Schysma – Schysma
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 43:09
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, dear friends and followers of The One Who Walks Backwards. My Pimm’s fuelled rantings continue unabated. The evil Eye of Sauron in the sky above Yorkshire continues to burn its fiery will into my skin and I continue to cower within the shelter of Dark Juan Terrace swearing terrible vengeance upon it, if only I could construct a vessel able to withstand the crushing gravities and stellar heat I would encounter. How I wish I could plunge a spear of ethereal ice deep in the flaming heart of the beast, and then I would not have to experience the milk bottle white, blotchy legs and shamefully awful tattoos of the myriad of howling mad bastards who have unaccountably all not got jobs to go to and have instead turned up in the nearest hostelry in defiance of the possibility of further contagion from the last year… and they are doing this to shout about some grown men in shorts kicking a pig’s bladder around a bit of grass. Except, this time, it’s special because it is international. Bah humbug. I fucking hate football and the propensity of the followers of that sport to turn into gurning, fucktard dribblers as soon as it comes on the television. And people fight over it too. I mean come on…It’s a game. It is a game that has been hijacked by businessmen and NO fucking footballer is worth millions of pounds. Ever. Nurses, care workers, cleaners, deliverymen and any number of other jobs are worth more than fucking footballers, yet the ability to kick an inflated pig’s bladder straight is lauded more than people actually making a difference to other people’s lives. Fuck that for a game of soldiers…
I’m supposed to be doing a review aren’t I? I’ll stop moaning and crack on then…I am now listening to one of the most splendidly demented pieces of music I have ever had the pleasure to hear, in Schysma’s self-titled album. This Italian band have clearly decided that if they are going to play music, then they are going to go straight for the throat and bloody well gnaw chunks out of it as they hang on for dear life. How the fuck am I going to describe this chimeric beast?
Imagine Nightwish, sped up to one and half times the speed and add to that some of the most gloriously unhinged operatic vocals I have ever heard, roaming from alto to soprano with joy and carefree abandon, with a bit of nu-metal mixed into a gothic/ power metal sound and a keyboard player who has decided that the only way forward is to play high gothic keyboards at the speed of a Rhapsody Of Fire guitar solo constantly and without any form of restraint whatsoever.
Jesus Holy High Christ in a chariot driven sidecar – this is beyond magnificent. It’s absolutely fucking mental. The music is actually spectacularly complex and high minded and the entire band are superb players and they had a band meeting one day and have clearly said, “Behold this, our field of fucks. We have none to give, for it is barren.” Schysma are madder than a room full of painted frogs and even their visual aesthetic on their promo pictures is awesome, referencing high goth and The Portrait of Dorian Grey. Gorgeous gowns and militaristic clothing abound and even the production on the record has attained all new heights of bombast. Everything is so lushly produced it all risks descending into a glorious wriggling mess, yet somehow avoids this and from a production perspective this album is one of the richest, warmest things I have ever heard. Gothic metal sometimes risks the keyboards and high-handedness overpowering everything else, yet in Schysma every instrument is distinct and clear even over the powerful and idiosyncratic vocals of Eliana Sanna (think Floor Jansen and King Diamond’s love child, ignoring the unholy sexual congress that would have had to happen to result in this, and add a level of insanity that even Charles Manson would shrink back in horror from) and this is actually a pretty massive achievement, especially considering that Schysma’s entire sound can only be described as colossal. This is the kind of sound that Nightwish and Lacuna Coil wish they could achieve.
What are the downsides? It’s a fucking exhausting listen because there is just so much going on – the complexity in arrangement of Tool, the histrionics of Within Temptation and Nightwish, the drama of opera, the underlying influence of math metal like Meshuggah and Mudvayne and the vocals of an escaped and possibly murderous madwoman combine to slam you against a non-stop wall of sound and pin you there bloodied, helpless and powerless to resist. It also suffers slightly from not deviating from the formula the band have created for themselves – although every track is original and fresh, the sound and the arrangements of the songs are all cut from the same rich cloth. There’s no light and dark here, it’s all gorgeous coiffures, sumptuous lace gowns and frock coats and breeches, fuelled with endless fucking cocaine. Like, all the fucking cocaine in the world in one colossal snort with a fuckton of Billy added for good measure because Schysma couldn’t possibly think of slowing down to mortal speeds. Oh no. And that, while not a problem, does give a bit of a lack of variety to the music. A little bit of black coffee and a cigarette break and a number where they dial back the hell bent for warp speed gothic murderousness would pay handsomely.
I can’t give you a standout song because they are all absolutely fucking splendid. If you love bombast, gothic power metal and operatic female vocals, holy fuck, are you in for a treat! Honest to god I have never heard a more extreme gothic metal record ever. Every single element is turned up to eleven and stays there. For sheer absolute power, there ain’t much that can beat it.
I’m actually totally blown away. This is what operatic metal should sound like. Powerful, massive, absolutely unapologetic and utterly, UTTERLY out to lunch. Although metal purists will fucking hate it, I am in love with this bunch of Italian lunatics!
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di valutazione degli schizzi di sangue di Dark Juan) cannot help himself but award Schysma the full beans 10/10 for a fucking fun record. Congratulazioni, ragazzi e ragazze!!
01. Day One
03. Romances For Weak Minded
04. Into My Illusion
05. As World Turns
06. No Lease Of Life
07. Gates Of Omega
10. Your Sins Will Find You Out
Martina Bellini – Keyboards
Eliana Sanna – Vocals
Vladimiro Sala – Guitar
Luca Solina – Drums
Fabrizio Gaffuri – Bass Guitar
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