Op-Ed: The Italian Alps are Alive with the Sound of Metal!

We all know Lacuna Coil as Italy’s breakthrough metal artist, but Italy has one of the most vibrant underground metal scenes going. From the northern hills to the cities, kids have been getting together to jam for decades and the result is a heap of bands who are crafting a brand of expressive metal that captures the Italian spirit – and sometimes bleak political perspective. 

Here’s a look at some different bands from around Italy through their latest releases that range from stoner to symphonic black metal with plenty happening between those extremes. 

Descent into Maelstrom

Genre: death/black metal


From Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Descent into Maelstrom (named after a Poe story) combine blackened melodic death metal with elements of Mathcore. It’s traditional but layered in a way that will rattle your senses and make you go “Scussi?” It’s incredibly technical and very, very good. Check out ‘Triumphus Falsarius Daemonium’ from the new album Dei Consentes to see what I mean. Essentially a solo project by Andrea Bignardi that has dragged in like minds, it’s an impressive display of metal mayhem. ‘Abyssus Devort Terram’ is completely savage and dissonant. Fans of technically insane guitar work will love ‘Infecundus’. ‘Deus Sol Invictus’ has some really nutty bass lines too. ‘Amor Sola Lex’ is great even with another bass solo, except it could be four songs in one. ‘Deus Belli’ is pretty conventional compared to the rest. 

Out on streaming now via Club Inferno Ent. Order here

Afraid of Destiny 

Genre: black metal

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Atmospheric black metal from Treviso, Veneto. Fourth album Contra Omnes (2023) ups the ante on their depressive black metal style with keyboard and synth-fueled melody. ‘Anti’ is a great introduction to the band, featuring an epic arrangement, a gorgeous piano-led bridge, and plenty of blast beats for true believers. Credit to them for using a diverse interpretation of the genre across the album, with ‘Ramblin’’ having a goth ballad intro and spoken vocals, ‘Breath’ incorporating doom riffs, dialogue samples in ‘Hear Me’, and a sweeping synth laden instrumental called ‘Lullabye’. It culminates with the 15-minute ‘Requiem in Do Diesis Minore’, a symphonic orchestral work of beautiful darkness, including clean vocals and a more traditional heavy metal guitar solo. It’s one of the best albums this year. 

Out now via Talheim Records. Stream or purchase here


Genre: speed metal

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Band members from Genoa who go by stage names Skullcrusher, Hellraiser and Nightkiller. Demonic Assissination (2022) is a vintage take on thrash with sonic elements drawing on early Venom, Slayer and Celtic Frost. Tracks like ‘Volcanic Outburst’ are insanely fast and completely soaked in evil sweat. They stand out with tracks like the anthemic ‘Serpent S*********k’ and the slightly more progressive ‘Finit Hic Deo’, which has a sick bass solo. The title track serves up longer, more melodic thrash, showing they can do more than play fast and yell. 

Out now via Dying Victim Productions. Stream or purchase here

Cripta Blue 

Genre: stoner


Very much in the traditions of Sabbath riffs and reverb vocals, exploring the stoner/doom/psychedelic vibe on their 3 track EP Rather with the Devil. A powerful trio from Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, it’s a riff fest on ‘Figure in Black’. ‘Devil Got My Woman’ is just gnarly with Hendrix-style distortion and some sweet melodic slide guitar. The groove is king here and the solos are crisp. ‘Spectrum’ plays the Sabbath tribute card very closely, with a ‘Planet Caravan’ style ballad and even rain sound effects. It’s the only blemish on an otherwise solid release. 

Stream now or purchase here

Frozen Crown 

Genre: power metal

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Bei suoni! It’s magnifico power metal from Milano. Call of the North is an enormous-sounding album, capturing Frozen Crown’s technically proficient sound. The likes of ‘Call of the North’ and ‘Fire in the Sky’ are epic, led by Giada “Jade” Etro’s captivating vocals. Indeed the way she combines harmonies with Federico Mondell is heavenly. Whilst a lot of the album is typical high-octane metal, they can slow it down and go grander – check out the acoustic first half of ‘Victorious’. If you think it’s cheesy, you’re not getting it. Having changed over half the band in 2020, this fourth album has a real sense of purpose as they seek to become the most powerful band in Europe. 

Stream now via Scarlet Records or purchase here


Genre: atmospheric black metal


It’s hard to pull off music that’s both brutal and beautiful but Turin lords Enisum pull it off on their 6th album, Forgotten Mountains. ‘Where You Live Again’ is epic with the lyric-less growls adding to the melodic atmosphere. The title track is really where the black metal kicks off and it is intense. It‘s a horror movie, building to a crescendo before ‘Night Forest’ starts with a much slower melodic guitar that picks up into a stadium-style rocker. ‘Woods of Sorrow’ encapsulates the brutal/beautiful dichotomy. They really do cover a broad range of dynamics which the lyrics (when there are words) depict nature. ‘Pure Sadness’ is full of drama before closing song, ‘The Wind Smells of You’, shows off killer drumming and some awesome solos/riffs with heavy and melodic sections providing angst and fury in a way few bands can match.

Stream now via Avante Garde or purchase here.

Anyone missing? Who would you throw into the mix?

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Words by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram)

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