ROTORVATOR "Reliquies"

single side 12"

(click on the magazine names for review links)


by Andrea Migliorati
The Rotorvator band tells us something about themselves through these words: "Black Metal, Psychedelia, and industrial noise suggestions, distorted environments, build the backbone of a heavy sound, deliberately offensive and constantly inspired by chaos and disharmony." (bandcamp). Rotorvator is a trio (vocals / electronics / guitar) born in 2008 with a long series of records released during their past activity, such as Nahum EP, a self-titled EP and Nero EP in 2010, The Blues EP out in 2012, plus the great I Vivi e I Morti album, 2013.
Reliquies comes to light after a quite long period since the band released I Vivi e I Morti on Crucial Blast. In particular, the former takes the latter's brutality evolving it and adding original connotations with respect to the band's past music production. The most evident development in the record is the great importance the electronic component had in shaping the overall sound. It has been moved in the direction of the massive use of violent / beat-centered lines, sounding dry-er, dilated and martial. This does not stand as a complete revolution of Rotorvator's output. On the contrary, it had been efficiently enriched of electronic hues, starring in the tracks almost as the black-gaze guitar does. The record contains 3 tracks, plus a forth one available only through digital download, covering about 24 minutes (considering all of them four).
The Mirror of Simple Souls Who Are Annihilated opens the album through the sinuous sound of the guitar. A brief plain-vocals monologue is featured (find the initial verses right up here), its function being to introduce the explosion of the un-human scream of the singer, which is the main character on it. In this guitaristic-'techno' piece a neat crescendo takes place, hanging between a dark beat and restful moments, until it ultimately overwhelms the listener. Going to the second track, it's possible to notice that Saint Guinefort's title most definitely refers to the mythological dog of the XIII century. SG's music represents an update to the digital era of certain 'black metal' styles and themes - we refer to that particular genre since Rotorvator themselves did. At the same time, the track destroyes any remote chance to place the 12'' record inside a pre-defined genre scheme. Metallic, industrial (in the sense of moving machines) riffs sink in a mystic melody increasing the (already) strong emotional component; hot drills dig ground around the desperate screams; quite relaxed, almost 'dance-able' moments stand as breaks between the noisyest peaks of sound. Grandier Radiant Angel, in a similar way, states once more how inappropriate may be to reduce Rotorvator's work to a strict musical style / pattern (for example, in the track is even possible to hear a 808 acid bassline). Finally, Il Terremoto del 1647 (digital only) defines a rentless tour-de-force occupying about 8 minutes. Its first instants explicitly recall a train running wild. The high bpm levels contribute in developing the tensed atmosphere in the track, as much as the double vocals and the sudden dreamy breaches do. The tracks could be somehow linked to a romantic, synth/guitaristic picture of doomsday.
Reliquies is a well-balanced record in which none of the band's members overtop the others. Instead, each one of them contributes in shaping an articulated, solid sound, while still capable to offer interesting and fresh cues. Therefore, the 12'' perfectly fits sincope's policy focused on many possible experimental paths to be taken. Much recommended. Support sincope. is love!

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by Mario Biserni
Un nome che sembra citare i Coil.
Un attacco che sembra citare gli MC5 («Brothers and sisters, come to me! I'll show you the road to freedom!»).
Un trio misterioso con chitarra, elettroniche e voce nel quale l’unica (quasi) certezza sembra essere la presenza di Emanuele Bortoluzzi (vi ricordate degli Ent?).
Un disco registrato da Marcello Batelli dei Non Voglio che Clara e masterizzato da James Plotkin.
Sul sito dell’etichetta sta scritto: «Black Metal, Psychedelia, industrial noise suggestions and distorted environments to build the backbone of a heavy sound, deliberately offensive and constantly inspired by chaos and disharmony» e su Discogs la dose è addirittura rincarata: «Black Metal, Industrial, Electro, Noise, Psychedelic Rock, Drone».
Sempre nel sito della Sincope Records, a proposito di “Reliquies”, si dice che «Rotorvator show their pure vision of contemporary black metal. A perfect blend of obscure decaying atmospheres, strong post-industrial, dark psychedelic harmonies, incisive electronics and a damned screeming vocal. A grim and tormented sound, highly anxiogenic and darkly relentless, with a great melodic taste».
Tutto vero.
Se considerate la collaborazione con i Comaneci su Who Is Earl? (nella cassetta "The Blues" pubblicata da Sangue Disken) il quadro che ne esce è addirittura ancor più dilatato.
Una situazione di confusione estrema e una recensione difficile da fare.
Che sarebbe difficile da fare, vien da dire, perché mi accorgo che dopo i copia e incolla seriali che ho utilizzato la recensione è praticamente già fatta!
Aggiungere cosa? Forse che The Mirror Of Simple Souls … inizia come un rock punkizzato per esplodere poi in una sinfonia industrial che alterna voci gutturali, in chiave death, e voci irose di tendenza hardcore (forse è proprio l’influenza dell’hardcore a essere stata dimenticata nelle presentazioni che ho riportato sopra).
Nettamente più lente, e ancor più malate, sono le atmosfere che avvolgono Saint Guinefort, andando a parare in una sorta di death-metal dalle caratteristiche industrial e psichedeliche. Lo spirito metal sembra prendere il sopravvento in Grandier Radiant Angel, con l’asse che pare spostarsi in direzioni quali il noise, il thrash e il grindcore. Su tutto aleggia - come un venticello che senza apparire essenziale riesce comunque a rinfrescare - l’elettronica di marca Warp.
Per chi acquista la versione digitale questo è tutto.
Per chi si orienta invece verso l’acquisto del vinile, inciso su un solo lato e limitato a 150 copie, c’è invece una piacevole sorpresa che si chiama Il Terremoto Del 1647, brano in regalo con il download. Non vorrei che pensaste al solito riempitivo, dal momento che il livello è in linea con gli altri brani: otto minuti di violento minimalismo elettronico (+ vicino a Merzbow che agli Autechre o ad Aphex Twin), minaccioso e araldo di una catastrofe imminente.
Questa scelta, un brano omaggio a chi acquista il vinile, appare originale e intelligente (anche sotto l’aspetto puramente commerciale).
Consiglio vivamente il lettore di andare a spulciare nella discografia precedente del gruppo (io l’ho già fatto): 1 CD su Crucial Blast, 1 cassetta su Sangue Disken, 1 CD-R su Dokuro e 1 CD-R autoprodotto.

by Jack Chuter
The rhythms on Reliquies – throbbing electro-beats, metal colliding with metal – are constructed with the deliberate omission of forward movement. Instead, Rotorvator seem to slam themselves against the side of a small prison cell, teeming with an energy that has nowhere to go, flailing fists into concrete walls and titanium doors. Catharsis rebounds off the pillars of distortion and is promptly reabsorbed. Rotorvator spend the 23 minutes like the subject of a sick experiment: what happens when ill thoughts are left to fester and multiply, gradually devouring the body they inhabit?
By the time the listener arrives on the scene, the specimen is already violence incarnate. The brain is no longer able to pull particular sounds into focus and send others to the periphery; everything floods in at maximum volume as a swirl of traffic noise, amplified blood circulation and hallucinated choirs. Melody thrashes to push its head above the surface of the din, somewhere between the crippling misery of black metal and the morbid, futuristic warning of a sci-fi horror soundtrack. The sensation never lifts – distortion presses against my skull in a sandpaper head massage, sabotaging my perception of depth and powers of rational thought. I flinch at the flying daggers of lead guitar and question whether I’m imagining some of the more subtle chinks and clangs of percussion.
It’s not always a negative when a record seems to drag itself through its own running time. In truth, the 23-minute duration feels double that, and that’s undoubtedly a consequence of being in a constant state of sensory overload. I never acclimatise to the hostility; I never shrink to accommodate such a cramped and claustrophobic space. My eventual relief from Reliquies is as euphoric as the listening experience itself. I feel my body uncurl and my ears gulping at the quiet, renewed in my appreciation of the acoustic equilibrium that graces my life outside of Rotorvator.

by Andrea Prevignano
Black metal as a sure way to start. The landing place is represented by electronics with dark ambient tones, industrial, almost thought as a logical step and an inevitable evolution. A past on Crucial Blast and a bright future, Rotorvator from Belluno release an ep of avant-black atrocities and electronic blows. Renewed collaboration with James Plotkin (O.L.D., Khanate) for the mastering.

From the heart of Italy comes Sincope, a record label built on DIY ethics, a political approach, and hard-core punk attitude. With a firm grasp on some of the most experimental forms of music, including drone, improve, noise, electro-acoustic, and post-core, Sincope’s aim is to find sounds that are constantly able to read the present moment with a direct, critical vision.
With releases based on extreme and programmatic concepts, it’s easy to imagine that any album from Sincope would be at the very forefront of innovation, and with Rotorvator’s new release, ‘Reliquies’, that’s certainly true.
An Italian black metal trio that formed back in 2008, ‘Reliquies’ is a four track powerhouse that is streaked with psychedelia and industrial sounds, distorted melodies, and deliberate spikes of abrasive noise. It’s been some time since Rotovator’s last release, but in that time it’s clear they haven’t mellowed. Instead, they’ve maintained their sense of anger and combined it with a more refined palette, creating far more deliberate and succinct sounds than ever before.
Coming as close to melodic as is possible for black metal, the relentless combination of light, flickering synths within overwhelming waves of thunderous drums, shredding guitars and demonic vocals creates a balance and sense of continuity between tracks that is rarely found in similar releases. It begins in the opening moments of ‘The Mirror Of Simple Souls Who Are Annihilated And Remain Only In Will And Desire Of Love’ and continuing through the murky atmosphere of ‘Saint Guinefort’ and ‘Grandier Radiant Angel’, its this merger between the electronica and black metal that makes ‘Reliquies’ exciting and distinctly different.
In a genre where every heavy guitar chord and snarled vocal can sound so painfully alike, Rotorvator has to be praised for stepping out of the mould, even if for only four tracks.
Rating: 8 out of 10

by Stefano Pifferi
Su territori diversi, ma altrettanto oscuri e forse addirittura più ostici, si muovono i tre Rotorvator che in questo 12” single-sided con lato serigrafato espongono la propria idea di black-metal ibrido. Se quella è la base fissa da cui partire, nella scarsa mezzora del mini c’è angosciosa disperazione a nastro ed elettronica in quantità che ottunde e, insieme, apre squarci di possibilità per un suono che spesso ha corso il rischio di inzaccherarsi nella sua stessa melma. Non avviene in Reliquies, mini che fa seguito all’EP per Dokuro e all’ottimo full length I Vivi E I Morti su Crucial Blast, e che ci mostra efferatezze sonore d’ordinanza tra growl e ampli al rosso, ma con gusto visionario al limite del cinematografico (c’è in filigrana molto horror, ma mai come referente sonoro evidente), dilatazioni che sanno quasi di psichedelia nero-pece e una spiccata predilezione per l’elettronica, mai usata come mero orpello quanto come elemento strutturale nell’elaborazione di mini-suite mobili e selvagge. Si prenda come esempio la parte finale della bonus track digital only Il Terremoto Del 1947 per farsi una idea della concezione di black metal del trio e pure delle possibilità future.

by Andy Uzzell
Staying on the metal theme, Rotorvator from Italy have a new 12" out on Sincope Records, a "a diy ethics label with political approach and hardcore punk attitude"...sounds good! Rotovator bring an intriguing, and punishing, mix of black metal and electronics...and I gotta say, I like it! With trademark black metal growling vocals and heavy industrial sounds it's not a relaxing listen but interspersed with the abrasive noise are flashes of almost psychedelic guitar that raise this well above the norm. It adds a new twist to a well-trodden genre and is all the more exciting for it. It can be purchased from the label itself here on a one sided 12" with a beautiful silkscreened cover, limited to 150.