ErgotNever sampled it but always been intrigued about Ergot. It’s a fungal growth found on rye and has hallucinogenic properties that made lots of people unsuspectingly trip out through history, unfortunately when taken in unsafe levels in infected bread it also resulted in gangrene. Naturally ways have been found to exploit its lysergic properties in a safer way and I am assuming Lord Ergot the Italian dark practitioner behind this one man project could well be an advocate of it having named himself and his band after it.

With any chemical experimentation there is likely to be a side effect of sorts mentally and as music Ergot straddles two distinct styles in a somewhat schizophrenic way. Firstly are parts that are heavily orchestral such as opener ‘Under The Burning Mirror.’ Pompous and funereal sounding horns cast a cold sombre shroud around things and there is a real baroque classical feel to it, you can practically smell mould and decay as it builds and huge booming timpani drums slowly toll away. It’s certainly an atmospheric instrumental piece and really at odds with the second side of things which eventually follows on ‘Red Shining Moon’ with a venomous black thrashing attack, whiplashing away and getting your neck cracking along with it. It’s the sounds of two very different time periods clashing and it is an odd combination that may see lovers of one being totally put off by the other. The vocals when we finally get to them are sharp, rasping and suitably evil sounding. Musically it romps along with a layer of punky crust to it reminiscent of a headlong collision between the likes of Venom, Carpathian Forest and Impaled Nazarene. There’s some good hefty death belches thrown in for good measure and a blazing solo.

Thunder rumbles, rain is heard falling and an acoustic guitar mourns as the album’s longest track ‘Black leaves Of Solitude’ begins its 12 minute odyssey. As the title suggests this has a very depressive feel and as woodwind (possibly a clarinet) takes up a chant we are again back very much in the sounds of yesteryear rather than anything of a more modern focus. It’s all quite evocative and rather gorgeous until a caustic guitar clamour rises and things change direction into more doom like blackened fare that would not be out of place on something conjured up by the likes of Mortuary Drape. The sudden lurch really shouldn’t work and indeed 1st couple of listens had me somewhat baffled, eventually however the album has gelled and it all makes some sort of lunatic etched sense. You know what they say about lunacy and genius and I guess this is an album that is certainly going to divide opinion. Sample the wretched screams and misanthropic airs of the wonderfully entitled ‘The Despair Of The Rotting Christ’ via a video of it uploaded, which I stumbled across to get a bit more of an idea of what to expect here. I guess it’s one of the albums more linear tracks and quite accessible compared to other parts, and I have to mention that it does remind me a bit of fellow prolific countryman Vardan a bit. ‘The Weeping Willow’ finally sees some more battering black thrashiness honing in again, it’s got a feudal feeling citing the likes of old Kampfar and Satyricon a bit more than anything previously mentioned; a battle clamouring Norse vibe for sure. More baroque tones crawl out the crypt and Bach could be cited on the creepy soundtrack etched ‘The Stolen Year.’ It’s a good instrumental set up for the final piece ‘L’Essenza del Proprio Essere’ a very melodic slice of depressiveness rather than a full on thrasher like I was certainly expecting.

This is an album with lots going on and one that really keeps you on your toes throughout. It really drew me in and went from a low marked uncoordinated mess which were my first thoughts to something a lot more positive. It’s a debut album too, so hopefully there will be plenty more to come in the future.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)