#1
I just want to give some bands some attention while going into very little detail with the knowledge I do have on the Italian heavy/doom metal scene. Give some recommendations on bands and some basis for what influenced bands. As well I want some people to see what the scene has become in terms of quality. This is all thought up off the top of my head, so insult me because I'm lazy and refuse to edit anything. It's the only way I'll learn.

A very popular label was Minotauro records who were responsible for releasing quite a few of these releases, so if you're interested you should definitely check their roster back in the 80s/90s.

Thematically, Italian metal was influenced greatly by horror films, notably in the film genre of giallo. A rough interpretation being: murder films relating to supernatural elements with constantly changing and up-close camera angles, as well as including very bright and vibrant colour schemes, e.g., Suspiria by Dario Argento. Suspiria is not indicative of the entire genre.



Another major influence on the Italian heavy metal and doom scene were Italian progressive rock bands like Jacula and Goblin, who both heavily used sequences of silence followed by loud organ passages. The former also created the music for Suspiria. It's not a conspiracy I promise. They're all related. Mainly because Italy is shaped like a boot, and isn't very big. But that's a matter for a different time.




Death SS and Paul Chain

Onto metal, which began with Death SS. While Death SS were heavily influenced by the horror genre (comics, films, etc), they were the first heavy metal/doom metal band in Italy. That's the extent of their influence. Death SS aren't that good. They made a solid foundation for metal to begin in Italy, but the most notable figure in Death SS was Paul Chain whose continued presence in the scene made it possible for Italy to find its defining features in terms of heavy metal. Death SS after Paul Chain's departure didn't have the organs, or the ghastly wailing vocals of Death SS. It's not that In Death of...Steve Sylvester was bad. It just lacked any interesting character, outside of Steve Sylvester's vocals, that set it apart from other heavy metal bands at the time.

Recommendation:

Doom oriented, vocal wailing, production remastering Evil Metal EP. But if you're feeling adventurous and want don't care about production value, then I highly suggest the compilation The Story of Death SS 1977-1984, and not the demo version, Vol 2 or whatever it's called.



Onto Paulo Cantena who was the main reason why Death SS were important. Paulo Cantena is responsible for Paul Chain's Violet Theatre as well as the band named Paul Chain, but more importantly he's a man with a taste for the occult and doom metal. I don't really want to focus on Paulo Cantena's band Paul Chain since it's varied in terms of quality and and I feel it doesn't capture the Italian presence strongly enough, but if you're interested in the man himself take a look at the thread:

Paul Chain Thread

Everything he does is good to me though, so if you want a recommendation on any of his other works I can give one, but you might be better off reading through the thread if you're interested.

Recommendation:

Paul Chain Violet Theatre - Detaching from Satan. The reason for this and no other album is because it deals with occult or religious themes more openly. It's similar in speed to Death SS but pays more tribute to the Italian prog bands before it by the use of synthesizers. The track '17 Day' is the best example of doom metal expected from this scene.

Italian Heavy/Doom Metal Pre-2000

Black Hole
Reverbed everything. This album is an echo of itself, which adds to the feeling of being subjected to occult forces. Organ interludes between doom metal riffs coupled with the existence of an echoing vocalist makes this band a very interesting listen. The later work is more polished with cleaner production but not bad. To get into the scene it's best to start with the best. They are the band that helped develop the Italian doom metal sound alongside Paul Chain.

Recommendation
Black Hole - Land of Mystery
Black Hole - Beyond the Gravestone

Run After To
Run After To had cleaner production but man did they ever write some evil sounding riffs. They were a heavy metal band who put out very little material and it's varied in terms of genre choice, with Gjinn and Djinn being a Death SS tribute album (may as well be), and the Run After To EP gave the band their own style. The Run After To EP didn't sound as evil in terms of synth use with it being more joyous sounding, but they retained the Death SS style of riffing with a little added speed for good measure.

Recommendation
Run After To - Run After To

Zess
Existed for a year, and then disappeared. Compilation was released in 2004 from that year. Very solid release and summarizes this scene perfectly. Probably the most adequate definition of Italian Doom metal you'll hear.

Recommendation
Zess - Et In Arcadia Ego

Requiem
Vocals were very inconsistent in terms of quality through their discography. If you enjoy a more DIY approach with singers who yell in a deep voice, Via Crucis is probably your best bet. Riffs are still in heavy supply and they blend thrash/speed metal into their music. It's an odd blend that doesn't always work out in their favour since the juxtaposition can be overwhelming, but for tracks like

Recommendation
Requiem - Via Crucis

Epitaph and Sacrilege
Epitaph are an interesting band. Not the music, the music is your standard evil doom metal. They played around 1987 and they still play today so they've seen a lot. That's about all I can really say about them. If you liked the other stuff, this is pretty much synthless so they have that going for them. Some really solid tracks like their song Epitaph, on the album Epitaph, by the band Epitaph.



I added Sacrilege because it's two of the guys who play in Epitaph also play in Sacrilege. They even have a similar story. Played in the 80s, but started again in a modern world. The Sacrilege stuff is far better than Epitaph though. They even lack the organs just as Epitaph do.



I added both of them before 2000 because their later stuff doesn't hold up in my eyes, but I'm not your mother so listen to them if you want.

Post 2000 Italian Heavy/Doom Metal

Most modern doom metal from Italy have the same evil riffs, organ heavy music as they had in the 80s. Modern production and not much innovation, but rather a direct continuation. If you were interested in the doom metal scene you'll very much so likely enjoy these bands for the reasons I just mentioned:

Hands of Orlac - Everything they've done (discography is relatively small, but it's all the perfect continuation, female vocalist)
Abysmal Grief - Abysmal Grief and Misfortune (but I recommend exploring everything they have to offer if you liked Italian doom)
Deliria - Deliria
Tony Tears - Voci dal Passatto
Witchfield - Sleepless
I Compagni di Baal - I Compagni di Baal
L'Impero delle Ombre - L'Impero delle Ombre

Other notable doom metal releases from Italy that took influence from elsewhere
Doomsword - Resound the Horn
Ras Algethi - Oneiricon - The White Hypnotic
Monumentum - In Absentia Christi
#2
This is great severed. Props for mentioning Goblin and Jacula, some of my personal favorites from Italy.
HESSIAN HAREM
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE HESSIAN CULTURE. STAY TRUE.
#4
Quote by severed-metal
Thematically, Italian metal was influenced greatly by horror films, notably in the film genre of giallo. A rough interpretation being: murder films relating to supernatural elements with constantly changing and up-close camera angles, as well as including very bright and vibrant colour schemes, e.g., Suspiria by Dario Argento. Suspiria is not indicative of the entire genre.

I felt compelled to expand on this. Giallo, literally yellow in Italian, refers to a genre of film that takes after pulp detective comics (printed on cheap yellow paper) in which highly exploitative crimes occurred. Giallo films were known for showing murders from the killers perspective in order to conceal their identity and notorious for featuring graphic violence and sex.

The use of vibrant color schemes and odd camera angles was primarily associated with the director Dario Argento specifically and also Mario Bava. Lucio Fulci, another pillar of the genre, by contrast used very dry color schemes.

Also, many Giallo films, especially the films of Fulci, lacked any real story. The artistic aim of the films was to simply use series of shocking (and in some cases beautiful) images to tap directly into the unconscious mind. This was essentially the artistic analogue to the porn-violence of American Jew Herschell Gordon Lewis, who single handidly invented the splatter film.

From an objective perspective, most of these films are pretty awful. But Tenebrae and Suspiria by Argento are must sees.


These same influences, as well as that of many of the bands listed here, show up in other areas of Italian metal. The occult Black Metal band Mortuary Drape being a prime example.

*edit: By chance, is this the type of stuff you were referring to when you said I was notorious for going off topic?
Last edited by NotFromANUS at Feb 20, 2015,
#5
Good catch with the Mortuary Drape. I had All The Witches Dance in my head as I drummed up fanciful words. Great example and the most definitive sound for Italian black metal. I was thinking about including them as an extra, but eh. I get tired. I've got things to do, people to see.

Interesting Giallo stuff. I knew the yellow/paperback relation but I always figured giallo was related to the camera angles as well, thanks. I used Suspiria as a relational tool because of Goblin's association but could have worded it better. Originally I was going to use Deep Red, so I understand what you mean.

I like the sounds of Fulci, any recommendations movie-wise?

Quote by NotFromANUS
By chance, is this the type of stuff you were referring to when you said I was notorious for going off topic?


It was more-so related to topics that nobody was willing to discuss resulting in an argument between forum people. It takes two (sometimes three or four but you could take them all with your muscles) to tango compadre, not all of it's on you. Just that you got a lot of attention because of it. Although this discussion is off-topic.
#6
Quote by severed-metal
I used Suspiria as a relational tool because of Goblin's association but could have worded it better. Originally I was going to use Deep Red, so I understand what you mean.

Well Suspiria is certainly Argento's definitive work and has some of Goblin's best stuff, so I think using it was fine. I'm just a huge horror cinephile, so I always have to add my two cents to things like this. Deep Red is a good film too, but only in the complete unedited full Italian director's cut.

I like the sounds of Fulci, any recommendations movie-wise?

I would start by not recommending any of his Giallo films. A lot of his films are actually really boring, including his most famous film Zombi 2 aka Zombie (in the US) aka Zombie Flesh Eaters (Australia and some other places). If you really want to see any of his Giallo films, though, see New York Ripper.

His two masterpieces are City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. The first is obviously a zombie film and the second a quasi-zombie / occult film.

Fun fact, the infamous Mortician EP House by the Cemetary is named after one of his films. The film is boring, though.

It was more-so related to topics that nobody was willing to discuss resulting in an argument between forum people. It takes two ... to tango compadre, not all of it's on you. Just that you got a lot of attention because of it. Although this discussion is off-topic.

When you put it that way, this actually makes sense to me. I'm certainly guilty of this.

(sometimes three or four but you could take them all with your muscles)

Jesus Christ, I nearly spit beer all over my desk when I read this.
#7
I really appreciate this write-up. Just what I needed to break out of a rut of listening to the same stuff all the time lately.

It may be just me, but listening to Land of Mystery for about 20 minutes now I perceive the same distinctly occult/ritual atmosphere I first heard on Drawing Down the Moon. Really cool album so far.
last.fm
"the waves have now a redder glow..."
#8
Quote by RiffYourFaceOff

It may be just me, but listening to Land of Mystery for about 20 minutes now I perceive the same distinctly occult/ritual atmosphere I first heard on Drawing Down the Moon. Really cool album so far.

I actually understand this and relate to some extent. Something special about it.
#10
@severed-metal: Thanks for this post, I'm listening to Hands of Orlac at the moment and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Like a cross between Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath.

I'll have to admit I haven't gone through everything you put down but I watched the horror movie segment and have listened to most of the videos you linked (such as Death SS). I'll keep going as I have time, I'm still writing my analysis article. It's taking so long because Sibelius 6 is a pain right now but what I've done is pretty damn good IMO.
Last edited by HaydenHohns at Feb 21, 2015,
#11
Great thread, definitely some interesting stuff I'm unfamiliar with. Wondering, are you familiar with Arpia? They're a little less metallic and more weird/horror rock than some of the bands listed here, but I think they fit well especially since you're including greater historical/geographical context. Their Resurrezione e Metamorfosi demo is probably their most doom metal, but this should still appeal.

Also, sometimes a little more traditional doom, but The Black belongs here too.
#12
Yes I have heard of Arpia and they're a swell act. I think I just overlooked them for more metal oriented bands but I don't think they'd be that out of place in the thread by any means.

Saw the name of The Black but didn't look into them. I'll give them a listen.

Quote by HaydenHohns
I'll have to admit I haven't gone through everything you put down but I watched the horror movie segment and have listened to most of the videos you linked (such as Death SS). I'll keep going as I have time, I'm still writing my analysis article. It's taking so long because Sibelius 6 is a pain right now but what I've done is pretty damn good IMO.


Hey man, no obligation. If you liked what you hear then there's more for you. I just wanted to explore the scene a little and give a little insight into it.

I just saw your thread and give it a read although it may go right over my head and kill the person standing behind me. I look forward to reading it though.

Quote by NotFromANUS
I would start by not recommending any of his Giallo films. A lot of his films are actually really boring, including his most famous film Zombi 2 aka Zombie (in the US) aka Zombie Flesh Eaters (Australia and some other places). If you really want to see any of his Giallo films, though, see New York Ripper.

His two masterpieces are City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. The first is obviously a zombie film and the second a quasi-zombie / occult film.


Excellent, I'll give these a watch when I've got some free time. Thanks homes.

Quote by kirkisking
love me some dago doom


I've been trying to tell you goombas make good metal.