Album Title: The Rain Under
Label: Time To Kill Records
Date of Release: 28 February 2020
It is hardly surprising, given the sheer volume of music being released on 28th February 2020, that one nearly slipped through my fingers. And it would have been a bit of a travesty too, had this album been the unwitting victim of my carelessness. When a band can boast current and/or former members of Flashgod Apocalypse, Novembre, Hour Of Penance and Riti Occulti, it seems impossible that I could have nearly overlooked it, especially when the band also reference the likes of Katatonia, Amorphis and The Gathering as the influences for their music.
And despite all of the ingredients that, on paper, should have drawn me like a moth to a flame to this album, I initially had a hard time getting into ‘The Rain Under’. The clientele, the influences, the beautiful cover artwork…it was all for nought, or at least that was what I thought at the outset. My first impression was that this was a ponderous album that plodded along at a mid-tempo and which lacked any kind of spark.
Thankfully, over the past few days, I have managed to give this record more of my attention, including a couple of intense back-to-back spins and I have to say that my opinions have now significantly altered.
First off, ‘The Rain Under’ revels in the power of the riff. Yes, much of the material sits at a mid-tempo pace but this is very deliberate in order to allow the guitars to work their magic. The tone of the riffs is really rather intoxicating, as they are so meaty and chunky, writhing and churning delightfully and across the album, with real resonance and purpose. In fact, anyone who is familiar with the sounds of Fleshgod Apocalypse will recognise this glorious tone as will become clear in just a moment.
But ‘The Rain Under’ isn’t all about crunchy riffs. It is also a deceptively subtle album, where clever ideas and complexity lurk just beneath the surface, to reveal themselves only when they are good and ready, or when the listener is paying sufficient attention. Acoustic guitars, keys, quiet passages, intricate melodies and a beguiling vocal performance from Elisabetta Marchetti (ex-Stormlord, Riti Occulti) offer variety and respite from the bruising riffs, courtesy of Cristiano Trionfera (Fleshgod Apocalypse) that sit at the core of the band’s sound. Equally, the rhythm section comprised of drummer Guiseppe Orlando (ex-Novembre) and bassist Marco Mastrobuono (Hour Of Penance) isn’t your normal fare, with a fair bit of progressive intent and individual flair in evidence alongside the brute force element.
The album kicks off with the title track, a song that’s ushered in by some rich acoustic guitars which are soon joined by Marchetti’s beautiful voice, one that carries with it a range of emotions and a touch of vulnerability. And then, right on cue, in come the riffs and the rest of the band, like a tidal wave of power. The monster riffs are progressive in terms of their stop/start nature and the timing signature, quite reminiscent of ‘The Great Cold Distance’ era Katatonia. The chorus that emerges is a real grower but this could be said of most of the album, whilst the light and shade that is used serves to enhance each aspect of the song and provide variety. The guitar solo is unexpected to be honest, but it too, is a very welcome edition to what is a great opening salvo.
‘The Hangman’ by contrast starts with real purpose and intent before everything drops away to reveal some programmed electronics alongside some delicate vocals. The quiet is short-lived as the heaviness explodes back in, but this is a track of extreme contrasts but where melody plays a hugely important part, creeping through and pulling the song together.
Speaking of melody, those that introduce ‘Pale Dead Sky’ are some of my favourites on the entire album. In fact, this has to be one of my favourite tracks on the record. The references to The Gathering are well-placed here as there is a passing resemblance to Anneke van Giersbergen in the vocal delivery and the structure of the song. There’s a delightfully minimalist section where orchestration is introduced, only to be displaced by one of the heaviest riffs on the record, a really bruising encounter.
The Katatonia influences emerge elsewhere on ‘The Rain Under’, most notably within ‘The Last Sun’ and ‘Night Falls’. The former channels the more introspective and delicate trappings of modern-era Katatonia within the quiet intro and verses. ‘Night Falls’ however, owes more to the ‘Discouraged Ones’ or ‘Tonight’s Decision’ era thanks to the driving guitar riff. But despite these references, don’t think for one minute that Inno don’t have their own identity, because they certainly do and, with repeated listens, the Inno sound becomes more enthralling and entertaining.
‘Scorched’ is another incredibly beguiling track thanks in part to the extended minimalist section at its core, where Marchetti delivers some devastatingly poignant and melodic vocals. And the album concludes in strong fashion with the stunning ‘High Hopes’. It is a little different in style from the other nine songs in that it is structured more simply, more like a ballad in many ways. The melodies are arresting and the song cleverly builds. So when the piano-and-vocal parts give way eventually to an explosion of heavier material, the effect is incredibly powerful.
I have to say that I’m incredibly surprised that this release hasn’t gained more traction than it seems to have done so far. Firstly, given the protagonists involved and secondly, given the quality of this music, you’d think that the metal world would have lapped this band up. But they seem to have flown under many radars. Personally-speaking, I’m delighted that I discovered this album because, after a sticky start, it has really got under my skin and I am genuinely thoroughly enjoying it. If you like the idea of music with heavy riffs, beautiful vocals, melody and a progressive edge, make sure that you don’t miss the opportunity to check out ‘The Rain Under’ from Inno as I nearly did. That would be a big mistake.
The Score of Much Metal: 88%
Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: