It’s 2014, and bog standard black metal is alive and well! The Italian group Profezia (“masters of high drama”, if the promo hype is to be believed) play a kind of Burzum-esque minimalist black metal. Oracolo Suicida is their third full-length originally released late last year, but is now seeing release in the states through the grimmest of long-running black metal labels, Moribund Records.
I probably don’t need to tell you that Profezia certainly lives up to its promise of offering cold, grim black metal done in the old way, and for many, that will be good enough. But for those looking for a little more than “Old English font” black metal, a litany of concerns arise for Oracolo Suicida. Profezia shackle themselves within the conservative confines of second-wave black metal genre conventions, crippling a novel idea such as the record’s continuous violin motif – an inspired touch, if only because its presence keeps the compositions from imploding into sub-Burzum stock riffs. “Senza il Giorno” in particular finds itself nearly saved by yearning violin amidst nine minutes of plod, where Profezia alternate between finding themselves right on the brink of fleshing out gorgeously pastoral music and receding back into limp, dollar-store black metal. Sadly, the latter wins out for the vast majority of the record. Even the percussionless minor-chord showcase “Sacra Tempesta” comes close to effectively marrying these two elements until the vacant 2-chord strumming wears out its welcome.
Songwriting aside, the production is terrible. Mind you, this is not a comment on lo-fi production per se; Profezia instead play a kind of black metal that’s “raw” in the most purposeless sense. It’s obvious that the genre’s best wield lo-fi recording technology as a tool for crafting some of the most moving music to ever come out of the extreme metal underground, but the songs on Oracolo Suicida are absolutely dessicated by it. The guitar tone hisses like a cat and the kick drum hits like a wet noodle, the latter of which being especially irritating during the flaccid double bass flurries. The title track is a particularly egregious offender, dashing the violin’s promises of a Coldworld-esque landscape of desolation with a fuzzy, practice amp tone that robs the record of any sort of effective atmosphere that might have aided the tepid songwriting. I’d imagine this “Oracle of Suicide” was intended to sound as if siphoned from the very pit of human misery, but the execution has all the edge of Drudkh with a head cold.
You can hate on much-maligned bedroom black metal stalwarts such as Striborg, Xasthur and Judas Iscariot all you want for their brash callowness (or simple amateurishness, depending on who you ask), but it’s undeniable that there’s purpose behind their chaos – insular, antisocial and spiteful of its own audience as it may be. Profezia, however, chooses a half measure on this record, failing to flesh out its single idiosyncratic element and abandoning to stagnancy its most important component: the black metal itself. Lacking quality songwriting and stripped of any atmosphere to fall back on, Oracolo Suicida ultimately remains squarely in the vacuum of vanilla black metal.
Originally published on angrymetalguy.com