Fire Blades From The Tomb

It’s difficult to tell which genre is favoured by PONTE DEL DIAVOLO from the opening minutes of first full-length album Fire Blades From The Tomb. The frantic riffing and explosive pace of Demone, combined with the rapid-fire vocals of signer Erba del Diavolo do slow though, giving way to an atmospheric and doom-laden track that sets out the band’s style in no uncertain terms. Shimmering guitars bring a gothic edge to the song, and suddenly you are deep in the heart of this enchanting release.

Formed in Turin in 2020, PONTE DEL DIAVOLO haven’t rested at all, with three EPs preceding this release. The songs aren’t short, twisting and turning, weaving magical spells that portray a dark and intoxicating flavour. Covenant mixes the gothic edge of Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus and Siouxsie with the despair of My Dying Bride and the melancholic of Blood Ceremony. It’s a heady combination, requiring concentration to absorb the more harrowing sections as the tracks slowly meander their way to their destination. Nothing is fast despite the initial vibe.

It’s an unorthodox sound. The percussion is enhanced by dual bassists, Krhura Abro and Kratom, who provide an uncomfortable yet enchanting combination. It’s over this rolling, rawness that Erba del Diavolo delivers her magical spell. This isn’t your run of the mill doom metal and it takes time to bed in.

Complex, angular, challenging would be three words I’d be tempted to use to describe Fire Blades From The Tomb. Red As The Sex Of She Who Lives In Death is some song title, and it drips with emotion from start to finish. Erba’s vocals are unique, at times ethereal, at other times a little grittier. Whilst there are elements of black metal scattered across the album, it’s mainly in atmosphere and guitars where this comes to the fore. Elsewhere, one could argue that flashes of psychedelic rock drift into play – for example on the first part of La razza.

If you want short, sharp songs, then Fire Blades From The Tomb is not for you. This is an experience, a wall of intensity that is underpinned by the raw and dynamic drums of Segale Cornuta, who delivers a stunning performance throughout. The jangling guitar work overlaps with the likes of Fields Of The Nephilim, whilst the Sabbath-esque riffs ensure that you are always nodding your head. There are few solos, for the combination of the instruments is what makes this album. The flourish of the sounds together reaches crescendo after crescendo, whilst the sinister introduction of woodwind instruments on Nocturnal Veil provides a completely different soundscape.

You really need to invest some time and live with it for a few days to appreciate the subtle changes, the complexities and the darkness that slowly descends. Immerse yourself in The Weeping Song as the album closes and you’ll find yourself drawn further in. You may never return.

Paul Hutchings