For 2019’s Body Count, the debut album from his Maenad Veyl project, Italian producer Thomas Feriero opted to kick things off in high gear. “Bleak” packs at least a dozen songs’ worth of menace into just over 5 minutes, thanks to its growling synths, insistent beats, and Feriero’s distorted vocals.
So yes, “Bleak” is, well, bleak. Darker than bleak, even. But it’s never not listenable, thanks to Feriero’s sense of groove. I wouldn’t exactly call the song dance-able, but I also challenge you to not sway even a little bit once Feriero’s sinister atmospherics begin knifing their way through the song like a jagged stiletto.
The same pulse-pounding sense of groove appears in other songs on Body Count, like “They Belonged with the Others” and “Silent Blood,” but it’s perfectly realized on “Bleak.” Indeed, while I like Body Count’s other eleven songs, I won’t deny that they all play out from deep within the opening track’s ominous shadow.