Elsewhere in this Missive, you will find a review of Messa‘s latest album, Close. In it, I point out how the album pushes the band’s sounds into new territories, building further and deeper into their doom foundation than any of their previous releases. Therefore, running an Anatomy Of of the band seemed like a no-brainer, since it would allow me to further decipher where these additional influences were coming from. To say that I was not disappointed would be an understatement, since the choices by the band are not actually excellent but also shed much light on the different sounds and snippets that appear on Close.
The occult rock and 70’s psychedelic sounds found below for example make a look of sense when you consider the wilder, more unbridled, almost punk sounding tracks on the album. This, alongside some of the “calmer” albums selected near the end of the list, also puts the added folk elements into context, revealing Messa’s long relationship with the deep collaborations and potential crossovers between metal, doom, blues, jazz, folk, and more. It’s almost as if Close is a culmination of these sounds, explored first through the work of others and then filtered through doom, and heavier elements hinted at by the inclusion of Urfaust, to bring us Messa’s unique sound as a band.
It was also a pleasure to read the band’s submissions and find so much passion for music and musical discovery in their words. In short, The Anatomy Of series of posts continues to be one of the things I most enjoy doing for the blog. Read on below for Messa’s excellent and evocative contribution to the series and don’t forget to grab Close as soon as you can. It’s a phenomenal release made even better by the excellent musical influences that went into it.
SARA – Voice
THE DEVIL’S BLOOD – The Time Of No Time Evermore (2009)
This record was a huge influence on the start of Messa. Just in the very early days when me and Marco (bass) decided to collaborate, I was fully blown away by this album. When this record came out it was a real breath of fresh air, personality and taste, and it is still outstanding to me to this day. It’s a great mix of metal, 70’s occult rock and a perfect percentage of psychedelia. Epic yet gloomy deep songs, nicely recorded, with every song having a clear identity. Can’t beat this mix. There are so many hooks in this album, it’s unbelievable. I am a sucker for twin guitars, bands like Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy give me chills. What about adding some good minor scales? Sounds great to me!
I think Farida Lemouchi’s immaculate vocal performance on this album had a big impact on me. If it wasn’t for her, I’d probably never have sang for Messa (in fact when the band started I had no intention to be a singer – it just happened). Her vocal abilities shine so bright in the songs: her performance is full of backing vocals, beautiful natural vibrato with a lot of personality, great vocal lines and melodies, and craftily layered choirs. To me, Farida is one of the best metal vocalists of the past 15 years.
Favorite tracks: “The Yonder Beckons”, “Christ Or Cocaine”
ALBERTO – Guitar, Piano, Various
GRAVEYARD – Hisingen Blues (2011)
I actually saw the band live before hearing the whole record and I remember going out of that small club (I think it was their first tour promoting that album) after the show with renewed enthusiasm for making music, and I really needed that. They showed me that the spirit of the great bands from the ‘70s was not dead and was carried on through this new, heavy, evil sounding music. Discovering Graveyard was like an epiphany to me, especially when I think about Hisingen Blues, being a blues player myself. This album of course has influenced Messa on many levels, from songwriting to guitar sounds. Plus the album really shows how to play the blues no matter what is happening underneath. That’s how I like to think about what I do in Messa.
Favorite Track: “The Siren”
SVEN WUNDER – “Doğu Çiçekleri” Eastern Flowers (2020)
Fast forward to Messa’s new album, I was really influenced by the work of Sven Wunder in “Doğu Çiçekleri” Eastern Flowers. The album really captures the ‘70s Funk, jazz atmosphere perfectly combined with Asian and Middle Eastern instruments. I love Program Music, and in general, all music that paints images in the listener’s mind. Since the journey element is a key one in Close, Eastern Flowers has been a natural path to follow for the album.
Favorite Track: “Hibiscus”
ROCCO – Drums, Screams
URFAUST – Der Freiwillige Bettler (2010)
This record has been a turning point for both my musical taste and career: back in the days I was only concentrated in listening and playing Black Metal. The first time I listened to it, I was having a booze fueled night, at the peak of pre-dolomitic mountain Tomba with some friends. It was really cold out there. One of them blasted this album from his car, full volume, and I was totally taken by it. I remember sitting on the seat with a beer in my hand, entering sort of a trance state, isolating from my pals. I kept asking myself who could deliver such darkness and discomfort. The lo-fi production and dismal, gloomy atmosphere – extremely well contextualized, the drums going out the click beat counter and then getting back in, the spectral screams make this record one of my top picks of the whole decade.
After this encounter with Urfaust I started following the band, that became and still is one of my favourite acts. They also were a gateway to slower music, that I had never approached before. I wasn’t really into Doom music when I got asked by Sara and Marco if I wanted to join Messa. I accepted without really knowing what was coming ahead, at the beginning it was an experiment for me. I had never played that genre before and I took the challenge.
Favorite tracks: “Das Kind Mit Dem Spiegel”, “Ein Leeres Zauberspiel”, “Der Zauberer”
MARCO – Bass, Guitar
JEX THOTH – Blood Moon Rise (2013)
This band and this record in particular represent a moment of rupture, rebirth and redemption. On a personal level, this record was keeping me company in a moment of affective and emotional collision.
The vibrations of this record and Jex Thoth’s mysterious charm made me transform my suffering into creative power. It’s a chill album in some ways, where the center of the abyss are the vocals and ethereal keyboards. Guitars and drums are not missing of course, but they are more of a complement to the rest. I really like the analog ‘warm’ production of this record too.
As a musician I feel that this record really shaped the first approach I had with creating Messa, from composing to sounds and tone.
Favorite tracks: “Keep Your Weeds”, “The Divide”