Sunpocrisy - Samaroid Diaroma's - 3/5
I've been listening to this unsigned Italian band's debut on and off now for at least a month now, each time thinking it should be something I'd like and each time finding myself bored well before the albums finished. Progressive sludge with a psychedelic twist; alternating sludge aggression with calmer, almost ambient inspired passages to lend contrast, a delightful psychedelic guitar harmonising with the track on top. The capabilities of the musicians never truly falters; the guitars remain upbeat and technical, the bass is present, the drums more than capable. So far so good, but whilst the sound they've created feels perfectly fitting, its in the finer compositional details that everything starts to crumble.
Each track consists of two very distinct but specific tones, alternating between them for the tracks length. Had this existed on a track of normal length this wouldn't be so bad, but largely consisting of ten minute epics, it often finds itself getting stale well before the end. And even if you do manage to make it to the end, the following tracks often do very little to liven things up and change the manner it proceeds. The composition of the individual lines leave much to be desired too; the rasped 'nyc hardcore' style vocals in particular are horrendously monotonous with the cleans faring mildly better; the guitars during heavier passages chug along in a manner that at their worst wouldn't feel that out of place in a deathcore release, if not for the tone (and lack of downtuning); even the 'delightful psychedelic' guitars work only to the point you realise how generic and unmemorable they are.
Part of me wants to refuse to call this sludge. Sludge has always implied to me that your wading through difficult times, but remain strong and push onwards through the hardships. It's a real sense of 'I'm fucked but will persevere' that typifies the genre for me, and I don't mind how exactly you get there. It's a tone that at no point does it feel like they've accomplished (perhaps 'post-metal' would work better). In fact, I'm not entirely sure what they're even trying to accomplish, and that's part of the problem. There are hints at a concept at work in the title but with little idea of what it entails (something about the four elements I think?), the indecipherable lyrics and lack of musical diversity, anything more specific would feel like little more than a stab in the dark.
Don't think there isn't conflict as I write this piece, there is undoubtedly something here but it fails to make an impression on me, but – and call this reviewers intuition if you will – for everyone like me who doesn't 'get it,' there will be another who identifies with the atmosphere presented instantaneously, and for them who knows, this could be one of their favourite releases of the year. Sadly, for me, the only reaction it yields is a timid and condescending 'that's nice,' before I wonder what else is on, and that's disappointing.