This music has been in my head for a long time now.
Rare Noise Records sent me this album before it was officially released. (Thank you.) It's been in what they'd call "heavy rotation" since.
"I carried it around with me for days and days..
playing little games
like not looking at it for a whole day
and then.. looking at it.
to see if I still liked it.
Berserk! is not an album you listen to. It listens to you.
You don't categorize Berserk! It puts you in your place.
I couldn't get my head around it until I listened to it when I was pissed off. Not because the music is angry, but because its strength only resonates with strong sensations. But now that I've cracked that nut, it's inside my head.
What can be said factually about Berserk!? It's bassist Lorenzo Feliciati, vocalist Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari, and musicians Eivind Aarset, Gianluca Petrella, Sandro Satta, Fabrizio Puglisi, Jamie Saft, Cristiano Calcagnile, Pat Mastelotto, and Simone Cavina. Its heart may be jazz but its brain is ambient and its mouth is progressive metal.
I'll stop. You listen. All the way through.
See what I mean? It's like a beautiful train wreck exploding in slow motion - you cannot look away. If you do, it evaporates.
Perhaps Macabre Dance was too traditional for you. Let's try something with more of an edge: Dream Made of Water.
Berserk! is perhaps the most unpredictable album I've ever heard. That's why it requires active listening. It's lyrical, thumping, poetic, growling, choral, in your face, and peeking around the corner. Listening to it is being tied up in a burlap sack with a kitten, a snake, and two dogs. It has rock, jazz, pop, ambient, electronic, and metal elements. It's unique.
I lack the words to describe it. There are tracks on SoundCloud and YouTube. Just go listen to them.
Do I like Berserk!? Hell, I hope it likes me.
Berserk! is available from Rare Noise Records. They gave me at no cost a pre-release of the album in mp3 format but in no way influenced this review. The lyric quoted in the article is from King Crimson's Indiscipline from their Discipline album.