La Stanza Di Swedenborg by Vanessa Van Basten (Review)

A welcome shot in the arm for the world of intelligent metal.
La Stanza Di Swedenborg - Vanessa Van Basten

Vanessa Van Basten hail from Genoa, Italy and are bizarrely named after the wife of Dutch footballer Marco Van Basten. This duo operate somewhere between the heavy post-rock world and the experimental metal tendencies of Neurosis. La Stanza Di Swedenborg is a beguiling mix that is augmented by God Machine-style distortion and occasional Mike Patton-esque vocals.

Using a glut of electronic, distorted and acoustic instrumentation, it all starts with the impressive title track. A tense 3‑minute build-up of Italian spoken word and apocalyptic synths soon explodes with some tremendous, melancholic guitar work and industrial-sized drums.

This album flows seamlessly, with some tracks being interspersed by ambient drones, cinematic passages, and eerie sounds. On “Dole,” however, Vanessa Van Basten again opt for those pulverizing distorted riffs, this time overlaid with superior acoustic guitar work and blended with gigantic drumming.

The percussion is particularly impressive throughout, but is most notable on “Giornada De Oro,” which is surely the world’s first industrial/folk song. Combining echoed harmonica, acoustic guitars and elephantine rhythms, it is a highly original and surprisingly contagious piece of work.

“Floaters” provides La Stanza Di Swedenborg’s best moment. Recalling Faith No More at their finest, the crystal clear melody soon erupts into a collage of euphoric sounds and Patton-esque vocals, the distorted guitars becoming denser with each passing second.

La Stanza Di Swedenborg is a welcome shot in the arm for the world of intelligent metal. Combining moments of true beauty with head-shattering drums and monolithic distortion, it provides a refreshing snapshot of emotionally heavy music.

Written by Michael Henaghan.

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