Few bands make me as curious as Italy’s Progenie Terrestre Pura. With their debut promo in 2011, the band laid the foundation of their music with sci-fi, space, and the future being main topics, and the musical style a unique brand of ambient black metal. Despite their ambient/atmospheric black metal tag though, the band couldn’t be further away from your typical black metal act with the themes and polished output. For instance, 2013’s U.M.A. was an ambient masterpiece, with an immersive futuristic soundscape that leaves the listener enchanted.
This year’s Oltreluna, their sophomore full length album, showcases the continuing evolution of the band’s musical style, this time injecting a heavier dosage of black metal than on their previous material. While U.M.A. had some lighter moments that almost brought about some post-rock sensibilities, Oltreluna presents fewer of such moments, and the band opts for a heavier, more intense route instead.
Rather than that ambient introduction on U.M.A., Oltreluna hits hard from the get go, with relentless riff after riff hitting the listener. Fans of U.M.A. might feel somewhat disappointed as the band begins to lean towards the more traditional, clichéd black metal style on [.Pianeta.Zero.]. However, the band soon enough brings out their progressive edge with the incorporation of elements ranging from dubstep to industrial to enhance the experience of Oltreluna. Furthermore, each track brings the listener through different movements and emotions. Aggression quickly turns into melancholy and contemplation, with strings helping to give that additional emotional edge like on [.Subluce.], often before the crushing finale that closes the track.
The intensity on the album is also presented not only in the form of the increased leaning towards traditional extreme metal playing by the band, but also in the electronic/industrial elements thrown into the mix. The rather relaxing ambient on U.M.A. has been replaced by dubstep-inspired beats and industrial overtones like on the title track.
Production on Oltreluna is excellent as usual, with an epic, expansive soundstage on most of the tracks with varying depths of the tracks making listening to the album an immersive, almost binaural experience. This is most evident on title track [.Oltreluna.] with its tribal/folkish interlude. The layers that go into each of the tracks are intricately mixed, and there are many moments where subtle instrumentation could be heard in the background, further enhancing the listening experience.
Perhaps the only gripe that I had while listening to Oltreluna is the guitar tone, which while having a rather industrial, clinical tone to it (though fitting to the style on the album), sounded somewhat thin.
Progenie Terrestre Pura‘s Oltreluna marks a rather drastic shift in style for the band, yet remains one of the standout releases of recent times with their unique and coherent blending of different genres.
Calyx 24/192 > Shanling PH300 > Audeze LCD-2
FiiO X5iii > Heir Audio 4.ai s