Messa – Feast For Water

Rating: 4/5
Released: 2018
Label/Distributor: Aural Music
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Band Line Up

Mistyr – Drums
Alberto – Lead Guitars
Mark Sade – Guitars/Bass
Sara – Vocals

Album Track Listing
  1. Naunet
  2. Snakeskin Drape
  3. Leah
  4. The Seer
  5. She Knows
  6. Tulsi
  7. White Stains
  8. Da Tariki Tariqat

Italy’s Messa are a bizarre and enthralling band. They describe themselves as Doom with a dark Jazz twist, but this simply does not do them justice. Their overall sound is so much more expansive than trite words could ever express. They began life in 2014, and their unique sound soon attracted attention; inevitably they were signed, and their first record “Belfry” was unleashed upon the world in 2016. An extensive tour of the US and Europe allowed them to hone their craft, and now they have returned to gift us a “Feast Of Water”.

“Naunet” proves to be a haunting and beguiling intro track with its synth cello mock eastern motif and undertone of bubbling water. That of which eventually fades into a shrill insect swarm ready to detonate into the first actual song “Snakeskin Drape”. It begins like something out of a Western movie; two gunslingers in a duel waiting to outdraw the other. It soon detonates into a melodic and gloriously metallic thrum. Following this is “Leah”, a lurching bass heavy doom rumble, all the while underpinned by the feel of dusty plains and tumbleweeds. A powerful and compelling tune. “The Seer” is a similarly seismic experience; its earthquake bowels-of-the-earth undulations juxtaposed with lounge jazz are an odd combination which works a treat.

The heaviness and subtle threatening tones of “She Knows” ensue next. It holds its course, never deviating; a master class in light and shade. It is almost five minutes before the vocals appear, and when they do they are seductive and more than a little melancholy. “Tulsi” comes somewhat out of left field, with its vicious and thrashy approach. For all its aggression it still manages to be soulful and wistful. Quite a mindfuck! “White Stains” returns to the band’s established formula of bottom end heaviness welded to forlorn and pensive jazz.

Many bands attempt to be haunting with “spooky” outro tracks and end up disappearing up their own arses. Thankfully Messa avoid this cliché and provide a suitably potent conclusion to this diverse and affecting ride.

The best way I can think of to describe Messa’s sound is Angelo Badalamenti and Ennio Morricone jamming with Kyuss with darkly angelic female vocals. The songs are all fairly lengthy but are never tiresome. When the album finished I just wanted to play it again. Highly recommended.

Review by Owen Thompson