This Italian gloom mob completely blew me away with their masterful debut LP, Days of Nothing. In fact, only their countrymates in Novembre can lay claim to releasing a better full-length in 2007. Three years later the follow up came in the form of Oionos, an album so disappointing by comparison that I still mockingly refer to it as Onions. It had its moments, but “sophomore slump” remains a fair assessment. That said, Second World looks poised to be the make-or-break moment for this band (cue bassline from “Under Pressure”). Well, I’m tickled as shit to report that, for the most part, Second World is a glorious rebound. The Foreshadowing’s otherworldly magic lies somewhere between the romanticized solace of The Angel and the Dark River and the frail beauty of Discouraged Ones. Rarefied air to say the least. The keyboards occasionally add a modernized Gothic tint and Jonah Padella is a bonafide down-tempo drum god, but it’s the deep croon of Marco Benevento —try to imagine Rick Astley but dark, brooding, and Roman… and heterosexual— that always steals the show. The band revels in absolute perfection throughout the first six tracks of Second World. From the mournful waves of “Havoc” to the Katatonic hypnosis of “Ground Zero,” Benevento tattoos each chorus so deep into your brain that you’ll be singing them the second you wake up in the morning. It’s that good! But don’t take my word for it. Dan Swano himself called this album one of the best he’s ever mixed, and that’s saying a little something. If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that the record doesn’t finish very well. The last four songs fizzle in unmemorable fashion, but let’s not pretend all of our favorite vinyls always get flipped over. Essential nevertheless.
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