From the historical city of Modena in the northern part of Italy come Laetitia in Holocaust with their unusual brand of black metal. “Fauci tra Fauci” is their third album release.

Scornful and dirty is the way I’d describe the ambiance of the opening track “Diva Fortuna”. The guitar sound is dispassionate yet flamboyant in its barely masked misanthropy. The growly vocalist guides through grey wastelands and devastation. Right towards the end the winds pick up and the battering violence swirls round us like a typhoon. The sound is raw and old school. “Through the Eyes of Argo” reinforces this with its thrashy core. The pattern is difficult to follow. Not only does the music sound battle-torn, I felt the same way as a listener. Still, there’s nothing to say that music shouldn’t be grey and complex, which this is. Assault number 3 is “The Cruelty and Joy”. Again Laetitia in Holocaust attack the senses with a murderous, downtrodden sound, accentuated by energetic drumming and a persistent rhythm. Discordant sounds and murky atmospheres abound. The atmosphere unexpectedly becomes more funereal and sinister with the moody “Exile”, transforming the grey world to the stuff of nightmares. The whispering on “The Elders Know” is reminiscent of Dark Fortress but the progression is as ever warped and impenetrably experimental. It works for black metal of course. I can’t recall listening to anything as joyless as this. I found that I got into this world of menace and discordance and by “The Foot That Submits”, I was enjoying something that is patently obscure. To be fair, the instrumentals and especially the drumming lead from the front and are accomplished. A version of normality kicks off the final track “Gods in the Swarm” with its familiar black metal riff. There’s even a rock n roll edge to this rapid piece of withering darkness. At nine minutes in length, it’s should be attritional as is the case for the rest of this album, but Laetitia in Holocaust surprised me here with an epic build-up and finish to this profound album.

Laetitia in Holocaust have conjured up an interesting mix here. “Fauci tra Fauci” is harsh throughout, off the wall at time but always darkly atmospheric and in defiance of the grey world it seems to be depicting paradoxically creative in its delivery.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)