Title: Via mala
Genre: Black Metal with Rock influences
Year: 22th April 2017
Time: 47 min
The Italian black metal band Umbra Noctis, through their singer Filippo Magri, sent to me, in September 2017, the physical CD of their second album "Via mala" ("Evil Way"), released some months before by Novecento Produzioni, a small and unprolific label from Italy specialized on black metal. But, when you will put their new effort into your turntable, you will discover a very particular and innovative kind of black metal!
First of all, there is need to say that Umbra Noctis dub their music as an "extreme unconventional metal". The "extreme" side of this definition comes from their strongly pure black metal nature (don't forget that they were born as a black metal band in the now far 2005). This means that you have to expect to listen to the screeching screams of Filippo Magri, simple and tremolo-picking riffs with a melodic approach and without playing any guitar solos, and also some furious attacks in blast-beat.
Instead, the "unconventional" side extend all the aforementioned black metal features towards strange musical horizons. This because Umbra Noctis claim to be influenced a lot by the rock music, so you can clearly hear this influence from the same riffs to the frequent melodic clean vocals (sometimes even integrated in the black metal parts) of Filippo, a singer full of talent and responsible of very deep lyrics sung (almost) exclusively in Italian (soon I'll talk you about them in a more specific way). You have also to consider that, here and there, you will find delicate acoustic passages in which it's possible that the drummer Omar Maghella beats on the borders of his snare drum, a technique certainly not common in the extreme metal, as all we know.
This live pic was directly given to me by Filippo Magri.
Another interesting feature of this band comes from the ability of every instrument to be fundamental for the success of the songs. In this sense, the basswork of Davide Bottoli is amazing while, also if the guitar solos are completely absent, the two guitarists Tiziano Valente and Filippo Oneda sometimes supports each other with layered riffs, in order to make more complete and suggestive the discourse. At this point, I think that the addition of another guitarist in the person of Filippo Oneda in 2016 has been a very good idea able to offer to the band new ways of expression!
Now, it's the turn of the lyrics! They are really fundamental to understand the music of Umbra Noctis, so I recommend to you to read them during the listening of the album. But unfortunately, you have to read the lyrics through the band's website because the CD has no booklet. Anyway, Filippo Magri draws poetic scenarios singing about, for example, melancholy and nostalgia ("Nevica"), hope ("Maree") or the cyclicity of life ("Spirale" - "Spiral") but I have to say that "Via mala" seem to be a half concept-album about winter considering that some songs are focused on it, and this is strange because the album was recorded...in Summer 2016! In addition, the band show also a genuine Italian Patriottism ("Il sentiero del cervo" - "The Path of the Deer") while "Il Solco" ("The Furrow") is dedicated to the land where Filippo was born and raised singing even through his own dialect, and "Somnium" talks about Europe and its moral decadence.
1 - Nevica
2 - Il sentiero del ervo
3 - Il solco
4 - Maree
5 - Somnium
6 - Nami
7 - Spirale
Filippo Magri - vocals
Tiziano Valente - guitars
Filippo Oneda - guitars
Davide Bottoli - bass
Omar Maghella - drums
Official website: http://www.umbranoctis.it/