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Lento - Anxiety Despair Languish (2012) review

Lento - "Anxiety Despair Languish" (Denovali 2012) 

Italian Sludge-Doom-Progressive collective Lento, active since 2004, have released not too long ago their third full-length album, going by the title of “Anxiety Despair Languish”, through german Denovali Records.

For those of you who are familiar with the band and their sound, and have had the chance to listen to their previous efforts (“Earthen”, from 2007, and “Icon”, from 2011, as well as a split release with fellow Italian psych-doomsters Ufomammut), you will definitely know what to expect. Or is it so? In a way, one could say that Lento’s moving towards something different, but it’s really just from a technical standpoint, and probably it’s just because these musicians  are growing more and more comfortable with the spirit of their music and are now more free to turn it and twist it around while maintain intact the darkness which is at the core of the band’s sound. They seem to be now able to manipulate it, swim in it and make it obey their will.

The album opens like a window on a desolate landscape of lifeless fields covered in goo, towering black flames devouring all that once was alive and beautiful. “Glorificaton Of The Chosen One” dooms on, perpetuating those flames with its melancholy requiem of cascading distortion, until we find out that “Death Must Be The Place”. Dissonant notes that pierce through the layers, while the rhythm section rants as if it was possessed by some obscure, malignant entity. Like Meshuggah playing Isis. Or the other way around. The wall of sound is of impressive intensity, throughout the whole first half of the record, but the band makes sure we don’t get too much to be happy about, as they keep their crushing downtuned guitars on the dark side of everything. It’s not a moshpit that they want to see us in, but rather a nightmarish trance, most likely in order to let the hook of the album’s second half sink better .
Enter the incessant pounding, spastic structures, tribal drumming and uplifting hardcore noise of the deadly triptych “A Necessary Leap/Underbelly/Blind Idiot God”. The sheer power with which the riffs and cadences are delivered is of terrifying intensity; it bends one  in half and hammers on the spine, while the carpet of  synthesizers in the background makes it feel like some sort of purifying punishment we chose and are grateful to be taking.

The disarming, upsetting nothingness of “Inward Disclosure” nullify the listener’s senses and introduce the album’s finale, which is when things really get violent. The 3’15” of “Unyelding/Unwawering” serve as an introductory accompaniment to what could easily be the sound of the core of this planet if it was populated by savage demon-like creatures constantly beating on their wardrums, praising the very forces that put life on earth. “My Utmost For His Highest”, last step on this downward climb: let its solemnity go through you like a column of black, cold water, and its closing blasts like rapid fire through the chest;  then turn around, sit back and cast your reflection upon what you just hear, saw, went through. And you’ll want to hear it, see it, go through it again.

Lento’s vision is one of bleak and shapeless worlds, where primordial instinct reigns supreme and these four beings move on, untamed by any of life’s restrictions. They breathe and drink, unconstrained and unaffected, from a pool that would most likely end others, feeding their own lifesblood while doing so. Like few bands have been able to successfully do before, their translation of horror  into music is, in a twisted way, a surprisingly beautiful, almost Lovecraft-ian one.

They’ve become masters of their craft. This is all they do now, and they do it good.

Review made by Tommy Morelli/2013
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