Universal Consciousness, the label run by Andorkappen of Lord Time (aka Sandor GF of Harassor), is home to some seriously “out there” metal acts. Voci dal Passato, the debut full-length from Italy’s Tony Tears, might be the label’s weirdest release yet and a fine example of an outsider take on an established form within the metal paradigm. Originally released independently back in 2009 and finally getting the vinyl treatment here, it’s forty minutes of quasi-psychedelic traditional doom that’ll likely leave you scratching your head for the first few listens, yet will quickly endear itself to you due to its naive charm.
Imagine for a second the following scenario: a man is locked away Old Boy-style for decades with nothing to subsist on but hallucinogenic drugs and the first six Sabbath records. He is finally released in the 2000s and instructed to record an album. If you can picture this, than you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Voci dal Passato sounds like. There is a primitivism and lack of pretension which suggests that Tony Tears either isn’t aware of the last forty or so years of so-called “development” in heavy music or has an iron will when it comes to completely ignoring said development; there is a whole subset of modern bands that try desperately to sound as if they’re of this bygone era, but Mr. Tears does it effortlessly.
The production is lo-fi with plenty of space in the mix; the brittle guitar tone sounds like it was recorded with a practice amp with very little distortion, completely at odds with the crushing tones that most modern doom bands actively seek out. The vocals are an echoing speak-sing that lends the album an eerie quality, while the keyboards are hauntingly gothic and often recall vintage giallo soundtracks, serving to fill in the aforementioned space in the otherwise stark, airy mix whenever they appear. The drums are so stiff and simplistic that it’s hard to tell whether they’re real or canned, but are serviceable enough when it comes to keeping the beat and pushing the music slowly forward.
Voci dal Passato is an intriguing slab of bizarro doom from an artist who has managed to craft a truly singular vision, something that’s becoming increasingly rare as metal continues its long, slow march towards homogenization. It’s not particularly innovative or experimental, just weird as all hell in the best way possible. If you’re a fan of heavy music’s outer fringes and not yet familiar with Tony Tears, you owe it to yourself to check this out, ASAP.