Knowledge Through Suffering - Concealment

11 Nov 2021 - Thorsten

Doomy Death-Metal | Brucia Records | Release date: 17 Sep 2021

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Trying to stay ahead of things can be difficult in these modern times as there are countless possibilities for finding new bands and labels to follow, so zines like VoS have a certain responsibility to provide you with the best suggestions ahead of time. In some sense we failed you with this one: Knowledge Through Suffering is an awesome one-man-project from Italy with Umberto Poncina giving birth to a genre-bending example of extreme Metal for the 21st century. Concealment seems like a three-track EP but with 30 minutes of running time it is much, much more than that – lesson in how a Black Metal-schooled musician mixes Death Metal, Doom, Noise and a pinch of Avantgarde into something bigger than its single elements.

Italy’s Brucia Records is one of these small, yet ultimately deserving labels whose every release pours out a flood of blood, sweat, tears and toil. One perfect example of this drive was already reviewed here on VoS earlier this year: The Sun And The Mirror – Dissolution To Salt And Bone. And now we want to suggest you take the time and listen to this mesmerizing example of how brutal music can have a gentle, thoughtful spirit: Knowledge Through Suffering. Admittedly, a somewhat simple title as it is like a catch-phrase. However, when one looks at the storyline behind the chaos, the thunder, the bleakness and the anger, it becomes clear how much time must have been spent on the writing and recording process – even more so as it is a one-man-band!

The three tracks are each approximately ten minutes long and together they tell the story of God and how he witnesses the evolution of his creation into something spiteful and not loyal to his idea. In short, the downfall of his creation; a very disappointing period it must have been. Naturally, one can take this idea as a symbol for the fall of mankind from God’s grace on the one hand – a very religious tale, which in some way is also supported by some of the very ancient-sounding ideas in songs like the opening tale ”God Alone Was Exalted On That Day” which speaks of the first moments of creation: ”God alone was exalted on that day / For He spoke and it came to / Be He alone / All has been renewed in Compassion” or the second track ”Let The Earth Sprout” which makes use of the old idea ”Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven”. That light is, of course, god. One might take the following lines as misogynist - ”The serpent copulated with the female / and a nest of filth was constructed within her / to become an evil abode / as she conceived and bore”, however, it is unjust to accuse Umberto of such things, as he is merely passing on the ideas presented in the bible and doesn’t take them as a reason for any kind of inferiority of women. Here one sees the real idea behind this album: to construct the parallelism between the fall of mankind from paradise to the downfall of man from his God-given chances. Mankind as such could do so much more on this wonderful planet, if we tried to forgo our wish for possessions and want. As we cannot reach this status – this is what construes the idea behind the band: Knowledge Through Suffering. One does not exist without the other.

The shrapnel-sharp swirling sounds which Poncina includes in his songs are bordering on the sheer madness of boundless Free Jazz with its sounds being able to make your head spin in any direction or in every direction – at the same time. Every song is using harsh noise sounds (which in some ways construct an ongoing doom-loop) on which the riffs, breaks and much more are laid up, like a watchmaker resting his finest not on suede but on a bank of gore and guts.

Shall we suggest to listen to Concealment? Maybe not. Shall we suggest not to listen to Concealment? Certainly not. If you do, you will be tossed in too many directions and once giving your head one spin too much. But if you listen carefully, peeling away layer after layer, you might find something worth having spent so much time on!