Zess - Et In Arcadia Ego
Zess - Et In Arcadia Ego
In this particular release , although it is mentioned that it was in 2004, the songs are actually composed somewhere between 1987 and 1988. Zess managed to find a label to release their material in 2004. “Et In Arcadia Ego” is not like many “malicious” would claim a “snatch” , but in fact it is a statement of heart, from five young Italians, which managed to be built in the form that it diserved, after 16 years of waiting locked up in a drawer. That was a 33rpm record. But let’s see things from the beginning.
\r\n The year is 1987 and the local Italian scene concists of bands like Paul Chain Violate Theater, Death SS, etc. Young then Mercy La Morgue A.K.A. Mercy (now he is the vocalist of Malombra), who was a fan of early goth rock scene, meets his girlfriend’s brother, a fan of 70’ Dark prog and bands like Black Sabbath Paul Chain, High Tide, Black Widow and many more maniac. Dr. Polidori announces to Mercy that he needs a vocalist for a band influenced from the above but with N.W.O.B.H.M. dynamics. Mercy accepts, and as simple as that the family of Zess was founded on the vernal equinox of 1987. They proceed in a writing session and live touring in Italy. Mercy quote that on that particular night they performed some sort or pagan ritual, due to the Italian local consuetude, lighting candles while they were sitting in a circle.
\r\n As time went by, they decided to make a demo and sent it to some labels. The demo was wrote at the cheepest local studio and included 8 compositions. Unfortunately, Dr Polidori fell in love with a Swiss and left with her to Switzerland, taking with him the demo tapes, since he was made by her to read the Bible every day. So, Zess split up before they actually release anything, even in the demo form. A few years later Mercy founds Malombra and some of Zess’ songs gets included in their first alboum. In the distant future Dr Polidori calls Mercy and asks him if they can release Zess’ demo tapes. Black Widow, Malombra’s label, apparently accepted, and after the tapes were digitally restored by Mercy, “Et In Arcadia Ego” occurred.
\r\n Zess were named, by the dialect that the leader of the French progressive rockers Magma, Christian Vander made up. In this dialect it means: “Master of the ritual of the Apocalypse”. In 2004 they release through Black Widow Records “Et In Arcadia Ego” (an expression that apears in two Nicolas Poussin paintings and is translated “Although I am in Arcadia, I exist”). Due to the Occult attitude of the band the cover of the album is some Cornish cemetery.
\r\n Back to the album now. It’s production is not the best possible, but it is surrounded by a completely haunting atmosphere. Those 8 songs are indeed a mixture of N.W.O.B.H.M. and occult Italian sound. I am not setting apart for any of the songs, since they move in the same direction, dark but most of all mid tempo Heavy metal, with vocals that reminds of David Bowie and Morby (Sabotage, Domine), having of course the classic Italian tone, that is the trade-mark of the Italian scene. Imagine a mixture of Witchfinder General (not as happy though), Paul Chain Violate Theater, and the atmoshere of Black Widow, High Tide, even some Krautrock bands like Amon Duul and Popol Vuh. It is howsoever an experience to hear. Zess, according to Mercy, is unlikely to release anything new. So, if you are willing to live a “deadly” experience through Zess’ music and lyrics as well as the dark atmosphere of the unique (in my opinion) Italian Occult Doom metal scene, just dig “Et In Arcadia Ego”.