Martial industrial is one of those genres that lends itself too easily to cliché and self-parody. Take a military cadence, throw in a few Third Reich samples, and you’ve got another unremarkable album cut from a mold that’s grown frankly tiresome. Given the overabundance of generic martial that’s currently available, I was excited to give Stornellando in Grigioverde a listen. Corazzata Valdemone is a side project of Kannonau vocalist Gabriele Fagnani, who describes his sound as “totalitarian industrial”; drawing influence from power electronics as well as martial and traditional industrial genres. The project has released several full-lengths and collaborations—most of them being Third Reich-themed—and seems to favor an Italian futurist aesthetic.
The album opens with “Risorgere,” a decent, straightforward martial track, followed by some forgettable neofolk, and then several more in the vein of the first. While noisier elements do pop up on tracks such as “In Marcia!,” the first half of the album is fairly by-the-book. Bombastic drums, spoken word pieces layered over a 4/4 marching beat…there’s a decent chance you’ve heard some iteration of these songs before, albeit on different albums, and performed by different artists. Though not bad in a technical sense, there’s little to differentiate them from the scores of other nearly identical martial tracks floating around out there.
Things take an unusual turn with the classical vocal piece “Runenlied,” the lyrics of which are inspired by an anonymous German poem. It’s a rather jarring, if welcome, change of sound, and adds a bit of historical context that seemed to be lacking in the first portion of the album. One of the stranger aspects of Stornellando in Grigioverde is that it almost seems to have been split into two separate albums, or a series of unrelated tracks: following “Runenlied,” we suddenly begin to hear the power electronics influences on tracks such as “Ode al Fuoco Distruggitore”—a nicely disorienting nightmare of feedback, distorted vocals, and radio samples. “Memoriæ” is the album’s standout, being noisy and menacing, and featuring an extended vocal sample that, according to the liner notes, was recorded by Donna Giovanna at the age of 104. Like the German poem, it brings both atmosphere and a sense of history to an album somewhat lacking in both. It’s elements like this, along with snippets of 1930s-era Italian popular song, that weave in and out and provide the release with a thread of cohesion.
Stornellando in Grigioverde could have been a fantastic album, but something about it feels disordered and incomplete. Though it’s apparent that Fagnani is adept at creating feverish blasts of harsh noise and drawing from unusual and intriguing source material, neither of those qualities appear very often. It’s an album that gets it half right: when it’s good, it’s quite good; when it’s not, it’s simply forgettable.
02) Death to Scum
03) The March of Fire
04) In Marcia!
05) Pane E Morte…E Fantasia
07) Ode Al Fuoco Distruggitore
09) Gott Mit Uns
10) A Noi!