§ A First Observation
The Hermit as an archetype can be described as a willful separation of an individual for the purpose of entering a creative space separate from the rest of the human-world where he can both reconnect with himself and intensify his perception of the natural-world. Works produced by Eremita Produzione share in common is a very distinctive atmospheric tone and simplicity that is very close to melodic ambient music. What intensifies this separation is the touch of punkish black metal that underscores the long, captivating melodies, giving them a combination of deep-seated aggression with an overarching sensibility. These releases, it seems to me, strike a very interesting balance between powerful surges that penetrate and the attentive empathy that are more receptive.
For all this talk and personal impression, however, several of these releases have a conceptual inclination that favors the esoteric Roman and through it an awe and reverence towards the Indo-Aryan spirit and their historical traditions. The greater part of the sentiment common to these bands, and indeed the overwhelming feeling in the case of Infamous, is that of reverence for nature and the laws that make its feral and dangerous beauty possible. Thus, by approaching and reconnecting with the Roman spirit while simultaneously reaching out to the muliebral manifestations of Mother Nature, the host of releases of Eremita Produzione seems to approach an interesting esoteric balance.
The first impression of the basic expression style that Solitvdo shows us in this release may at first stress our patience as the vocals clearly lag behind the potential of the music as a whole. Furthermore, the simplicity of riffs may also, at first, take some time to take in so that one allows the strengths of the album to show themselves as the compositions run their course. The result of waiting and letting Hierarkhes show us what it has is very rewarding. This is a work that feels very lyrical, as repetition allows for synth orchestration to extend their meaningful melodies. These are not allowed to become the sole purpose of the music and a blasting rhythm explodes in the percussion, while guitars sometimes support the melody and at other times take the front stage. The topic of the album is clearly reflected through the music on its own and an irrefutable heroic spirit in the traditional sense permeates the whole work.
Kshatriya’s Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos
It is refreshing to see an Italian exploiting and expanding on the theme of the Indo Aryan spirit that unites the caste-based Indian system with that of the disciplined Romans. Kshatriya takes a very raw approach rather than try their hand at any attempt to emulate either of these cultures’ popularly-known sounds. In Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos we hear a melodic but very aggressive black metal of the kind based on a general punk-like technique extending into expressive constructions that play very little with repetition and focus in motif build ups as well as contrasts between them which through melodic shape justify transitions through bursts. In sound and guitar methodology, Kshatriya bears a resemblance to Gevurahel, from Argentina (the Italians of Latin America). The most obvious shortcoming of this release is that while it has the potential of being progressive and symphonic in its overall structuring, it bites its own tail by allowing returns to riffs and sections, and not having the patience to continue songs through a longer and more descriptive arc.
Infamous / Rovina split
The Infamous half of this split contains two new songs and a song from the latest full-length album, Tempesta. The new songs are on the punk-like side of Infamous with a more limited melodic interplay in contrast to its developed style in ‘Tempesta I’. It is, in fact, the Rovina side of this split that shines with a dark light, a will to dig deeper into the confines of a soul ready to destroy the mundane world and bring about a new Aeon. Rovina’s two songs display a far more clear and expressive play of melody, as well as a particular passionate exposition that contrasts with the more laid back contemplation of Infamous. I personally do not invest into splits as I see them as a compromise to publish new music or a way to support newer projects, but I am very much looking forward to Rovina’s next full-length.
Infamous / Solitvdo / Warnungstraum Il Rifugio del Silenzio
‘The Refuge of Silence’ starts with the most mellow side of Infamous, showing us just how flexible S.A. has become within his unique and very personal artistic voice. This is more Infamous speaking and crafting a whole different work with its delicate, vaguely Indie-like melodies in a raw black metal frame-work and development. Solitvdo is here still on a facet that still reeks of Insomnium while displaying the musical sensibilities that will later crown them in their 2016 full-length. This is excellent melodic black metal, however still slightly anonymous or faceless with a strange reliance on Indie voices to a degree that is annihilated in Infamous but dominates a little too much in Solitvdo. Warnungstraum starts out sounding positively evil and definitely heavier than its two split-partners. Melodic eloquence is not lacking and is completely on par with the rest of the material on this release. It’s heavy and dense riffage do lend it a far more serious and noticeable presence and it seems a natural and good choice that its two songs are placed at the very end, closing off with the best.
The most mature and refined piece of work by Infamous since In Solitude and Silence sees S. A. finding sure footing in his own sense and voice. The foggy production and energetic execution on this album conspire to further instigate the sensation of waves clashing against rocks in a show of gleeful force that propels life forward. A full review of this album has already been written here.
Solitvdo Immerso in un bosco di querce
Delicate, nuanced and balanced music that does not lack in development but is held back by its seemingly utter lack of a personal voice. Immerso in un bosco di querce is appreciable as a pure piece of melodic metal composition in terms of its compositional merit but not as holistic art. A good first step by Solitvdo, but only as it serves to set the stage for the later Hierarkhes.
Infamous Rovine e Disperazione
Although not lacking in quality, this is possibly the most generic state that Infamous has stumbled upon. The artistic voice of S.A. seems to take a back seat here while the music advances through a combination of tropes while only the character of the melodies shaped by Infamous’ own modal preference seems to offer hope. Overall, Rovine e Disperazione is disappointing in light of what we find in the first album. Tempesta completely rectifies this situation, taking the project to a whole new level of realisation.
§ An Afterthought
It is the little pockets of closed groups such as the obviously related circles that Eremita Produzione nests under its wings, or the one that currently thrives in Dutch-Germanic lands with the likes of Sammath/Kaeck and Tarnkappe/Gheestenland, the ones that carry the torch of those who can channel a natural spirituality through a holistic music. On the other hand, one who perceives and understands music at its different levels would have to laugh at the likes of the obvious Qabala/Qliphoth inspired stomp rock and drone/war “metal” bands that live off their words with very little musical worth to speak of. Far richer have been the incursions of those seeking to channel nature, land and a presencing without words.
Scenes mean nothing; scenes are for socializing, but social groups and acceptance does not make great art. It is in great individuals with a singular and penetrating vision who are also possessed of a keen sensibility that great art finds its birth. It is elitism in the sense of being able to discern what is best in a context, not out of sentimentality, but in service of transcendent beauty, that brings about music that is, in being and action, sorcery of the most potent kind. As such, it must be taken in voluntarily. Once immersed in it and being open to its effect, the music will keep revealing things within and without.
This constant revealing is what we find in immortal masterpieces like Burzum’s Filosofem, but which one will not find in the engaging and sensitive music of early Abigor because it remains on a technical material level of understanding. The same can be said of the music of Watain, who not being even close to the formal prowess of Abigor, rely completely on hooks and cheap technical arrangements that consider impact but are completely oblivious to the multiple layers of communication possible to musical construction.
The error does not have to be explained through knowledge or ignorance of formal musical education —Abigor’s members are classically trained, Burzum’s single mastermind is not— but rather an internal compass that signals the way through to a building that is in tune with the motions of nature. To claim to be producing chaos on purpose for metaphysical reasons is to engage in the same attitudes that lead hipsters to ironically listen to certain music or dress in a certain way. The reasons may be different, the attitude may have different roots, but the result ends up being the same. It is all appearance and no substance; or simply a diluted version of what could be worthwhile.
Hail those who will go to the roots, those who will face reality rather than hide from it in fatalism; hail those who will take action and become better without flinching when having to cut away the bad.
§ Selections from Eremita Produzione
Evaluating these albums not by their surface appearance or the momentary appeal as the shock of every riff and every moment makes its temporary abode in the pleasure centers of the mind, but in a combination of a penetrating analysis of form and structure as well as a sensing and immersing of the carrying-through that each of these works accomplishes as a ritual for he who knows how to undertake it. These are, however, based early impressions, and the true test is always Time.
The most significant and mature releases here are the Solitvdo’s Hierarkhes, Kshatriya’s Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos and Infamous’ Tempesta. The rest are good as samplers or as snapshots of some of the bands in less developed states. Solitvdo’s Immerso in un bosco di querce lies clearly in this situation, while the longer discography of Infamous is able to contribute with Rovine e Disperazione a different facet of an already mature musical project. The incontestable superior release in this list is, beyond a shadow of doubt, Tempesta.
As a whole, there is much more to see in the small collection that Eremita Produzione shows us than in most other labels boasting many more releases with first-grade productions. This is unsurprising as underground labels and extreme spiritual endeavours result in a higher density of content, while they may not be as catchy or shiny. Underground music of the best caliber tends to be humble in its technical display but invariably immersive in its pensive attunement with nature.