Felix Culpa

Dalla Nebbia

Black Metal has always been one of the more divisive of Heavy Metal's numerous sub-genres. […]
By Tim Bolitho-Jones
January 6, 2016
Dalla Nebbia - Felix Culpa album cover

Black Metal has always been one of the more divisive of Heavy Metal's numerous sub-genres. For every person who considers it to be a darkly enthralling art form, there are just as many folks for whom it's nothing more than a load of pseudo-Satanic, unlistenable garbage performed by drug addicts in dodgy make-up. American four-piece DALLA NEBBIA however, has it in them to convert a few of the non-believers. Not because they're verging on mainstream appeal with snappy songs and well-executed choruses, but because they're a forward-thinking and intelligent lot who are doing something unexpected.

This album is as black as Martin Shkreli's toxic heart but it's also not your stereotypical Church-burning, spiky gauntlet wearing DARKTHRONE rip off. In fact, were it not for the screeching rasp of lead vocalist Zduhac (probably not his real name), this could quite comfortably sit alongside any Prog band out there. Sure, their logo is as unreadable as "Moby Dick" and their music has as much anguished melancholy as their more typical contemporaries, but DALLA NEBBIA are an ambitious group and "Felix Culpa" is a weirdly engaging listen.

These songs are dense and long, full of atmospheric touches and they stubbornly refuse to follow the standard verse-chorus-verse template. "Until The Rain Subsides" for instance runs for nearly eight minutes and manages to recall both KING CRIMSON and MAYHEM at the same time. "Abandoned Unto Sky" follows a similar path with throat-shredding cries of agony accompanying mournful guitar passages to create a rich (if very bleak) musical landscape. They're both grandiose and pretentious, but they're far from the usual run-of-the-mill extremity and each successive listen reveals something new.

That being said, you do have to be in a very specific mood to really appreciate this album. "The Banner Of Defiance" and "Not Within The Stone" are songs you have to experience alone in the dark, preferably with a huge set of speakers sending the bass rumbling through the entire building. The monumental "Paradise In Flames" meanwhile may well be the most despairing ten minutes of music you'll hear for the next year. Over half of it is devoid of vocals but when they do kick in, Zduhac sounds like he's ripped his own throat out and can only formulate words with the help of demonic possession.

A very difficult listen then but certainly a rewarding one. "Felix Culpa" goes on a bit, the vibe never lightens up and consuming it all in one go will leave you feeling broken and despondent, but there's a certain beauty to this blackened wasteland that's well worth investing in. Don't play it in the car though or you'll wind up intentionally steering into oncoming traffic, trust us on this, we lost two good writers because of it.<

8 / 10


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"Felix Culpa" Track-listing:

1. Memento Mori
2. Until The Rain Subsides
3. Abandoned Unto Sky
4. Lament Of Aokigahara
5. The Banner Of Defiance
6. Not Within The Stone
7. Felix Culpa (Theodicy Corrupted)
8. Das Gelachter Gotes
9. Paradise In Flames
10. The Silent Transition

Dalla Nebbia Lineup:

Yixja - Guitars, Programming, Clean Vocals
Zduhac - Vocals
Tipareth - Bass
Alkurion - Drums

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