Formalist formed back in 2014 and are an Italian, what you could call, ‘supergroup’ made up of the various member’s bands – Forgotten Tomb’s Ferdinando ‘HM’ Marchisio on vocals, Malasangre’s Riccardo Rossi on drums, from Viscera/// Michele Basso on guitar/electronics with Nicola Casella replaced by Marcello Groppi of The Great Saunites on bass in 2022.
We Inherit A World At The Seams is both the band’s follow-up to 2018’s critically acclaimed debut No One Will Shine Anymore and marks their first release on the excellent Brucia Records. In the accompanying promotional notes the album is described as ‘a monumentally nihilistic record’ and the graphic cover-art of a Japanese gentleman committing seppuku (ritualistic suicide by disembowelling) can be viewed as a visual representation of this; further highlighted lyrically where we are promised ‘a first person account tackling themes such as darkness, despair and social unrest, and narrating the world’s downfall with an hallucinatory and yet detached style’. So far, so grim.
The album is comprised of three tracks of quite substantive lengths starting with Warfare. Forty-six seconds of deceptive ambience starts off proceedings before some almighty nihilistic hate filled gnarly vocals kick in that, in a fashion, recalls Obituary’s John Tardy. Musically it’s a sludgy, agonising snail-paced slab of brute noise that fans of outfits such as Grief and Corrupted will be able to fully appreciate. It should be pointed out that there are moments of sheer beauty in amongst the ugliness and as with the track’s intro, the atmospherics help to add to the tension, thus keeping the listener captivated even more. You could say the track is post-metal in places, albeit of a far more terrifying and engaging kind than what the majority of those bands in the genre have to offer. A superb opener.
unrelentingly punishing with riff after riff and howl after despairing howl…
Monuments alternates between heavily Italian accented spoken word and the aforementioned harsh vocals which, when combined, make for a very intriguing prospect indeed. The track feels like a concept piece and is positively progressive in places, starting off as it does with sombre post-rock before picking up in intensity; musically there are shades of early Mogwai as well as Wino’s most overlooked band The Hidden Hand (The Resurrection Of Whiskey Foote) in places. This is a dynamic number that keeps you constantly on edge, to the point where you are never able to fully relax, making it all the better for it as a result. There is also a gothic feel too that reminds one of Type O Negative if they went down a black metal route. Absolutely crushing.
Selfish is the album’s longest number and similarities can be drawn to one-off supergroup Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine (which featured Lee Dorrian of Cathedral, Steven O’Malley/Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) and Justin Greaves of Iron Monkey/Crippled Black Phoenix). While its predecessors were undoubtedly heavy, the music on here is unrelentingly punishing with riff after riff and howl after despairing howl, this is not a track that will prove beneficial to insomniacs. Even though I too at times struggle with a steady bedtime routine, I nonetheless can’t get enough of this tasty number and one which proves the perfect conclusion to the record.
Formalist prove that it is entirely possible to create blackened sludge/doom without boring the bejeezus out of an audience. The reason is that there’s an inherent emotional core to We Inherit A World At The Seams that make it so much more absorbing when compared to the works of their contemporaries who tend to focus more on volume and power rather than creating anything genuinely artistically interesting. Highly recommended.
Scribed by: Reza Mills