Australasia is a solo project from Italian multi-instrumentalist Gian Spalluto. Notturno is his latest full length release following in the footsteps of Vertebra which I also reviewed on this site. Guest artist Mina Carlucci adds vocals on "Invisible".
As in his previous release the artist continues to explore post rock and metal sounds incorporated with keen melodies and great playing. There are some truly beautiful moments here which might sound unusual given this is a metal album. For me, one of Spalluto's biggest strengths is his commitment to melody amidst the massive walls of distorted post rock guitar riffs. Even his use of distortion sounds catchy. Keyboards are also used to accentuate the mood providing that much more depth to the soundscape.
The disc begins with effects and droning sounds that slowly build in a pastoral landscape where the sound is very ethereal and dreamy. From there, "Nebula" gives rise to "Eden" beginning with a child talking and more nature effects before a wall of distorted sound builds in waves. The intensity lets up and mellow electronics provide a soothing texture before the heavy riffs start once again. "Kern" features a glistening synth and pretty arpeggio guitar. More distortion follows and the music has an almost trance-like affect with a slightly melancholic tone. In "Creature" you get more of the same highlighted with Spalluto's persistent drum fills and moody organ layers. The melodic chord progressions found throughout the album makes this a highly listenable treat for the ears.
"Invisible" is the only track with vocals and is one of the catchiest tunes on the disc with a melody that wouldn't sound out of place on a Coldplay record. Carlucci has a lovely voice which is unfortunately buried too far back in the mix for most of the song. Still a very nice song though as her vocals add a another dimension to Australasia's sound. Hopefully she will continue to contribute on future releases.
Solid production, musicianship and melodies makes Notturno an easy recommendation for fans of post rock/metal.
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