I had already reviewed this elsewhere digitally when the CD turned up. With albums out all over the place it made sense to pick up with this Sardinian outfit’s second full length release where I had left off and cover it in a bit more detail. Besides I had found it a particularly stubborn and obtuse album to get to grips with and having put it aside for a while I thought a fresh perspective might engage me more as I reach back into its near impenetrable depths. The fact that the title translates as ‘Echoes From The Abyss’ had certainly not escaped me so its back into the chasm I go.
Divided into 8 chapters but twisting and heaving into one solid mass ‘Echi dall’abisso’ sprawls over a 45 minute running time and it is not an album for the casual listener but one where you really need determination to traverse its churning fathoms. We are told “The album’s atmospheres mainly arise from ideas of introspection, meditation, and self-analysis” and for sure it is a listening experience for the self, not one to be shared or distracted by any outside influence. A bleak guitar tone takes us into this journey and the sound of sea splashing against the shore is just about heard in the background. This is not a Sardinia of relaxing holidays in the sun though but a place that is left to nature to ravage and the coastline feels barren and haunted from what I am hearing. Things expand with thick bass sound and gnarly determined grit about it all before vocals holler in and everything storms violently in and punches you round the face in a fashion akin to being caught in a riptide and dragged out to sea. Frenzied and panic inducing this is accentuated with the gruff near hardcore bellows of vocalist Xul. At odds with this are the siren call of Satya Lux Aeterna delicately warbling in the background as though calling the wretched to dash themselves against the rocks in a desperate attempt of salvation. The main assault however seems to be that of battering and maiming in a destructive and harsh abrasive nature so it’s a case of savouring these paradoxical emotions whilst you can.
It’s equally difficult to pigeonhole musically best described as a deathly blackened all-consuming mass as the listener is further ravaged. There’s some quite experimental rhythmic charges through the giddying music and it’s definitely a head-spinning experience as it constantly twists and turns in on itself. Vocals seem to get even more guttural and unforgiving as the voyage continues and there’s danger coming from all sides as the drums pump and thunder and guitars grate and scythe in line of them. There are some angular post-rock sounding parts to it all but on the whole it’s far too abrasive and relentless to be considered anything but extreme.
Simulacro have delivered a dense and formidable album here and one that’s a real challenge. Having listened to it twice as many times than I normally would have done I’m not actually sure whether it’s a case of having endured it rather than enjoying Echi dall’abisso. If that sounds like a challenge to you get to grips with it at the following links.
(7/10 Pete Woods)