Scolopendra “VM 18” LP
Approximately three years after it first arose to haunt the domain of the living with “Those of the Catacombs,” Scolopendra again emerges from its Italian tomb to deliver its second full-length album, “VM18.” Much like its predecessor, “VM18″ draws notably on an inherited tradition first established by the band’s compatriots in Death SS, by evoking a grotesque atmosphere that would befit an old RG horror comic of the 1970s set to motion picture. In fact, the cover art on both “VM18″ and the debut are more than a subtle nod to this literary genre. Musically speaking, Scolopendra deviates from the style of Death SS to some degree by heavily incorporating the sound of ancient U.S. death metal, as perhaps most reflected in the work of Autopsy and Necrophagia. The tempo is primarily in the higher range, with occasional dives into doomier interludes. Driving bass lines are dominantly featured in the mix, as the guitars chug along with them and occasionally rise above with a well-timed lead. Of course, it is almost impossible to imagine a horror-based musical form without keyboards, and Scolopendra makes very effective and judicious use of them without going overboard. Finally, aside from their omission in the two instrumental tracks (not including the short intro), it is perhaps most likely the vocals that will leave the greatest impression on the listener. It is this element that contributes most to the overall grisliness of the sound, as the lyrics are seemingly disgorged from the decomposed vocal tract of an undead being. All told, “VM18″ serves not only as a laudable follow-up to its predecessor, but also as a worthy descendant in a long and esteemed lineage of Italian horror metal.
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