Messa – Belfry (Review)

MessaThis is the début album from Messa, a doom/drone metal band from Italy.

Messa provide the listener with almost an hour of occult retro doom and dark ambience.

This is akin to a strange-yet-effective mix of Sunn O))) and Pentagram, with deliciously seductive female vocals included. Some tracks are dark ambient/drone, full of mysterious atmospheres and distorted malice, while others take a more traditional doom approach, with elements of Earth included in the mix.

The songs easily build atmosphere through the music’s stripped back and honest approach to songwriting. The tracks have a heavily emotive aspect to them, even when they’re just simple guitars and drums. This is before you factor in the very impressive vocals, of course, which add something extra and special to the band. The singer has a very powerful voice that still has a subtle, soft side, and her performance is faultless.

The doom metal riffs are tinged with just the right amount of repetition and dirge-like hypnotic drone that they exist in their own right as well as perfectly complementing the drone/ambient aspects of their sound. The softer moments seem to have a lazy, smoky blues feel to them, and this, combined with the singer’s silken voice, reminds me on occasion of someone like Chrysta Bell.

There’s a lot of good ideas mixed into this album. This is not just your usual straightforward traditional doom band. Messa incorporate elements of progressive rock, jazz, blues and all kinds of other things into their inventive and personable music.

This is such a very, very good album. The band strike the right balance between emotional content and dark, occult doom. For such a relatively lengthy album it’s easy to just put it on and let the smooth vocals and apocalyptic doom sweep you away, never once becoming bored of the band’s engaging music.

Highly recommended. This is a band that deserves much more exposure than they’ll probably get.

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