Fuoco Fatuo – Backwater (2017) REVIEW

The ghost lights, funereal phantoms seen from afar, the flickering will-o’-the-wisps haunting distant graveyards at night. Those lost souls, caught in psycho-spiritual inlets as they loom in the backwater of existence, act as mythical searchlights for wandering specters of our greatest unknown: Death. Should we fear death or welcome it? Would it be more virtuous to simply think nothing of it and avoid all expectation? Socrates felt one of the greatest failings of an intellectual was to fear death. Having no possible answer and no true ability to conceive that of the gods why fear what you could not know, but eventually will?

This Italian band’s sophomore record is a masterpiece of death metal influenced funeral doom. It is a desperate shout into the void of existence and a testament to man’s forced introspection in society built upon self-aggrandizing constructs without foundation. ‘Backwater’ is an immense, powerful wave of death/doom guitar movements that explores mankind’s greatest fear, the unknown, while creating the most successful funeral doom atmosphere of the last several years. The patient battery and pummeling tremolo of the guitars wrestle the listener into the throes of comfortable resignation across four 13+ minute epics as Fuoco Fatuo confidently pace their funeral doom stride, taking carefully choreographed steps towards intense death metal bursts.

Comparisons are inevitably going to be drawn because the band’s mix of funeral doom pacing and death/doom tone resembles early 00’s era Evoken minus the keyboards of ‘Quietus’ and the faster death metal of ‘Antithesis of Light’. I’ve seen many comparisons to Mournful Congregation and that isn’t a great fit as ‘Backwater’ isn’t so mired in Gothic delirium or gloom at all; Something like Tyranny‘s ‘Aeons in Tectonic Interment’ would be more appropriately similar, though they lack the general death metal tinge and depth of Fuoco Fatuo. Their wall of sound is entirely their own in a very un-crowded sea of funeral doom metal bands that aren’t afraid of death metal. There is something to be said for any album in this style that can be transfixing for its entire length and somehow lend itself to repeated listens. It speaks to the dynamic quality of their arrangements and to the warm depths of their production. Another highly-recommended achievement in a very crowded year for amazing extreme metal releases.


Artist Fuoco Fatuo
Type Album
Released April 7, 2017
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Wreckage showering the skies. 4.0/5.0