Nero Di Marte - DerivaeThe second best thing to have ever come out of Bologna (sorry gents – I have ridden a Ducati and as much as I love your band…you know) Murder Therapy were an intriguing prospect.

Dark, brooding and intense they were clearly on a path to something very special. Having mutated into Nero Di Marte and now signed to Prosthetic Records, their second full release has been a long time in the making.

I first learned of these guys when someone told me to check out their self-titled 2013 mini-album/maxi-EP on the basis that it was “like prog death metal – Voivod meets Gojira meets Mastodon“.

Colour me interested. Although the description was a little crude it was a reasonable approximation of the basic elements of their sound and also a complimentary comparison in terms of standing them up against bands happy to cut their own path and never compromise in order to appeal to the masses.

“Derivae”, then, is a wonderful distillation of some interestingly disparate elements into a cohesive and unique sound. Beset with problems from the start (the band had to hastily cobble together a collection of borrowed instruments and gear having had all theirs stolen just before that were due to start recording) the final result is a triumph.

Adversity has, it seems, added fuel to the ferocity of this creation and from the jarring opening chords of ‘L’Eclisse’ this is a tumultuous and bleak journey.

The vocals shift from almost Attila Csihar like throat singing to Kirk Windstein‘s mournful groans. Every ounce of rage, sorrow and poetry is wrought from the vocal cords of Sean Worrell.

‘Clouded Allure’ is where the Gojira comparisons will no doubt start again, but they are fleeting and relate more to the rhythmic sensibilities on display than the overall composition. The relentless pounding pulls you further into the mire and calls to mind Celtic Frost and Napalm Death, not for style but for sheer intensity.

‘Pulsar’ and ‘Dite’ contain more gently moody meanderings and discordant tones but the haunting chants keep the levels of sinister unease at critical level. ‘Simulacra’ smells of decay, decadence and a whiff of Mastodon before the sprawling hammering thunder of ‘Il Diluvio’ brings things to a polyrhythmic crescendo. With little resolve left, the closing barrage of ‘Those Who Leave’ is a mighty and testing ten minutes of ambience and guitar interplay reminiscent of early Humanfly at their frightening best.

This is not driving music or something to stick on whilst out for a stroll, but a masterpiece to put on through your headphones, draw the curtains and immerse yourself into an other worldly experience. A truly dark cacophony which reveals more layers on every listen, one can only imagine how spectacular these compositions will be when performed live. Here’s hoping 2015 will see some worldwide touring.

Nero Di Marte – Official Website