There’s no question about the indelible mark Chuck Schuldiner left on the worldwide metal scene through the work with his band Death. That the world lost one of its greatest innovators was clear even back then and even moreso now. In the ensuing decade since Schuldiner’s passing in 2001 various bands have sprung up to fill the void left by Death. The darkness of the catacombs gave the world the likes of Ekpyrosis, Ferum, and Amthrÿa (all of whom worship at the altar of Death in more primitive ways). The obvious candidate to carry on Schuldiner’s legacy is German act Obscura, now defunct Californian unit Insentient (fronted by Leslie Medina) but also Southern Italy-based Resumed. This Italian quartet debuted in 2014 with the rather unassuming but highly impressive “Alienations” and now, four years later, return on Danish label imprint Mighty Music (once home to Iniquity, among others) with “Year Zero”. Suffice to say, “Year Zero” was well worth the four-year break in between releases.
Hailing from Abruzzo in Southern Italy Resumed formed under the name Holy Terror in 2007 with the earliest line-up consisting of core trio of Daniele Presutti (vocals, lead guitar), Carlo Alfonso Pelino (bass guitar) and Filippo Tirabassi (drums) as well as Nikolas De Stephanis (lead guitar). Before independently releasing their “Human Troubles” demo recording in 2009 the four changed to their current moniker. In 2012 De Stephanis bade the band farewell after which Pelino took his place on lead guitar and Giulia Pallozzi was brought in on fretless bass guitar. Two years later “Alienations” was released to little fanfare but obviously stirred enough interest for Mighty Music to offer the Italian quartet a recording contract. As with their debut “Year Zero” fuses influences from forgotten Italian technical death metal pioneers Desecration (“The Valley Of Eternal Suffering”) with established American – and European institutions as Atheist (“Piece Of Time”, “Unquestionable Presence”), Pestilence (“Testimony Of the Ancients”, “Spheres”), Theory In Practice (“The Armageddon Theories”, “Colonizing the Sun”) and, of course, Death (“Human”, “Individual Thought Patterns”, “Symbolic”). It’s an impressive showing to say the least, especially from a band little over a decade old.
What makes Resumed different from a good majority of their peers is that their tempo is far lower and their approach is more song-based. Italian death metal, at least the way it is understood since the early millennium, propagated itself as a more mechanical, theatrical interpretation of the Polish or Brazilian sound. As such it tends to take after Internal Suffering, early Nile with a dosage of “De Profundis” Vader to even things out. Hour Of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Hideous Divinity are probably the most recognizable names specializing in that particular flavor of Italian death metal. Resumed brings a sense of finesse, elegance, and sophistication back to death metal. On the whole “Year Zero” very much sounds like “The Armageddon Theories” era Theory In Practice without the keyboards, or the kind of album that Death could have released in between “Symbolic” and the more power/progressive metal inclined “The Sound Of Perseverance” (which was never conceived nor intended as a true Death record to begin with). The death metal that Resumed specializes in never rages, blasts or stomps but indeed flows just like the most enduring Death records. Like on “Human” there’s a sense of tranquility, restraint, and control to “Year Zero” that’s seldom heard these days. Some might find this a bit slow for their taste, but that doesn’t change how well written it is.
While arguably lead guitarists Daniele Presutti and Carlo Alfonso Pelino are the stars of the record and offer up a veritable avalanche of solos, the importance of Giulia Pallozzi’s bass guitar cannot be understated. In tradition of Cliff Burton (Metallica), Chris Richards (ex-Suffocation), Tony Choy (ex-Cynic), Mike Poggione (Monstrosity), Steve DiGiorgio (ex-Death, Autopsy, et al), Jeroen Paul Thesseling (ex-Pestilence, ex-Obscura), Éric Langlois (ex-Cryptopsy), Niklas Dewerud (ex-Spawn Of Possession), and Erlend Caspersen (ex-Blood Red Throne) her funky licks flow above, below and in between the tides of riffs. Likewise is drummer Filippo Tirabassi a paragon of restraint, control, and finesse. As with their debut “Year Zero” too deals with the paranormal and the extraterrestrial. Whether or not the literature of famous Italian ufologist Mario Gariozzi on the subject was any inspiration we’ll leave in the middle, but it’s far more interesting than what these bands typically write about. From the production work you’d never guess that 16th Cellar Studio and producer Stefano Morabito were involved in its creation. It’s unusually smooth on all fronts and nothing like, say, the recent Internal Suffering album that Morabito produced. In general we’re not the biggest fans of what comes out of 16th Cellar Studio with “Year Zero” as the exception that proves the rule.
As heir apparent to the legacy of Chuck Schuldiner and Death “Year Zero” is as good as this thing tends to get. Resumed is not quite as hook-oriented as Obscura is on average and their songwriting is never as collected and streamlined as it was on “Symbolic”. As good as “Alienations” was “Year Zero” is in all ways superior. If there’s anything that the Stefano Morabito production has improved upon it’s the drum tones. On “Alienations” they were almost mechanical and sterile sounding, here they sound full-bodied, organic and naturally warm. Keeping up with traditions from “Alienations” the artwork was rendered by Davide Mancini. It’s comforting to see young bands sticking with what works. “Year Zero” confirms that Resumed are the heirs apparent to the throne vacated by Death in 2001, even though a tribute act like Gruesome is obviously far more popular than they’ll ever be. Resumed is refreshingly bereft of any contemporary influences and if there’s any justice in the world “Year Zero” will introduce them to a much bigger audience. With the promotion department from Mighty Music behind them Resumed is destined to become a much bigger player.