Rock and roll has become SO specialized. Once the Scandinavians laid claim to Black Death Metal (“I’ll have the anthrax, please, with a cyanide chaser. Hold the beheading.”), the whole “Rock till you OD just to show these bastards” option was removed from entire regions with sunnier dispositions — Southern France, Greece, even Miami’s South Beach. But Italy — oh, Italy, land of Brutus and Caius, Mussolini and the Red Brigade, Malvolio and mobsters, even Machiavelli and the Borgias — what were they to do if life got them down? Three words: Italian Death Metal. I hold a disc of the same in my hot little CD drive as I type. Don’t take my word for it; “Mammoth Doom Act” is right there on the website and the press release. Ufomammut isn’t half bad, although after tracking the disc twice I’m still not collecting sleeping pills or seeking a hose that reaches to my tail pipe. Like Italian entertainment through the centuries, Ufomammut is grand, theatric, and in sore need of a tragic female lead, but it does hold your attention. There are five cuts here, but they’re without break or title. This is an opera, a symphony, and concept album all in one. Slip this toxic blade into the nearest player, hit “Play,” and you’ll hear nothing that sounds like a 3:05 pop hit — it’s all or nothing. The clown cries, the soprano dies, and the gypsy woman drops a flower pot on the tenor’s head. These guys do it all with guitars and a synthesizer, and no one aims for over a high “C.” That should be reassuring.
Eve is simultaneously dark, melodic, sad, creepy, scary, ominous, and mysterious. And while it lacks a separable hit to chart on the Doom Metal Top 40, it’s the sort of music that grows on you, so long as you sit in the dark and do your best to tie yourself to a chair while listening to it. Still, an element is missing, but it’s hard to identify. Perhaps… rats. Yes, indeed, it needs rats. Rats to chew at your limbs, not your bonds. Oh, if only you had rubbed tallow from the dripping candle on the ropes first… too late… the candle sputters out… the chattering teeth… the darting furry demons… a BITE… you smell blood… your own blood… there are hundreds of them… OH FOR THE LOVE OF CHUCK SCHULDINER! THEY’RE HERE! And…
Damn Italians. They ARE better at this than those Norskies.