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Diespnea – Pneuma

by Gary Hernandez at 31 March 2020, 1:08 PM

DIESPNEA is the Black Metal project of Wolke and Anxitude. The duo formed in 2014 and hail from Italy. On February 24, 2020 they released their debut album, “Pneuma.” At its root “pneuma” is a Greek word literally translated to “breath,” but in a religious sense connotes the spirit, soul or vital essence of a person. The album only comprises five songs, but with each track spanning more than seven minutes (except for the mid-album instrumental), the recording clocks out at 33 minutes.

Most of the album is atmospheric. Each track begins with a soft intro which steadily transforms into a melodic undertow and periodically swells into visceral, all-consuming riffs. These are the best moments of the album, making “Nostos Algos” and “Naufragio” the two standout tracks. The melodic exploration, choral embellishments, keyboard accompaniments that constitute the rest of the album are intriguing and not without merit but give me the crushing riffs any day. Lyrically, the songs (which are all in Italian, btw) examine dark but vague transcendent reflections. While promotion materials suggest the project is something of a spiritual vehicle, it really didn’t come through for me with the lyrics or compositions. Clearly this is my own personal bias and every listener will have their own experience.

Production-wise, the album is decidedly lo-fi with much of the instrumentation swirled into a maelstrom of grey. The vocals, which are consistently raw and harsh, and guitar work, which varies from melodic to aggressive, are somewhat separated but the bass and drums are largely indistinct. Sometimes this is an aesthetic of the subgenre; sometimes it’s a means to cover up otherwise mediocre performances. In this case, I think it is a combination of both.

Altogether, “Pneuma” is an intriguing but not remarkable album. It certainly has some memorable moments, but it doesn’t distinguish itself in a meaningful way from the rest of the pack. Being a debut album, this is not a bad start for DIESPNEA. I’ll be curious as to where their next album takes them and us.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Immortale
2. Nostos Algos
3. Intermezzo
4. Naufragio
5. Gorgoneion
Wolke - All instruments
Anxitudo - All instruments
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions


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