Another Italian stoner/doom outfit, TalismanStone is a three-piece band that boasts 2 bassists, a drummer and various other instruments, and it almost feels as though Italian stoner/doom is a competition in seeing who can come up with the weirdest combination of instruments. Lovecraftopolis is the band’s latest release, and it leaves me wondering if this could be any good or not.
Listnening to Lovecraftopolis was fortunately a pleasant surprise, and the band certainly executes their craft with much flair. While the typical stoner/doom elements are still present with influences from bands like Black Sabbath appearing from time to time, in the heavily distorted basses and the groovy lines that both bassists Andrea and Erica provide and that slow pace that the band goes at for the most part of the album, there is more here that helps to make TalismanStone stand out from their peers.
One of the most prominent things is obviously the lack of guitars and the presence of the twin bass guitars. The heavy distortion helps in making both guitars sound like heavily-downtuned guitars for the most part, but what is nice is how they are able to play the bass like a lead instrument on top of the usual rhythmic roles, and even utilise techniques that are usually present in guitar playing on their lead segments.
Of course, there is also the other instruments that are present, namely the sitar, tabla and flutes, and while these are traditionally used in Indian classical music, the band prevents themselves from sounding like another of those bands attempting to sound Eastern, though there are certainly moments where it almost sounds like Rudra gone stoner/doom. These, combined with the format of the band and the agonisingly slow pace of the music all result in Lovecraftopolis being a rather trippy experience, and especially on Internal Dictatorship, one feels almost as though he has been transported into the midst of a meditation session in a temple. Furthermore, Andrea and Erica share vocal duties on the album, with their rather relaxed style of singing posing a stark contrast to the ominous atmosphere that lingers. The growls that are littered throughout the album also help to bring in a sinister feel at times, complementing the ritualistic feel.
Lovecraftopolis is an album that is at the same time difficult to comprehend and listen to for those unaccustomed, yet strangely soothing especially on the usage of the traditional Indian instruments. One thing is for sure though, with the droning bass that is almost constantly present creating most of the impact in the music, this album is not one that is for the weak or the faint-hearted.