Soothing doom/jazz vibes with Messa

MESSA – Feast For Water

Band: Messa
Title: Feast For Water
Year: 2018
Country: Italy
Label: Aural Music
Contacts: Facebook  Bandcamp  Spotify

  1. Naunet
  2. Snakeskin Drape
  3. Leah
  4. The Seer
  5. She Knows
  6. Tulsi
  7. White Stains
  8. Da Tariki Tariquat

Feast For Water has been some sort of small media event on dedicated press: the second, excellent album by Messa, rising star of the Italian doom scene already under the spotlight with their first, solid album Belfry (2016), although a bit anchored to classic genre precepts. Busy on different fronts, the four guys from Veneto take us by surprise, changing their guise with a rare pearl in which their style mutates through different forms, reaching all the way to experimental and jazz sounds.

There are so many irons in the fire here and, contrary to what happens usually, they’re perfectly handled. We don’t know what happened in the Padua surroundings during the last two years, truth is that the band made a huge leap forwards in terms of maturity and songwriting: the doom element is taken further into drone territories, but don’t expect huge walls of sound for the whole duration, because Feast For Water is much more than the sum of these two, already similar, genres. The instrumental opening track, “Naunet”, literally drowns us in an underwater world made of shimmering sounds, a thousand facetings perfectly rendered by a solid and self confident band, led by Sara’s splendid voice: a priestess able to hypnotize and excite as wel as stepping aside when needed, giving the composition an extra value and making her impact even greater, with a performance that elevates the young singer in a scene which is becoming more and more open to female voices, but also saturated by the day, lacking originality here and there.

Water, which symbolizes the constant flow of everything, is the main theme of a work that touches spirituality, mythology and religion in a continuous flux, alternating heavy and square structures with jazzier ones, however dark sounding. Tracks like “Snakeskin Drape” or “The Seer”, with their steady pace and fuzz-filled guitars, are of course high peaks in which we expected the band to be perfecly at ease, but the exquisite class that permeates this platter is to be found in the quieter moments, when the band changes their skin: unexpected presences are, in fact, the saxophone in the smokey and noir-ish “Tulsi” and, above all, His Majesty the Fender Rhodes. The classic electric piano, widely used from the Seventies onwards, is dusted and serving songs which shine on their own, like “Leah”, “She Knows” and “White Stains”. Moreover, it’s surprising how naturally these elements are nestled in this album, but just take a look at the influences, among the best around with giants like Herbie Hancock and Angelo Badalamenti (the magnificent “Twin Peaks” soundtrack is impossible to forget).

So, take all of this, drop in some blast beats and some pretty intense moments here and there, the closing piece “Da Tariki Tariquat” with its oriental warmth, and you’ll get Feast For Water: a first-rate opus, both rough and clean when needed, which trascends genres and which, judging from the almost unanimous ratings all round, will get into many charts at the end of the year. Many of ours for sure.