Rating:
7.9
The Undergrave Experience - Macabre - Il Richiamo Delle Ombre
2 November 2010


01. Mater Mortalis Tenebrarum
02. Zombie Graveyard Horizon (Ballata Mortale)


Italians in metal seem to have a propensity to go overboard. There is a certain band out there for whom the term "power metal" wasn't enough, so they hired famous actors to read spoken narratives and interludes and dubbed themselves the unfortunate title "Hollywood Metal." The Undergrave Experience are their evil twin, their vile doppelganger. Rhapsody in Hellfire, if you will.

Rather than go all "Quattro Formaggi" and dumping enough dairy into the mix to give lactose-intolerant listeners a fatal reaction, they opted for the more stripped down styling of horror movies. Specifically, classic Italian horror movies of years past... i.e. Dario Argento stuff.

Yes, I find it terribly amusing that two weeks and three reviews or so I made a remark about a band sounding as if they were trying to score a horror flick when I get an album that actually is an intentional marriage of a metal release and a horror movie score.

At their base, The Undergrave Experience are a typical funeral doom metal band. Y'all know what that means by now. Slooooooooow, heavily distorted riffs with accompanying drum beats so far between one another you can time them on a sun dial, melodic yet mournful leads, and subsonic growled vocals that sound more like something that should be playing in one of those "we like the cars, the cars that go boom" low-riding, drum-n-bass blaring trucks that set off all car alarms in the postal code with each beat rather than what should be coming through your puny, mortal speakers. Two songs, each nearly as long as a full grindcore release... and with 1/100000th the beats.

The horror movie marriage means lots of piano based interludes... they hammer a couple of the really low keys on the far left to set a somber mode, then a few higher notes on the far right side to creep you out. Toss in some synths. These passages go on long enough for half of the band to set down their instruments, go down a bottle of grappa, stagger back and resume playing.

And like their aforementioned counterparts, they even have spoken bits in this. Fortunately they eschewed aging, acting Britons (or worse, some dude with a Sylvester The Cat-esque speech impediment) to babble on about rocks and trees. Instead they have what basically sounds like some creepy prophecy, or even exorcism - the expelling demons sort, not the treadmill kind.

There are spots where perhaps the non-\m/ goes on for an aggravatingly long time, but then again, it is funeral doom and the time table for anything remotely bombastic or explosive is already slowed down to the speed of boredom. Either you dig it and endure it, or you just dump the tunes in your recycle bin.

I found it a bit of a grower, I liked it at first, and more so as I gave it repeated listens. Even then it has largely been background music. I listen while reading, typing away furiously at my pc, or while passing out after consuming enough grappa to put me in my undergrave.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 28.11.2011 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››



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Troy Killjoy - 28.11.2011 at 20:00  
I should've just stopped reading after the first paragraph. Funny review, and informative, but this is definitely not something I'd be interested in.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.11.2011 at 21:06  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.11.2011 at 20:00

I should've just stopped reading after the first paragraph. Funny review, and informative, but this is definitely not something I'd be interested in.


I thought you liked funeral doom? Or am I mistaken?
Mr. Doctor - 28.11.2011 at 21:07  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.11.2011 at 20:00

I should've just stopped reading after the first paragraph. Funny review, and informative, but this is definitely not something I'd be interested in.


Why? I found the first paragraph misleading because I thought it was going to be power metal or something. I'm interested in this funeral stuff with horror movies thing on it. Might sound nice.
Troy Killjoy - 28.11.2011 at 21:10  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.11.2011 at 21:06
I thought you liked funeral doom? Or am I mistaken?

The piano interludes and spoken word parts mentioned don't immediately make me want to listen to this. I like funeral doom, but that doesn't mean I look into every release blindly.
Mr. Doctor - 28.11.2011 at 21:12  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.11.2011 at 21:10
but that doesn't mean I look into every release blindly.


I dunno man, I think this might be interesting at the very least. Worth check it out just for that.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.11.2011 at 21:15  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.11.2011 at 21:10

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.11.2011 at 21:06
I thought you liked funeral doom? Or am I mistaken?

The piano interludes and spoken word parts mentioned don't immediately make me want to listen to this. I like funeral doom, but that doesn't mean I look into every release blindly.


those interludes and such are restricted to a minimum and this release is actually quite good, although I rated it half a point lower. At least it's not soppy beautiful funeral doom which is currently flooding the market from Russia and such. This is no funeral doom for beginners unlike Shape Of Despair (though very nice), EA, Collosseum and such.
Troy Killjoy - 28.11.2011 at 21:16  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 28.11.2011 at 21:12
I dunno man, I think this might be interesting at the very least. Worth check it out just for that.

Chances are I'll get around to it at some point, but I'm definitely in no rush to hear it.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.11.2011 at 21:20  
But I am still fo the opinion the band should be shot for its totally stupid band name and album title. who in his right mind would call their album Macabre - Il Richiamo Delle Ombre: An Italian Horror Tragedy and a song Zombie Graveyard Horizon (Ballata Mortale)?
BitterCOld - 28.11.2011 at 21:47  
The interlude/spoken bits are done in creepy latin (i assume, not Italian, though not sure) and there still is music attached ...

i was initially going to score the album lower, but it grew on me a tad as i listened to it repeatedly while working out the review.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.11.2011 at 21:56  
Written by BitterCOld on 28.11.2011 at 21:47

The interlude/spoken bits are done in creepy latin (i assume, not Italian, though not sure) and there still is music attached ...


Latin and Italian is used there.
Darkside Momo - 29.11.2011 at 00:06  
I must say that I'm quite curious...
Merchant of Doom - 29.11.2011 at 00:38  
Good stuff... I think the horror connotation is mentioned far too much... it's not the predominant aspect here. Definitely worth listening to it, although I found it a bit "dry" and lightweight on the long run. As far as I remember, the spoken words are in Italian (and I should know... ). Will give it a listen again tomorrow.
BitterCOld - 29.11.2011 at 00:50  
The horror bit is mentioned with some weight as it is largely what differentiates the band from a slew of others. funeral doom is funeral doom... do i need to spend 400 words talking about that aspect of the music, then only a few on what makes them stand out?
Merchant of Doom - 29.11.2011 at 12:52  
I still think the horror theme in this is minimal... BTW, the lyrics are in English, Italian and Latin...
Slinky666 - 01.12.2011 at 06:47  
This album is not bad and I will give it my dollar.

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