The crude death of Tenebro

TENEBRO: Liberaci Dal Male

Release year: 2020/2021
Label: Dismal Fate Records/Xtreem Music

Italy has a long history of gruesome and macabre horror movies. The giallos of Dario Argento, the blood-drenched horror of Lucio Fulci and the notorious Cannibal Holocaust by Ruggero Deodato are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Italian horror. As such, it is only fitting that an Italian death metal band singing in Italian would draw from this rich well of gruesome inspiration. Which is exactly what the duo Tenebro do on this six track EP.

Originally released by Dismal Fate Records on tape in 2020, it has now been re-released by prolific Spanish death metal label Xtreem Music on CD, in anticipation and as an entrée for the Italian duo’s full-length album, to be recorded this summer. And like a good entrée, it really does make one hungry for more.

There’s nothing fancy, sophisticated or polished about the Italian duo’s sound. Quite the absolute contrary: their brand of death metal is primitive, crude and sloppy. The duo of Il Becchino on vocals and guitar and Il Beccamorto on bass and drum programming certainly don’t play together with surgical precision; instead, the playing sounds choppy and heavy-handed. The riffing seems to drag slightly behind like the exsanguinated corpse of a masked killer’s latest victim, and the overall feel of the EP is fabulously slightly disjointed.

Complete with sound where the bass is a dense, sludgy murk and the guitars have a tone to them that sounds almost like a fucked up, broken amp, especially when Tenebro speed up their mostly mid-tempo chopping to speedier blasts, and cavernously deep vocals, the result is like being in a coffin. The production feels broken in a way, like there was something wrong with the equipment and the end result sounds like it’s riddled with additional, electric static noise.

And it’s fucking glorious. I love it. The crude, sloppy, mid-tempo and extremely heavy death metal of Tenebro sounds gruesome, brutal, vicious, primitive and barbarous. The sound, which is all kinds of fucked up, from all the weird buzzing and electric static to the drums sometimes overpowering the guitars, to the guitars succumbing to a whirlwind of chaos, this sounds like death metal should sound. Unpredictable, chaotic, suppurating, wicked. Like rotting flesh, opened graves, splatters of blood and crazed masked killers with tragic backstories. That’s what Tenebro sounds like.

Liberaci Dal Male is a superb little release. The six-track, 23 minute release manages to keep up interest, and definitely makes one interested in hearing more. All one can hope for is that the duo don’t somehow clean up their sound, start playing more tightly together or do anything else to ruin the delicate balance of crudeness, brutality, sloppiness and excellence of Liberaci Dal Male.

4/5

Visit Tenebro on their Bandcamp.

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