12 September 2017

Review: Pulvis Et Umbra – Atmosfear

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for one-man bands. There is something very romantic and impressive about the idea of someone sat alone in a room (or maybe a cabin in a forest) creating music that is deeply personal to them. That being said, I also have a niggling suspicion that all these solo projects start because there is something fundamentally wrong with the artist… that they’re social misfits that no other musicians can put up with. Pulvis Et Umbra’s Damy Mojitodka is one of these misfits (although I’m sure he is an absolute delight to work with); recording all the instruments and vocals himself.

The Italian band describes itself as death/thrash metal and has been around for a good few years in various forms but now is a solo project; with Damy being joined by session musicians for his many live performances. Pulvis Et Umbra has toured the world and has performing in countries such as; Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Spain, South Africa and Japan. They’re hitting the UK for their Lipton’s Ice Tour in October/November 2017 (27 Oct – Edinburgh, 29 – Manchester, 31 – Birmingham and 5 November – London). ‘Atmosfear’ is the band’s third full length album and was released independently in February 2017.

By their very nature I expect a certain unity of vision from solo projects. However, ‘Atmosfear’ is a schizophrenic piece of work that is hard to categorise. In fact, if the tracks weren’t all labelled ‘Pulvis Et Umbra’ I wouldn’t recognise many of the songs as belonging to the one band. The ten track album swings wildly from black metal (with tracks like ‘Crows Belong To Her’) to melodic death metal (‘Darkest Sorrow’). Then to groove metal (‘Divinity Or Icon’) and even on to almost avant garde electronic (with instrumental closer ‘Predominio Tecnologico’).

Picking out a few highlights from the album we have title track ‘Atmosfear’ (see video above), which is a hard-driving catchy track featuring Damy’s strangled death growls. ‘Crows Belong To Her’ is a fast black metal number which benefits from guest vocalist Lilitu, frontwoman of South African blackened death band Theatre Runs Red. ‘Darkest Sorrow’ is probably my favourite track from the album, starting off frenetically with some pleasant melodeath interludes. ‘Blinded By Thoughts’ is nicely blackened, slow and doomy.

If you’re an open-minded fan of a wide variety of extreme metal then maybe ‘Atmosfear’ is for you. You get a taste of everything with this album – a bit like when you go to one of those international buffet restaurants and decide to put curry, lasagne and fish pie all on the same plate. Individually the tracks are perfectly edible but putting them together just seems a bit demented.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

“If you’re an open-minded fan of a wide variety of extreme metal then maybe ‘Atmosfear’ is for you…”

Highlights: ‘Darkest Sorrow’, ‘Atmosfear’, ‘Crows Belong To Her’ and ‘Blinded By Thoughts’.

‘Atmosfear’ was released in February 2017 and is available to buy here: www.pulvisetumbra.bigcartel.com

Find Pulvis Et Umbra: