Alex Nunziati – Il Mangiatore di Peccati Review

Alessandro Nunziati (or Lord Vampyr) is a familiar name to Gothic Metal fans everywhere. After forming and performing with Italy’s Theatres des Vampires for many years, Nunziati left to pursue other avenues. The most famous of these was his gothic, symphonic black metal spin-off, Lord Vampyr. With a gnarly rasp that brings to mind the mighty Cadaveria from her stint with Opera IX, Nunziati carved a name for himself alongside compatriots of his defunct Shadowsreign. But Nunziati hasn’t stopped there—preferring to keep himself busy with other creations and contributions, like Cain, Hermeticum, Iamthemonster, and Malamorte. And now, as if Nunziati can’t help but continue creating new ventures to quench his creative thirst, he brings us a debut record under his own name. Il Mangiatore di Peccati encapsulates all Nunziati’s contributions in one place. This time, he does it all: vocals, guitars, drums, and keys. The result is a harrowing experience that finds Nunziati in his most authentic and unbridled form.

While there’s comfort and familiarity in the stylings of Il Mangiatore di Peccati, Nunziati takes them to a new world where he captures the horror metal character of King Diamond in a circusy freakshow that could easily be the soundtrack to a Thomas Ligotti novel. Il Mangiatore di Peccati’s riffs might have the punch of Lord Vampyr, but the leads, melodies, and solo work are some of Nunziati’s best. Not to mention, his vocal performance is far more diverse than any of his previous bands. Il Mangiatore di Peccati is a tapestry that Nunziati paints with rasps, cleans, and haunting, unhinged screams.

Though Nunziati has found some success in the black metal genre, Il Mangiatore di Peccati captures and reinvigorates those haunting atmospheres of Theatres des Vampires’ heyday, but with crunchy riffs more in line with Lord Vampyr. The opener “Dust” quickly shows off the sound Nunziati achieves on Il Mangiatore di Peccati. Rich with key-driven atmospheres and gothic-style vocals, the interwoven heavy metal riffage adds a bright uniqueness to the Nunziati style—especially with the melodeath finale. The mighty title track also incorporates groovy riffs with melodic beauty. The back half’s clean vocals and guitar harmonies, and impressive guitar solos make the song stronger than I would have thought possible.

But Il Mangiatore di Peccati is far more diverse than these two tracks. “The Flesh Doll” is a ripper of a tune using an upbeat, key-focused Rob Zombie groove. The song grows and expands as Nunziati incorporates impressive solos and insane guitar transitions akin to the late Alexi Laiho. In a completely different approach, Nunziati unleashes his inner carnie with “Cirque du Freak.” After opening with a sound clip from the 1932 talkie, Freaks, the song achieves what I expected from it. “Cirque du Freak” toys with mind-fucking strings and a layered chorus, making your head swim like it’s your first time seeing a bearded woman, siamese twins, and a man with only a torso.

Even with all this diversity, there’s even more to experience with Il Mangiatore di Peccati. Not only do you find the sing-along chorus of heavy banger “The Massacre’s House,” but surprisingly passionate closing numbers. “Woman and Obsession” consists of a simple vocal approach with gorgeous keys and patient bursts of distortion that remind me of Evergrey. But, when you think you’ve heard all you need to hear from the song, it ditches the heavy organs and harpsichord for an old-school rocker of a riff. 

And that’s Il Mangiatore di Peccati in a nutshell. When you think you’ve figured out what’s coming next, this nine-course meal continues to surprise you. After a dozen listens, I still find something I didn’t hear before. Il Mangiatore di Peccati is the most interesting record I’ve heard this year, and it’s sure to make an appearance on ole Grier‘s year-end list.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: WAV1
Label: Moribund Records
Releases Worldwide: May 27th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Moribund Records was kind enough to give me a WAV copy when the promo received turned out corrupted.
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