Music’s been going ballistic these past few years and it’s bloody excellent. Genre rulebooks are reduced to kindling, while bands like STORMO fuel the fire with their own brand of vigorous, noisy noise. On their fourth full-length, the Dolomite Alps natives have chosen to hone every destructive riff idea learned on the road with other aficionados of energetic dirge at such DIY activism-led events as Fluff Fest, and the result is beautifully cagey.
Musing on such fatal issues as death —ourselves as humans, and our crumbling ecological home around us—the lyric sheet reads like short poems of anguish. The staccato delivery of the opening to Disequilibrio (“Spazi bianchi, cancellati e riscritti, riempiti di tentativi in disequilibrio”) fittingly mimics the wording which, for English speakers, translates to “blank pages, deleted and written again, filled by compromised attempts.”
That futility is made all the more impassioned through various repetitions from vocalist Luca Rocco. In an even more visceral, but also spiritual, context Endocannibalismo refers to an Amazonian mourning ritual of consuming dead relatives to free souls. Needless to say, on the jumpy title track, Rocco laments “Ciò che conta non muore, ci avvolge, si nutre di noi” (“what matters doesn’t die, it envelops us, it feeds on us”). Wowee.
While his vocal chops maintain a similar register in the throaty-shout category, he occasionally delves into spoken word (Vipere, Ombre), and the song’s short bursts of rage make it more than withstandable. With that clocking in under two minutes, and none quite reaching four, the tracklist is crammed to full-burst with gnarly musical ideas. PV77 is frantic and squawking with tremolo-picked runs buzzing over the top of a punchy bass tone. The subtle pace changes of Spire are really quite marvellous. Luckily you get a short breather with melancholic scramz-inspired cut Anabasi. As for the guitar’s ricochet effect, there’s a tonne of real whiplash moments: Frame’s scrambled main lead lick and its “whee-oo, whee-oo” dischords, or a delectably quick neck slide riff to closer Sopravvivenze e Forme, which is given only short airtime before similar scatterbrain ideas pop off all over the gaff.
It certainly ends as it starts: unbridled chaos. On those lines, even opener Valichi Olitre doesn’t stick to its jaunty guitar intro for too long. It may fool you into thinking STORMO is a country-inspired garage rock outfit (now there’s an idea), until the chugging and dissonant chords welcome in impending blastbeats that Stefano Rutolini brings out for show-and-tell at will. Sorte is also a staunch highlight. If you like your ‘90s early metalcore slathered on thick: it’ll be for you. They have toured with Converge after all.
If there’s a brazen fault, it’s the bizarre AI-generated album cover. In my eyes at least, there’s a deathly concept in the whole AI discourse in that it’s so dull I’d rather it be put to bed. Perhaps that’s what they were going for? Either way, the music talks the talk, though doesn’t so much walk the walk rather runs around frenzied with scissors. That’s certainly what they were going for, and the half-hour headrush is worth it.
For fans of: Honningbarna, Botch, Birds In Row
‘Endocannibalismo’ by STORMO is released on 10th February on Prosthetic Records.
Words by Elliot Burr