It's hard to come up with a genre classification that Italy's Nero Di Marte easily fit into. That makes writing about the band a little more challenging, but it's a good thing for adventurous metal fans hungry for something new. But, if you're a genre nerd, you could call them progressive melodic death metal and sound really insightful. Or you could call them a cross between Gojira and Strapping Young Lad and not be far of fbase. Or you could simply call them a really creative, really promising up-and-coming band that deserve some attention.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I didn't like this album the first few times I listened to it. Yes, I'm a fan of post-progressive experimental what-have-you, and there's plenty of polyrythms, dissonance, and crazy time signatures to satisfy even the most pretentious metal nerd. But something just didn't click with me initially. Then, somewhere around the third listen, Nero Di Marte got its claws in me.
I'm sure not what turned me off about this album. Maybe it's because it came off as a little too -core or mainstream at first. Regardless, after a couple serious listening sessions, I got passed my preexisting biases and really started enjoying Nero Di Marte.
The album opener, "Convergence", starts out with some martial drumming that leads into a weird collage of dissonant guitars, what sounds like throat singing, and possibly a mouth harp. At around the one minute mark, the song leaps into a more traditionally metallic structure that the band roughly adheres to throughout the album. Again, think of Gojira meets Strapping Young Lad.
The second track, "Time Dissolves", is a bit of a letdown after the solid first track. It's a little too plain. But "Resilient" and "Nero Di Marte", with their polyrythmic chaos and crazy tonal shifts, form a solid mid-album blast that doesn't get monotonous at all even though the two songs alone are a whopping 20 minutes.
"Drawn Back" is another weak song, but fans of djent may still enjoy it despite it's almost Korny tendencies. This weakness can be forgiven, though, because the final track, "Anopticon", is so good. It starts with a sultry, slithering guitar part that quickly launches into a wall of sound consisting of stuttering power chords, jazzy drums, and some wicked fret board gymnastics.
With nine more months left in the year, it's presumptuous to say that Nero Di Marte have created one of 2013's best albums. Honestly, they probably haven't. But this album is more than enough proof that they have the potential for future greatness. Nero Di Marte is out now on Prosthetic Records. Hit up the label's website to order the CD or download the digital version of the album.