This Italian foursome is picking up the yoke of doom and pulling the cart into the half light of a blood moon. The band’s debut Belfry on Aural Music is a crushing blast of apocalypse scented metal that’s given a bit of a reprieve from becoming leaden by the coven croon of their singer, who goes by the singular Sara. The band uses the term Scarlet Doom and that’s not off base, the guitars grind with the sulfurous heat of High On Fire and the opener “Alba” is straight out of the Sunn o))) tome of seismic ramble but there’s light in the mix and the vocals keep Belfry from sliding into the cavern of sludge that can sometimes earmark the genre. They have a crossover appeal to psych folk’s harvest rituals, though pushed into much darker territory. The band also seem to feel this kinship, citing a love for Pentagram and letting the closer, “Confess,” strip back the cinder smoke of of the rest of the album to just pair vocals and guitar for a quiet slide into the mire.

Messa kneel at the altar of doom metal but they don’t always stay, there’s plenty of heavy thrash on “Hour of the Wolf” that pushes tempos and knocks a few of the thunderheads out of the sky. “Blood” dabbles with woodwind and brass buzzes that dip even further into the psych-folk connection and tip into psychedelics as well. The band really is pulling from all edges and painting them black with doom’s influence, and that willingness to experiment makes this feel like a refreshing update on riff worship and self-serious hooded doom bands, not that the band don’t feel deadly serious in their incantations, they just feel like they have a richer well to tap.

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