it.
Lost Forever // Lost Together forgoes much of the band’s trademark technical noodling in favor of a more rhythmic exploration of their post-metalcore sound, which ethos pervades the record throughout “Dead man talking” and is positively crushing. The calculated aggression of the record is powerfully subsidized by Fredrik Nordström3 and Henrik Udd’s marvelous production, providing the album’s down-tuned tones with an almost unbelievably thick guitar tone analogous to the dark concentration of Meshuggah’s Koloss.
Where Architects go beyond your run-of-the-mill, 14-plus-string-armed, modern metal/hardcore band is their efficient utilization of every element of their sound. Since Architects employ only one guitarist, Tim Searle, the bass is not condemned to follow along with and be drowned out by a rhythm guitar which allows Alex Dean to play his instrument’s rhythmic role to staggering effect, laying down the dense bottom-end that drives Lost Forever // Lost Together and makes it unquestionably the band’s heaviest to date. Meanwhile, the album’s electronic and post-rock elements are employed to subtle-and-thus-efficient effect rather than berating the listener with their overuse, as so many of their peers are wont to do.
After it’s done beating the listener around with its first-half, Lost Forever // Lost Together takes a moment to reset with the electronic (and Carl Sagan featuring) interlude “Red Hypergiant” before letting absolutely rip with “C.A.N.C.E.R.,” one of the best songs Architects have put to record thus far. From here Architects continue their melodic exploration with the lifting sing-along “Castles In The Air,” with the remaining tracks rounding out the album in a more traditional and relieving fashion that’s spacy tones don’t excite as much as Lost Forever // Lost Together‘s initial moments yet capitalize maximally on their momentum.
Lost Together // Lost Together falls just short of usurping Holow Crown as Architects’ (ahem) crowning achievement but it’s a staggering album that comes as close to ousting that record as the band are ever likely (and could be fairly expected) to. If The Here And Now and Daybreaker saw Architects struggling to break out of Hollow Crown’s shadow, then Lost Forever // Lost Together sees them operating comfortably and convincingly within it.
1 Which album’s cover furthers the whole Hollow Crown thing through featuring the band’s emblematic “A” wrapped in a crown of thorns.
2Your guess about the double-backslash is as good as mine. The title is lifted from the lyrics to the penultimate track, “Youth Is Wasted On The young,” but that doesn’t really help any.
3 Seriously, this guy produces everything these days.
Savage Messiah use a blue print for success.
While I was not necessarily aware of Savage Messiah prior to their previous album Plague of Conscience, I became a fan with the release of that record and the infectious mix of power, thrash, groove, and progression that made it a must listen. For their follow up and fourth record titled The Fateful Dark, these English progressive thrashers follow the same blue print for success…with slightly less effective results.
To be honest, I listened to The Fateful Dark a dozen times in its entirety trying to pin point just why it didn’t live up to the previous effort. All of the same elements are there. The guitars ably whip from melodic shredding power metal solos and leads to frantic thrash riffs like on the opening “Iconocaust,” the band injects some solid groove into the mix for some diversity, the soaring vocals take it to another level, and the progressive writing winds and twists with relative ease. This is the Savage Messiah we heard on the previous album and it’s all here too. The performances are ably executed and the production is slick enough to make sure that every note rings true and the aggression pummels out.
Savage Messiah has a distinct sound and it’s very apparent on The Fateful Dark. After a dozen listens, I will admit that the record grew on me from a rather apathetic first experience. The latter half of the album, starting at the title track, is much more cohesive and inspired than the first half writing wise. Where “Minority of One” and “Cross of Babylon” come off as rather hum-drum tracks, the thrashy “Scavengers of Mercy” and the groovy “Hammered Down” make up for it in some regards as the band guts out a rhythm for the album at this point. The Fateful Dark just takes some time to get going which is where some of my initial hesitation grew.
The fans of Plague of Conscience are going to definitely find some material to love on The Fateful Dark. Yes, it took a while for it to grow on me and even then I feel like it’s a much more hit or miss record, the end result is another enjoyable Savage Messiah experience. The melodies are sharp, the thrashing effective, and the writing in the latter half definitely steps it up. It is another solid effort, but one that is ultimately a step down from the previous release just due to some of the flow in the writing. Thrashers will still want to check it out.
After reuniting in 2007, Earth Crisis has been on a sort of renewed binge. While the band helped create the hardcore metal sound in the 90s that has since been replicated by bands such as Throwdown and Sworn Enemy and used as a foundation for both the metalcore and deathcore movements, their ‘stick to their guns’ attitude has more than certainly paid off in the end. Salvation of Innocents is not only a great hardcore record; it’s easily the best that Earth Crisis has ever released too.
To be upfront I have been listening to Earth Crisis for some time, but have never considered myself a huge fan. Their blend of hardcore riffing and barking vocals with a more metal influenced song writing and guitar approach has always intrigued me. It has never really impressed me beyond being a casual fan though. That is until now. Salvation of Innocents takes that same ideology of approach that they had before (some would refer to it as metalcore, but I wouldn’t quite go that far) and they refined it to an efficient and pummeling art form.
Right from the opening metal-layered riff of “De-Desensitize,” it’s obvious that Earth Crisis is not taking any prisoners. As with Hatebreed or others in a similar style, Salvation of Innocents ably blends the riff-tastic fist pumping anthems of hardcore with a slightly elevated sense of musicianship that lends itself to the metal genre. Songs like “Depraved Indifference” take that punch heavy rhythm work, blend in the slightest bit of melody, and it make for an instantly memorable combination. This happens all the way through out with songs like “The Pallid Surgeon,” the headbanging “My Final Breath” or even the atmospheric and expansive sound on “Shiver” which has a few moments that remind me of Gojira.
Those with a penchant towards the riff focus and barking vocals of hardcore are going to love the refined and driven sound of Salvation of Innocents. This is handedly Earth Crisis at their best with the anthem-esque hardcore foundations and metal deviations. While it’s not necessarily all that original, it is a meticulously crafted record that lives up the reputation of the band.
Live at Mavericks in Ottawa, Ontario on February 13th, 2014.
Live at House of Blues in Houston, Texas on February 8th, 2014.
Live at Mavericks in Ottawa, Ontario on February 7th, 2014.
Finnish doom / death metallers Kuolemanlaakso have completed their sophomore album, Tulijoutsen, which is slated to be released on February 28, 2014 through Svart Records. The Metal Observer was given the opportunity to question the band on their recent accomplishments as well as what fans can expect in the future, among other topcis. Usva (bass) and Laakso (guitars and keyboards) were kind enough to provide some insight into their world.
While 2013 seems to a rather scatter-shot kind of year for many genres, thrash metal seems to still be going at full speed when it comes to upcoming new bands and classic bands continuing their relentless existence. With slightly under 180 albums listened to that could be tagged as thrash in some form or another; my queue this year was a mighty one indeed. The following list required much more thought and deliberation then many years previously and it made for a rather unique one to say the least.
Live at House of Blues in Houston, Texas on January 22nd, 2014.
Live at John Dee in Oslo, Norway on January 28th 2014
The Metal Observer recently spoke with Val Kornev, vocalist and guitarist for the Ukranian psychedelic doom/stoner metal band Ethereal Riffian. In addition to the release of Ethereal Riffian’s remarkable full-length debut, Aeonian, the band, namely Kornev and his brother Alexander, penned an eponymous novella to supplement the music.
Live at Parkteateret in Oslo, Norway on January 23rd 2014