Thursday, 26 September 2019

Fumetti per Adulti - Un Martello per Uccidere.

Album: Un Martello per Uccidere
Artist: Fumetti per Adulti
Label: Required Rate of Return Records
Catalogue no: N/A

      1.      Un Martello per Uccidere

Fumetti per Adulti (Comics for Adults), the project, are a complete and utter mystery to me – but what I DO know is that Silvio Noveletto Jr, head man at Nailed Nazarene Industries, is behind this and so here I am reviewing it. The other fact I know is that Un Martelli per Uccidere means ‘A Hammer to Kill’, and is the title of a story published in an Italian pulp comics magazine called Attualita’ Violenta Gialla (Violent Yellow News), published who knows when in issue number 70 (looks to be somewhere around the 1970s, though). As is par for the course for these kinds of publications it features a lurid full-colour cover of a naked lady over whom looms a man wielding a large hammer – in fact, the album cover is a greyscale version of it, with the man cropped out. 

Given all the above information you’d be forgiven for thinking that this would be a noise assault from start to finish, but surprisingly what we get is a fab slab of hybrid dark noise ambient/ambient over one lengthy track. It starts with a shimmering, pealing, and ringing drone that sounds like the massed voices of the famed Sirens of legend, luring men to their doom: however, in this case though they’re luring them into the bedroom rather than onto dangerous, submerged jagged rocks at sea. It has a reverberant, heavenly quality, not at all menacing or unsettling; rather, to my ears it’s uplifting, the voices and accompanying background strains soaring and cavorting through pristine skies of blue. One can easily imagine ethereal beauties, somehow of this world yet not entirely so, singing their lustrous song, beguiling the ears of receptive men, capturing the attention of their egos, and beckoning them on with promises of untold delights. Perhaps this is exactly what the woman on the album is meant to portray, a Siren in modern garb exercising her charms and just waiting to embrace both the man and his desires.

This would be the classic scenario, the metaphorical wanton woman luring a man to ruin and disgrace. However, it may not be all that it seems here: let’s play Devil’s Advocate and turn things around a bit – even though the woman gladly flirted with the man this was exactly what he’d been hoping for. He tricked the woman into taking him to her place, and just as soon as he got her into a vulnerable position, he began attacking her with the intent to kill. Knowing this shifts the perspective entirely (especially when you know what the full cover looks like it particularly helps in this direction). The tones of the music shift subtly, assuming a more sinister and threatening demeanour, although those angelic voices can still be heard in amongst the darker drones. It’s also a way of saying that we should get the full picture before making any kind of a judgement.

Near the end, the tone shifts yet again, to where the whole began – once more the outwardly normal man, living his life like any other, working his job, and having a couple of beers at the weekend. But, like the beast he is, this is just camouflage for his true intentions – he is a ravenous carnivore, a killer, excited by blood and adrenaline, and the bringing down of the victim. It’s what he lives for, and the cycle, like an internal instinct, begins again.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by this release, especially since my expectations had led me to believe it would be one thing but those assumptions were totally shattered and it turned out to be something utterly different. To be honest, that’s one of the appeals here for me – defying assumptions and getting you to sit up and take notice. After all, one must never judge a book by its cover, and the same can be applied to this record. The other appealing factor is that series of subtle shifts that together tell the complete story; it’s a marvellous manipulation of sound and mood, and pitched expertly. This is the kind of music that instantly appeals to me – it isn’t just a series of tableaux, it’s the whole sequence from beginning to end, albeit only telling a minute part of the tale – inevitably it’s a much bigger story, one that is repeated ad infinitum. And that latter is a horrible thought in itself.

Available on Required Rate of Return Records in the near future – keep checking their Bandcamp for release details:

Psymon Marshall 2019. 

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