The Turin Horse – Unsavory Impurities Review

Just look at that cover! I didn’t quite care what it ended up being when I saw that brazenly bright, composite-faced figure with its many mouths open in… anguish? Excitement? Both?1 Of course, I knew it had to foreshadow noise to some degree—something so frighteningly stitched could only be the result of frequencies scraping the boundary between pique and pleasure. Though you’d hardly know that this fresh Italian duo of Alain Lapaglia on skins (and samples) and Enrico Tauraso on the rest (except some guest sax2) had your pain or pleasure in mind when composing these 10 oppressive offerings. Not new to the world entirely, Lapaglia having pounded with Last Minute to Jaffna and Tuaraso gracing Dead Elephant with his strings and scowls, this pair absolutely had a vision in mind for the electrified amalgamation of The Turin Horse. After all, monsters aren’t born, they’re created.

This beast of many weird faces, however, isn’t exactly metal, at least not in the arguably sludge way that other noisy acts like KEN mode and Chat Pile explore. Rather The Turin Horse has swallowed a Today Is the Day pill and alternates between the punk-leaning fusion of modern acts like Child Bite and noise-leaning no wave acts like Child Abuse.3 Particularly, though, in the noise department, Tauraso injects a choral ambience that sets a groundwork for some of the harsher, wilder moments that lead to blown-out explosions throughout Unsavory Impurities (“Where The Seeds Can’t Take Root,” “Hybris”). Extreme music takes many forms and The Turin Horse aims to build shattered stone paths between them.

Of course, Unsavory Impurities leads with a raging hardcore-booted foot. Essential to the frantic pulse of rippers “Sixty Millions Blues” and “Necessary Pain” blares Tauraso’s choice of abominably growled bass emulations and forcefully fuzzed guitar jangles. His twisted riffs can take distorted trips into bath salts-fueled stoner rock (“Blissed Out”) and psychedelic sludge (“Tear Off the Stitches”) alike. But his amplified madness would be nothing without Lapaglia’s kit work, which takes center stage on the opening burst to “Regret Song.” At other times, his math-inspired, machine-precise rhythms battle with his urge to deposit quick snare rolls and tom fills to fuel rhythmic tension (“Blissed Out,” “The Light That Failed”). It’s hard to deny the chemistry these two continuously display.

While a couple full volume song conclusions pepper the front half (“Regret Song,” “Necessary Pain”), it’s the birdsong and corrupted piano of “Birds Sing a Death Song” that reveals the serious noise that The Turin Horse conjures on the back half. In its introductory brevity the opener “The Maximum Effort for the Minimum Result” teases these dial-led hisses and screeches. These promises culminate in “Where the Seeds Take Root” and “Hybris” forming a twelve-minute bridge of anxiety-filled ambience and modally wandering saxophone that’s crying for release. The Yakuza reminiscent closer “Tear Off the Stitches,” unfortunately, promises no relief to that voice, but its languished march does solidify that The Turin Horse is far from a one-trick pony.

If Unsavory Impurities were only a sum of its chaotic punk-powered pummelings, it’d be well-executed but not particularly adventurous. Thankfully The Turin Horse injects some serious noise, even at the risk of alienating fans who flock to the more accessible arm-throwing numbers. For the adventurous—those not turned away by the piercing baby cries of “The Light That Failed” nor the extended drone of “Hybris”—The Turin Horse will slowly corral you with its baffling buck and whinny. Admittedly, Unsavory Impurities did not reveal its path clearly on its initial spins, but Lapaglia and Tauraso dangle carrots of brilliance at enough spots to rein me in. Raw but calculated, aggressive yet sorrowful, The Turin Horse has debuted with a mighty flash. If you fall off the first time, don’t despair—saddle up, ride again, and explore every crooked hill and highway that these wild Italian studs traverse.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Reptilian Records (USA) | Invisible Order Records (Europe)
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: March 24th, 2023

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Courtesy of Mow Skwoz
  2. Alessandro Cartolari of many freak sax contributions.
  3. Sorry, Steel, if this tag put us on a watch list!
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