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Rome In Monochrome : Away From Light

An interesting atmospheric Post-/Doom sounds marks the debut full-length from Rome In Monochrome.

Italian outfit Rome In Monochrome reckon they encompass Doom, Shoegaze, Slowcore and Post-Rock within their sound. Sometimes I really do miss the days when you just bought stuff from the "Heavy Metal" section in the record shop. I mean seriously, Slowcore, anybody? Nope, me neither. Much of Rome In Monochrome's press or internet content has them down as Dark Metal. And, on it goes... Anyway, they're on the BadMoodMan imprint, a label that has certainly thrown up the odd gem in fairly recent times. Albums by Narrow House and Odradek Room spring to mind, so regardless of tedious genre labels, there's every chance this will be rather good...

Admittedly, I don't listen to much of this type of stuff, and by that I mean the plethora of earnest Anathema-inspired clones or watered down, latterday Swallow The Sun-styled acts with delusions of Katatonia at every turn. One reason for that is that I don't feel it's often done terribly well outside of those, and one or two other archetypal bands. I never find too many of these type of acts all that convincing. Rome In Monochrome do at least go some way in changing that perception. Which I'm all in favor of. Life would indeed be dull if we never moved on. I'd still be listening to WASP for one thing...

It's fair to say though, that there are some great atmospheres conjured up here and the band can flip fairly effortlessly between softer, more reflective passages into far heavier terrain. But, if we take the track 'December Remembrances' as an example, while the music is indeed bordering on exemplary, the lyrics send the whole thing back to the sixth form, as they do for much of the album. There was a comment made recently round these parts about bands singing in their native tongue rather than trying to force it clumsily into English. Which was one of my first thoughts when listening to this. Rome In Monochrome might have fared better this way, like their fellow countrymen in Apneica, whose lilting Italian helps to magnify their already impressive atmospheres. Doing that might also see them get away with terrible lines like "I want to hurt you until the end of time", among many others. Let's also add that the vocal delivery here is extremely familiar.

Overall I think 'Away From Light' is more of a hit than a miss. It's certainly ticks all the boxes in terms of evoking those big atmospheres so beloved of the genre. There are a few let downs. The aforementioned lyrics, which are at best forlornly simplistic and at worst painfully naive, actually do nothing to add to the music, which itself is rather good. Production isn't perfect either, but it isn't a deal breaker, it's just that at times you get too much of one thing and I also feel that Rome In Monochrome would benefit from more of a highly polished sound. Despite all that, I do rather like it, and given the Autumnal weather here at the moment, it's certainly somewhat fitting. It's not the best thing BadMoodMan have put out but it's certainly not the worst.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Ghosts Of Us
2. A Solitary King
3. Paranoia Pitch Black
4. Uterus Atlantis
5. December Remembrances
6. Until My Eyes Go Blind
7. Between The Dark And Shadows
8. Only The Cold

Duration : Approx. 54 minutes

Visit the Rome In Monochrome bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-06-10 by Matt Halsey
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