MESSA — Belfry (review)

MESSA — Belfry album cover Album · 2016 · Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Following in the footsteps left by acts such as Jex Thoth and Blood Ceremony, Italian act Messa is the latest in the current run of female fronted doom metal acts to make waves within the metal scene, a group of that also includes Mount Salem, Avatarium and by extension some heavy psych acts like Purson and Jess and the Ancient Ones. Belfry (2016) is the group's debut album.

I'll be honest, I really was put off by Belfry with it's opening track Alba, as it's more of a drone piece consisting of slow fuzzing guitars and gets dragged out for an all too long four and a half minutes. Fortunately things take a massive U-turn for the better with Babalon when the doom metal and more importantly actual song-writing and riffs kick in. Drone and other assorted ambience is heard again on the album, but somehow it works a lot better once Messa have served up some actual songs to digest. Four and a half minutes of it waiting for things to properly kick off isn't very pleasurable to my ears, as I just feel like screaming at the band to get on with it. But boy when they do begin do they ever deliver.

From this point Belfry is an excellent debut release from Messa. With their fuzzy sounding guitar tone the band are closest in style of Jex Thoth's first album out of all the female fronted doom metal acts of recent years I've heard, but I feel that they have their own thing going for them. For a doom metal band they can actually get pretty lively at times such as during Hour of the Wolf where after starting slow and non-metallic they actually ramp up the pace beyond doom metal standards, before descending back into doom and then ending on another faster section full of soloing, giving the song four distinct sections. This is one of the clear highlights of the album, but it's instantly bettered by the haunting Blood, the album's longest song, which also threw me with its unconventional instrumentation for doom. It's a track that I kinda feel like I should describe in more detail in this review, but I won't as I think everyone should be allowed to experience it the same way I did. Another track I really like is Confess which closes the album and is an acoustic piece, a nice way to end the experience.

Given how much I disliked the opener I wasn't expecting to be writing such a positive review at this point, but that just goes to show how quickly things can turn around. It is a pity about Alba as for me its a throwaway track that means my overall regard for Belfry takes a small hit, but otherwise it's a promising debut from Messa, with the moments of brilliance by far outweighing the drawbacks.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Looks like it, yeah.

UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Isn´t that the bell tower in Reschensee? I´ve been to that place on Holiday when I was a child.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
You can already stream the song Blood:
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Sounds intriguing. I'll have to remember to check them out when the album is released.


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