If you’re craving an uplifting musical experience to help get you through these dark, depressing days then look elsewhere because ‘Obisidian Katabasis’ is about as sombre, bleak and desolate as they come. On their third full-length, Fuoco Fatuo have delivered one of the most oppressive, despondent and utterly crushing records of recent times – an album that will devour your spirit utterly and leave you begging for more.

Comprising three epic tracks and as many shorter instrumental interludes, ‘Obisidian Katabasis’ presents an hour of misery and dejection, consuming all hope and reaffirming the listener’s faith in the futility and nothingness of existence. This is annihilating, slow-paced (for the most part) Death / Doom of the funereal variety, so Evoken and Disembowelment are obvious reference points but I can also detect aspects of The Ruins of Beverast in the majestic ‘Thresholds of Nonexistence Through Eerie Aeon’ while I find myself thinking of a veritable smorgasbord of artists from early Anathema to even Portal and Grave Miasma (decelerated, of course) during the process of engaging with this overwhelming leviathan.

Anyone who appreciates the bleakness of the universe, the inevitability of death and the pointlessness of struggling on in the face of insurmountable odds should enjoy listening to these morbid Italians. They have structured an album that is not only heavy, harrowing and suffocating but also nuanced and vigorous, packed with power and aggression as well as rage and angst.

The inherently analogue nature of ‘Obsidian Katabasis’ is perfected suited to the vinyl format and the records are housed in a nice gatefold cover with lyric sheet included. Said lyrics are drowning in negativity. For example, ‘A perpetual state of emptiness will rule the earth and slash your soul’ from ‘Obsidian Bulwark (Creation of the Absurd)’ or the charming opening line of ‘Psychoactive Katabasis’: ‘Inhale the putrefaction of miserable existence’. Something we do involuntarily all day every day, succumbing to purposelessness.

Evilometer: 555/666