Leon : Nowadays it’s quite normal to buy guitars with strings that are supposed to be on a bass guitar. Italian djent/math metal band ‘A Total Wall’ released their debut EP ; True Fear; in 2010 with most songs written on a 7-string guitar. As if it wasn’t enough, the band decided to make guitarist Umberto Chiroli play a 8-string guitar ever since. So, you need a great audio system that handles lower tones well to listen properly to the newest album, ‘Delivery’.
According to the band they mainly focus on groove, aggression and polyrhythms, and less on melody. I can confirm that this is indeed the case, as the melodic parts aren’t particularly good. The clean vocals of Gabriele Giacose aren’t strong at all, it doesn’t sound convincing to say the least. He also makes a really weird gargling sound during the first song, clearly inspired by the girl from the movie ‘The Ring’. His grunts sound like they were recorded in the bedroom, while someone was still sleeping, and they just boosted the volume, but I can forgive them for that. The strongest part of the band are the pounding riffs that are emphasized by the excellent drumming of Davide Bertolini, unfortunately the album can’t convince with just that alone. The riffs are repeated a bit too often, there’s not too much dynamic within the songs, and it all becomes a bit dulling at times. Another point of criticism are the solos of guitarist Chiroli which are not strong at all, the ‘wall’ of sounds completely collapses, so the solo needs to be amazing to compensate for this. Which is not the case. Bass guitarist Riccardo Maffioli is, at times, hard to be heard because of the low guitar riffs of Chiroli but, from what I can hear, he and drummer Bertolini are the foundation the band leans on.
Although a mix between Periphery and Meshuggah sounds interesting, the result has not been overwhelmingly convincing yet. The group definitely has something going on for them but they will need work on their songwriting and get a different vocalist for the clean vocals or leave them out. I will keep my eyes open for the follow-up, this one will go into my archives and won’t come out of it.