One of the most intriguing aspects of metal music is the incredible breadth of its various influences and styles. In fact, there are so many subgenres that some websites (mapofmetal.com) are entirely dedicated to their explanation and cataloging. This week I was introduced to another type of extreme music in the form of powerviolence. Characterized by hyper-aggressive, super-fast riffage and anti-establishment lyrics and themes, I’ve learned through experience that powerviolence is an excellent way to scare off potential dates and traumatize small children. This brings me to Tutti I Colori Del Buio (TICDB), our band of the hour and my gateway to the crusty world of hardcore punk. Having spent the last week studying their influences and absorbing as much sociopolitical angst as humanly possible, I have arrived at the conclusion that TICDB is about as powerful and violent as they come. Does this make debut album Initiation into Nothingness a worthwhile addition to the extreme punk metal scene? For the most part, I would argue yes.
Initiation into Nothingness barrels out the gates, wasting no time on introductions as opening track “Three Times Denied Means Fuck You” lays waste to the listener’s eardrums. The band draws clear inspiration from classic punk and hardcore acts such as Black Flag and Infest, but with a much more modern sound. Alessio Marchetti’s high pitched screeches are coupled with speedy, bass heavy strings and hard-hitting drums, combining to create a mosh-inducing medley of noise.
One of TICDB’s greatest strengths is their mastery of the riff, and the band’s ability to write a variety of head-banging hooks is what keeps the listener coming back repeatedly. The guitar work by Danilo Battocchio gives every song a unique identity and feel, and a number of surprise influences throughout the record establish TICDB as more than just generic punk rockers. For example, self-named track “Tutti I Colori Del Buio” would feel right at home on a Neurosis record, and its strategic placement in the middle of the album works as a great way of slowing things down and switching things up.
Sadly, many of the great ideas being offered end as quickly as they begin. In stark contrast to the ongoing Angry Metal discussions about bloated albums and a lack of editing, Initiation into Nothingness runs for a brief 27 minutes. In this short time span, TICDB have managed to fit eleven distinct tracks, with many of them spanning less than two minutes a piece. Such short run times and song lengths seem to be the standard for modern powerviolence releases, yet this doesn’t stop the music from feeling jarring. An excellent riff would just begin to sink in before being abruptly cut short, only to be replaced with something completely new. Regardless of pedigree, the album could have been made more enjoyable to all by further exploration of the ideas on display and a more cohesive feel between tracks.
Another theme that seems to plague modern hardcore releases is a lack of proper mixing. Initiation into Nothingness is crushingly heavy but lacks the sort of dynamics and fidelity that makes for great modern metal. When a whole record sounds as though its sole purpose is to register itself on the Richter scale, it’s impossible to make anything sound heavier than anything else. This extends to the writing too, but with many songs registering at DR4, Initiation into Nothingness often sounds pancake flat.
TICDB draws a large amount of inspiration from pulpy Italian horror movies, as demonstrated by their band’s title — a tribute to the 1972 movie of the same name. Now, I haven’t had the chance to see the film but based off Initiation into Nothingness it must have been quite spooky indeed. The music is hard-hitting, fast paced and atmospheric enough to instill the sense of angst and unease TICDB is going for. Initiation into Nothingness is a short but potent dose of hardcore, punky violence and while I’ve got my qualms with the mix, consistent loudness and song lengths, there’s nothing wrong with embracing the music for what it is and letting it satisfy your extreme metal needs.