Genre: Ambient Black / Death / Doom
Country: Italy
Label: Sick Man Getting Sick
Year: 2016

“Dirge” was a surprise to my ears for so many reasons; the members that make up the band, their prehistory, the tangling of the genres in a surprisingly intimate gossamer, the lyrics… everything. But let’s get everything from scratch.

Raspail greet us from the exceptional town of Rome and “Dirge”, which was released in November 2016, is their second personal work, clearly better than the previous one. Raspail is also a brilliant hybrid that joins different types of music, giving us a fantastic result that goes beyond the mere listening of music, as their album is most probably a journey from the abyss to the stars. They’ve been able to mix extreme sounds like Black and Death with Funeral Doom, permanent ambient elements, drones, shoegaze, noise and post rock, in a patchwork that blows up your being if you’re delivered unconditionally.

On the other hand, the people behind the band and particularly their musical career, are the band’s quality credentials, since Ianus in vocals, Israfil in guitars, bass and drones and Zeno on bass have served in bands like Klimt 1918, Room, View, Novembre and Psychotic Despair. If you have open horizons and you’re familiar with the above, it’s easy to find the joints and the similarities between these projects. If you have no contact, it is never too late.

All in all “Dirge” is an album that left me with no bitter or negative thought, despite the rudimentary deformity of its structures and the fact that it does not appeal to a large mass of people. One of the main features of the album and its most significant feature is the transition from one piece to the other. Keeping in mind the long duration of all tracks, Raspail has managed to create such a sequence between tracks that make the transitions sublime, thus making the album a truly intense experience.

Just because it is an album that relies heavily on the atmosphere it creates to understand it, it’s not appropriate to dive into the process of analyzing exhaustively its individual parts. It’s wiser to test the album as a whole, taking into account the feelings it creates. Besides, the purpose of this music is to make you feel intimate and tied to what you hear, not to analyze the riffs and on what scales everyone plays.

“Dirge” is crushing as cement falling from the sky and light as a feather at the same time. It can crush your being and release your inner self simultaneously. It produces an inexplicable momentum that reaches very personal levels. Personally, I felt invisible hands and ethereal beings pulling me into an abysmal dive to emerge later. Although the main components of the album are destruction and depression and descent, the renaissance (in the literal sense) character of Raspail’s music is the one that makes it separate from the lot. It has the capacity to highlight beauty through ugliness, light through the darkness. Stunning work.

Production and mixing were handles by Francesco Conte and the band at Shelter Room Winter, while Alessandro Di Nunzio took over mastering at NGM Studios last summer. The cover is a creation by Pierre Perichaud, entitled “Business for Satan”.

Great detail for me and those involved in the sport is that the lyrics on the 7th track of the “Ver Sacrum” album have been enhanced with excerpts from “Hymn To Pan” by Aleister Crowley.