Endocannibalismo is a post-hardcore gem, with Stormo reaching their musical and experimental peak.

Release date: February 10, 2023 | Prosthetic Records | BandcampInstagramFacebook

Stormo (formerly spelled Storm{o}) have been at the forefront of Italian screamo for the last decade. While the country is known for many a legendary band in the genre, such as Raein and La Quiete, the modern scene has had similar quality with bands like Stormo, Øjne and Shizune producing memorable efforts. On their new album Endocannibalismo, Stormo have taken a leap forward to create their most accomplished release so far. While losing some of their earlier screamo influences, they have more than made up for this by introducing additional chaos, experimentation and quality musicianship.

Endocannibalismo is the band’s debut for renowned heavy label Prosthetic Records, having released notable albums from bands such as Leeched, Pupil Slicer and wristmeetrazor in the last few years. While they have moved to an American label, they haven’t tried to forget their roots by taking recording to Los Angeles and performing in English. As with their previous output, it remains in their native Italian to great effect. I personally hear music and vocals as pure sound, singing authentically and naturally in whatever language is usually the best way to capitalise on the musical foundation laid. The foundation found on Endocannibalismo is the most intriguing in Stormo’s career to date and has made it an early year highlight.

As is the case with most screamo and post-hardcore, Stormo’s music has a weighty emotion and sense of anguish pervading much of the album. The title is a hint towards this, with the term endocannibismo being a spiritual phenomenon in which one would consume parts of their deceased relatives or close circle. This macabre, ancient practice is still practiced by certain tribal people such as West Africa’s Junkun/Jukun people whose chiefs are known to consume the hearts of noble leaders to maintain their place outside of normalised society. While the ritual history of consuming other people isn’t directly related to the topic at hand, this does start to give a sense of the meaning behind the album and how it feels. Conceived and recorded during and following the pandemic while contemplating their own mortality and the mortality of those around them, Endocannibalismo sees the band looking inward before expelling these pent-up emotions in a whirlwind of post-hardcore.

Away from the lore of the band and the album, what we’re offered is a mesmerising 11 tracks in 29 minutes full of screamed laments, powerful blast beats, frantic guitar riffs with a range of unexpected avant-garde touches on top. I say unexpected as much of Stormo’s previous output is a more straightforward hardcore and screamo assault, yet Endocannibalismo was recorded and mixed by Giulio Favero who recorded and performed on Zu’s 2009 avant-garde jazz metal classic Carboniferous. Stormo are also not a band averse to experimentation but have clearly gone all in on this side of their music as vocalist Luca Rocco remarks;

‘When writing Endocannibalismo we tried to create an industrial and sludge-based sound, primarily by experimenting with microtonal scales. We tried to keep it simple and harsh; repeated patterns and a circular ending recall the whole album concept which is cut to the bone in the lyrics.’ 

This thought and care can be felt through the entire album, from the opening strums of lead single and opening track “Valichi, Otre” to the final notes of “Sopravvienza e Forme”. The aforementioned sludge influence isn’t a direct lift of the style, but what can be felt from the start is the depth and power of it. The extra tempo, chaos and noise takes over but it feels as if being engulfed by a thick blanket of sound. There is a tangible intensity about every part of “Valichi, Otre” which continues throughout the album.

The band feel fractious, the leading melodies of second track “PV77” are unsettling while memorable, with a particular thick bass forming a perfect underscore. This bass tone is actually one of my favourite parts of the sound. Along with the powerful drumming, this constant deep hum keeps everything in its place throughout. Each track feels like a whirlwind as you’re whipped from one section to another, but with moments of calm and experimentation that keep it well fragmented. Like the opening banjo chords of “Sorte” before it explodes into noisy punk with that now familiar Italian rasp. This track is a highlight with one riff welcoming feedback and another which would fit in on Nirvana’s Bleach. “Sorte” even features a horn part over the bridge before diving into the quickest blasts of the album so far.

Coming up in the middle of the album, “Frame” shows the industrial influence Rocco mentioned. The noise intro segues perfectly back into what Stormo deliver across the album. The rest of the song is similarly exciting with the hardest riff the band have ever produced with a break-neck powerviolence section moving in and out with more explorative bass and guitar pieces. The title track follows and is another that pervades with effects and pedals on the guitar an industrial feedback hit on the main riff. Probably the most straightforward song on the album, again leaning into grunge with the chaotic, noisy hardcore we’ve become to know the band for. The bridge has the band working together perfectly, their skill as musicians and chemistry as a band at a peak. They just keep hammering away at the listener with brute force and technical prowess.

Whenever you think a song or a section is going to double down on the pace or just fall apart, the tempo is switched on its head and the song is given an entirely new feel. The band turn on a dime from one of the heaviest parts of the album to a slower, more melodic and atmospheric section on “Deserti”. Then they dive right back into violence on “Vipere, Ombre”, where we can again feel a fragility in their sound. They are so often moving at a frenetic pace as if they will spontaneously combust at any moment, but it always moves into a considered and well executed section. While they don’t sound like them per se, there is an element of Hüsker Dü in Stormo. They are at once incredibly fast and powerful yet measured and melodic.

Endocannibalismo is just an incredibly well written and well performed album with little sprinklings of experimentation and exploration. Stormo have just nailed each part of their sound to the point where they’ve reached a pinnacle of their career. While the core of their style has been retained from previous albums, there are so many details and sections in every song that have made this album sound so fresh at a time where many bands have gone down a similar route generically.



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