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Fuoco Fatuo - Backwater album review

Vast, funereal sojourns from the font of occult horror

Cover art for Fuoco Fatuo - Backwater album

In addition to its flourishing ‘occult psychedelia’ scene, Italy has led the world in chillingly atmospheric occult horror soundtracks (Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, Antonius Rex/Jacula) and deeply weird occult horror metal (Death SS, Black Hole, Mortuary Drape). In the 90s, Ras Algethi pioneered a form of funeral doom drawing these strengths together, and this obscure but noble heritage is modernised by shadowy Lombardy quartet Fuoco Fatuo. Since 2011 they’ve been neatly refining their craft, inching out of the deep underground with EPs, splits and limited tape runs, and this second opus affords them their widest canvas, spinning their elemental sludge into orbit. Juddering waves of black disorientation are shot through with eerie, forlorn guitar melodies picked out in dentist-drill treble, layers of jagged distortion rising and falling and inciting fevered paranoia with the lights out. Ghostly foghorns blow, angry hornets swarm, guttural eruptions spew from the morass, and hallucinatory philosophies are glimpsed amidst Perpetual Apochaos and Sulphureous Hazes.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.