Scolopendra – Those of the Catacombs
Reviewed: August 2020
Released: 2020, Nuclear War Now! Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Boasting a history of Italian horror and rich culture steeped in the occult, Scolopendra attempt to summon that spirit on their debut, THOSE OF THE CATACOMBS. The press release accompanying the album show that the band clearly has high aspirations, but the album itself doesn’t quite reach those heights.
Saevm and Kvasir are both actually members of the black metal band Abhor, who’s musical output would seem to be more closely aligned with the Fulci/Argento worship of the cover art. Scolopendra by contrast sound very Autopsy-esque, which isn’t a bad thing by any stretch, but it also doesn’t provide a broad musical canvas to play with. But if you’re cool with some HM-2 heavy, old school d-beat death metal, THOSE OF THE CATACOMBS isn’t a bad way to spend 40 minutes.
Minus the spooky synth palate cleanser of “The Smell of Cadavers”, most of the tracks on the album tread a lot of the same musical territory. Again, not a broad canvas to play with, but it does a disservice to the truly standout cuts on the album. “Exhumed Corpse Exaltation” and “Tormenting Dying Nuns” offer some fun musical escapism, but my favorite track on the album has to be “First Class Coffin.” Not because of any musical merit, but with Kvasir’s accent and scowl, when he screeches “buried in a first class coffin”, it ends up sounding like “first class coffee.” That sent me down a rabbit hole thinking about why there aren’t any cool black or death metal songs about coffee, or how a song like this could be used to advertise espresso. Picture it – a bunch of metal dudes with spikes and black leather sitting outside at an Italian café, headbanging fiercely as they acknowledging to each other with a blackened death metal growl “THIS IS SOME FIRST CLASS COFFEEEEE.” Meanwhile, the waiter standing by has a look of sheer terror on his face. And…scene.
Stupid? Sure. But it made me chuckle enough that I ended up spending more time with THOSE OF THE CATACOMBS than I probably would have otherwise.
So there ya go. As long as you set the appropriate expectations going into THOSE OF THE CATACOMBS, Scolopendra offer up some mindless, old school fun. Enjoy with some biscotti and a hot cup of FIRST CLASS COFFEEEEE!