|Title:||Head First Into Shadows|
I know, I'm really late writing about (EchO)'s last effort, but the important thing is doing it. "Head First Into Shadows" is the title, and I'm happy to see that the album legitimisez the band's success, as indeed was in my expectations.
Five years is the amount of time spent between the debut and the second album, but the waiting wasn't in vain, because the band repayed our patience with a great performance. The already extensive repertoire of musical ideas has been expanded further, connecting the doom-death metal sound to a post-metal influence and a progressive rock refinement that expand and feeds the bleak greyness, the dominant color pervaded by a sweet melancholy.
Dreaming and being abruptly woke up, then diving back to dream-like scenarios: an evocative emotional seesaw becomes concrete starting from the opener "Blood And Skin", probably the more standard-ish track and anchored to the doom-death metal musical landscape, but able to surprise the listener with Fabio Urietti's performance, that feels perfectly in the right place in the singer role, and for the Seventies atmosphere that suddenly comes out from the riffs. However the latter surfaces thanks to the melodic prog and the delicate folk that decorates "A Place We Used To Call Home", and thanks to the powerful, shipwrecking and kaleidoscopic approach in "Beneath This Lake" (in which Daniel Droste from Ahab appears as a special guest), unfathomable, deep but enchanting as the Ocean.
"Gone" then changes a bit the track, in favor of the exploration of a more liquid, evocative, dimension of post-metal nature that lends itself to welcome the second guest, Jani Ala-Hukkala, the men behind Callisto's mic. (EchO) don't look to black abyssal waters anymore, but they turn their gaze to the cosmic vastness, softening the sound and becoming more catchy and languid. They loosen their grip again with the next "A New Maze": the atmosphere makes me think to a twilight, dyeing the music with an intriguing rock aura. "Order Of The Nightshade" closes the album, an unquiet creature, which offers its gothic side to the listener, making us remember that the band from Brescia are masters of changing their form on the run, always bringing home great results.
"Head Fist Into Shadows" is a great album where everything works. In the end Urietti demonstrated to have his own persona, especially when talking about the clean vocals; meanwhile the instrumental performance is close to perfection, in particular the job done by Simone Mutolo, first class atmosphere creator. Mastering and production (process once again in Esoteric's Greg Chandler's expert hands) give consistency and modernity to the sound. And the music? The music is viscerally emotive, an epitome of grit and delicacy, of passion, rage and melancholy that never gets tiring.
You should buy (EchO)'s release, there are a lot of motivations, maybe too many, and they would be mass confirmed by the times your stereo will play this album. Supporting a band of this level is a must, in addition of being an immense pleasure.