It seems the Italian music scene is alive and kicking right now, with a host of great new rock bands popping up. This week we discovered the superb, expressive music of Milanese rockers ANEWRAGE, who’ve been busy honing their awesome sound since they began playing music together 11 years ago, when they were just 14.
We spoke to the quartet of Axel Capurro (vocals and guitars), Manuel Sanfilippo (guitars and backing vocals, Simone Martin (bass) and Alessandro Ferrarese (drums and backing vocals) this week and first up asked them to give us their view on the local Italian scene.
They told us: “There’s a lot of bubbling going on! The underground scene is alive but in this country it’s really hard to get noticed; Italy is not a metal country. We have a lot of great bands along, some not-so-good bands too, as usual! We think that this is a country where you get to hear a lot of international pop and just a tiny bit of everything else, just in case you are really interested in discovering new music.”
The band is set to release second album Life-Related Symptoms next Friday (7 April), and it’s safe to say they’re excited about it. They told us: “We’re almost shaking! We just cannot wait to have this album released, it’s the biggest effort we’ve ever done and it took a lot of hard work. We tried not to stick to a precise formula and experimented a lot with instruments, electronics and vocal melodies. This makes this record stand out from everything we’ve ever done and we’re so happy about the result!”
As they allude to in that comment, one of the most exciting things about ANEWRAGE is it’s really difficult to pinpoint a particular genre. They’re heavy, rocky and have a mass of awesome guitar riffs supporting the big vocals of frontman Axel Capurro, a la the likes of Alter Bridge, but they’re much more complex than that.
Life-Related Symptoms is testament to this, leaping between alt-rock and metal with big chunky riffs one second, to segments of djent-esque heavy bass and pure experimentalist rock the next. This is personified by opening track Upside Down, which opens up with a funky riff, then some big vocals which continue into the chorus with only a light guitar riff in support as Capurro laments “Upside down I hang myself.” It’s superbly catchy, with some really cool riffing, but soon descends into all manner of experimentalism and electronic noise before flowing back into the chorus.
Second track My Worst Friend is much more classically rocky in style, with some cool, catchy vocal delivery, hooky riffs and some really interesting atmospheric ambiences before the final rendition of the choppy chorus.
Tomorrow is a fascinating track that builds on an experimental intro with some really cool rhythmical mixes, there’s all sorts going on but it’s really fun to listen to as the track gradually builds into a big chorus.
It’s followed by the really cool Evolution Circle, which opens up with a funky bassy riff then a heavier version of it before the vocals enter with a heavy bass in support. The track builds into a big chorus with the cool riff under much heavier vocals, then a funky musical interlude before it all gets super-heavy and intense with some big, almost screamed vocals. The funky riff throughout is superb, and that combined with the vocals make this a superb track
The pace drops temporarily in the intro to Floating Man, but is soon ramped straight up with the huge screamed chorus. The contrast between the chilled, laid-back verses and massive chorus is hugely addictive, and the technical guitar work throughout is superb.
There’s yet another shift in sound for The 21st Century, which opens up with a funky little clean riff, then a burst of heavier riffing that you can’t help but bounce along to.
It all gets very technical for a while, but in amongst the cool expressive rock stands out an absolute pearler of a track in Insight. It opens up with a bit of guitar noise and huge drums, then giving away to just a drawn-out guitar riff and Capurro’s big vocal in verses filled with tension, which is soon expelled by a scream and a big singalong chorus.
This album is much more expressive in style than their debut effort, which the band admit based on the influences they drew from bands that mix powerful music with anthemic landscapes, such as Karnivool, A Perfect Circle and Arcane Roots. It’s well worth a listen for the band’s amazing ability to effortlessly fuse multiple styles, impressively diverse technical and rhythmical sections and make really catchy music – just go into it with an open mind and don’t try to pigeon-hole them to a certain genre.
With that in mind we asked the band themselves to describe their sound. They told us: “This is always a tough question! We can start saying that we don’t like labels and closed boxes in which a band can be put; what does ‘alternative metal’ mean? We try to let different genres flow into our style to make, hopefully, something new. This band’s sound reminds of different musical styles such as progressive metal, hard rock, post-grunge, alternative whatever, and a lot of others. We think that the listener should enjoy (or not) what they’re listening to, without thinking to much about how it is called.”
Not content with creating great music ANEWRANGE have also dipped their toes into the art world. The album art for their debut album was nominated for the SXSW Design Award, of which the band said: “Yes! The ANR album trailer has been nominated in 2014 among huge names. We were really excited to see something related to our little world in such a great context! We owe this honour to the crew that worked with us, The Jack Stupid.”
ANEWRAGE will be touring their new album in Italy and will then be on British shores in June and July, so keep your eyes posted for a chance to see them live.