Blaze of Sorrow - _Eterno Tramonto_
(Naturmacht Productions, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (6 out of 10)
Immediately, the Blaze of Sorrow moniker plays games with expectations. The words seem ill-matched: the sorrow we've all come to know and grieve rarely dashes about as vigorously as "blaze" seems to indicate. Though I suppose that, if depressive black metal can be described as setting fire to sadness, then the name makes a little more sense.

Blaze of Sorrow is one Italian man's expression of sound and fury in six songs totaling less than forty minutes. While extreme metal often gets tagged as "abrasive", likening the tones themselves to coarse-grit sandpaper that disfigure any surface unlucky enough to make contact, listeners don't expect the music to sound like it has been on the receiving end of such brutal erosion. But the most appropriate word for Peter's melancholy riffage and concrete-gargling vocals on tracks like "Cremisi" and "Fantasma" is "abraded", as if some Wiccan rite conjured them out of scarred and pitted rock formations rather than amps and a throat. The rabid guitar parts, though all sharing the same ground-down quality, are variable enough to (narrowly) avoid being monotonous. Peter's corroded verbal utterances are even clear enough to make out the lyrical content, or would be if I had retained more Italian from college; as it is, I can only make out his obsession with finality, as "l'ultima" seems to crop up frequently. The relatively thin drum sound lends further emphasis to the paired growl of guitar and voice.

The truly entrancing moments of _Eterno Tramonto_, however, surface only when Blaze eschews metal aggression completely. The arpeggiated acoustic melodies, when they break through the wallowing distortion, are fantastic. Simple sonic details augment these quiet moments and add further depth to the experience. Subtle echoes turn string scrapes into revelations. The plinking piano key that introduces the album's second half (on "Dall'AldilĂ ") carries some of the most striking moments of the album. Ditto the lonely strings that permeate closing track "Siberia". The title track opens with some gorgeous picking and ethereal whispers before plunging into the almost contemplative violence that characterizes most of the album. _Eterno Tramonto_ works hard to be heavy, but the real triumph here lies in its prettiness.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/petersblazeofsorrow

(article published 25/2/2011)


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