We have already said over and over again how high the quality of music released over the course of 2016 has been, and still we never seem to finish this discovery of hidden gems in a musical landscape ever so wide and diverse. "ES" — the debut EP by the Padua based Affronto — recorded at the K'In Studio and released at the beginning of December, is yet another proof of this.
Compared to their 2014 demo, the quintet seems here to have a much clearer idea, or better to say darker, as they recklessly threw themselves into the harshest recesses of post-hardcore, even flirting with black metal aesthetics. The cover artwork by the Finnish artist known on Instagram as Cvltfvck also marks a tangible change from their previous effort.
After the first few notes in "Frammenti" we can already perceive the utter darkness that Affronto want us to deal with. Heavy and claustrophobic atmospheres somewhere between Raein and Triptykon, at the same time also including some post-rock oriented passages. Sandro Cappai and Simone Carraro on guitars get to the forefront with thick and yet intricate riffing in "Semitam", while Michael Anthony Foti rips his voice and directs the twisted dances in the depths of our own mind, up to the black metal acceleration towards the second half of the song.
The tormented rhythm painted by drummer Alessandro De Zanche and bassist Alessandro Menabò provides the perfect landscape to these twenty-eight minutes of excavation of the human mind ("Nel Tormento"). The leap in terms of style — and I would also say quality — from the demo gets more and more evident, while "Impulso" appears to be looking at the contemporary Italian black metal scene for inspiration (especially in terms of vocals and lyrics), while the single "ES" goes on to destroy anything that might have been still standing after the first four tracks, alternating screaming and clean vocals while opening a gorge before our eyes.
Affronto hit the jackpot with "ES", and I would easily add this record to the most notable releases in this area of the past few months. The quintet hailing from the Veneto region is currently taking some darkness around Italy, so if the above description has stirred your interest and you are in the area, note that they will play at the Grind House in Padua on February 24.