When you think of thriving underground metal scenes, Italy may not be the first place that springs to mind; but it is one that is criminally overlooked and that in recent years has become a hotspot for creativity bubbling under the surface. One of the most important players in this scene is the ever-reliably great Avantgarde Music, who have championed and showcased plenty of great Italian acts (as well as from other locales) such as Selvans, Progenie Terrestre Pura and the subject of this review Enisum.
On latest album Moth’s Illusion (Avantgarde), as well as their home nation’s folklore, Enisum tackle the fascination humanity has with death and trying to explore its meaning and matter, as a metaphor for the moth characteristically chasing artificial and alternate lights in its chase for natural light; and this deep subject matter is matched up by Enisum’s layered songwriting and ability to delve in to contrasting and opposite paces and dynamics.
Moth’s Illusion fluidly veers between extremes and tones without sounding jarring; their brand of Atmospheric Black Metal pulling off such elements with more seeming ease than many of their peers.
Early on, ‘Anesthetized Emotions’ balances an almost Shoegaze, dreamy haze with piercing, raw Black Metal with a heightened heaviness than many pull off in these instances, whilst ‘Afframont’ for example purely bases on this latter aspect whilst retaining an obvious melodic streak.
In further contrast, the following title track is loftier, more explorative which features almost chant-like clean vocals and feels a contemplative reprieve amongst the album’s more ferocious efforts. ‘Ballad of Musine’ conveys the imagery of the landscape of the mountain namesake with an initial, acoustic Folk passage which then breaks veers between such and harsh Black Metal. Such elements whilst juxtaposing, do not feel out of place with one another, and all elevate that sense of reflection and deep thought that the album’s subject matter wishes to convey.
Atmospheric Black Metal is an area of Extreme Metal which is swelling in ranks, but it is one that is majestic and often unrivaled when it is pulled off, and Moth’s Illusion should be held as a benchmark release for the genre in recent years in how to balance a wide range of elements without watering down any aspect. Both beautiful and at times, intense, this is a rich, packed and captivating work that will not only serve as a highlight of the year but as a reminder of Italy’s strong, understated scene.
8 / 10