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4.80 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2017


1. [.Pianeta.Zero.] (7:57)
2. [.subLuce.] (8:11)
3. [.oltreLuna.] (11:35)
4. [.Deus.Est.Machina.] (12:28)
5. [.Proxima:B.] (15:19)

Total Time 55:30


- Emanuele Prandoni / Vocals, Drum Programming
- Davide Colladon / Guitars, Snyths, Electronics, Drum Programming
- Fabrizio Sanna / Bass, Electronics, Synths

About this release

Format: CD
Label: Avantgarde Music
Release date: May 31st, 2017

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Progenie Terrestre Pura are probably secretly aliens. Sure, they claim to come from Italy, but they give the game away with this album. See, Earth people typically wouldn't consider psybient and other electronic/ambient genres to be a natural fit with black metal - even in the world of atmospheric black metal, which has been known to dabble in the synthesiser from time to time - and they certainly would have picked up on the fact that if every member of your band has a role in working the synthesisers and/or drum machines your metal credentials are going to be questioned by purists.

And yet here they come with this bizarre industrial-black-ambient head trip to the outer reaches of the galaxy, taking the listener through a calvacade of different moods ranging well beyond the usual cold misanthropy of black metal, and they expect us to believe they're just ordinary human beings like the rest of us? Come off it, Progenie Terrestre Pura: just 'fess up and give us the secrets to faster than light travel so we can go visit your home planet and learn where you learned to play like this.
A few years ago I received a promo for the debut album of a relatively new Italian band who at that point only had a single prior demo to their name. I hadn't heard of them before, but that first album, while it wasn't an immediate thing, has in the years that followed gone on to become one of my most highly regarded black metal albums, especially within the category of debut albums. The band was Progenie Terrestre Pura and the debut album was U.M.A. (2013). It was on the strength of this release that as soon as I knew the second album oltreLuna (2017) was finally on the way, inspired me to pre-order myself a physical copy without having heard a single note of it.

Much has actually changed in the Progenie Terrestre Pura camp in the intervening years. Originally a rather enigmatic duo consisting of Eon[0] and Nex[1], they next released the EP Asteroidi (2014), which intentionally abandoned their core black metal sound in favour of pure ambient/electronic work. That was the last they were heard from until the build up to the release of oltreLuna, where we now find that Nex[1] is out of the picture and that Eon[0] is now using his real name Davide Colladon to perform with the group, who have extended themselves to a trio. Emanuele Prandoni is the new vocalist while Fabrizio Sanna has joined on bass. There is still no drummer, so those are programmed primarily by Colladon, with some assistance from Prandoni. The lack of a real drummer may be seen as a detriment by some (especially considering Prandoni actually does drum for groups such as Grind Zero, Simulacro and Vultur), but it does actually make a kind of sense for such an electronically influenced group as Progenie Terrestre Pura, so I'd recommend potential listeners look past this.

Despite the changes in line-up and the direction of their previous release, oltreLuna marks a return to the atmospheric black metal based sound of the debut album U.M.A. There are some similarities between the two records, but a lot more differences. Where U.M.A. was a rather relaxed sounding record with plenty of ambience, oltreLuna is marked for it's heavier and more direct approach. This is also true of the vocals as much as the music, with Emanuele Prandoni bringing a much more forceful performance to the group compared to that of Nex[1], whose style was quite understated, becoming a part of the atmosphere of the U.M.A. album. That's still true to an extent with Emanuele Prandoni's performance, but if you've heard the previous album it will be impossible not to notice the difference as soon as the vocals start on oltreLuna's opening track [.Pianeta.Zero.].

The differences between the two albums don't end there of course. I consider U.M.A. to be a rather unique entry in the directory of atmospheric black metal albums, but the band have built upon what it started rather than rehashed it, so I'd say the same is true of oltreLuna. Familiar elements such as progressive tendencies and psybient influences can easily be heard, but there's new stuff too. For a band who put across such a spacey vibe in both their music and artwork it's quite surprising how tribal and ethnic some of oltreLuna sounds, especially in the percussion in the first and middle tracks [.Pianeta.Zero.] and [.oltreLuna.], the latter of which also features a burst of dubstep that even with the abundant influences of electronic music seems to come out of nowhere. I wouldn't normally touch the dubstep genre with a bargepole, but I have to admit, that part of the song is especially great. It's used again, in a less direct manner, during the final song [.Proxima:B.].

Five tracks in total with each composition being longer than the previous, oltreLuna seems to be an album designed to outdo itself with each track it serves up. Even bring the massive fan of U.M.A. that I am I was floored by the album as early as [.Pianeta.Zero.], which in my mind means that oltreLuna is a much more immediate album than U.M.A. which required a few years to earn the regard I now have for it. That regard remains high and nothing could change that now, but there's absolutely no way I can't say that the band haven't bettered the album in every possible way with oltreLuna. It all builds up to [.Proxima:B.], a track that at 15:19 minutes long is the band's longest track to date and easily their crowning achievement so far as well. Move over Fen, there's a new trio of atmospheric black metal kings holding the crown for the best atmospheric black metal album of 2017 now.

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