Void of Silence
Human Antithesis

I can’t really say Italy has a solid stranglehold on the doom genre, but after this, their third album, Rome’s Void of Silence at least seem ready to make others take notice. After the horrifically bad Carinou album, I was reluctant to give this a listen but it turns out, VOS are a pretty creative, original and talented band. Playing an industrialized, ambient style of experimental doom metal, VOS deliver an apocalyptic take on doom with expected lengthy tunes, massive lurching riffs, and emotional varied synths.

With Primordial vocalist Alan Nemtheanga in the ranks, VOS create a rich and varied sound that crosses many boundaries. Not as emotive as the Finnish melancholy filled take on doom, VOS are far more robotic, with programmed drums and lots of far more mechanical atmospherics rather than a lush organic sound. The opening twenty minute, three part title track pretty much covers all doom metal territory with a bleak outlook on mankind’s future. The track actually plays like a movie with a palatable start, middle and hopeful climax, with Nemtheanga covering very Aaron Stainthorpe like territory in his mostly clean delivery. The despairing “Grey Horizon” is slightly more traditional in its use of sobering guitars and minimal synths, and Nemtheanga shows surprising emotional range.

Main composer Riccardo Conforti shows himself to be an adventurous song writer, and his Italian heritage surface in some of the very subtle choral work of the first 2 tracks, but comes to light in the evocative Untitled mid album track. His mix of both romantic and mechanical elements is as strange dichotomy (church bells and industrial FX to start “To A Sickly Child”), but he pulls it off. “To A Sickly Child” also shows Nemtheanga’s more brutish side with a deep more traditional funeral doom growl along with his croon. The eleven minute track, like the title track covers a lot of ground, encompassing a whole gamut of classic doom and industrial elements but it never seems forced or muddled like Zaraza or even Source of Tide. At 7:36 it crashes in with a thunderous riff that’s classic doom metal, showing Conforti clearly understands the genre despite his mainly experimental musings.

“Dark Static Moments,” at 15 minutes starts to test your attention span, as most doom metal albums do with mostly the same lethargic pace, but the atypical synth and FX work as well as Nemtheanga’s evocative voice keep it interesting. I listened just to see what Conforti would insert next, and “Dark Static Moments” actually ends up being the most “normal” of the tracks on the album, being possibly the slowest most depressive track on the album comparable to My Dying Bride’s better late era work and a welcome return of Nemtheanga’s growl. “CXVIII” closes out the album with a rather piecemeal instrumental with some Italian spoken words (there are several expected bouts of it littered around the album), but it doesn’t put any emotional closure on album ripe with somber passion.

Still, Human Antithesis is a solid, sometimes engrossing album, and VOS appear to be a band ready to make a splash with this album and deliver something good from Italy that’s not power metal or pasta based.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 24th, 2004

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