Whenever I come across an album like this, a rare occurrence, initially I cannot help wondering whether it makes any sense to put it out into the world in the first place. The band from Piemonte (north-west of Italy) clothes an absolute, existential form of philosophy with black metal robes which have no resemblance to those we see on magazines or most fanzines. These are the robes of the ascetic, not in the Christian sense but in the aristocratic sense. Here the intellect, a spirited form of thirst that makes you jump into the ruthless fire of awareness, sustains everything. Music is a mere reflection of an intense, grueling challenge where you single-mindedly pursue the thrill/pain of abandoning yourself to the innermost source of ancestral, shamanic truths. Coupling a deeply meditative kind of cognitive introspection to an extensive and heterodox type of knowledge, with determination and perseverance, will demolish boundaries, subvert what is commonly accepted, reclaim what has been hidden to us, give impetus to pursue a way of life that seeks inner and outer adventures that are truly authentic, meaningful and exhilarating, often reckless (from the point of view of the herd). And when you are in that tremendous place of Spartan solitude, inevitably you look down on those who live a life of slavery to a system that holds them hostage through lies and constant offerings of unnecessary, meaningless goods, you begin to feel disgust for those who choose not to see, those who worship plastic shallowness.
MDAE reject the conformist values of today’s society, electing spiritual freedom as only path, and Tradition as beacon of light. Lacrime degli Dei (Tears of the Gods), the sophomore album born out of a collaboration between Ans (the main force behind the project) and Agilulf (plus guest vocalists), keeps exploring the deeper, universal meaning of lore, myth and history, with the intensity of who is under the spell of its intoxicating presence around and within, someone who has the will and need to respond to its spellbinding, ancestral, primordial call. The proud and fierce approach, which mercilessly pinpoints our eternal vulnerabilities, frailties and sorrows, shows that these people do not delude themselves by believing romantically in a lost paradise, but rather acknowledge the stark reality of life as our perennial Hell. Except they find salvation, like many of us who are drawn by the more authentic side of the black metal philosophy, in the exhilarating, cleansing contact with Nature in its purest, most uncontaminated, raw and majestic manifestations. Piemonte, their region (my birth-place), means “at the foot of the mountain”: we are people who have a close and innate relationship with the surrounding Alps,its snowy peaks being a constant presence in our life. Silent and breathtaking, our rolling hills and mountains are custodians of ancestral wisdom, the essence of Life and Death. Ans spends a lot of time climbing (wonderful and full of layered meanings is the track called “Ascending Mount Soratte”), trekking and discovering our Celtic roots amongst the woods, castles, hills and valleys of Monferrato. Words and artwork take my mind to the inebriating perfume of the changing seasons, the fine vineyards, the old tuffaceous houses, the cobblestone alleys, the elegance of the aristocratic homes with their frescoed ceilings, and the magnificence of a Torino, once capital of the Reign of Savoy, which I had the privilege to know through the eyes of my ancestors. The feeling of a deep loss is inevitable (returning to my birth places is always a very painful experience because of the tragic history of my family) and I cry together with the gods…
But as I said, no sterile nostalgia, no idealizing of historical moments through a selective memory here; rather, the album articulates a precise path that begins with our inner death, an inevitable step, and ends with a rebirth that is more dazzling, rich and wise than one could ever imagine. Intellectual ascetics are often warriors, as the eastern traditions show us: people of few words, who do not share their knowledge with the masses, but only with the few chosen ones. Movimento d’Avanguardia Ermetico, from the dizzying heights of their brave name, one that does bear some responsibilities, share with us their experiences of spiritual warriors (the words “avant-garde” and “hermetic” refer to this intellectual stance, rather than the music itself) through the Italian label The Oath (Manes, Lunar Aurora). For those who will not be able to fully appreciate the depth of the lyrical content and the well written cover notes enriched by quotations by Bataille, Pessoa, Hesse and The Bhagavad Gita amongst others, I will say that musically the band is not at all distant from the aesthetics of the best shoegaze-black metal incarnation of Alcest, especially in the first part of the album, where the intimacy and frailty of the journey called for an emotional, melodic and touching approach. A fragile, stargazing semi-acoustic guitar and the delicately dissonant riffs contrast with a well-rounded bass and variegated vocals, while the few tremolo-riffed/blasting parts are soft and beautiful, just like Neige’s. The spoken parts, which echo the constant inner soliloquy of the artist, often resonating of a certain military mood (which informed the entire previous album), and the carefully selected old samples, take us back to pre-color television and pre-war radio cultural programs. “Marcia del Sole Notturno”, with its piano interlude, marks a turning point in the resurrection rituals: as the album poignantly progresses the introspective journey finally becomes glorious rebirth. Inevitably the awakening informs both inner and outer life: action and contact with nature ignite a new and spiritual process. The exalted ascension to the scared mountain peak is both metaphor and reality: “Entangled shrubs, virgin paths; the awareness of the crevices sharpens my perceptions, time expands to an eternal instant. Step after step (…) The spirit of the hero finds its way”.
And then the absolute reign of the soul begins.
Release: December 2012
Label: The Oath
Avantgenre: Introspective Aristocratic Black Metal
Official site: None
Review online since: 11.04.2013 / 21:17:48
01 – Introduzione
02 – Apparizione Onirica Dell’Ombra
03 – Solo Il Mio Passo Risuona Nell’oscurità
04 – Lacrime Degli Dei
05 – Marcia Del Sole Notturno
06 – Ballata Dei Proscritti
07 – Intermezzo
08 – Ascesa Al Monte Soratte
09 – Il Risveglio Del Sovrano Interiore