Tronus Abyss
Vuoto Spazio Trionfo

Formerly a medieval black metal act, this Italian three-piece has followed an Ulver-like trajectory to become something much more ambient, experimental and textural. I’m usually not quite sure to expect from this sort of thing, as it could either be 45 minutes of indulgent, formless studio wankery or an actual album experience. Luckily, Vuoto Spazio Trionfo is very much the latter.

There’s more to this than just deconstructed black metal riffs and howling ambience. Doom, industrial and some carefully chosen organic elements are layered into the mix, creating an experience that frequently reminded me of NIN‘s ambient selection Ghosts I-IV. Strummed guitars cycle below doomy, crackling fuzz on opener “Transformazione,” with a subtle melody surfacing later on in the track. “Montagne Ad Ovest” strikes a dark, almost Western vibe with its acoustic drone and whistling synth melodies. And “Samadhi Aos,” with its crashing, sludge-like synth tones and guitar-driven dronescape, comes off like a mix of Zombi and Earth.

Even more unusual elements surface here and there, pulling from other, more uniquely Italian reference points. The weird, dreamlike classical piano in “Cerimonia Dello Spazio” sounds familiar enough, but I can’t place it. It sounds as if it’s echoing out from some concealed space, like something you would hear while walking through the halls of the dance academy/coven from Dario Argento’s Suspiria. And no, that’s not a random reference either, because famed Italian prog-synth horror gods Goblin came to mind a few times during this album as well (so much so that I followed up the listening session with their Dawn of the Dead soundtrack).

The most bizarre elements come when Tronus Abyss reach far beyond the confines of what is normally considered dark or metal, and pull in elements that take on new, ominous associations. For instance, the accordion and 1930’s operatic vocals in “Reincarnazione” – combined with burbling, nether-dimensional spacewarp effects, it sounds as if some Lovecraftian demon is trying to materialize inside of your favorite neighborhood Italian joint. “Cerimonia del Vuoto” also surprises with its juxtaposition of jangling Rio street carnival and guttural, unearthly throat singing. These unexpected touches propel Vuoto Spazio Trionfo far beyond what’s normally expected from post-black metal experimentalism.

While this may not be something I’ll throw in for the daily commute, it is a unique and well-executed sonic vision that stands out from much of the samey dronescapes I’ve heard to date. Definitely worth a listen for fans of experimental and ambient work.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
February 17th, 2009


  1. Commented by: erik

    i will be cheking this out

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