Giostra Di Vapore


Once upon a time, one may come across a piece of music - nay, a […]
By Daniel Fox
October 28, 2013
Dismal - Giostra Di Vapore album cover

Once upon a time, one may come across a piece of music - nay, a piece of art - that cannot so easily be described with words, compared to anything, or classified into a genre. What we have in the Italian band DISMAL is a strange, gloomy, atmospheric, wistful and, when it wants to be, enchanting, mix of soundtrack, gothic, industrial, doom, ambience, and most likely an underwater iceberg of genres I cannot even identify. Notably, the majority of the lyrics are all in Italian; but who better to sing in Italian, than the soothing, and sometimes seductive, dulcet tones of a female soprano? "Giostra Di Vapore" is a piece that requires attentive listening from beginning to end, regardless of whether one understands Italian. Not to enjoy a catchy tune, or headbang to a crushing riff, but to lose our imagination in a seemingly-endless soundscape.

None of the tracks appear to feature a conventional sound structure, and seem to consist of an amalgamation of various electronic, industrial and instrumental sounds; more of a backdrop than a timbre, if you will. The neoclassical and foreboding "The Four Vibrations" leads directly into "Giostra Di Vapore", which combines tasteful electronic and the occasional doom-like, overdriven down-tuned chug; the first thing that comes to mind, interestingly enough, is a setting reminiscent of Renaissance Italy... Steampunk style. "Microcosm And Macrocosm" features the only 'metallic' riffage on the album, but is tastefully blended with beautiful violin and singing. The piece is constantly evolving, however, and although the previous theme is touched on, there is a much stronger orchestral theme found here, which unexpectedly transitions to a much more, dare I say it, futuristic-sounding atmosphere. By now I had managed to put my finger (my ear?) on it; this band is much more partial to creating visual representations, more so than directly appealing to our sense of sound; it is enough to induce mild synaesthesia in anyone. The doom and gloom heard previously seems to have disappeared in favour of a carefree, sonic wanderlust, audible in the ambience, and the very chord progressions; still somewhat discordant, but adding an air of 'completeness'. Finally, "One Step In The Dark" feels like a journey into a new place altogether, and the band have once again managed to use masterful arrangements to evoke this.

Ideally, I would not find myself actively embroiling myself in this kind of music; I feel as if this album is transcending what can normally be construed simply as 'music'. Not accessible, nor understandable (I'm not anywhere near fluent in Italian), but then again, maybe that's the whole point. Once in a while, when one feels like letting their mind run free, they may feel the need to give DISMAL a listen.

7 / 10


"Giostra Di Vapore" Track-listing:

1. The Four Vibrations
2. Giostra Di Vapore
3. Il Ballo Degli Obesi
4. Microcosm And Macrocosm
5. Eden
6. Vimana
7. Mélisse (part 2)
8. One Step In The Dark

Dismal Lineup:

Frater Alchemoth Katharian - Bass
Bradac - Drum programming, Keyboards
Alessandro Verando - Guitars
Vlad di Saturno - Violin
Rossana Landi - Vocals
Cadarb Afelio - Vocals, Guitars

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