I rarely write about Italian bands, but I am always interested in knowing what's going on back home during my stay abroad. Consequently, when I was asked to review the third album by Deadly Carnage from Emilia Romagna, I gladly accepted the request.
The band has long since expanded its sound way beyond the black metal territory, and bass player Fabio Arcangeli (Adres) defined the band as currently being a hybrid between post-black and doom metal, two of my biggest areas of interest. I admit I did not know their previous works, but I finally had time to enjoy the other gems in their discography, such as "Sentiero II: Ceneri". Deadly Carnage has become quite a solid act in the local underground scene and one of the main names on the Italian label ATMF's roster.
"Manthe" is a complete work, an extremely felt journey through the darkest realms of metal and beyond, always keeping focus on each single musical detail. The video for "Dome Of The Warders" conveys a reliable idea of the context in which the band's concept unfolds, suspended between autumnal landscapes and cold snowstorms. With almost ten years of career on their backs, the band knows exactly how to stress their strong points (the highlight here is the impressive vocal performance by Marcello). Musically speaking, this album doesn't lack anything: it starts relatively slow with "Drowned Hope" (that somehow reminded me of Novembre and Frostmoon Eclipse), then going on to change with each individual track. "Manthe" never sounds the same, it is an unfathomable creature, we get Katatonia here, Agalloch there, a few extra-metal hints throughout its length (nothing new for this Italian band): in short, we have Deadly Carnage, a band that plays its own style with awareness and no major shortcomings.
Personally speaking, I would put "Beneath Forsaken Skies" on top of the list because of its doomish rhythm filled with suffering, the lyrics deal with the general gothic-doom theme of the death of one's beloved. As usual, Deadly Carnage included a carefully crafted song in Italian on this album, "Il Ciclo Della Forgia", where we can even hear some late '90s – early '00s Opeth influence. The following track "Electric Flood" is a call to arms, black metal at its rawest, rushing towards the celestial palace, before opening on a more "post-" bridge towards the middle. The title-track is arguably the most "post-metal" song on here, a suitable conclusion for this journey, in which Deadly Carnage explore each and every corner of their sound in about fifteen minutes, crossing the boundaries of metal more than once.
As a weakpoint, I would mention that the lyrics in English are at times a bit unclear, but this happens quite a lot in non-native English metal acts. However, the album is of undoubtable musical value, and I wish Deadly Carnage will keep on performing this well; "Manthe" has already made my "top of the year" list.