[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]
There is no doubt about it, Gabriele Fagnani is an artist whose goal is to always astonish whoever listens to his records. Every release of his project Corazzata Valdemone shows how he repels the idea of repeating himself and making something you’ve already heard from him, or something that’s less extreme than what he’s previously made. There’s a constant will to break the barriers and acquire new forms, and in this way in twenty years of career he moved from power electronics to a much more strange and faceted creature, that presents its last incarnation in this “Stornellando in Grigioverde”. The title itself, that could be translated as “singing ditties in field-grey”, shows that the thematic link between these ten tracks is war, but this idea of martial aesthetics is carried on with many different musical styles through the album. For example “Death to Scum” recalls the American branch of neofolk music (Luftwaffe, Cult of Youth, Awen), while “The March of Fire” shows hints of dark-ambient, doom guitars and martial drums, all in one track. Or again “In Marcia” is a classic martial-industrial song and “Ode al Fuoco Distruggitore” is a good essay of his trademark noise/power electronics, featuring some really strong sounds of wave generators. Another thing to notice in this track is the sample of an old Italian song called “La Sagra di Giarabub”, used as a means of anti-English propaganda by the fascists during the Second World War. Fagnani has always showed an encyclopedic knowledge of Mussolini’s dictatorship and even, as in this case, of elements of popular culture unknown to most. In this record he has chosen a musical style that leaves more ground to lyrics and spoken word, and it’s unavoidable that these elements too have more space on the thematic plan and not just in the aesthetics. This could surely disturb someone, but as we already said, Fagnani doesn’t give a damn about who gets offended by his music; every time you think that his message is shocking, you can be sure that it will get even more extreme in the next album. The most interesting moments are when there is cross-genre contamination, and in this sense the two tracks sung by Stefania Domizia, “Runenlied” and “Gott mit Uns”, are outstanding. It’s amazing to hear the contrast of such a trained operatic voice upon these martial landscapes. Another track I’ve particularly enjoyed is “Memoriae”, that features a stunning vocal sample by an old lady called Donna Giovanna, that was 104 years old when the recording was made. This is the perfect demonstration of one significant prerogative of industrial music, that is the importance of the objet trouvé, the capability of making music out of something that is not meant for that purpose, using it as a structural element.