Black Space Void
Review by Greg on March 23, 2023.
Alex Nunziati, maybe better known as Lord Vampyr from Theatres Des Vampires in black metal circles, is a pretty busy man. His main band Malamorte and his namesake project have all seen a lot of releases in recent years. It must not have been enough, since he's now founded a solo project under his birth name, distancing a bit from the more extreme end of the metal spectrum. After an attempt to a theatrical heavy album with debut Il Mangiatore Di Peccati last year, he's already delivering his sophomore Black Space Void, by all means and intentions focused on a more old-school thrash sound – which has arguably been for the better, since he didn't exactly showcase an incredible, versatile voice back then...
Not very surprisingly, his style works better here. He has a sort of unrefined yell that betrays an obvious hardcore influence, something that wouldn't have sounded too out of place on a Black Flag album, to name one. His drum programming is often credible, even if not incredibly complex, except for a couple of more mechanical fills, and his ample background is reflected the most in the leadwork, with a certain melodic gusto displayed in the all too rare solos (featured only on half of the songs), as well as some sparse clean lines. Unfortunately, the meat and potatoes of the album is what left me a bit on the lukewarm side. The blackened portfolio of the guy, along with the country, immediately brought Bulldozer to my mind, and some moments like the ominous chord progressions of the opener surely point in that way, but for the most part Alex settles on a slower, groovier territory, not too dissimilar to other compatriots Extrema, for example.
That also means that, for the most part, Black Space Void isn't very exciting, or really does a lot to catch you off guard. Refrains often only consist of the respective song title, and the supposed sci-fi/outer space album concept is rather hampered by the slick, but not particularly immersive production, save for maybe the neat clean detours of 'Stardust'. 'The Day The World Died Again' or 'Possessed By Astral Entity' are quite run-of-the-mill at the end of the day, but still cut a fine figure when compared to the goofy chorus of 'The Universe Doesn't Need Us' or the general disorientation of 'The Prophet'. The riffwork never shows signs of incompetence, but never really grabs you by the balls, either.
Despite all this though, there are a couple of songs that I'd go as far as to define 'cool'. Bulldozer-like moments aside, the aforementioned opener 'The Revenge Of Humans' features a honestly great solo in the middle that's unexpected as much as it's remarkable, kicking up the pace a good bit, although its muscular mid-tempo wasn't half bad either. The title-track is the obvious outlier, showing some vague black metal leanings (the sudden tremolo at around 2:00) and testing the drum machine's blast-beat mode. Shame for its abrupt ending, and the ineluctable title-repeating chorus, I guess, but by all means interesting, and I'd have sincerely appreciated more songs in this vein. A fair step below, 'Vulnerable' makes up an energetic finale, countering at least some of Black Space Void's dullest moments.
Summing up, ideas are mostly in the right place, and I'm left moderately curious to see where Alex will go from here. Black Space Void is a decent foundation for a possible future black-tinged thrash album, but he'll have to play more to his strengths, next time. That is, unless he decides to pursue another road once again...
Rating: 7.1 out of 10452