From the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, here comes Nono Cerchio – Ninth Circle -, a progressive post-metal band with two members from one of last year’s biggest new names: Nero di Marte. Their debut album, Ombre, was released in early November, and clocks in at almost 50 minutes.
With draughts of experimental music imbuing the atmospheres of the post-metal background, we get a work of art heavy with dissonance, and deeper meaning than can be thought of at first listen. In fact, the album is influenced by Dante’s Divine Comedy, most specifically, the 32nd Canto of “Inferno”, where the hero is introduced to the Ninth Circle. Ombre is an album that is tainted by the grim world of Dante, with slowly evolving contemplative pieces of music that really show their post-metal foundation. While the technical drums play a primal yet intelligent beat, the bass inchoately hums the tone, often accompanied with a minor sixth or augmented octave – you know, the best intervals ever! -, and the guitar acts like the background of an oil painting: coherent and indispensable, but rather undefined and far from being the center of attraction.
In fact, no one really seems to be at the forefront here, which is a bit odd. Usually, the guitar-driven riffs will often prevail in metal; if not, then it’ll be the craziness of the bass player, as in Primus or Spiral Architect, and sometimes, the drums will take a lead role. However, Nono Cerchio seem to balance very well the three instruments so that everyone’s contribution is essential to the whole, but meaningless on its own. The very first song on the album, “Cocito”, embodies perfectly what I mean by that. If you can envision Ulcerate or Baring Teeth dropping their singer and death metal influence, I think what you’d get is something very close to Nono Cerchio.
The album, if you get it on bandcamp, is complemented with a 35-minute four-piece improvisational guitar piece of work. Franceso d’Adamo plays in real-time with various effect and looping pedals, conceiving a soundtrack to a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape. To me, this bonus track is the least interesting one on the album, but I guess that those more into ambient and atmospheric music than me will appreciate it.