2 August 2015

Pulvis Et Umbra - Implosion of Pain

We are back in Italy for this review! Never thought I would find some much about a metal scene outside of the UK as I have, it is something that I am also very thankful for the opportunity to listen to all the bands that have been in touch.  I might take an eternity to get round to the reviews, but I always complete them.  Which brings us to this review of the second release from Pulvis Et Umbra from 2014.  Brief history lesson for those people (including myself) who are new to the band.  The band were formed in 2002 out of the ashes of Phoneutria.  Over the years they released a few EPs, before finally releasing a full length album in 2012 called 'Reaching the End'.  However, in 2014 they went from a full band to a one man project which now composed just Damy Mojitodka.   The first fruits of these labours comes in the form of the album that is about to be reviewed - 'Implosion of Pain'.  According to the press stuff, whenever Pulvis Et Umbra perform live Mr Mojitodka hires musicians for those performances only; it does seem practical as well, there are a lot of solo projects out there at the moment who could follow the same role (Omni Dimensional come to mind straight away).  But this is the time for reviewing this album, theorising about other artists - so let’s get on with it.

The opening track in an electronic introduction track called "Lift Off".  It has samples as if a missile/rocket is about to be launched; it gives way to the first song of the album called "Lost Moon" which starts like an explosion.  The song has shades of Killswitch Engaged, Strapping Young Lad and just a hint of Iron Maiden (especially with the solo); it is a strong, aggressive opening which starts off the album with the sort of bang that this style of music requires - an instant smash to the face.  "End of Emptiness" is a song of three parts for me - once again it explodes out of the blocks, but for this listener it has a feeling that is akin to the sound of Max Cavalera during the last few Soulfly albums (more aggressive thrash style) which goes a more thoughtful and measured attack after a few plays of the opening riff to a manic riff and then back to an atmospheric harmonising riff; it then swirls around these sections bring them as and when they are needed.  It does gel together quite well, but it is a song that I can appreciate for the craftsmanship more than embrace; it is played very well but it is not quite to my tastes.  "Implosion of Pain" however, that is much more to my liking.  The mixture of metalcore, deathcore and a good old fashion of Strapping Young Lad is a perfect combination to these ears.  It the solid slabs of metal riffage that is laid down throughout this song is brilliant and the groove metal ending is perfect - I can see why it is the title track of the album.

"...’til It Keeps Me Awake" is the next track on the album which starts with a clean intro and then the demons descend on the number and all hell breaks loose. This sub three minutes track is a harsh mixture of nu-thrash and metalcore; the only thing I wish is that it does not have a fade out ending, but again that is a personal taste and does not take away from this being a storming song.  "Psicostasia" starts off with a prayer/chant which I can only assume is some sort of Latin prayer (either to a fallen deity, demon or to the God of the Christian/Jewish/Muslim faith (it is the same God people, all of their stories start in the same place) - update - I have been told by Pulvis et Umbra that this
is a mortuary ancient Egyptian pray.  The song is a mixture of metal and middle-eastern themes, being an instrumental you are given more time to listen to the music rather than the focus being on the lyrical content.  It is decent number for me which keeps the album heading in the right direction, it is a little slow in places but overall it is still a good song.  "Soul Vertigo" is another track which explodes out of the blocks and keeps the pace throughout the song.  It is just pedal to the floor, full out attack and a fantastic riff that keeps coming back for more.  Even when it slows down slightly, it still sounds like a bomb is going off - if it was not for "Implosion of Pain", this would have been the top track of the album.

"Ordinary Scars" is more groove metal than anything else; the main riff just bring to mind Pissing Razors and Pantera, all tided up with a Deathcore vocal that keep the structure together.  Once more, the song is performed incredibly well and the technicality involved is impressive; however I am still finding it hard to enjoy beyond admiration for the effort and passion that has been used to create it.  Another song which is not for me, but it is also not a bad song by any measure.  The penultimate track is called "Lullaby", starting like a classic thrash track with the guitars lacing around each other to slowly drip fed the tension of the song; you are awaiting the song to erupt into a metal torrent, which is does just as planned.  The mixture of blast beats, deathcore vocals and thrash metal sensibilities makes for one of the highlights of the album.  The song is also given time to evolve and feel natural, it has a very organic nature and it sound fantastic.  Ending the album is "Look Through the Eyes" which ends this type of album in the correct style - with a hail of thunder, fire and blasting through the track as if there is no tomorrow.  A clinical mixture of Emperor, metalcore and just lethal riffs, Pulvis Et Umbra ends the album on a high point.

Ok, cards on the table - this album is not one for me.  But, this is still a very good album; let me explain - as well as the album is played, I have found myself not falling under its charms.  The playing is really top draw, it is well composed and put together with an obvious passion; but it is just an album that I can appreciate and (sadly) not love.  However (as I stated just before), this does not mean it is not a good album; for starters Damy Mojitodka is making music that is original, full of hooks that will sink into fans of the heavier side of metal and he is basically a one man army and has made an album that will go down well a storm for fans of independent metal. If you are looking for a mixture of thrash, deathcore and groove metal, I would say this is a great place to start. 

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

Top track - Implosion of Pain.

You can purchase the digital version of the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Pulvis Et Umbra website here (where you can find links to purchase from Pulvis Et Umbra directly - hint hint, help the artist directly and all that jazz)

You can follow the activities of Pulvis Et Umbra on Facebook here

You can stream the album on Spotify here

You can stream the album on Deezer here

You can stream the album on Tidal here

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