Review: Blackwood – As The World Rots Away (Italy, 2016)

Most of the time, when it comes to talking about drone/doom music someone may naturally end up with the omnipresent Sunn O))) name. Luckily there are still exceptions, and Eraldo Bernocchi’s Blackwood is one of them. Providing a very distinctive, fresh sound for its brand-new project, the Milanese sound designer, producer and musicians debuts with its very own “doom dub” (genre labelled by the artist himself) project and releases this collection, entitled As The World Rots Away.

The album starts with the grotesque, haunting and fuzzing Breaking God’ Spine. Guitars play slow, noisy chords laying down the carpet for disturbing spoken vocals to do their job. Which is basically to frighten you.
The addition of occasional drum patterns just enhances the evilness of this great opening number.
Gloomy atmospheres continue with Santissima Muerte, to finally reach the darkest tune out of the collection, Sodom by The Sea. The shortest song as well as the only one that completely recalls the work of the Seattle based group. (Ndt. Sunn O))) )
The following track, Putridarium, is equally interesting, though. The backbeat hats played on the droning guitar layer create something unusual. But it all becomes even more hypnotising and disorienting when the sampled vocals kick in. Honestly there are lots of samples used in this As The World Rots Away, alongside with many, many other synths and dub-music solutions. Nonetheless they’re all artfully amalgamated to design an obscure path of noise and claustrophobia.

The remaining two numbers just keep on hitting the same road, but I owe a mention for the ending Unrecoverable Mistake. Starting as a mellow ambient tune with dreamy, mild melody it eventually results into…silence. Two minutes of nothing and then it rises up again. But this time around there are no such things as mellow airs or mild melodies. Now the chaos reigns. Drone, drone and again huge drone and chaos till the end of the world…oops, I mean record! (Ndt. This was the writer’s favourite pick)

It won’t sound so professional, but dammit! I ain’t no pro.
Blackwood’s As The World Rots Away sounds terrific! It has something not many others –of this same genre- have. In fact, it’s is terribly catchy and addictive, even if this means sacrificing the overall atmosphere a bit. Though, in my opinion this has been the right call. No, it has been just perfect.
Delightfully d(r)one.

Label: Subsound Records
Websites: Homepage | Bandcamp
Release Date: 12th February 2016
Reviewed by Teo

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About Matteo "Teo" Gruppi 120 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, CEO, reviewer, interviewer and writer. Basically I do a lot of stuff and I can’t get anything done well. I was born in 1991 and started loving music since 1981. Got my very first band in high school and now I play as a lonely dumbass in 3 projects: Chiral, Il Vuoto and |||. I listen to every kind of music as long as it is good and intense. Favourite genres include: everything as long as it’s good! (but also folk, black metal, 70-80’s rock and post-rock).

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