Features

MUSIC FEATURE: Ones To Watch – Italy

Earlier this year we launched our Ones To Watch series, in which we’ll be highlighting some of the hottest up and coming and established acts from across the globe. Previously we told you ten Australian acts that we are loving and this time we’ve gone a little bit closer to home focusing on Italy. We’ve got metal, we’ve got indie and we’ve got a feeling you’ll find something you’ll love. We’ve chosen some artists you might already be familiar with and a few we think definitely need to be on your radar. 

What We Lost

What do you get when you mix storytelling lyrics, hardcore riffs and a dose of dreamy rock thrown in for good measure? The answer is What We Lost. Having previously performed shows with the likes of Fever 333, Underoath and Polar, they’ve made a solid name for themselves across Italy but now it’s time for the UK to find out more. The Modena quintet released their second EP Pretend To Sleep in February and despite its short length of just three-tracks, it’s easy to see the beauty within their post-hardcore sound. Connecting with their listeners through personal experiences and feelings highlighted within their tracks, they flutter from melodic, clean vocals to raw screams, blending these with ease and effortless beauty. We can only imagine these tracks translate into an atmospheric and extremely memorable experience when witnessed live. If you do one thing today, take eleven minutes to check out Pretend To Sleep; you won’t regret it. (NC)


Hermit

Italy natives Hermit are a duo rising up the ranks in both the electro-pop and indie-rock genres. Despite being born and bred in Italy this pair, made up of members Leonardo De Franceschi alongside Giorgio Assi, found inspiration initially from the underground music scene situated in both Berlin and New York. In turn, these wide-ranging influences instigated the band to form their very own brand of introspective indie-rock, all whilst being reminiscent of the electro-pop grooves of Disclosure and the new wave sounds of New Order, heard throughout their atmospheric EP’s Going Under, Promises and The Hush. (KCF)


Lacuna Coil

Since their inception back in 1994, the Milan-based Lacuna Coil have been hailed as one of the most influential gothic metal acts ever. Their signature dark, mid-tempo sound is made up of the contrast between Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia’s vocals, in a manner which has since been dubbed “beauty and the beast vocals” – a good example of this being Our Truth, off their 2006 release Karmacode. Their latest album, 2019’s Black Anima, continues the shift in sound that started on their 2016 record, Delirium, with an emphasis on down-tuned electric guitars, and with Ferro introducing growl vocals to the mix. While their tour in support of this new album has been cancelled – understandably so; what tour hasn’t been, at this point? – we’re sure that, once everything calms down, they’ll be able to continue bringing their unique flavour of gothic/alternative metal to the masses. (FP)


Måneskin


Måneskin
, whilst not that big over here in the UK, are nothing short of a national treasure in Italy. They shot to success on reality TV, but have proven they have the chops to stay for the long run with their genuine talent, slick image and a dedicated fanbase. Their video for Torne a Casa has racked up a staggering 91 million hits, with their YouTube hits totalling a jaw-dropping 2078 million. Taking cues from the greats such as Guns ‘n’ Roses and Aerosmith, as well as influences from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the band have consistently refused to be defined by any one genre, mixing elements of rock, pop, funk, reggae and more into their singular musical style. Måneskin comprises Damiano (vocals), Victoria (bass), Thomas (guitar) and Ethan (drums), and the band have come to be known for the energy they bring to their live shows, and their masterful and genre-defying songwriting talents. If you want somewhere to begin, start with Chosen and Torne a Casa and work from there. (RS)


Deep As Ocean


Deep As Ocean
, often shortened to (DAO) released their debut album, Crossing Parallels, in December. Brothers Alberto and Riccardo Buttò formed the band in 2016 with Matt Bonfanti, Matteo Acquati and Manuel Panepinto joining soon after. After initially developing a local fanbase through the release of 2017 EP Lost Hopes/Broken Mirrors, as time has passed the band have been able to reach out and in turn gain slots on Spotify’s New Metal Tracks and New Blood playlists. Knives And Flames is the perfect example of what the band are about with aggressive, angsty verses that are scattered with nimble guitar-lines and a chorus which gets submerged into your head. Lyrically the themes fit with the style of music being performed, as their latest release touches on betrayal, mental health and more. The quintet have continued to build up a live reputation for themselves and played shows with the likes of Crystal Lake and Blood Youth. If you’re looking for something a little heavier, then we think Deep As Ocean are for you. (NC)


Gazzelle


Rome-based synth-pop, new wave and indie outfit Gazzelle is one of Italy’s most successful singer-songwriters. Tapping into the music scene aged twenty-two, Gazzelle got his name heard the grassroots way, playing across clubs in the capital at an amateur level, before bursting into the mainstream with debut and sophomore studio albums Superbattito and Punk. Four years later, Gazzelle has gained hundreds of thousands if not millions of streams across singles including Zucchero Filato, Quella te and also Stelle Filanti, as well as acquiring a sound synonymous to that of The Killers Day And Age era meets The 1975’s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, dubbing his own sound as his very own brand of sexy pop. (KCF)


Stain The Canvas

Photo Credit: Edoardo Giacomelli

In 2019 Stain The Canvas burst onto the scene with their debut single Like A God, leaving no stone unturned with their thrashy, metalcore sound. Independently releasing their debut album God Made Hell earlier this year provided them with the chance to flaunt their raucous sound further. It sees them combining emo lyrics with high octane energy and shows their talent of taking their sound into a completely new direction within an instant, as melodic, emotive moments appear. There’s something unpredictable about their sound and this, in part, is what has drawn them such significant attention, including over 500,000 views and streams within their first year of a band. We aren’t quite sure what direction the next Stain The Canvas material will take, but you know what? We’ll definitely be checking it out! (NC)


Fleshgod Apocalypse


You can describe Perugia’s own Fleshgod Apocalypse as symphonic death metal or technical death metal, but you can never describe them as dull or unadventurous. With the release of their fifth studio album Veleno, the band have taken their sound and fine-tuned it to the point where the entire world should take notice. Brutality? Check. Impressive technicality? Yup. Hooks that make them accessible? Got that too. Following the musical chairs of members over the last few years, Fleshgod Apocalypse are as focused and devastating as ever. Pay attention guys and gals, because this band is worth anyone’s time. (RW)


Nanowar of Steel


Where bands like Lacuna Coil are dark and serious, Nanowar of Steel are at the other end of the spectrum. You just have to look at their song titles – case in point Barbie MILF Princess of the Twilight or And Then I Noticed That She Was A Gargoyle – to understand what this band is all about: comedy and parody. Even their band name is a parody of power metal acts Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire, and the legal dispute which caused the latter to change their name. With their latest single, Norwegian Reggaeton (yes, reggaeton with a black metal theme), they managed to break through into the mainstream – currently sitting at five million views on YouTube, the band performed the song at the Spanish talent show Got Talent España. They didn’t advance to the semi-finals, as two of the judges said “no”, but that wasn’t their intention anyway – they wanted to gain enough popularity in order to represent Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest. Sadly, they didn’t make it there either, but considering the 2020 edition of the Song Contest has been cancelled, you could say they had the last laugh on that front. Either way, we certainly look forward to seeing what these crazy Italians can come up with in the future. (FP)


Birthh


If you’re looking for something a little less heavy and little more soulful then Alice Bisi a.k.a Birthh is an Italian artist we highly recommend you check out. The singer-songwriter has already made her mark across Europe and America thanks to her delightful, captivating tones which have you hooked on the first listen. Releasing her first album Born In The Woods in 2016, this year marked the release of follow-up Woah. It’s not only full of delightful indie-pop vibes but it was arranged and produced by Birthh herself. We love the dreamy vibes which are the perfect soundtrack to close our eyes and help us disappear to somewhere new and bright in these strange times. The authenticity of Birthh is what makes her music even more of an appealing listen, as we can get behind the words sung in a truly special way, special mention to Yello/Concrete which is a must-listen on the album. Check out Woah for sincere lyrics, soothing harmonies and effortlessly beautiful tracks to fall in love with from the first listen. (NC)


Written by: Katie Conway-FloodFlorin PetrutRichard Webb, Rosie Solomon and Nicola Craig  

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for pop music, the seaside and writing about other people rather than myself.