Saturday 16 May 2015

Narrenschiff - Of Trees And Demons (Album Review)

Of Trees and Demons cover art

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: May 11th 2015
Label: Self Released
Of Trees And Demons - Track Listing:

1.Ocean 05:16
2.Atomic axilla, robot Godzilla 05:21
3.Suzy 06:16
4.Trees and Demons 06:35
5.Desert 11:15
6.57 07:30
7.Event horizon 13:55


Mattia Leonardo Bozzetti (Guitar)
Riccardo Pancotti (Bass/Vocals)
Gerson De Oliveira (Drums)


Narrenschiff is a relatively new band formed in 2010 Senigallia, a port town on Italy’s Adriatic coast. They released a demo in 2014 before signing to Red Sound Records for ‘Of Trees and Demons’, their first full-length, released in May of 2015. Their name seems derived from the Germanic Das Narrenschiff,translating into “ship of fools” - both the name of a collection of (mostly) religious satire illustrated in part by famed Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer and a painting by Dutch surrealist Hieronymus Bosch.

Narrenschiff’s sound seems equally informed by both doom and desert rock. There also seems to be strong ties to their coastal town; a number of the songs have nautical themes and the album opens with the sound of a storm at sea. The riffs themselves ebb and flow between crashing waves of sound and moments of serenity. Samples (Godzilla 1985, Dune and Invasion of the Body Snatchers among them) also help to set the mood.

Singer and bassist Richard Pancotti’s vocals call to mind Christian Linderson/Lord Chritus in Terra Firma (albeit a bit lower in register) with a taste of Ben Ward’s trademark Orange Goblin grit. Pancotti’s bass playing suits the tracks well, never crowding the melody while constantly driving the rhythm. The lyrics, sung in English, are poetic and intelligent, though his endearing accent at times will have you reaching for the lyric sheet. Mattia Leonardo Bozzetti’s rhythm sound is fuzzy and warm, reminiscent of the self titled QOTSA record or Celestial Season’s Orange record; he borrows from Josh Homme’s bag of tricks over the course of the album’s 7 tracks without totally aping his style.

When the dynamics dip down,I’m reminded of Colour Haze’s Stefan Koglek’s and when the leads kick in, they are awash in psychedelic chorus, flange and reverb, more melody than flash. Drummer Gerson De Oliveira pounds the drums like they owe him money, a veritable Brant Bjork that pairs well with Bozetti’s playing and creates a solid backbone for Narrenschiff’s well-crafted tunes. The highlights for me here are “Suzy” and “Trees and Demons”, but most fans of the genre will find something to sink their teeth into in each of “Of Trees and Demons” songs. This first full-length by Narrenschiff pays respect to their influences and shows a band well on the way to creating a sonic niche of their own- the sound of the desert by the sea.

Words by: Bill Kole

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